Hey guys! First of all, I just want to thank all the mentors and former/current students for all the information that’s been provided. You all do a great service for prospective students and it’s all been so invaluable.
Anyway, I recently did an introductory flight for ATP and it was a pretty incredible experience. I’ve hardly flown in planes before so I had to know what it was like. It’s made me strongly consider joining ATP.
With that being said, Im aware as to how big of a commitment this would be and I understand that this will be an intense 9 months. Here’s my question: Will I have any time for my girlfriend at all or will I essentially have to be a ghost for a while? For those who had a partner/significant other while doing this, how did you make it work knowing that ATP was your number 1 priority?
I know this kind of a silly question but just wanted to have as clear of a picture as possible. Any insights would be greatly appreciated!
It’s not a silly question at all and one I think many take for granted until they’ve started.
Short answer is you tell them I’m very certain terms. While you will actually have some time for your gf but it won’t be much and it won’t be necessarily when they want. You stated it perfectly. To be successful ATP needs to be your priority and they need to understand that. This is a huge investment in time and money and something you’re doing for your future (and possibly theirs). If they don’t understand it could be anything from a lack of maturity to a lack of support but either way it’s a conversation you need to have. How big a problem it is really rests on how they respond and what you do with that response.
I was single when I was in the program, but what I can tell you is that if your relationship is meant to be, you’ll figure it out.
Will you be a ghost? No. Not completely. There are students that have families and they manage.
I think the important thing for you to do is to evaluate your priorities. If you want to be successful in the program, don’t let your girlfriend be a distraction. Do your best to set realistic expectations ahead of time and take it one day at a time. Hopefully you two already have a strong foundation and are not still in the getting to know each other phase.
To tell you the truth, I had a gf before the program but things we already rocky. It was an easy decision to break things off. Not having a gf as a distraction was exactly what I needed, but everyone is different.
You’re expected to be available for a minimum of 8 hours a day for training but typically only 2-4 hours of that time will actually be used for ground, flight, and/or sim. You are expected to be available for the 8 hours in case your instructor needs to make last minutes adjustments.
There are also other phases of the program that are spent away from your primary training center for two-four weeks like Crew Cross Country and CFI school. So plan for that time away.
Like I said, if you guys have a good foundation you’ll be alright. Be honest with each other about what it is that you guys want/need, but don’t let your performance suffer because of it.
I think it all comes down to your relationship and her support. If you guys have a strong relationship where she supports your ambitions and knows that ATP will have to come first for the next year or two, I think you’ll be fine. I know plenty of students that were in long term relationships and married but they absolutely had the support of their spouse and significant other. I went through the program in a relationship and at times it was difficult when you wanted to have fun weekend plans but instead had to study for a checkride or make up of flights. But it’s just temporary.
I had a girlfriend while I was in the program. While it was not ideal, we did fine. She was very understanding and that really helped. Just have an honest conversation with her and explain that it will be tough, but temporary. I am sure you will be able to sneak in a few days here and there.