Sunday, May 31, 2009

2 Months of Basic Training in a Nutshell

I finally made it through my 8 weeks of Basic Training, and I will tell you, it was one of the hardest things that I have ever done. My first night, as soon as I got to the airport, I had someone yelling at me to hurry up. When I got on the bus that would take me to my new home for the next two months, I had someone yelling at me to hurry and get off the bus. When I took my first shower, I was surrounded by a bunch of naked chics (don’t get excited… it was not fun at all) and some crazy lady telling us to hurry and get out of the shower… and we had only been in there for a minute and a half.
The next day was my birthday and I had someone yelling at me because I couldn’t march (I soon got used to that, because I still can’t march). My recruiter told me to pack light because I’m not going to need much of my civilian stuff and everything I did need would be provided or easy for me to purchase, so I was wearing the same outfit for 3 days (that did not make me happy, but I soon learned to deal with that as well).
Our third day of Basic Training, we finally got issued our uniforms, and that was not fun at all. I had these ladies that hated life and gave me uniforms that were so big on me that all I had to do was slide them on (no unbuttoning necessary) and pull my belt super tight. Eating was not a fun experience, we seriously had only about five minutes to drink three glasses of water and eat whatever we could (I soon learned how to just swallow my food… no chewing necessary).
All of that stuff above, we were considered zero weekers, that didn’t even count as a week, even though it was a week we had gone through all of that stuff. When we were considered first weekers, we had to wear tennis shoes with our uniform, and that drove me insane because they didn’t even match (I got used to that as well because I soon learned that tennis shoes are way more comfortable than the boots we have to wear).
After about the third week, things started to get a little easy and flow a little more smoothly. We got ten minutes to eat instead of five and sometimes at dinner we would get twenty minutes to eat (when all you’re getting is five minutes, twenty minutes feels like an eternity). During our fourth week, we got to do fun stuff like the obstacle course, getting our name tags (that’s when you officially become someone other than just female or male), and getting our blues issued to us. The only thing that really sucked about fourth week was when we had to go to the gas chamber (not fun).
When we reached fifth week, we got our flight pictures and individual pictures taken and got to wear make up for the first time since we had been there (trust me, that is the most exciting thing ever when you’re a girly girl like me). We also got to go to the shooting range and shoot our M16s, that was actually a lot of fun, even though it was rainy and muddy (I pushed my limits and let myself get a little dirty, and I let a little bit of a tomboy come out… seriously a big deal if you know me).
Sixth week, we went to what we refer to as BEAST, we had to sleep in tents on cots. This was the hardest part for me, I am not a camper, and I’m not really too big on the outdoors. We also had to go through an obstacle course that involved high crawling 300 meters up a hill with a 45 degree angle, low crawling through a small area with netting you could get stuck in if you didn’t do it right, and building a temper tent (I pushed myself to my limit that time).
Seventh week was full of a bunch of classes and we got to wear our blues for the first time (that was exciting because we were finally getting respect). We also got to go to the shooting range again, but this time we were shooting M9s, and I decided I liked them so much that eventually I’m going to purchase one (yeah, they are that cool).
Eighth week was our final week, that was when our tech school locations and jobs were finalized, we got to stop wearing our satchels (these awful bags we had to carry everywhere), and we got to graduate and have these amazing ceremonies (a lot of marching and drill involved but we all did good). Our parents were allowed to come out to watch that and we were allowed to leave the base and go shopping (that was so overwhelming, I didn’t know where to begin, I was like a kid in the candy store). The following Monday, we all got to ship out to our tech schools and say goodbye to Basic Training.
In the end, I can say that was probably one of the best experiences I had. I pushed myself to my limits and accomplished things I never thought I could. I went outside my comfort zone and did what I had to do to make it through. In my opinion I became a better and stronger person because of it, and I wouldn’t take any of it back for anything.