Hellooooo AoM,

Tomorrow I am heading off to join my NROTC unit for indoc. From there I'll be moving straight into my college dorm. What hit me pretty hard about this is that.. well my life is truly starting now. People will see me for what I do and how I hold myself; they'll have no preconceived notions about me. A fresh start? I'd say something more like a car that made it off the production line, and after 18 years of laps around the test track is finally able to pull off onto the open road. I'm still the same person, but at the same time everything will be different.

I would like to thank AoM in the past year for all the wonderful advice and exposures that have contributed to the person I am now. Any last minute advice fellas?

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Enjoy it.
Yup, be yourself. That is the best life advice I can give. Every morning you wake up it's you that decides what kind of a day you will have and how succesful you will be during that day. Your life is not dependent upon others for it's value, you stand or fall on your own merits. Accept responsibility for good and bad choices you make, and always be honest. That should get you pretty far down the road of life.

I understand how you feel. I felt that same nervousness mixed with anticipation two years ago when I was in your situation staring college and ROTC (I'm on the Army side of the house.)

Enjoy it. You'll meet great people, do some crazy stuff, and make the stories that you'll be telling for years to come.

One piece of advice: whoever you are outside, you are a future officer when you put on that uniform. Other cadets may allow themselves to not meet the standard, but you'll find it much more rewarding if you give it your all.

Good luck!
The best advice I can give you, both for college and the military/rotc is LISTEN. Too many kids are busy chatting, texting, daydreaming, etc to pay attention to what is being taught. If you really pay attention your drill instructors, upper class mates, and your professors (usually) will tell you what you need to know to succede where you are. Enjoy it, years from now you will look back and remember it very fondly, even if you hate parts of it now. Good luck, or as we say, Fair winds and following seas...........LT S. Larmer USNR
Be happy that you, my friend, had the opportunity to be able to go to college and do such a thing. My family was completely unable to afford college and what little they had saved up for me they decided that it would be better spent on my younger sister who wasn't as gifted in school as I was (I was fine with this, school came easily for me) and even with 75% paid scholarships I was still going to be financially unable to manage my schooling...so I enlisted USN. Looking back I wish I would have looked a little harder to find a way to go the college route. I've learned many things down this particular road that I've traveled, none of which I regret. I've gotten to experience things most other people never will (Afghanistan for instance) and will hold on to those memories for the rest of my life (some of which I have no choice but that's another story.) Look at this opportunity as a GIFT and make the absolute best of it that you possibly can, I would have gone officer if I would have been able to trust me. I am currently an E-5 and have been for the last two years, I accelerated in my career and had put on E-5 just a year and 8 months into my service time and am about to hit my 4 year mark. I've enlisted for six and will not be re-upping two years from now due to the fact that I'd rather chase my dream of opening my own performance garage than do 20 years of sea life (my fiance doesn't exactly like me being gone so much). Just remember, whatever you do, do it well, make the best of the gifts life gives you, and even if something turns out to be something other than what you thought it would be, it still presents to you a wealth of opportunities and a chance to network for future operations in your life. Have a good one bud, good luck.
Brandon - since you're on the Navy side, how about a couple lessons from an NCO for a future Navy officer? I'm sure you've seen your share of both good and bad O1-O3s. What about a Top 3 list of things that a young officer *should* do and *shouldn't* do based on your experience?
Perspective, positive outlook, and repect for those around you and most importantly yourself.
Okie, sorry for the late response bro.
*Should do's*
1. Respect and learn from those who have been doing it longer than you, the respect will be reciprocated in turn. (You have no idea how bad you will piss off everyone under you if you come in acting like you know everything)
2. Develop your skills as an upper level leader by learning efficient time and people management. (My first line supervisor is the WORST at both time and people management, eg. writing an email to someone about something while they are standing right next to her...)
3. LOOK OUT FOR YOUR GUYS!!! If they feel like you'd go to bat for them when they are in dire straits you'd better believe they'd give a limb for your problems.

*Should NOTs*
1. You SHOULD NOT walk in thinkin you're shit hot and blow off the advice of others or start barking orders. (It's best to let everyone warm up to you) (Listen to the E-5+ guys, they've got a couple years doing whatever it is you'll be in charge of)
2. You SHOULD NOT try to do the jobs of those you are supervising, this will only lead to VERY ANGRY subordinates.
3. You SHOULD NOT above all else ever forget the line between enlisted and officer ranks, we are seperated for a reason and both have our jobs on each side of the house to do. That doesn't mean however that friendships and camaraderie can't form, but it needs to be in complete professionalism.

Alright man, hope some of this helps.

As an O-1, I make O-2 in 2 weeks the best advice I have is too remember 3 things.

The first is to listen to your NCOs. I realize the navy does things slightly different than the Army, but the principle is the same. Your NCOs will respect you more for being willing to listen and will do more to help you succeed. Remember they have 5-10 years of experience to your none.

The second is to remember that you are not an officer and not to let your NCOs intimidate you. When push comes to shove you are the one paid to make the decision that may cost someone's life. Do not fear the decision, but that though should keep you up on some nights. You have that responsibility so live up to it.

The third is that military life can and will suck worse than anything you imagine. Do not let that get you down. You will have some of the best times of your life. The pay is pretty nice too as an officer, so take advantage of that. Enjoy yourself when you can and remember that your are an officer, or will be one soon. Because fo that you have a target on your back, so remember that everyone is watching you and that any moral/professional failures will get passed oon if you take the questionable way on a situation. In the officer ranks, and the military in general, appearance matters more than you can know with your peers and sailors.

I'll finish by saying that you made a good choice, the Army would have been better, but thank you for serving your country. We are always looking for a few good men. So welcome aboard brother and I hope you can do a good job killing terrorists.

surround yourself with good people and good things will happen. Do whats right. If it feels wrong than it is!! Give back to everyone who gives to others. Don't let others idea of success necessarily become yours. Dream big!!! Fear and courage are two levels of intelligence. Don't be afraid to use either. Live YOUR life, not somebody else s. Use respect constantly. Stand tall and do not be afraid to extend a hand to help people, it will pay back dividends. Faith. What ever yours may be, have it. Be true to yourself. Don't be afraid to love. Most of all, learn to laugh. Good luck.


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