Summer term provides a great diversion from the rigors of academics for cadets and midshipmen. You’ll develop and hone your military and technical skills and take on leadership positions in tactical units around the globe. Here are eight tips to get the most out of your summer training and travels.
1. Prepare for your training before you arrive on site. Specialty schools often have academic or physical prerequisites. Know what they are. Train and prepare ahead of time so that you have no issues meeting the entry standard.
2. Keep a journal. By incorporating a journal into your routine, whether on your computer or in a notebook, you’ll more seamlessly synthesize, assimilate and reinforce the lessons you learn. It’s also a great aid when you return from travel and have to file the necessary finance and travel vouchers. Record dates, times, and locations of departures, arrivals, duty days, and leave days. Also, record duty-related expenses that you may be entitled to claim later. If you’re unsure how to start a journal, here’s one way: http://bulletjournal.com/.
3. Travel like a pro. Build flexible travel schedules that can accommodate delays without placing your training at risk. You can never count on any flight being on time due to weather and other worldly events, so give yourself buffers. And, even if your travel does go according to schedule, the extra time you build into you schedule could allow you to volunteer to take later flights on over-booked planes. These kinds of volunteers often receive free travel vouchers or airline miles – rewards you know you’ll always be able to take advantage of.
4. Pack multi-purpose wash-and-wear clothing that can be mixed-and-matched in different combinations. This strategy reduces the overall number of items you need to take. And, don’t forget to bring PT clothes and shoes.
5. If you get stuck at an airport for an extended amount of time, check out the USO. USOs provide a secure place to eat a meal, get some rest, and, at some airports, the ability to shower – all at no cost.
6. If traveling overseas, get up-to-date information, alerts and warnings from the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs travel site.
7. Be sure to provide your itinerary to an emergency contact at home so you will never be out of reach. You never know when you won’t have access to your own technology.
8. Designate a secure, permanent place to keep important documents. Always know where they are. When on official travel, be sure to carry your military ID card and a copy of your travel orders. In addition to proving that you are on official travel, these documents can provide additional benefits such as free luggage check and, in some cases, access to airline travel lounges.
Remember – as you approach your professional life and the risks (and excitement) of the Profession of Arms, your free introductory AAFMAA Membership includes a $5,000 Term Life Insurance policy, plus Survivor Assistance Services. This coverage stays with you until commissioning, though we do hope you’ll remain an AAFMAA Member for life.
Enjoy your summer. Most important of all, have fun! You will meet some of the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen that you will have the privilege to lead in the near future. Get to know them and learn from them. Use the opportunity given to you to make yourself a better leader. Garner new skills and consider how you will put them to use upon commissioning. You’ll be a better officer because of it.
For any questions about AAFMAA or anything you read in our newsletters, please email us directly at [email protected].