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4 College Life Lessons from the Military

September 13th, 2010 admin

Since the hubs is paying for medical school with a Health Professions Scholarship from the Air Force, he had to spend the 4 1/2 weeks this summer in Alabama in their Commissioned Officer Training program. While a month of training is only a small taste compared to the intense training enlisted military personnel go through, it has been enough to teach us some pretty awesome college-applicable lifestyle lessons:

Earn Your Rewards. When he first arrived at camp, my future-doctor stepped off the bus and got yelled at. For a long time. About everything from his attire to his haircut (too long–he had to shave most of it off when he got to his room). He and his fellow officers were also basically on lockdown: little contact with the outside world, no TV, they even had to be escorted from their dorms if they wanted to go anywhere, including the cafeteria. As the weeks progressed and they proved themselves, they earned more privileges–internet access on their own computers, TV time, and finally the freedom to go off-base.

Lesson learned? Give yourself a “carrot“–a little treat or motivation to help you get through a hard class or difficult study session. The reward makes the work feel more worthwhile!

Eat Regularly and Stay Hydrated. I know that sounds like advice from your Mama, but the US military promotes it, too (and the military does NOT behave like your mom, I promise). While he was gone, my sweetie ate at 5, 12, and 6 on the dot without fail, and carried a military-issue “Camel Pack” (a backpack specifically for holding a water supply) with him at all times to stay hydrated.

Keeping a healthy eating schedule and drinking tons of water gave him and his squadron the energy and stamina to keep up with a much more intense lifestyle than they were used to–keep that in mind for finals week!

Get Physical. Med school isn’t exactly conducive to exercise. After 9 months of sitting in lecture or the library all day, the obstacle courses, early morning workouts, and constant requirements to stand at attention were a big switch for the hubs–but he liked it. Working out in the morning kept him more alert during hours of military history lectures, and helped him fall asleep fast and sleep hard all night (which is good, because he had to get up at 4:30 every morning!).

Skipped that last paragraph? Basically, keeping your body active helps your brain stay awake, too–and helps you be worn out enough to get a really good night’s sleep. No more tossing and turning.

Regiment Doesn’t Mean No Fun. True, my honey faced lots of yelling, marching, and uniform inspections so close that he has had to go over his clothes top to bottom with a pair of scissors (stray threads earn you another round of yelling and disapproval from your commanding), but strict schedules and tough superiors didn’t mean “no fun allowed.” In fact, he really enjoyed most of his time at training. The spirit of camaraderie was great (think first day of freshman year–everybody is looking for friendship and support!) and they found time to have fun whenever it was an option.

So yes, you should study. You should work hard. But when you get the opportunity to enjoy a well-earned break, a weekend road trip, or even just a quick laugh during the exhausted-but-giddy phase of finals week–seize it!


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Josh Freeman  |  September 15th, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Great post. I will tell my son about these tips when he goes to Quantico, Virginia for Marines OCS.

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