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biology major in NUPOC!?!?


New Member
(I thank you very much in advance for your patience if you can handle this somewhat long post!)

Well, I finally talked to the recruiter today. After so many "line is busy (hangs up)" and/or voicemails, I decided to do a spontaneous walk-in to the recruiter's office (my sister is a military spouse so this is how I got into the base).

Not sure if you've seen my other posts, but I majored in General Biology at UCSD with a GPA of 3.742. This was accomplished last Dec ’10. While I’m looking for a relevant job, I’m working part-time security/event staff and fill my time doing extracirriculars such as the Red Cross, Coast Guard Auxilary, CERT, USO, and the local library (yes, shelving books). Oh yea, I’m a former military (Navy) dependent since I am now 24 years old.

I brought a working-draft of my motivational statement and printed-out college transcripts (unofficial) with me (I also brought two versions of my personal resume just in case).

I met with two recruiters that day. The first was a LtJG supply officer, and I told him that I was interested in the following programs (in no particular order): intel, supply, AMDO, NFO. He then tells me that it may be difficult to get in these because the Navy is downsizing (due to the economy, so they can afford to be more selective). After showing him my transcripts, he notices that I have taken the full sequence of calculus and calc-based physics at my community college and have received A's in all of them (I'd like to let you know right now that I'm not smart at all; I basically "lived" at the library or my room and had no social life in that period of my life to earn those grades….I was naïve about going to medical school back then. Also, I was lucky to have physics classes that curved the test scores and have test questions that were similar to the homework.) Anyways, I finished those sequences back in Spring of ’08, which makes it over 3 years ago!

So after he sees this in my transcript, he says I can try to go the nuclear route, which doesn't require the ASTB (note: I've been studying on-and-off for the ASTB for a couple of months now). He says I might have a better chance of getting a commission this way because the nuke community needs more officers. He then proceeds to get the nuclear officer recruiter, and I have a talk with him. The reason why I never considered this billet in the first place was because I did some prior research (legwork) online, and apparently only technical majors are preferred (chemistry, math, physics, engineered). I was just a simple bio major!

The nuclear officer recruiter told me that I may have an easier chance to "get in" if I apply for the nuke program as an instructor. He said that I have a suitable personality and have personable communication skills. I mean that's great and all, but I am seriously doubting my "technical skills" (since I am far removed from them, you don’t use it you lose it). Anyways, he can set me up to go on a paid-for VIP trip to the East Coast (Charleston, SC I believe?) where I can meet actual nuke officers and interview them about their jobs (what they do, if they like it, etc.)

He then gave me a Navy Nuclear Propulsion Officer Program brochure, and said that I am eligible for the Submarine Officer and Nuclear Power School Instructor routes (there was info about SWO in that brochure, but I'm not sure if I'm eligible for that). Clearly the brochure says that Nuclear Power School Instructors "must be majoring in a technical field such as physics, mathematics, chemistry, or engineering" so I'm not sure why the recruiter suggested that I apply for this program. I've already made it clear to the first recruiter that I don't really care about "perks" and "bonuses" (especially the ones you get with the nuclear program) but that I simply want a sense of belonging/camaraderie to serve with the best and be part of something greater than myself (while at the same time making use of my college education).

One last side note that I was informed of is that I can't simultaneously apply for NUPOC and the other billets (intel, supply, AMDO, NFO, etc.). With that said, I haphazardly agreed to try NUPOC first, and if it doesn't work out, I'll apply for the other billets afterwards.

I guess the source of my doubts and anxiety right now is that I don't think I realize the full gravity of what I am signing up for. For one, the recruiter said he can send my app out as soon as November if I quickly fulfill the administrative obligations on my end. A list of my worries and anxiety-inducing fears:

1. I’m a time-conscious person, and I read/heard about a technical interview in which you will be tested on stuff according to your transcript. I don’t mind re-learning things if I have to, but the problem is I’m worried I don’t have enough time and not sure what to exactly study for (note: organic chemistry and biology was basically tons of memorization)

2. I don’t want to let the recruiter down if I wash-out from the program, especially since he’s going out of his way to setup a VIP trip for me.

3. Was my ASTB studying in vain? I’ll probably try to make time to keep studying for it anyway, for a back-up just in case things don’t work out.

4. The idea of being an instructor doesn’t sound bad, but I feel like the recruiters “overestimated” me just because I look pretty good on paper. (Also, the brochure says that I don’t “qualify” to be an instructor.)

5. Going back to the time-conscious thing, the nuclear officer recruiter said he would be amazed if someone got pro-rec’d in something like supply after a year. On another forum, someone else said that the time length from talking to the recruiter to finally shipping out to OCS took about almost 3 years. As time goes by, I get older and options start to run out….

6. I think I’m suffering from post-graduation depression syndrome.

Despite these worries, something in the back of my mind tells me to just do it (with no expectations at all) so I don’t have a “what-if” later in life on what could have been….

Sorry if this long-winded post is sounding more like a rant, but these worries/doubts are very real to me. :(

Thank you very much in advance!
I was a NUPOC (graduated OCS in '98, so things may have changed). First, you need to be honest with yourself what you'd like to get out of the military. I wanted to parachute into South American jungles and kill communists, but I felt sorry for the nuke recruiter, and started thinking it would be a more marketable experience if I got out.
1) The instructors were minimally military. They wore uniforms, but never really had any opportunity to travel, pick up any trinkets for their I-love-me-wall, or do much more than walk into class and recite the same things over and over. One of my instructors (they were all very nice) actually told me she was trying and trying to re-designate, as the instructors "peter-out" at about LT. That is, there's no place for them, so they're asked to leave.
2) The smartest person in my class was an aviator (who now has four stars!), but the second smartest was an English major from the Naval Academy. He'd taken the big boy calc and physics, which was enough to get him in.
3) I also got my grades through work and anxiety, and did well in the nuke program through the same. After I left the nuke world, I realized that failing out would have been embarrassing and disappointing, but on the flip-side you're not a nuke anymore... I don't mean to be totally negative on the nuke program, as it definitely had it's benefits and things worked out for me, but if it's not what you want, I wouldn't settle.
4) Don't worry about letting the recruiter down since he scheduled the VIP trip. Honestly, it's your life, and it can be a rough couple of years if you don't like what you're doing. I'm generally a pretty positive person, but there was a sleep-deprived time during prototype that I pulled over and just started crying like a baby. If you bail out on the nuke program, I promise you your recruiter won't pull over and cry like a baby.
5) PM me if you'd like, but I would figure out what you want to get out of the Navy, then apply to the coolest job you think you're possibly qualified for; The Navy is really awesome, and you'll get to do a ton of stuff that so much of the population won't ever have a chance to even try.

Good luck, and don't be afraid to let the recruiters know what you want, and stick to your guns!