Aug. 22, 2012
This season, members of the Air Force women's basketball team will share some of their experiences at the Academy, both on and off the court. First up, newcomer Missy Byrd takes the time to sum up her experience in Basic Cadet Training (BCT) and offers some advice to potential future Falcons.
If you are reading this, then you are a possible addition to our team, so welcome! *smile* To ease any worries or fears that you may have about coming here to USAFA, I just wanted to tell you my experience of Basic Cadet Training. In all honesty, I was scared out of my mind, dreading the day I would have to leave and go to boot camp. When I arrived, I instantly learned that life is what you make it. If you choose to come here, you are choosing to be the best, to be a leader. With my goals in mind I knew I could get through basic.
For me basic was one of the most memorable times of my life. I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute of it. Basic is challenging, mentally and physically. You will be tested heavily, but every obstacle that you face is just a stepping stone to your success. I loved basic because I would just wake up every morning and tell myself, "Today will be a great day." Your sense of humor will change greatly. In basic you learn to smile at the little things, you grin at the small victories and you learn to be strong. During the second part of basic, we go to a place called Jacks Valley. In Jacks you live in tents and pretty much work out a lot. Living in tents is amazing--going out at night and looking up at the stars may be one of the coolest things I have ever seen. When Taps plays every night, just take that time to gaze up at the sky--I did every night.
The funniest thing that happened to me in Jacks would have to be making the front yard of my tent, which was just a dirt patch, into a garden for my cadre. I made a mountain out of sand bags and rocks and then put a flag over it. All of my cadre loved my decorations. Honestly, it's the small things that make the difference in basic. I had no idea what to expect about living outside for 12 days, but it was pretty cool. Jacks is way more fun than the first part of basic, because you are always doing something and you become family with the people in your squad. The bonds you make with your squad will literally last forever, through school, through your career. Within weeks you will have formed friendships that you will never lose.
I have met some incredible people during my time in basic. I see these people and I think "that is what I want to be like, he or she is a leader and I want to follow in their footsteps." When you do something right or get congratulated, it's literally the best feeling in the world. When I began to see and feel myself changing, I thought that was the coolest thing. I could feel myself becoming more confident, I could see myself getting stronger, and I could feel the intense desire arising in me to be the best. It's a privilege to even be considered to come to a place like this.
Basic is a time to build yourself up. The workouts are hard while you're doing them, but two minutes after you're fine. When we worked out I would just sing songs to myself in my head. By the time the song was done, so was the workout. *smile* Tough times don't last, but tough people do.
Don't let fear deprive you of a great opportunity and I promise you if you keep a positive outlook on things, you'll have just as much fun in basic as I did. It helps to find that one cadre that you respect and admire. If you can't push out that last pushup or that last sprint for yourself...do it for them. Do it because you want to earn the respect of the person you want to emulate. Basic is not hard, you have to tell yourself "whether I think I can or I can't... I am right". If you want to be here, if you want to be the best, if you want to be a leader - someone that people will look up to, then earn it.