Navy Dads

My son is a Nuke MM @ Goose Creek. I am reading a lot about how others are finding it tough, suicides, depressions, etc and am worried. How do we as parents know how he is doing? Unlike Schools, we have no access to his grades, attendance or anything he does except trust what he says. 

Any suggestions? He is a bright student and we don't want to be in the dark if something is going on in his life and want to help.

Thank you.

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There really is no other way to find out how he is doing other than him telling you. That being said, if he does get into a position where he is having a hard time, there are resources available to him.

If he is struggling academically, he should seek help from his instructors. Their purpose in life, aside from the obvious one of teaching the class, is to help the students succeed academically. They have many tools at their disposal to help students with learning and retaining material, taking exams, etc. The students should not be afraid to seek help from their instructors (or another instructor if they don't like theirs for some reason). I have a post with some tips on making through Nuke School in the Navy Nukes group. It is essentially observations I made during my tour as instructor there. Take a look at it and share some of the tips with him.

Academic struggles can lead to a significant amount of stress on the students, but there are resources available for that too. They can talk to the Chaplain. There are also counselors available at the Fleet & Family Support Center. If the need arises, they can (and should) see the mental health professionals at the Medical Clinic.

The best thing you can do as a parent is to continue to offer support and encouragement to your Sailor. Family support goes a long way. Not just in Nuke School, but for the rest of their Navy career, whether it is 6 years or 26 years. I know that I would not have made it through my 20 years in the Navy without the support of my parents and later my wife. Just keep the lines of communication open and give him a place to vent when the going gets tough. Keeping a positive attitude can be tough, but Nuke school is about 75% attitude and 25% academic. A good attitude goes a long way toward success. 

One piece of advice I used to give my students, particularly the ones who were struggling, that kind of put things in perspective for them was this. Once you get to the Fleet, no one cares what your GPA was in Nuke School. All they care about is if you are qualified to stand a watch. That's not to say you shouldn't do your best because doing well in the pipeline does afford you some opportunities like coming back to be an instructor, but don't get wrapped around the axle about a 2.5 on an exam or barely passing a class. in the Fleet, 2.5 is just as good as 4.0. The moral of the story is, just do your best. And if your best is 2.50, that's good enough. If your best is 2.35, that's not the end of the world either. I have seen many Sailors that did not make it through Nuke School go on to have very successful careers in the Navy. I can't tell you the number of students I saw take this to heart. Their attitudes became more upbeat and most of the time their grades improved as well.

I'm a retired AOC with a EMN2 in the fleet.  While my son was in Goose Creek he was successful because he had a schedule.  Monday - Friday, breakfast, school, lunch, school, dinner, GYM, school, no exceptions.  Friday after school relax, gym, movies with friends, bowling, go downtown, enjoy yourself.  Saturday, relax, study some in the morning or afternoon, not both.  Go do something Saturday night.  Limit any alcohol. Sunday, breakfast, church, school work, gym, school work review.

Always ask for help, preferably before you need it, I don't believe for one second the folks at the school houses want to see anyone fail.  The students may not know this, but the instructors do, they will all work together in the fleet.

You are spot on when you say that no one at the school house wants to see a student fail. I can't tell you how many times I stayed late, came in early, and even came in on the weekend to help students with their studies. If the students are making a genuine effort the instructors will bend over backwards to help them succeed because there is a very good chance that they will, in fact, work with them in the Fleet. It didn't happen to me because Power School was my last tour, but I felt confident in the operators that I sent on to the next phase of the program, for sure.
 
Mike said:

I'm a retired AOC with a EMN2 in the fleet.  While my son was in Goose Creek he was successful because he had a schedule.  Monday - Friday, breakfast, school, lunch, school, dinner, GYM, school, no exceptions.  Friday after school relax, gym, movies with friends, bowling, go downtown, enjoy yourself.  Saturday, relax, study some in the morning or afternoon, not both.  Go do something Saturday night.  Limit any alcohol. Sunday, breakfast, church, school work, gym, school work review.

Always ask for help, preferably before you need it, I don't believe for one second the folks at the school houses want to see anyone fail.  The students may not know this, but the instructors do, they will all work together in the fleet.

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