Tag Archives: meps

Off We Go

A few days late, but we’re off regardless.

I got to the Beckley MEPS on Monday, only to be told that night that MEPS would be closed Tuesday due to weather conditions. So, along with about 30 other shippers, I spent most of that day and all of the next day bored out of my mind. Too much time to think about all the stuff that’s coming in the next few weeks. But, I had a nice roommate and we survived.

Wednesday morning MEPS ran on a 2 hour delay, so we just got to sleep in a little longer (which was great). The weather was still kind of nasty…we had ended up with about 4-5 inches of snow and some ice, and the temp hadn’t risen above 7 or 8 degrees by the time we left. Everyone piled onto a Greyhound style bus and we took off…only for the bus to get stopped at the bottom of a hill near the MEPS building. Near, but you still couldn’t actually see the building. “Sorry kids, but you’re gonna have to walk.”

Did I mention most of us were leaving for parts south and had nothing more than tennis shoes and hoodies? So we walked about half a mile in ice/snow, carrying our bags…which, yes of course we’ll have to do in training, but at least there we would have had some warmer clothes. By the time we got to the building we could barely feel our ears and fingers, but we made it. One girl passed out almost as soon as she got inside (guess who DIDN’T get to go anywhere?), but other than that it was great.

Got inside only to be told the doctor HADN’T made it and we would have to go BACK to the hotel for another night. So after hours of waiting for one minivan to make multiple trips back to get us all, we got back. It started snowing again, and everyone moaned and groaned about how bored they were and how badly they wanted to leave. The nervousness about Basic and everything else seemed to have disappeared in all the free time we’d had, everyone just wanted TO DO SOMETHING.

More processors came in that night, mostly high school juniors and seniors taking the ASVAB and getting their physical. Since we’d checked out of the hotel that morning we got new roommates – my second roommate sucked. I swear that girl brought more makeup for a one night stay than I even own. And she insisted we sleep with a lap on. AND she needed extra time to get ready in the morning, so her alarm went off at 5:50…and every 5 minutes after. I could hear her moaning and tossing around but she never did get up, so at 6:30 I gave up on more sleep and went to take a shower. You snooze and wake up your roommate in the process, you’re definitely gonna lose.

So this morning we were up to 75 people going to MEPS, and they were still running on a 2 hour delay. They brought in 2 buses to hold everyone, and thankfully everyone made it, including the doctor. Paperwork is done, flights are scheduled, everyone is sworn in, orders are in hand, we’re ready to go!

So yeah…basically this whole week has been practicing “hurry up and wait.” I don’t even feel that nervous anymore, just ready to get this done. Or at least started.

Progress

Apparently staring at my phone and wishing hard did some good, because late Monday evening I got a phone call from my recruiter.

All the paperwork is sorted, and I go back to MEPS this coming Monday to sign the final contract. Finally. But there was one little catch.

“Yeah, they want to change your ship date,” he said.

Oh no. More delays. Sigh.

“To January instead of February.”

Uhh, what? Holy cow. I nearly fell over. Everything I’d been planning involved leaving at the end of February. Time to pack, arrange for bills, sell my truck, say goodbye…and now they want to knock a month off my preparation time.

Really not sure I’m ready for that. On one hand, a month isn’t really that big of a deal. I’ve been waiting for this for so long. Now it just feels like I’m being a sissy. But on the other hand…I was counting on a few more weeks to spend with my family and friends. This also means turning in notice at my job next week. Which also makes this feel a whole lot closer and a whole lot more permanent. Of course I already knew it was permanent…just quitting my job makes me feel really nervous. But, it has to be done regardless, so…

Decisions, decisions.

Hurry Up and Wait

Well, MEPS was overall a very frustrating experience. After tons of paperwork, hours waiting, I passed only to find out they needed more documentation/needed to file some paperwork differently, and there’s nothing else I can do about it but wait. So everyone in my group except me and one other guy got to swear in yesterday, but I got sent home with a pat on the back and a “Just be patient, it’ll all work out fine.”

Yeah. Fine. Whatever. I realize this is just a bump in the road and the military is famous for red tape and stalling on everything, but I just want my contract signed so bad I can hardly stand it. I want something binding so I can make definite plans for the next few months.

I want to just do this so badly. If it turns out this is permanently screwed up, I don’t even know what I’m going to do. This is what I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. To have that dream destroyed will be beyond painful, as emo as that sounds.

Jitters

When you want something really badly, the thought of failure turns your stomach even more than usual.

After months of doing paperwork, I finally have a date for MEPS. And a date for everything else, if all goes well there. In less than 12 weeks, I could be on my way to basic training. I have a 68w airborne slot. I don’t think for a second it’s going to be easy. It’s going to be hard and it’s going to take everything I’ve got and then some. It’s going to scare the living daylights out of me.

I love that feeling. The slightly queasy, heart-racing, time slowing down feeling. I could live just chasing that feeling, because it’s in moments like that I feel most alive and I know that this, right here right now, is what I’m supposed to be doing. I’ve been told that’s a classic adrenaline junkie attitude, but I don’t think I’m that crazy or that brave. I just want to live every second of life to the fullest. I want to help people. I want to have adventures. I want to be 80 years old looking back at all the things I did, not wondering what might have happened if I’d been a little less careful.

All that sounds really simple and idealistic, I know. In all honesty I really don’t care. I know reality, whatever it actually is, will slap me in the face soon enough. I know that I really don’t know what I’m getting into. I’m ok with that. I’ve spent years wishing I’d done this sooner. Years wondering what would happen if I tried. No matter what comes out of MEPS, or basic, or any of the training after that, having that question answered will be worth it. No one said chasing dreams was easy.

All that aside, I really wish tomorrow would get here already. I just want to know for sure if I’m going to get to go or not. There’s no reason I know of that I shouldn’t. If I’m turned down, it’ll be for something well outside my control. But my stomach is still in knots. Fingers crossed for an actual contract signed by the end of this week.