Many times people try to prepare themselves for the experience of boot camp, they talk to people who have gone to boot camp, and to soldiers that have gone through the boot camp experience. They do their best to prepare, and vow to “not be the guy to volunteer’, and other such gems of wisdom. Well, the thing that you have to remember about boot camp is it is a place where they want you to screw up.
Come again? They want you to screw up? Sure. Part of the whole experience is breaking down barriers, taking individuals who are arrogant and self sufficient in some ways and breaking them down, then rebuilding them into a trained disciplined team. Part of the whole experience is creating impossible tasks that some people will fail attempting every time, and creating some tasks or elements that is designed to make every single individual fail at one time or another. No one is exempt from failure in boot camp, if you don’t make mistakes and fail at some point you are not trying hard enough.
There are some things to prepare for regarding boot camp. Homesickness- Everyone has loved ones at home, its normal to miss them when you are suddenly away. Take a few small wallet sized pictures and a notebook to write letters in, such as a spiral notebook. There are specific times that you will be given to write home, and it’s a good idea to take part in this exercise when given a chance. Lack Of Sleep- Before you come to boot camp, it’s a good idea to practice getting up really early, such as 4am, for a number of days in a row, and then stay awake till sunrise the next day, like 25 or 30 hour stretches. While you generally will get SOME sleep the first week of boot camp, it’s a good idea to be emotionally prepared to get little rest for the first 4-7 days.
Sickness- Many people get sick in boot camp; it’s a fairly common practice. From sore throats to colds and influenza it can take the stuffing out of a person fairly swiftly. It is important to wash your hands often when you are at boot camp, and try avoiding contact with anyone coughing or sneezing.