Should I Fear OCS?

Candidate Question

I’m afraid of the challenge, uncertainty and high stakes at OCS. Is it wrong to be scared?



You’re absolutely right about OCS being perhaps the biggest challenge of your life. The uncertainty and unpredictability of the outcome, and the impact graduation or failure can make on your whole life plan is incredible.

“Fear” may not be the most helpful word, but you should cultivate a healthy respect for the challenge, preparation required, and life-altering commitment it is to succeed at OCS and go on to commission as an officer.

Physically, mentally, spiritually, OCS is designed to test your resolve and gauge your officer potential.

When you arrive at OCS, you may very well experience levels of anxiety approaching panic. To the greatest extent possible, try to reframe that stress as positive energy. “Fight or Flight” will be extremely useful at OCS to help you push through physical exertion and overcome sleep deprivation.


It’s okay to fear the challenge and uncertainty, but understand your response, accept your stress level, and channel your energy in a beneficial way.

Nothing Lasts Forever Tattoo
Nothing Lasts Forever: Including the Fear and Pain

4 thoughts on “Should I Fear OCS?

  1. Went through OCS last year. There were times right before a PT event (like the endurance course) or academic test or leadership exercise (like SULE II) where I would have given almost anything to teleport out of Quantico and avoid the obstacle I had to overcome. Everybody gets that sickening, nervous feeling in your gut right before the race starts, and the drill instructors will do everything they can to exacerbate that feeling within you by constantly reminding you how close you are to failing.

    It’s okay to make mistakes, but don’t make the same mistake twice. Adapt as quickly as possible, and don’t go internal when the stress starts. Don’t let them (the drill instructors, or your peers) see you sweat.

    Just keep fighting and take one day at a time. Defeat 70 days in a row, and you’ll be a Marine Officer. Ain’t Nothing to it but to do it.

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