Working basic was not just an overwhelming experience for the basic cadets--I was also overwhelmed at times. After preparing for months, there is nothing that will prepare you for waking up at 0410 to be an alarm clock for your basics or the bottom of your stomach dropping to your feet when you think you've lost basics. Prior to working basic, no one ever thought I could yell or be mean. I'm known for smiling all the time, but if you knew me as a cadre I never cracked a grin. I believe it was a combination of being tired and having to answer ridiculous questions every five minutes that kept me stern.
The picture here is of the first basic wake up, and the first time I actually yelled. My AOC and AMTs watched me that morning and told me afterwards that they've been around actual training instructors and thought I was just as intimidating. The morning that this picture was taken was when one of our basics thought it'd be a good idea to kick the door back at the cadre who was so kind to wake him up that morning. The fact that he was so distraught to even think of kicking the door back was initially funny, but we all soon became that basic's worst nightmare. You can say that he had a terrible rest of the day.
I can definitely say that I grew as a leader from this experience. Some things that I learned that I would pass along are: your subordinates will respond best to you when you lead by example, they will respond best when you are not just yelling to be yelling, and most importantly, especially during basic, don't just punish for the sake of punishing. With these three things, the overall idea is that you should always have a purpose to your training. Working basic and being a cadre brought out a whole different side of me that I never knew I had. Basic training was something that I will never forget and would absolutely love to do next summer.