erik_1717 wrote:No luck for me as well! First time applying and it will be the last time with Navy. Marine OCS this summer!!!!!
You should log on during your first libo weekend and tell us how it's going.
Hello All. Disappointing Marine OCS update. During week 4 I injured my left shoulder. I toughed it out for about five days before I had to go to medical. Four days and an MRI later and to my shock, I tore my labrum. I tried to tough it out for two more days but it wasn't happening and I was NPQ'd (not physically qualified). The good news is that I have been given the chance to reapply, but as a 2L, I likely will have to wait until after the Bar to go back, frustratingly. Onto my OCS thoughts though.
Week one (In Processing)
This was by far the longest part of OCS for me. This is where you are first introduced to "Hurry up and wait" ideology. You are rushed everywhere you go, only to stand/sit around for hours waiting on things. You are beginning to be given tasks to do in a short amount of time, but it's nothing like what you're going to be exposed to once training begins. You go through medical, get all of your supplies and gear, run your initial PFT, and go to different classes (more like lectures because they aren't testing you on anything in them). The best advice I can give to someone in this phase is to begin to get in the mindset to get tasks done as quickly as possible. If you can get this mindset down, you will get more sleep later when you really are given tons of stuff to do.
I spent a large part of the night prior to pick up day putting all of my stuff in 10 or 11 ziplock baggies that I then taped so that when all of our stuff was dumped out, my stuff would be easier to pick up. They never dumped our stuff! However, this hurt me in the end, because during pick up day, the Sergeant Instructors would want us to get stuff out and all of my stuff was taped and sealed tight in ziplock baggies haha. Other than that hiccup, pick up day itself honestly isn't so bad. You're being introduced to the miserableness that is OCS, but if you were serious about OCS, you already knew this was coming.
The next three weeks;
You are being introduced to the "routine" that is OCS. The best way I can describe this is that you're going to either wake up and go to chow (breakfast) or PT (workout). After that you usually work on drill or go to classes, then have more chow before you spend your afternoon either in more classes or doing something active. Then you go to evening chow and end up doing something in the evening until lights out. After lights out, in the initial weeks, you are mainly marking gear such as your PT shirts. In the latter weeks, you were still marking gear, but not PT shirts, and you were also studying. Marking gear is always annoying, but PT shirts were the worst because they took the longest, plus after a week or two, you start to learn tricks to make yourself faster.
While that is a rough daily schedule, there are certain days you do bigger events. I would suggest trying to look forward to days like this, as it will help make days go faster. These are things like SULE I, LRC, Obstacle Course, humps, Combat course, and Land Nav just to name a few. Not all of these were fun, but attitude is everything. When you're somewhere like OCS that can really be terrible, a good attitude is really going to help. I don't have a lot of time to expand on each of these events right now, but I can talk more later if I get time or if someone has a question about one.
My OCS advice:
If possible, FIND PRIOR ENLISTED WITHIN YOUR PLATOON. My rackmate was a prior and he was a great guy. Always helping me out, giving me pointers, and answering my questions. Almost every Prior in our platoon was like this. I can't stress enough how important it is to get to know priors. In my time, if you respected their experience and knowledge, they respected your questions (I asked a ton). One of my favorite things about OCS was all of the great men I met in my Platoon. Sure, we had some screw up guys that made me wonder how they even got there, but for the most part, every guy was great. The teamwork you begin to feel is unreal. Everyone is learning to watch the back of those around them and you really start to take pride in your group.
Learn to take advantage of any free time. Free time is invaluable to a candidate. Whether it be 5 minutes or 30, never waste time! This seems obvious, but I can remember candidates who would move slowly during free time and those were the candidates up every night until 1 or 2. Sleep deprivation is inevitable so it's important to try and get as much sleep as possible. Try as hard as possible to stay awake in class. If you get called out for sleeping in class, don't sweat it, more than half the company was probably sleeping too. Before I left, I read on one post to just go to the back of the class and stand up so you are forced to pay attention. While I never did this, it is probably great advice. It leads to the need to study less, thus ultimately sleeping more (critical).
Find little positives in each day and learn to appreciate them. A head call, a drill session where you did well, a class that you were actually able to stay awake and follow along. Any of these work. No one at OCS is there to tell you you're doing a good job. You're going to be surrounded by tons of negative, so it's important to find your own internal successes. I saw too many guys get down on themselves so quickly and that was the death of them. You've got to toughen up! If you put in the necessary physical work before going down, then OCS is about 99% mental.
That's about all I've got for now. I may add more later when I get time. While it all sucked terribly, I really miss being around my platoon and I've wished I was down there every day since I left. I have tons of great and funny memories that I always think about and I have developed a great pride and respect for the USMC. I know I was only there for 4/10 weeks, but I can confidently say that this is the greatest leadership experience that any person can be exposed to. Since my chance to go back to OCS is so far away, I'm not sure if I'll be able to go back again, but I do know that I will never look at the USMC the same again. This may seem obvious, but the amount of respect I have for the Marines is incredible.
PS: I haven't read this over so there may be some typos.