Why Do I Torture Myself?

Really. Why do I torture myself? I keep reading only bad news about my future in the military. Troop withdraws in the Middle East means less need to commission 2nd LTs. Cuts in defense spending due to the debt ceiling means less money to train and accept officer candidates. Competition is getting stiff. One writer on the Armyocs forum suggested that commissioning is going to be more competitive than it has been in 10 years! What?! I’m not a superstar. I know I’m just average (no sad puppy dog face, I’m just being real). Continually there is a higher and higher PT score one must aim for, a higher and higher standard for who can and who can’t write letters of recommendation, and a higher and higher emphasis on previous leadership and job specific experience. The bar for being branched Military Intelligence has been raised so high, I doubt I’ll be able to reach it.  The Army is no longer “an employer of last resort” as was once lectured to me by a sociology professor. An average person has a breaking point.

So, what can I do? I want these features to inspire a facilitative anxiety, not a debilitative one. I must improve myself to make my goals a reality. But that means stepping up my training and studying. It might be full throttle for the next 6 months to a year. Can I do that? Do I want to do that? What if I get a 4.0 gpa, reach a 300 on my PT score, find three exemplary individuals to write me letters of recommendation and I end up being a non-select? Will I really want to continue to try for acceptance to OCS? Furthermore, what if I in fact reach those goals, get selected to attend OCS, and then end up recycling out?

I guess this is a realization that I have a long and hard road ahead of me. This is more than putting together and essay and some LORs. This is a long-term striving for goals I may not be humanly able to achieve. This is a long-term risk in terms of time, money and dedication. Why do I torture myself, setting my goals so high? Why can’t I be happy in a cubicle, in a small town, overweight and divorced? For many people, thats A-OK. Maybe this is the path to realize that me, as an average person, is destined for that future even though I may set my sights higher.

I think this boils down to fears. Fears of trying and failing (nay, told I’m a failure). Fears of realizing and having to accept I am average. Fears of working so hard and not being rewarded. Fears of being trapped in a life I don’t want. I have to face them…even if the stakes are high.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jess on August 16, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I’m going through the same thing right now, so I read your blog for a little bit of familiarity. If there’s one thing I’ve learned during this process, is that you HAVE to be optimistic. That’s difficult for some of us who are realists and can criticize ourselves without any problems. But I’ve had to shut that out and make myself believe that I’m the greatest. I get the feeling my recruiter doesn’t have much faith in me, and I’ve kept this journey to myself therefore it’s difficult to stay positive 24/7. You can do it, though. You’re recording your workouts, you’ve started the process waaaaaay in advance and most importantly, you know what’s ahead!

    Also (this is just my opinion), while I bits and pieces of the ArmyOCS forum to be extremely helpful, for the most part I find the attitudes of some the posters giving advice to be fairly negative. To me it seems like it’s a never ending quest to psych another person out! Take it with a grain of salt. Those people doling out advice don’t know the person they’re giving advice to personally, and many times they make their generalizations come off as the end-all-be-all. I’ve only been at this for a month and a half, but in the very beginning I was also freaking out about recycling! It’s something I’ve had to block out. I’m not even in BCT yet, so why am I already thinking about how or when I’m going to fail?

    Hopefully as you keep preparing for this your decision will be clearer and you’ll be able to figure out if this is what you want. It sounds to me like you want this, so keep it up! Do you regularly keep contact with your recruiter, or did he/she tell you to work on your PT and then when you’re finally ready to come back and start the packet? Also, do you have a diag PT score already to kind of gauge where you’re at?

    Sorry for all the questions…best of luck!


    • Thanks for your comments! I do agree with you about ArmyOCS forum in that I can really psych myself out by obsessing over it. And that’s why I’m not posting anything on there because I’ll just get generic comments that won’t help me. Even though neither of us are in BCT yet, I think it’s best to hope for the best and prepare for the worst…and that means really thinking through the “recycling” scenario. It hurts to think about but I’d rather be prepared than totally blindsided if it actually happens, you know? In the recruiting department, I’ve definitly kept my distance in that I’ve not gone to speak to one yet. I have read such bad things about recruiters and how they’re just looking to enlist you and give you the run around that I would rather be the best prepared I can be when I go and find my recruiter. That means as complete of paperwork (essay, SF-86, LORs) as possible as well as blow you out of the water PT scores. I hope then the recruiter will see I’ve done my homework, have come prepared, and I’ll need little guidance and they may be more willing to work with me. I know that if I went to the recruiter right now, that they’d tell me exactly what you said… work on PT and come back with good scores, then we’ll talk. I’d rather not be shut down the first time, but take a little longer to iron out the wrinkles in my overall application and have a willing recruiter the first time around. So, that being said, no, I don’t have a diag PT score. I don’t know what that is… can you explain it to me? I DO have a PT plan that I’m working with and a personal trainer coming on in September so I can take it to the next level. How far along are you on your packate? When are you wanting to go in?


  2. Posted by Jess on August 21, 2011 at 7:05 am

    Yeah, if I could do it all over again, I’d do what you’re doing- prepare before meeting the recruiter. As of last week I basically stopped touching base with mine, because he could care less about my packet until I’ve taken that test. I’ve already turned in my transcripts, SF-86, my essay and one LOR. But has he started my packet? No. So I have to say you’re on the right track with your preparations 🙂

    A diagnostic PT is just a PT test you take the first time to see where you’re at when it comes to the three events. You can do it and input your score here: http://apftcalculator.com/ Also, you can go PT at the recruiting station. About two months ago, the recruiter made me go so he could see for himself where I was at physically. Now, I shamelessly admit I was sedentary prior to this process. I did 10 push-ups and 20 sit-ups…And that was only with one minute on the clock, because I couldn’t even do a full two. The run? I got overlapped by everyone else about three times, and I’m pretty sure I blacked out for a minute before the recruiter told me to stop. The whole experience was a little embarrassing, but it was an eye-opener. Since then, I’ve taken 15 PT tests on my own- I always start my workout with timed push-ups and sit-ups. My run is the only part of the test I’m not passing. I’ve been reading your blog and your rucking updates, so last week I tried to do that. It was pretty bad, lol. My knees were taking a beating, and it was strange because I was on a concrete path the whole time. Still, I wanted to know what it felt like to walk with all that weight on your back.

    Also, I keep seeing on the ArmyOCS forum people endorsing CrossFit as a good way to prepare for OCS and better PT scores. I found a place near me that does it and I want to look into it. A personal trainer is a great way to prepare too.

    I wanted to be ready for an October board, but that’s looking less likely. This past week I had a struggle obtaining some LOR’s and mentally it has brought me way down.

    Good luck to you, and keep the blog updated with your progress! I can’t explain how great it is to hear from someone else who’s going through this. Thank you 🙂


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