What to Expect in Basic Training

While the Army benefits are great, not everything is sunshine and rainbows in the Army; especially in basic training. You need to know what to expect in basic training in order to prepare yourself and decide if the Army is right for you. Below are some things that you can expect from Army basic training.

Top 10 Things to Expect in Basic Training

10. Expect to get sick in basic training

It’s inevitable. Just about everyone gets sick at basic training. Whether it’s a head cold or a sore throat, you will most likely not be at your physical best in boot camp. Army Basic training is too crowded and too fast paced for your body to get enough rest. Your body will be stressed for a long period of time, thus causing your immune system to break down. I personally had such a bad sore throat at boot camp; I was unable to swallow sometimes when I woke up. Further aggravating the sore throat was the Drill Sergeants relentless obsession with having their recruits yell everything they say at the top of their lungs. To reduce your chances of getting sick, drink lots of water and always wash your hands before you eat. Often you will be eating in the field, so always carry a wet nap in your pocket.

9. Expect homesickness

Everyone at basic training is missing his or her loved ones. Keep reminding yourself basic training is only a couple months long. Bring a few wallet-sized pictures with you and a notebook. To ease the homesickness, write letters often and encourage letters in return.

8. Expect the worse!

Every year Company A gave a $500 bonus to each of their employees. Jerry never expected any bonus and Randy counted on that $500 bonus as a part of his salary. This year, Company A had an unprofitable year so they gave their employees $250 each. Jerry was very excited and Randy was very upset. The point of this story is that Jerry expected the worse, which was no bonus, so he was happier in the end. Basic training is the same way. Maybe you will be awarded a 2-hour pass, so you can go see a movie. Don’t count on using that pass until you’re at the movies, chances are your Drill Sergeants will revoke that pass because of someone else’s poor performance.

7. Expect drama

The Drill Sergeants will make a big deal about everything. You need to be punctual, fast, efficient, etc. To add to that drama you will be surrounded by scores of stressed recruits. Some of these recruits won’t deal with the stress well. Observe how your fellow recruits deal with stress, you don’t want to push one of them over the edge by saying the wrong thing.

6. Expect friendship and enemies

Upon graduating basic training, it will be scary how well you know your fellow recruits. Most of them you will like, but I guarantee you there will always be one or two you wish you never met. You will need to rely on your fellow recruits often in basic training, so be as polite and helpful as you can. Luckily, “enemies” in basic training aren’t violent, you simply cannot stand to be around someone!

5. Expect long days and short nights.

Your Drill Sergeant will have every second of every day planned. Expect long days with little sleep. Prepare for this circumstance before you leave for basic training. Spend the week before you depart for basic training waking up early (about 4:30am). I know it sounds like a lot of work, but if your not a morning person this exercise will help tremendously.

4. Expect stress

I touched upon this subject in number 7. Your body will be under physical and mental stress the entire duration of basic training. To combat this stress I suggest you prepare for basic training. It’s amazing how much you can actually learn about basic training before ever seeing a Drill Sergeant. I might be bias, but reading The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook is the best preparation you can do. In the 6 short months it was published, it has become a best seller, for a reason.

3. Expect mistakes and failures

Let me tell you this right now, you will fail. If you don’t personally fail a task, your fellow recruit will and that means you fail too. Always try your hardest but don’t be upset at someone because they aren’t as fast or as smart as you. Everyone has his or her strengths and weaknesses. Basic training is designed for you to know what failing feels like so you can form trust in your fellow recruits.

2. Expect the unexpected

Strange things happen at basic training. Some recruits can’t handle the stress, some recruits try to get away with too much, and some recruits just like negative attention. Whatever the case, be prepared to wake up in the middle of the night and do push-ups in the mud because a Drill Sergeant found a candy bar in someone’s locker. It’s going to happen. The night before graduation, a fellow recruit put shaving cream in my battle buddies mouth as a joke. It wasn’t so funny 20 minutes later when all 200 recruits were doing push ups in the snow at 3:30 in the morning.
Really want to know what to expect in basic training?
Our #1 expectation in basic training actually comes AFTER basic training and AIT.

1. Expect to be deployed!

More than likely, especially since we are in war-times, you will be deployed. Whether it be right after BCT/AIT, or 2 years down the road, you will more than likely be sent off somewhere; without your friends or family. That is just the Army life, you signed up for the Army to defend your country, right?