Military stories from past to present, both wars.

When I grow up… I want to be a Pilot

July 17th, 2006 Posted in The SandGram v1.0

Dear Gang,
This is a repeat and a post that a couple of folks have asked me to publish again from my “” days. So feel free to copy this and give it to you nieces/nephew’s sons and daughter’s if you think it will help. This is for the kids out there who have written me asking how to become a pilot. I teach goal setting back home and also Sub in our school district so this is the class that I teach the kids when the teacher doesn’t leave me a lesson plan for the day. I’m for hire if you have any programs you want put on too!!
Ok, step one to being a pilot or anything else in life, if you are in 7th grade right now, take heed!! If you are in H.S. you are a late bloomer, get moving bubba!! The first step in life goal setting is what job would you like to do? Is there a job you have seen on T.V. or your family member does that interest you? Take my Uncle Bruce, he flew the F-14 and after going flying in his personal Cherokee 140, I was bitten by the flying bug and knew that is all I wanted to do in life, to be a pilot. When I had my first commercial flight at age 6 (on American Airlines) they let me sit in the cockpit and after that trip, I would tell everyone that I was going to be a pilot. As I grew older I started researching into what it took to be a pilot. I set my goals to be an airline pilot after interviewing five airline pilots at National Airport (how did you become a pilot? What was your major in College? What aircraft did you fly to get here, how much money do you make, days off? Travel benefits? Where are you based? Is it good for family life? etc.) There are two kinds of goals in life that you need to set, there are long term (being an airline pilot, way down the road) and short term (getting an A on that next test on Friday).
Take a piece of paper out and write 1-3, put your ultimate job in the number one slot, then have a back up job in two and your dream job in number 3. My #1 job was to be an airline pilot, #2 was to be a school teacher and #3 was to be an actor. Now I realized that going to Purdue University for their flight school was out of my folk’s budget. So I then looked at the different services to have them pay for my flight training. The Marines are the only branch with a guaranteed flight contract. I took the test, passed and had a slot for flight school at age 19. I studied History and figured I could finish up to become an education major later if I needed to become a teacher because I love to teach. My dream shot was be an actor out in L.A. and one day star in a movie.
Now you have to be realistic about what kind of job you want. If you are a boy and say “I’m going to be a pro NFL football tight end” well if you aren’t already on your area’s all pro league teams, then you probably won’t be good enough for High School and College to make it to the pros. So make it a realistic job with skills that you can acquire or train for. You have to remember two things in life, you either make a lot of money or you have quality of life. If you make $200 thousand dollars a year on Wall Street, you might be working 80 hours a week to do that and won’t have time for a family or fun. If you like the outdoors and decide to become a Park Ranger, you won’t be able to afford the Porsche 911, but will be very happy. So you need to pick something that will make you happy and give you enough money to support your family in a life style that makes you happy. There is a fine balance there that must be met. You don’t want a job that you wake up every morning thinking of excuses why you don’t want to go to work.
Now on that piece of paper draw 7 boxes, the 1st box put JrHigh, then as follows, H.S., College, Masters, 1st job entry level, 2nd job medium, dream job final box. Go to the dream job and write in $150K, that is your dream job’s pay, the next one as you go left, medium job write $80K and next write $30k. O.K., now look left to right on that paper, you are in Junior High right now, but it’s not long before you are a freshmen in High School then to get into a college that may specialize in something. To get that ultimate job you have to do well in High School to get into a top college. To get into the University for your masters, you need the grades from college, to get your first entry job, you need to outperform your peers to start out and then eventually you will get to your ultimate job. Everything in the scheme of life is like building blocks. To reach your ultimate goal/job, seems far away and not something you need to worry about now. But guess what? When you are a senior applying to a college somewhere and you have absolutely nothing on your application but a bunch of “Fluff and Stuff”, don’t be surprised when you don’t get in.
So the one’s who are paying attention, start NOW. Think of this as prepping yourself early. I worked in Admissions in College. This is what they are looking for. Grades of course, next SAT scores, Extracurricular activities i.e. school clubs, plays, SGA, Boy-Girl Scouts, Civil Air Patrol, then Sports (builds better students who can balance school with Sports) part time jobs, Church work, community service projects. You get the picture. If you start in 9th grade with one club a semester, sports, that sort of stuff, full time jobs in the summertime, by the time you are a senior, your accomplishments page will be 3 pages long!! All this, without freaking out at the last minute. Colleges are looking for a well rounded student who has life experiences, responsibilities, and a hard work ethic. All the pencil neck geeks will end up at MIT anyway, but you will get into the college of your choice. Also, don’t waste your folk’s money mailing out a bunch of applications at 75-100 dollars a pop to make yourself feel good that you got into more colleges then your buddy. We call that the Spray and Pray method, put a lot of bullets down range and hope it hits the bad guy instead of taking your time and placing one well aimed bullet where it needs to go.
Always revamp your goals and update what needs to happen to make them come true. Remember too, the power of positive thinking and creative visualization. If you say over and over that you will win say that wrestling match, as you see yourself doing it in your minds eye, it will happen. Place big reminders on the back of your door “I will get an A on my Social Studies Test” and study. You will!! I will part with my favorite quote,
Some men see things as they are and say why – I dream things that never were and
say why not. By George Bernard Shaw.
Get going!!! Email me at if I can help you out in the future.
Semper Fi,

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