Preparing for OTS

Preparing for OTS was difficult for me because I had a lot of mental barriers I had to overcome.  In a way, I applied for OTS against my will.  There is a part of me which wanted to separate from the Air Force and pursue a civilian life, but another part of me knew applying was what I was supposed to do.  The part of me which wanted to separate is the same part which resisted the Air Force way of life, and in turn, resisted preparation for OTS.  This will probably not make sense to you unless I explain the spiritual aspect of my life.

My strategy for OTS preparation was to do everything in my power to prepare in advance.  I knew OTS would be extremely busy so I wanted to be as prepared as possible.  The areas I wanted to focus on were memorization of HAWK/OTSMAN knowledge, PT test prep, packing list/uniforms, and support equipment (computers, printers, notebooks, etc.)  When it came to execution of my strategy, I completely failed.  I didn't seriously study the HAWK or OTSMAN until I was in the car on the way to OTS.  I didn't prep for my PT test because I didn't want to accept the reality that I would soon be stuck in the AETC training environment.  I had most of my uniform items but they were not de-stringed or dry cleaned, and I purchased much of my support equipment on my trip to OTS.  This caused me to be extremely stressed prior to arrival and during the initial weeks, which was not ideal.

On a side note, I refused to begin rolling t-shirts or socks prior to arrival.  For this type of preparation I trusted that the OTS program would give me enough time to figure this stuff out.  In the end I was right, but this may not be the right approach for everyone.  For the bare minimum I recommend you have brief familiarization with rolling but you should have plenty of time to figure it out before it really matters.

TFIT was tough for me because I had to first accept the reality that I was actually doing what I didn't want to do (become an officer), and catch up in the areas I knew I hadn't prepared for.  Despite my initial shortfalls, I was able to recover quickly.  Here are some of the lessons I learned during the TFIT portion of my training.

Packing List
Random Stuff I'm Glad I Brought
Things I Wish I Knew Prior to Arrival