Tag Archives: training

Almost There

Just a few more weeks and we’ll be finished, and I’ll be going home for a few days and then on my way to my new duty station!

Things started moving very quickly the past couple weeks, and I’ve had a lot to do…lots of things to finish here (passed all my exams, yaaaay) and lots of things to try to plan for on the homefront. More posts later, probably AFTER our time in the field.

Oh yeah, the field. Whoohoo. Last hurdle to graduation though! I’ll be so glad when this is all over.

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The Struggle

Is real.

It’s compounding physical on top of mental now. Which is supposed to happen. I just feel this constant looming dread of going to my duty station and being so far away from my family. No, it’s not a deployment. But by the time  I finally get back to them, it will have been over 2 years since we’ve lived together as a family.

I don’t know how to describe the way I feel except dark. Just dark. I’ll graduate, I’ll make it. But for what? I don’t give 2 cents about experiencing another country if I can’t do it with the people I love. I guess that’s the wrong attitude but I really just don’t. Someone asked me the other day what I’m going to do while I’m there if I don’t go out and party and have fun. I told them  I’d probably work as much as I can and just stay in my barracks room the rest of the time. I guess I need to pull my head out of my fourth point of contact but at this point I don’t even know how.

My paratrooper other half says you have to learn to turn the feelings off. That you have to know that you miss the ones you love, without feeling it. I guess I can see the wisdom in that, but I don’t know how to not feel something. It hurts. I miss him, I miss all of them. I don’t understand why things fell out this way and I desperately want to change it but there’s not a damn thing I can do.

And the Verdict Is…

I survived!!! Not only survived but I’m still standing and am now NREMT qualified.

That’s about all my poor, depleted, exhausted brain can come up with right now. I have NOTHING to study for this weekend, so I plan to sleep for most of it. 😉 Thanks to everyone for all the good wishes and positive thoughts…I know I couldn’t have made it through this week without them!

Army Medicine Museum

Right after we started classes, we had a “mandatory fun” day of visiting the Army Medicine Museum here on Ft. Sam. There was of course much whining and complaining (and unfortunately, the very well-informed gentleman that gave us our tour sort of epitomized the reason people hate museums with his looooong drawn out explanations), but it was actually pretty cool to see. I took a bunch of pictures, and I’m excited to have some to share since usually I can’t post pics of anything here. Sorry for all the glare on some of the pics, all I have is my iPhone! I’m having some trouble with the editor here, so sadly you’ll have to do without captions. Most of them are pretty self explanatory though, I think.

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Just Keep Swimming…

Have we really only been back for two and a half weeks? It feels like forever ago already. Like I’ve already said, they keep us super busy.

The Monday after we got back, we had the mass drug test everyone was waiting for. Hello, 3:00 a.m. wakeup. Then we sat around for hours waiting for all 300 of us to go pee. Which, if you were like me and decided NOT to go when you first got up, meant you were in agony by the time 9:00 a.m. rolled around and it still wasn’t your turn. Lesson learned. Haha.

Then we jumped right back into EMT classes and have been going strong ever since. This is speed learning at it’s finest. We’re halfway through the standard, civilian EMT class, which means that we also certified in CPR (that was last week). I’ve been certified for about the past 6 years, but I swear every time I go through the class they’ve changed something. So that was good, and it was really nice to have a couple days of information that was pretty much all review for me. Time to breathe!

Also, unknown to most of us, this course has one of the highest wash-out rates in the army (aside from all the special forces/ranger/that kind of stuff). They give you more than one chance to make it through, but at this point it looks like about a quarter of my original company will be academically recycled. That’s a pretty sobering reality. I think a lot of people didn’t realize just how serious they were about it until our last test, which was yesterday. And suddenly it was very, very real. For those with a GPA high enough – 65-70% – they will just be put into the next company to start 68W training. For anyone with a GPA below 65% – they’ll be kissing 68W goodbye and praying the army has another job for them.

A lot of the people leaving us are good soldiers, they just struggle academically. I’m sorry to see them go but I’m glad a lot of them are getting a second chance. My roomie is one of them and I’m going to miss her a lot! We’ll still live in the same building but it’s not the same.

We have a 3-day weekend this weekend, and for everyone that passed the PT test, is doing well in class, and doesn’t have any negative counselings (i.e., you haven’t been late for formation, brought your cell phone to class, left your room unsecured, stuff like that), we get an on-post pass. Which is awesome, except I swear there’s only like 50 people out of the whole company who aren’t disqualified by one of those 3 standards. Somehow I made the cut, so I’m gonna go find me a new pair of boots this weekend! These standard-issue ones have killed my feet every since I first got them (a year ago now, holy crap). So it’s about time!

