Two years ago, before I enlisted, many people have given me advice for army. Certain advice includes:
- Don’t be first, don’t be last, be the second person to do things.
- Don’t burst out in anger, tolerate getting scolded for ridiculous reasons, express it later.
- Aim to go command school.
- Don’t get affected by bad influence.
Now that I am almost over with my service, I am thinking about what advice would I give a pre-enlistee.
I would give:
Learn how to protect yourself. This is something that I had to learn when I got to my unit. In everyday work, it is vastly different from training school. It doesn’t mean training is irrelevant. It just means that in every work, there are certain welfare set in place to make your job easier. As a result, what was done is different. However, one should learn what is the standard. Know the benchmark and know what is right. Be smart when you rest, be smart when you adjust and never compromise on the basic requirements of your job. If you can’t even do your job and show a minimum standard, there is definitely a reason to scold you.
Work on your fitness. I think that if you want to be a commander, you should work on it even before enlistment. When you are unfit, it really shows. Even if you have a good attitude and charisma, the fitness is still an issue that affects quite a bit. Even though your mental resilience is not your physical resilience, but people in the army see the physical side as an extension of the mental. Besides if you are fit, it is good for your health.
Don’t put people down. There are quite a few times when I see people desiring a rank or a promotion and the way they do it, the way to make themselves look good, is to put other people down. Let me say something, everyone knows what you are doing. Everyone knows that you are trying to wayang. It is really obvious when they do certain things that they never do. It is really obvious when the stuff they say is really weird. When you are trying to do this, even a nice thing can be weird. So yeah.
Don’t brag. Well, light showing off is fine, but not an announcement to say how much you have done. No one likes a showoff. People can see effort for themselves. It is also very strange when people say what they do for other people. Learn to be secure man.
Think before saying anything. Especially to your superiors. There are implications to whatever you say. Do not bring personal vendettas to meetings. Please think about the platoon collectively.
Correct when necessary. I struggle with this so much, but it is indeed necessary. There will be times when people, perhaps even your batch mates, does sloppy things. I think it is good to correct them. Perhaps correct once or twice in love. Teach them how to be more sensible.
Accept things that are not fair. To be honest, there are so many times when people get more welfare than me, more offs etc etc. There is a need to realise that just because it isn’t fair, doesn’t mean that you have to complain about it. Thinking about the platoon as a whole helps a lot.
You may not be the best, but work hard. I am definitely not the best person for shooting or any combat stuff in general. In fact, I was so bad at it in BMT. Actually, just anything physical. I started army without being able to do a pushup properly. However, I am now at least decent at it. Work hard, if you cannot do a proper tire flip, learn how and always try. If you cannot shoot properly, try again next time. Don’t give up just because you are bad at it.
Be patient. It is indeed hard to work in a place where rank matters so much. Even if the motivation to do things is for good, be patient. Indeed, I received a lot of broken promises, but I must say that, there are many things that changed in my time in army. Be patient, a platoon culture, an SOP, etc etc won’t change overnight, be patient.
If you are Christian, I would give some other advice too.
Be a servant. Indeed, the first will be last and the last will be first. Be a servant and serve other people and in time, you will lead them. Show kindness in everything you do. Why can’t we serve people in army too? Why follow others just because they are lazy? The character really shows when you do your best in an environment where no one does.
Simplify your QT. I think in army, your time isn’t your own, so I think there is a need to treasure it. By simplifying your QT, you will be more consistent with your quiet time and it is better for your walk.
Do your best. I was unable to participate in the parade and hence I was tasked to be in charge of the water point. At first, I was really sloppy about it. Not caring much about the water. After a while, I simply decided to do my best. I refilled the ice without being asked to and the cambros had cold water throughout the rehearsals. I think that it is a good thing to do your best. You will be on a better side with the commanders and people trust you more. Seriously, don’t think that what you do in army won’t affect you in the future.
So yeah, I am really happy today. It is a nice one week. The end never looked so near. AHAHA!