BCT - Advice from current Cadets/recent Grads

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Blueblood1, Apr 14, 2015.

  1. Blueblood1

    Blueblood1 Member

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    There is some good info scattered around, but was hoping to start a thread to help get newbies some sound advice from current cadets/recent grads as to two questions: 1) Top three suggestions to prepare for BCT; 2) Top three suggestions to get though BCT. Here are my suggestions, for what they are worth, being neither a cadet nor an academy grad (much less recent).

    Preparation:
    1. Keep working out. Do a solid cardio routine daily, keep on the push-ups and pull-ups. Weekends and after graduation, do a few double/triple sessions. Work out until you do not want to any more, give yourself a couple of hours and do it again. Get your body used to recovering, with no time to recover. Having said that, do not get to out of control and hurt yourself, and back off a few days before induction to give yourself some rest.
    2. Know why you are going. You will be tested, and have occasion to forget this. Make sure you have convinced yourself before getting to AFA. You may need to rely on some blind faith from time to time.
    3. Understand that no matter how well you think you are prepared, you won't be. Expect to be pushed beyond what you think your limits are -- you will be, and that is the point.
    4. OK broke my own rule -- here is a fourth. Have fun. You have a few more weeks as a senior, and a few weeks of summer after that. Make sure to enjoy it.

    Getting through:
    1. Take it day by day. Six weeks does not seem like a longtime. It will seem a lot longer. Take it one small slice at a time and count off to short term goals so you know you are making progress.
    2. Rely on your unit. Not saying wimp out, fall behind or let others do it for you (it will be noticed and not be a good thing anyway). However, you are part of a squadron for a reason. Strengthen and support each other you can be competitive and supportive at the same time. You will get some of your strongest relationships by sharing these experiences and supporting each other.
    3. Know that many before you have met the challenge. It can be done, and you will do it too. It is part of realizing the goal.

    I am sure that there are many out there that have better suggestions than mine.
     
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  2. haleym

    haleym Member

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    Short, sweet, and to the point.
    Preparation:
    1.) Push yourself when you work out.
    2.) Keep your nose clean and don't post silly things on the internet for all the world to see.
    3.) Make the most of your time with your friends and family. Don't get caught up in the future- it will come soon enough.

    Getting through:
    1.) Work as a team.
    2.) Don't take it personally when you are corrected.
    3.) Never give up.
     
  3. Sparrow42

    Sparrow42 Member

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    Great life advice for everyone of all ages in all career paths.
     
  4. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    I posted this a few weeks ago in a different BCT thread:

    I've been through 8+3+6 weeks of basic training . . . hey that adds up to 17!

    Anyway, basic training is mostly a mind game. They want to break you down to build you up. They want to erase your sense of "specialness" or "uniqueness" and replace it with a team mentality. They do this by subjecting you to situations which are impossible to deal with on an individual basis. You are forced to lean on the team and the team is forced to lean on you.

    Physical preparation is key. You'll most likely be gaining some altitude when you arrive at the Academy and that can really affect some people. Anticipate this by being in the best shape you can be. If you haven't been working out, start today, start right now.

    Studying knowledge etc., is kind of pointless in my opinion (and possibly harmful). You will be given all the information you need to know by your cadre. They will specify which order of the 7 basic responses they want, they will teach you how to make a bed (or maybe some preppies will) and they will teach you how to execute drill movements. It is important that most if not all of the flight is on the same level because it builds unit cohesion. That guy (or gal) who can rattle off all the quotes perfectly, make a bed perfectly, do everything perfectly is not always revered among the team. Part of the experience is struggling together to meet a goal. If you are over prepared then it makes it look like you care mostly about yourself and not the team even though that may not be true. It's likely there will be some priors/preppies with you during basic. They understandably have a slight edge. The cadre are aware of this and will use it to the benefit of the flight. Trust me, whatever perceived "advantage" they have will disappear rather quickly.

    Other forms of mental preparation are beneficial. Establishing intrinsic reasons why you've come to serve is extremely important. The people who quit often had the Academy chosen for them by someone else. It's important to build a good foundation which you can fall back on when times get tough. Another mental trick that I used throughout my basic trainings is the classic "Live meal to meal, Sunday to Sunday" approach. Waking up to another day of basic is tough. Focus on just getting to breakfast. After breakfast, focus on getting to lunch. Finally, survive until dinner. You'll find the days are long, but the weeks are short. If you're struggling during the week, just focus on making it to Sunday. Try not to think about the end until maybe the last week. Believe it or not, there are aspects of basic which can be "fun". Taking advantage of a relaxed situation is critical to staying sane. That said, you'll also encounter something called "the switch". "Flipping the switch" is known as being able to transition seamlessly between a relaxed training environment back into a strict one.

    Prepare physically. Prepare mentally by practicing strategies to get yourself through the days/weeks. You'll be told everything you need to know when you arrive/as you go through training so don't worry too much about memorizing stuff beforehand.

    No matter how much you read you will not be fully prepared for the weeks that lie ahead of you. I think that is a good thing. I hope I haven't given too much away.

    For now, enjoy your final months of freedom and don't do anything too stupid. Good luck to all!
     
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  5. clandyan

    clandyan Member

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    The Instructions to Appointee booklet suggests an endurance program that builds up to running 4 miles per day, 5 times per week. Can basics expect to run that much every week at BCT?
     
  6. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    Honestly, no. You probably won't be running 20 miles a week during BCT, but it's still a really good recommendation because the altitude sucks and you're going to be moving/on your feet a lot, even if you aren't running.
     
  7. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    I dunno ... as a basic/doolie, you run everywhere, so maybe you do get those 20 miles/wk? :yikes:
     
  8. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Basics will clock a good few miles of running during morning PT. The faster you run during the self-paced/divided group runs the more miles, of course. There will also be a few actual set distance runs. Beyond that, there will be a decent amount of marching around. It's not running, but its a decent amount of being on your feet.

    Prep:
    1. Commit: You know the reasons you applied. Make sure you are committed to them, and that they are good reasons.
    2. Stay fit: Cardio is important. Additionally, push-ups, sit-ups, flutter kicks, etc are good to practice--basically body-weight exercises.
    3. Stay out of trouble and have fun.

    BCT:
    1. Don't quit. Seriously, there's nothing you can't handle in BCT. If you quit, it is because you decided to.
    2. Be a team player. If someone is struggling, drag them along. Someone else will do the same when you need help.
    3. Learn. BCT is a training program. Every item taught is there for a purpose. Try to figure out how to use that training to help yourself and your team.
     
  9. AVT

    AVT USAFA 2015

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    Take advantage of the self-paced runs. Thanks to those I improved significantly in my 1.5 mile time.
     
  10. Grizzly

    Grizzly Member

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    So do we run many of our morning PT runs with groups of people who run at about the same pace as us? Ie, are we split up to run at our own pace for a set amount of time rather than a set distance?
     
  11. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    It's VERY squad and year dependent. Expect a mix and you'll be good to go.
     

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