This episode features Sammie Blea, a 2011 graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy. In this episode, you’ll hear all about how Sammie navigated the shock of moving from a tight-knit family in a rural mountain town in Colorado all the way across the country to the distant East Coast city of Annapolis Maryland; how she managed hearing the devastating news while at the Academy that her mom had cancer; and how she’s been able to reframe her many ups and downs into a form of personal resiliency instead of viewing her time at the Academy as one of pure survival. Enjoy the show!
KEY TOPICS OF DISCUSSION:
- Transitioning from a small town in Colorado down to the coastal city of Maryland.
- Managing the stress of learning her mother had cancer while at the Academy.
- Getting and then losing a flight contract and being forced to go SWO.
- The transition to becoming an officer.
- Balancing her military career while also prioritizing time with her mother.
- Can you tell everyone where you’re from? What school you went to and when you graduated?
- Can you give everyone 1-2 lines about who you are?
1:50 PART I:
- What made you choose a Service Academy – and what made you specifically choose the U.S. Naval Academy?
- Having a large support network, both in the family and in town
- Choosing Navy and sticking with it
9:30 PART II:
- What was the plan going to the Academy?
- Did you visit the Academy?
- How was that first day when you showed up?
- If you had to sum up your time at the Academy in one word, what would it be?
- How did things go when you showed up?
18:50 PART III:
- Finding out her mom had cancer during plebe year.
- What were some of the highlights of your time at the Academy?
- Experience during the exchange program at USAFA.
- When did you switch your major from chemistry?
- Getting and then losing her flight contract and being forced to go SWO (Surface Warfare Officer).
29:00 PART IV:
- What were some of the major lowlights for you at the Academy?
- Feeling guilty about her mom’s cancer diagnosis.
- Dealing with sexual assault.
- Having her gallbladder removed while at the USAFA.
38:00 PART V:
- Tell me about your life post graduation.
- The transition from the Academy to being an officer.
- Being one of two females on a ship.
- Managing divorce with a former classmate.
- Earning her SWO pin.
50:15 CONCLUDING THOUGHTS:
- Where are you today?
- Transitioning out of SWO to IP (Information Professional).
- How do you currently feel about your decision to attend an Academy?
- What’s next for you?
- Do you have any parting words for listeners? Perhaps a key message to your fellow Service Academy sisters?
- What’s one random fun fact about you?
- Where can people reach you?
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