What To Do
Before Joining The Army
Once you have decided to join the US Army (congratulations, by the way!), there are several things you can do to prepare yourself for the challenges you will face… and overcome.
The first step is to begin a physical training program. Military life revolves around physical and mental strength and will be much less stressful if you are already in good physical condition. An exercise program that works the whole body is best, and it is probably best to emphasize endurance over raw strength.
The most basic workout regimen is to practice push-ups, sit-ups, run for two to five miles and perhaps practice some marches while carrying about a third of your body weight. These events are what you will be formally tested on while in the US Army.
Care must be taken to practice safety. If possible, consult with a physician or an expert who can help you achieve the best results without injuring yourself, and life will be much simpler if you can practice the standards the Army will demand. Standards vary due to age and sex, but plan on reaching fifty push-ups and sit-ups and a two-mile run in less than fourteen minutes. You’ll do better than that by the time you complete Basic Combat Training.
Taking Care of Your Affairs
Another important step is to prepare your affairs. When you join, you will be treated as a recruit and will spend 10 weeks at basic training. You will not have contact with the outside world on a regular basis during this period with the exception of writing to loved ones, and ensuring that your bills and other obligations are handled will prevent much heartache. Some will also find it valuable to learn to live without their normal vices. Learning how to live without a music system, computer, telephone, books or whatever else will happen in basic, if not before.
You will be expected to learn a great deal in training. While some of this will be job specific training, there is much knowledge that you will be expected to know which you can find beforehand, and knowing such information will be of potential value as it will allow you to study other information when time permits, or even maximize rest periods.
Naturally, talking to a veteran is one of the most effective methods of learning about what to expect. Someone you trust who can tell you stories and answer questions is a valuable resource to exploit. It is also wise to do your own research about what to expect once you report to basic training and begin your prestigious career as a soldier in the United States Army.
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