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Old 08-10-2017, 02:27 AM   #1
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Default A Nuke School Success Story for parents of Sailors who are struggling (Also for anyone headed to Nuke School having doubts about their ability to make it)

When I was an instructor at NPS, I taught Chemistry, Materials, and Radiological Fundamentals (CMR). If you ask most Sailors who have completed Power School what their least favorite subject was, probably 8 out of 10 would say CMR.

I taught 9 classes over the duration of my tour. Over those 9 classes there were several students who struggled to pass CMR. To pass any class in NPS the student is required to amass a certain number of points (equivalent to a 2.5 GPA when the class if finished). In one of my early classes I had a student named MM3 Messier. He struggled the entire 12 weeks I had him in my class. He failed 2 of the first 4 exams and the ones he did pass, he didn't have a lot of room to spare. What struck me about him, though was his attitude. No matter how bad he did, he was always smiling and making the best of his situation. His mindset was that he would do the best that he could and if he didn't make it he would do the best he could wherever he ended up next. Well, after the 4th grading period I sat down with him to do his exam failure interview and we did some analysis of his current situation. He was currently failing CMR but it was still mathematically possible for him to pass the course. The only problem was that he would have to score higher on the final exam than he had scored on any exam in Power School to date. He needed 321 points out of a possible 400 on the final to pass the course. It was a tall order, but I told him if he was willing to put in the effort, I would do everything in my power to help him succeed. For the next week and a half he spent every minute of his study hall time during the day in my office reviewing material. I organized an extra instruction session on the Saturday morning preceding the exam the next week, which he attended. He spent countless hours with the Night Duty Instructors. This kid was determined to pass this course. He was nervous after he finished taking his exam and told me that he thought he had let me down. Well, later that day when the grades were posted I had the pleasure of seeing the face of someone whose hard work and determination had paid off. He needed 321 point to pass the exam. His final score: 321.5! He passed the course with half a point to spare.

If you have a Sailor in Nuke School right now who is struggling, encourage them to seek the help of their instructors (or any instructor). If they are putting in an honest effort the instructors will bend over backwards to help them succeed. And if, for some reason, they don't make it through the pipeline, let them know that it's not the end of the world. As long as they made an honest effort, they have nothing to be ashamed of. Just getting into the program was an accomplishment. I have seen many a Sailor not make it through Nuclear Power training and go on to have highly successful careers in the Navy.
Be fluid. Flexible is entirely too rigid.

"If you can't write it down, you don't understand it."
-ADM H.G. Rickover
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Old 08-11-2017, 06:37 AM   #2
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Reading this gave me goosebumps It warms this mom's heart to know the support given to these young sailors. My daughter is going in as CTI which is not near the breadth of Nuke school, but still wonderful to know the support is so strong. Thank-you from the bottom of my heart for your service!!
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Old 08-15-2020, 12:24 AM   #3
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All of this is 1,000% true. And that guy ^^ awesome instructor. I went to him a couple times during study hall and when he was NDI. I knew Messier, we went through the pipeline at the same time. Funny to wander in here all these years later and see this. Go to the NDI, go to the office and do board work, get a white board and use it. And don’t wait til Sunday to do all your study hours - I made that mistake too many times and it was not helpful!

PS All hail Rickover
When in Doubt, More C4
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