I was hoping to inquire on this forum about a predicament I have recently found myself intertwined in.
It has been about 8 months since I graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Hospitality Business/Chinese Language, and while in & out of school I have been working in hotels. I was in a very bad relationship, and a couple months ago moved out of my former apartment with him, dropped my minimum wage hotel job, and moved in with my parents since I did not have anywhere else to go. I am 24 years old, and while here at home, I have kind of been having an existential crisis trying to figure out what I want to do with my life.
A couple months ago, I applied for a Marriott Voyage Program, which is a pretty competitive hotel leadership program–coincidentally the same one my ex-partner is doing, that “I wasn’t good enough for”–and got accepted. Marriott was supposed to move me across the U.S. from Michigan to Kansas City in July, however due to Covid-19, everything has been delayed until mid-September.
Since having all this free time at home I have been teaching English online, which is a good side job, however it has given me a lot of time to reflect. I don’t know what sparked inside me, but I started to do a lot of research on aviation, and after much consideration, have decided I want to become a commercial airline pilot!
Personally, I just don’t see myself as being successful in the hotel industry, and overall the impression I have gotten over the past 4 years working in hotels has mostly been long hours, low pay and disgruntled co-workers. An airline career would give me the ability to travel around–which is something I have always enjoyed–as I get bored easily; and I always have enjoyed planes.
My question is if I would be prudent to drop my Marriott internship and go to ATP flight school as soon as possible, or instead to move to Kansas City for a year (the length of the program), save up money, and then apply for flight school. Currently, I still have $14,000 in student loan debt from college, and a car loan to pay off. I could become debt-free in one year, and also save up about $10,000 to put down on my loan, which would save me on interest, and approve my likelihood of getting approved. It also might be a really cool experience, since most of my time in hotels has been smaller select-service properties, while this program in Kansas would allow me to work at a larger hotel in a bigger city.
On the other hand, I am reading on this forum that a lot of pilots are saying that seniority plays a large part in becoming a successful captain, and it is wiser to begin your flight training as soon as possible. Especially since you can make very good money the older you are, which would essentially be flushed down the toilet by waiting a year.
Is it foolish to waste a year doing this Marriott program for the experience and to pay down my debts, or should I just bite the bullet and take out the loan? A part of me should probably talk to a professional, because I honestly don’t know if I’m doing this hotel leadership program to prove a point, and get back at my ex-partner, or if I truly want to do it myself. Especially because I haven’t necessarily enjoyed my time at previous hotels. Though I think this might be different since I would be in an entirely new city, around different people, and not living in a toxic environment that is making me depressed–which is why I want to give it a chance.
And again, because of Covid-19 my program with Marriott got delayed, which would just delay my training with ATP even further. So by the time the hotel internship would be over, I would already be 25 and a half years old before I could start ATP training. I would have all my debts paid off and money saved, but I don’t know that if that is too late of an age to start if I realistically want to work with the major commercial airlines.
I don’t know what to do. I just feel conflicted and lost!