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Advice for New Soldiers Joining the Army: How to Make it Through Basic Training

I am a mother of two, EMT, paramedic student, freelance writer, veteran, and so much more.

Most people, like me, want to know what to expect when they leave for basic training. I did as much research as I could about personal experiences before I left for the Army. For me, the thought was not IF I could make it through. I knew I would MAKE it. The question for me was how EASY was it going to be. Because I did my research, I was prepared. I actually ended up having the best time of my life while training. I followed certain principles that made my day to day life simpler. These principles also helped me keep the most positive attitude out of everyone.



1. The most important thing for you to remember is that it is all a game. Do not take anything personally. The entire concept of basic training is to mess with your head. If you go in knowing this, the chances of it happening are less.

2. You need to realize that nothing you do will be good enough. If you are told to do something and you do it perfectly, it doesn't matter. You will still get yelled at and "smoked." (e.g. physical pain from exercise)

3. Do not do anything that will likely put a target on your back. This includes bringing things with you that are unnecessary, being completely out of shape, or even showing your personality. You want to blend in as much as possible.

4. Remember that the Army is very group-oriented. Even if you are the perfect soldier and do everything asked of you and more, you will get yelled at and you will get punished. This is because you are responsible for everything your fellow soldiers do as well. Someone will ALWAYS do something wrong. Don't even bother getting mad at this person. Because, at some point in time, you will be that person.

5.Make sure you say Drill Sergeant after everything you say to them, everything! If you don't, they will go into this big rant about how they are not your friend.

6. Do not be late. In fact, do not even be on time. Be early for everything! Also, do everything you can to make sure your "Battle Buddies" are early.

7. Do not expect to get in shape once you get to basic training. The moment you arrive, you will have physical challenges. Everything sucks a lot more when you are in pain. Start running and some weight training before you leave.

This Video is Realistic and Helpful


8. Don't assume you are in great shape. You would be shocked at the kinds of things that make your body hurt. Clapping your hands above your head doesn't look hard until you have been doing it for an hour. Then, it hurts a lot!

9. Have confidence in yourself. Whether you are right or wrong doesn't matter. Act like you are sure of every answer you give. This sounds stupid but it actually gives you a little more credibility and a little less hassle.

10. Do not go anywhere alone. Always have your "Battle Buddy" present. If not, you will get a long lecture, accompanied by push-ups and sprints about needing your Battle Buddy.

11. Do not eat the "fatty cakes" in the dining facility. These are there to tempt you and to yell at you try to eat it. (fatty cakes = cookies, cakes, donuts, muffins, etc.)

12. Find humor in anything you can. But, DO NOT let anyone see you doing this!

13. If you are a female, forget you are a female. Don't try to look cute, don't talk girly and for God's sake, do not flirt! If you are a male, never refer to the other gender as anything other than females or soldiers. They are not girls, ladies, chicks or anything else like that.

14. Most importantly, remember that the Drill Sergeants are people too. They still eat, sleep and poop. No matter how intimidating they act, it is just an act. I actually got in touch with my Drill Sergeant after I got out of the Army and realized he was one of the coolest people I had met. I am not saying to try to be their friend while you are in basic training. I am telling you that your drill sergeant is typically not the big bad wolf you think he or she is.

The best thing, in general, that will make Army Basic Training better is to expect the worse. I went into training thinking it was going to be hell, it ended up being a cakewalk.

One last tip on making your Army career as easy as possible; start working on getting promoted as soon as you can.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2012 Megan Garcia


Frankie Galvez on April 01, 2015:

Not gonna lie, I don't get intimated very often, I'm pretty intimidated about going...

Roger Fatherly on August 24, 2014:

Good Advice, this comes from someone who was in Sand Hill in '69. The only thing that kept me going was even though I was in week 4 or later, there were those who just arrived who hadn't a clue what was in for them.

One last saying the Drill Sergeants would say, " It is good training, you can't buy it at any store!"

nickshamrock on April 21, 2013:

Nicely put. I joined the Air Force about 8 months ago, and a lot of these tips apply there as well.

Megan Garcia (author) from Florida on January 21, 2013:

I'm sure it's a lot different. I would have joined the Marines but I was kinda scared I couldn't hack it. lol

Keith from Rural Tennessee on December 07, 2012:

Good advice. My daughter joined the Army a couple years ago and I gave her a ton of advice. I told her that it was probably going to be different than what I went through in the Marine Corps but, if she would just go along with what I told her, she would be fine. She made it and is now an MP.

Abigayle Rourk from Ripon, Wisconsin on November 22, 2012:

amen to that

Megan Garcia (author) from Florida on November 22, 2012:

Basic was one of the best memories I have in life!

Abigayle Rourk from Ripon, Wisconsin on November 22, 2012:

I learned really quick if you didn't want the D.I.s to break you down and build you up and wreck your world...and you didn't want to cry and go home...you had to mentally become tough and fast. I cried once. I laughed and made memories and became a strong person because of boot camp...it's a great thing for some people

Daniel Nathan Taylor from United Kingdom, Liverpool on November 22, 2012:

two of my friends joined the marines after leaving school, they trained for months before to get fit for it so a lot of prep goes into it, good hub dude!

Megan Garcia (author) from Florida on November 22, 2012:

Abbykorinnelee - I definitely agree if you are mentally prepared everything else falls into place.

Abigayle Rourk from Ripon, Wisconsin on November 22, 2012:

I didn't go to Army basic, it was Marine boot, but I learned beyond enough to make it through...number 1 and most important....its all mental! Prepare mentally...fight mentally...you can do things physically you never dreamed if you are mentally ready for it

Megan Garcia (author) from Florida on November 22, 2012:

Thank you for stopping by and the genuine comment.

Tammy from North Carolina on November 22, 2012:

This should be really helpful to those joining the service, and their parents. Welcome to Hubpages. You are off to a great start!

Megan Garcia (author) from Florida on November 16, 2012:

Millionaire Tips- Truthfully, I made it through easily because I had prepared myself for the Army of 20 years ago. Everything I read was older and back then, it was a lot more difficult. I truly believe that anyone can make it through basic now. It's very sad to see some of the soldiers who come in now. They have no respect, discipline or dedication. There is not a general drive to succeed in these new soldiers. I have heard that privates in BCT now are required to get 8 consecutive hours of sleep. Good luck to them when they go to Afghan, because that sleep isn't going to happen.

Shasta Matova from USA on November 16, 2012:

Welcome to HubPages. I didn't go into the military because I didn't think I would make it through basic training. That's one of the reasons anyway. I admire your strength and stamina to make it through, and the wonderful attitude. These are great tips to make it through. Voted up.

Megan Garcia (author) from Florida on November 10, 2012:

That's good, I hate seeing good soldiers have a miserable time in basic because they don't realize these essential things.

Loveofnight Anderson from Baltimore, Maryland on November 10, 2012:

This is some good stuff here and it all makes sense. I will be passing this info. on.....Thanks for the read and keep hubbing

Megan Garcia (author) from Florida on November 10, 2012:

Thanks for the input innerspin. I appreciate it.

Kim Kennedy from uk on November 10, 2012:

This sounds like great advice. Not taking things personally, finding humour, ( on the quiet,) remembering your trainer is there to do a job. All good coping skills. An interesting and useful hub.

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