Bliss Hutchings has decided to pursue a career in the military—but while making this decision, she faced significant adversity and pressure.
Firstly, there were a couple of people in Hutchings’ community that thought a career in the military wasn’t the right choice. Some thought it would hold her back.
However, Hutchings was determined that a military career is the path she wanted to take.
“I really dug deep, and I figured out this is something I really want to do. Even if other people don’t agree with it, and other people don’t see this as a good choice for me, I knew it’s something I definitely want to pursue,” Hutchings told Humanity.
Secondly, the application process is arduous and demanding.
It was one of her sports coaches that suggested she look into military academies because of her motivational character.
She did some research, and was immediately interested. It wasn’t just West Point’s academic stature that drew Hutchings in.
“I looked into its culture and its traditions, and I really got intrigued. I did some more research and fell in love with the school.”
But it’s not something just anyone can apply to.
An applicant first needs to receive a nomination from the vice president, the congressman of their district, a senator of their state, or from an honor unit ROTC leader to even compete for an appointment to West Point.
That’s not an easy nomination to get. And receiving a nomination is an entirely different application process in and of itself.
Hutchings has had great academic and athletic success, and she was able to complete an application that is entirely more difficult than a normal college application.
“It has so much detail you have to go into, so much history you have to dig up.”
As a result of her efforts, Congressman Buddy Carter decided to nominate her for an appointment to West Point.
In January 2018, Hutchings officially received an appointment to West Point.
Only 9 percent of applicants received appointments to West Point this year.
Just two weeks ago, she found out she had also received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. The acceptance rate at Annapolis was 8 percent.
Last week, Hutchings learned she had also been accepted into the United States Air Force Academy as well. The United States Air Force Academy admitted 12 percent of applicants.
Now Hutchings had to make a difficult choice, but it was a good problem to have.
The summer before her senior year, she went to a summer program at both West Point called Student Leaders Experience (SLE), and a program called Naval Academy Summer seminar at the Naval academy.
The programs allowed Hutchings to experience life as a cadet and midshipman respectively for one week.
“When I was at West Point’s SLE I felt totally at home. I loved it there. I didn’t want to leave. I made real connections with the cadets that were on campus and in my cadre,” Hutchings explained.
“They were so impressive, and they were outstanding people, and they were real role models that I wanted to become, and I saw myself really striving to be like them.”
While Hutchings had achieved an extraordinary accomplishment, she and her peers were able to relate to each other.
“It felt really good to really be recognized for something like that along with my other friends that were going to traditional colleges that are obviously high standing in our society.”
Hutchings will start on July 2. She will only get half of her summer, and she’s trying to get physically and mentally prepared before basic training.
After Hutchings graduates from West Point, depending on her service selection, she plans on getting her Masters Degree, and would really like to get her PhD.
However, Hutchings’s main focus will be on the military. She plans on serving for at least 20 years.