Basic training obstacle course.

10 Tips to Take to Basic Training

Basic training varies by service branch, but it’ll help you to know these facts of military life before you report for duty. Own these 10 bits of advice from people who have been there.

  1. Have an appreciation for rules and regulations.
    From day one, you will be told what to do and how to do it. Follow all instructions closely and learn to be disciplined in doing so — one day your life may depend on it.
  2. You are the master of your own discipline.
    You're not going to be taught discipline. You'll be expected to bring it, and on a daily basis. That means your behavior and its consequences are in your own hands. Taking that to heart will take you a long way.
  3. Focus is your friend.
    Focus on the task at hand and put everything else out of your mind. Forget about worrying, what comes next, why or what just happened. Look at the task directly in front of you and accomplish it to the best of your abilities.
  4. Don’t let it get to you.
    Building up your mental and physical toughness takes hard work. You will be challenged in ways that can be frustrating, tiring and confusing. It’s all part of the training. Don’t take it personally.
  5. Master being part of a team.
    The success of the military is dependent upon teamwork. Basic training allows you to learn a variety of skill sets in being part of a team. Everyone will work, eat, sleep and fight together as one. Check your ego at the door, focus on the task at hand and promote collaboration.
  6. Be a leader in the culture of fitness.
    Physical fitness is absolutely critical for readiness, retention and resiliency! Take fitness very seriously. Don't expect military training to make you fit — plan to arrive fit. If you can do push-ups, sit-ups and run all day, you will be better off than the person in the next bunk.
  7. Show up knowing the language.
    Learn as much as you can before you report — military jargon, acronyms and general orders. Get familiar with your chosen branch of service, its song, creed and the values. Learn rank structure, military time and the phonetic alphabet. It will give you a big leg up.
  8. Learn the principles of healthy eating.
    The amount of time you’ll be given to eat will be less than 10 minutes per meal. As such, it is critical that you know and choose the right menu items to maximize your human performance. Check out https://www.choosemyplate.gov/ for tools and resources.
  9. Get on top of your finances.
    You haven’t left your responsibilities behind. All of your bills still need to be paid. If your debt piles up, or bills go into collection, you could be denied a security clearance and lose your chance at your preferred job. Practice good financial management skills and plan for the future.
  10. Let everyone know the limits of your communications.
    You’re leaving the world of instant, constant communication. But there’s no texting from foxholes, and when you can call, it’ll probably be short and less than private. Tell the important people in your life that you'll get in touch when you can.

And by the way, welcome to the military.