Instincts

There will be a few times in your life when all your instincts will tell you to do something, something that defies logic, upsets your plans, and may seem crazy to others. When that happens, you do it. Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else. Ignore logic, ignore the odds. Ignore the complications and just go for it. ~ Judith McNaught

This quote was written in Sharpie on the back wall of a locker I used for a little while at Ft. Sill. Written above a beautiful stylized drawing of a tree (nevermind that it was, if very pretty, destruction/defacing of government property and all that…it was much better than the 6-foot long penis we found drawn on the underside of a bunk one time), I first saw it at a time I really needed to be reminded that I was in the right place, no matter how hard things were. I scribbled the quote down in my notebook and forgot about it until I was cleaning out a bag of random stuff a few days ago. I’d also never heard of Judith McNaught. Turns out she’s a modern romance author. Not the first person I’d go to for quotes, but that was very inspiring. There are still many days when I have to remind myself that I followed my heart here. It’s a struggle, it’s difficult, and sometimes still I want to just throw in the towel – but this is where I’m supposed to be.

That Training Life

I have one thing to say about AIT: they keep you so busy you don’t have time to think about much else! Besides Basic, I’ve never had so little free time. It’s not stressful in the same way Basic was, but the run-run-run pace of every day and the huge information dump is a whole new brand of stress. We’ve had a few people wash out already, and after our next (4th) test, more will be academically recycled if their GPA isn’t high enough by then.

We have to be in formation at 0435 for accountabiity, and PT starts at about 0500. We go straight to breakfast from PT (marching past the Air Force and Navy barracks that are just maybe-kinda-sorta thinking about waking up), all nasty and sweaty. Then at about 0700 we get back to our barracks for a shower and uniform change before forming up to march to class at 0750. Class is from about 0815 to 1715 every day. Then we march to dinner, and FINALLY get back to our barracks around 1900, if we’re lucky. Final formation at 2000 (the purpose of which I have yet to understand since we JUST HAD end of day formation an hour or less before…but whatever). Then we have our own time, however long we can stay awake to study in our rooms. I’m usually in bed by 2200, since I’m one of those people that just. can’t. function. on much less than 6 hours of sleep. I don’t know how some of these people are doing it, staying up till midnight or later. Personally I think it’s counterproductive. You might be studying, but your brain doesn’t work as well and at that point you’re no longer raising your GPA. My theory seems to be right, at least in part, because I see a lot of our night owls failing exams. Of course there are other factors in that, but you better believe I’m getting my 6 hours of sleep every night I can.

In case you’re wondering, I only had time to write this because today’s class was CPR, which I’ve had about 6 times since high school. Kinda nice to have a night “off.”

Two Worlds

I’ve had quite a bit of time to think in the week I’ve been home – and in the 3 days I have left, I’m sure the thought will continue to pester me – but I feel very much like I’m one person trying to live in two very different worlds. Or maybe it’s that I’m trying to be two different people? I’m not sure. Either way…it’s hard, and it hurts, and a lot of the time it makes me wonder why the hell I volunteered for this.

Even after the catastrophe that was my Basic training experience, a lot of embracing the suck – I’m still glad I joined. I’m not even finished yet. It’s still hard. But the discipline is a good kind of pain. I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do. I love a challenge. Usually mental challenges are more my thing, but the army is challenging me all the way around. Physically, mentally, emotionally…sometimes it feels like more than I can handle, but then I remind myself I just have to get through today. It’s a good kind of pain.

Then there’s…the rest of my life. The motivation for being in the army. The people I love, that I want to create a home for and that I want to be there for. There’s the life I want to live outside the uniform. Where long hikes, beautiful gardens, yummy cupcakes, pretty quilts, delicious home-made bread, mail art, and four-legged friends are a daily part of my existence.

How do I combine the two? I feel like I’m being torn in half. Maybe it’ll be different once I’m out of training. There’s just no time. No time for anything. So many things I want to do…and some of them, there’s no point to doing until I’m at my permanent assignment (like the organizing/decorating of our apartment…we’re moving everything in 4 months or less, so it’s pretty pointless), some of them I just honestly don’t have enough time to finish while I’m home. That’s another thing. I feel like nothing is finished. I haven’t finished anything, accomplished anything, in a long time. Well, I did graduate Basic. I guess that was a big one. But still.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas…

For real, not just in my dreams! I can’t wait, I’m so excited about seeing all my friends and family. AIT is a heck of a lot better than Basic, but we’re still locked down pretty tight. It’ll feel so good to be home and relax!

I feel a little guilty about going home, to be honest…when I think of all the people deployed or stationed away from their loved ones that can’t go home this year. What have I done to get to go home? Nothing. I know one day it’ll be my turn, but still.

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