Top Things I Wish I Knew Before OCS

Thank you to Candidate Chris for this guest post! 

Here are somethings I wish I knew before leaving to OCS that you would only find out during your wonderful stay in paradise.

Weather Conditions

I was in a fall OCC class and I kept hearing that was the best time to go because it isn’t too cold or too hot and well, it is actually both. The weather is completely unpredictable in Quantico it could be so cold and raining in the morning and then hotter than hell later in the day so mentally prepare yourself for some crazy weather! You will also find yourself ALWAYS wet when either doing PT on the PT field or going out into the field so stay as dry as possible. This could be difficult because from my experience it was always raining.

   Always remember: Wet is the Enemy.

Mental State

I cannot emphasize this enough: make sure ALL personal problems are either solved or stay home before and during your stay at OCS. The less on your mind that isn’t anything that has to do about OCS the better! I had some personal problems that happened days before I went to OCS and received letters about those problems that took me out of my zone and made OCS even harder than it actually was. Remember your why and you will get through anything!


Prepare Correctly 

Don’t just prepare enough to pass a PFT with a good score–you will regret it immensely. You are never fully resting at OCS, so here’s some points you should think about while you prepare for OCS:

  • Instead of stopping to rest during running events, walk at a semi fast pace to catch your breath.
  • Lift weights if you aren’t already. Get stronger to avoid injury.
  • Jog in place in between reps because this is what you will do while you are waiting to start something PT wise at OCS.
  • Hike in your boots with weight at a 15 minute mile pace. Throw 30 pounds or more in a pack and step it out a few times a week because it’s rough at OCS so you better get used to it now. (OCS hikes include 4, 6, 9 miles with increasing weight each time.)
  • Run with your boots on so when you get to OCS and start doing PT in your boots you will be good to go.


Some things to think about putting on your packing list that I discovered to be very helpful: 

  • Steamer. Just go to Walmart or Bed Bath and Beyond and pick yourself up one of these because when you have to iron your civilian clothes everything gets crazy and it takes a long time. A candidate in my platoon brought one and it was a huge time saver! Leave it in your civilian bag and when they let you get your bags for your clothes take it with you.
  • Take Kendall Water Proof tape. The tape that you are issued sucks so bad compared to this so take the entire pack because you will use A LOT of tape. 
  • Take your own insoles for your boots. You are issued insoles at OCS but the insoles I bought worked perfectly. They are made by a skateboard company so they are built to endure anything you can throw at them. The company is called FP Insoles and the insoles I bought were the Gamechangers. 45 bucks very well spent.

Last Minute Tips

If you aren’t studying knowledge I highly recommend that you do because the classes at OCS are taught at a very fast pace and it is hard to retain what is taught along with always falling asleep in class. I would advise to look over Marine Corps History and the OP Order; everything else isn’t crazy hard. Once you get to OCS and have the gear to start making your name tapes MAKE THEM. You will have more free time then you ever will when you first show up there so make as many name tapes as possible! And every night before you finally go to sleep make name tapes for your rifle and your gear. You will be happy you have so many extra name tapes trust me. 

It’s okay to be scared, what you do while you’re scared is what matters! Everyone else feels the same way as you do so keep pushing no matter what you are there because you have the potential to become a Marine Officer do not doubt yourself. Always remember why you are there in the first place and move fast and scream loud. “It’s Mind Over Matter, If You Don’t Mind It Don’t Matter.” – BUD/S Instructor If anyone has any questions about anything please comment below! 

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