Firstie Departure provides resources for Class of ’22

April 29, 2022

With the Air Force Academy Class of 2022 set to graduate in less than a month, the Association of Graduates wants to make sure the future officers have some resources that may prove useful as they begin their careers.

The Association of Graduates hosted Firstie Departure April 28 in the Arnold Hall Ballroom to provide the soon-to-be second lieutenants with a variety of information including details on how to stay connected to the graduate community.

“Our goal is to get the firsties off on the right foot when they leave the Academy by teaching them life skills and connecting them with the greater graduate community,” says AOG’s Michele Bergeman, vice president of integration and assessments. “Firstie Departure offers the cadets the opportunity to explore resources we have to offer as an alumni association as well as the resources available at their first duty station and beyond.”

Most cadets come to the Academy straight out of high school and have never had to budget their money for housing, utilities or even food. Those and many other services including medical care are provided to cadets at the Academy.

During Firstie Departure, fellow graduates and professional experts offered life skills tips on housing, financial wellness, life-work balance, graduate school and more.

The Association of Graduates also compiled a list of recipes provided by the USAFA family for its Cadet Cookbook. Many of the suggested recipes are quick, microwave-friendly options.

Other helpful information offered, which can all be found online here, included:

  • Receiving housing suggestions from living on-base vs. off-base with steps for buying a house.
  • Gathering base details to help new graduates prepare for their new base arrival.
  • Hearing from experts about retirement planning and budgeting.
  • Connecting with AOG Young Alumni Ambassadors and local chapters.
  • Learning more about career planning with the AOG career services team.

Firsties Justin Hontanosas and Andi Almodovar, both biology majors from Rio Rancho, New Mexico, stopped at each booth, gathering information.

“It is a good way for us to know what’s coming next because we don’t have that much experience in the real world,” says Hontanosas, who is headed to pilot training after graduation.

Almodovar — who is going to Combat System Officers training under the 479th Flying Training Group at Navy Air Station Pensacola for her first assignment — said the Firstie Departure event was useful.

“Adulthood is going to be a shock, so anything I can learn while I’m here will be very helpful,” she says. “We’ve been told there are a lot of people out there who will help you, but it is nice to actually meet the people who will help you.”