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Although a civilian teenager, he trained aboard the starship as a shuttle pilot, likely as part of his attempt to make it into Starfleet Academy. He missed out on getting the chance to take the final Starfleet Academy entrance exam by only 32 points, and as result became somewhat depressed. He took the type 7 shuttlecraft Copernicus without authorization, intending to join a freighter on Beltane IX and asked Captain Picard to tell his father he's sorry but had to do this. However, the shuttle got into difficulties, and Kurland was almost killed. He returned to the Enterprise-D, where he received a refresher course in discipline from Commander William T. Riker. (TNG: "Coming of Age")