At some point in the within the first few moments of arriving at any place of military indoctination, you will be joined with a large number of complete starngers and you will be forced to begin bonding, in a common defense against the people who are yelling at you, using all sorts of unintelligible terms (which you will soon speak as if they were your native born langauge).
Literally, you don’t have a clue who these are, what they are made of, why they are there with you, or how they made the decision to sign and raise their right hands. You intelliectually know this, but….you’ll know it at a visceral level once you get to experience it.
Here’s your pre-planned response: Join the team and get your part done, then help those who are struggling. The second part may be hard, for the DIs (or what every name they are titled as) will be trying to cull out the “weak” from the pack, mostly to take the opportunity to help them excel at levels they haven’t before (that’s euphamistically said) and may be brusque in telling you your help is has not been requested, nor needed. Think carefully as to how you respond, for in the end game, everyone needs to be able to carry their portion of the load, and have extra capacity to help when it’s really needed.
Continued tasking: Keep your ears on full receive, and focus on the actual directions, trying your best to discount the chaos injected by the loudness and rapidity of the orders. Once you get it, do it.
Try not to, at least right away, make yourself distinguishable from the group, in a positive or negative way. Save that for later.
By the end of the first day, you’ll get a few moments to talk to each other,and begin sizing each other up. Some of the first “leaders” will not be the ones who are good leaders, but ones who think they can. Most likely, several people will all try to sell themselves as leaders. You have to begin forming as a unit now, and this process amongst yourselves is analagous to the moments after a major and unexpected attack. Units are dispersed, everyone shows up with what they’ve got and it’s time to create a battle plan to go on the offensive. In this case, you’re all rankless, so no one can flash their insignia around. It’s a great experience for later on.
When the next day begins, most likely only a few short hours later, you will be tired and still being yelled at. More chaos, more orders, more questions, more mistakes out of ignorance. Now it’s time to steel yourself and just keep going. One foot in front of the other, forgetting the mistakes, doing your pushups and not showing your emotions.
Soon the moment will come when the mistake of one of you causes the punishment for all. Get over it, it will happen and there is a point. part of the point is for you, as a recruit class, to put the peer pressure on. That may be help or harassment, or a combination. The other part is to make the point that you’ll all in this together and the action of one can cause serious consequences for all the rest of you in a combat situation. Therein lies the lesson: Get with the “group think” program. Know the rules, follow the rules, make sure the others you are in charge of know the rules, too. It saves lives and wins the day when you operate together.
“Group Think” will be a topic soon. It’s not a bad thing, as long as you understand it.
Go forward and excel.Â See Part II here.
Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post!