Have you ever been on a long bus ride, like the Grey Hound Trail Way or a bus going downtown? When you got off the bus at your stop, you may have taken a second to reorient yourself to exactly where you were. You may have looked around and thought to yourself, “Oh yeah, this is familiar,” or you thought, “Hmm, let me figure out where I am.” Once you adjusted to your surroundings, things usually worked out–or so we thought they did.
As the new recruits on the bus at Fort Jackson, South Carolina basic training camp, we experienced some immediate re-orientations and adjustments to our surroundings. Getting off the bus was a real life-changer and a real welcome to the United States Army–and what a welcome it was.
“‘Cruits!” thundered the drill sergeant with an absolute authority that rattled your bones. The 30 of us were like tourists getting off a tour guide bus in Italy looking around and enjoying the sites. But at this bus stop, it was clear that tourism was not on the agenda. “‘Cruits!” roared the drill sergeant again. “Where do you think you are, on a joy ride?! This is my house. You are now in my house and being in my house, nobody ever walks around in my house. You never walk in my house; you always run in my house. Is that clear ‘cruits?! I don’t hear you. IS THAT CLEAR?!” There were only two words that made sense in that moment: “Yes, Sergeant.”Whether you were a good runner or not, from that moment forward, the landscape of your life had changed into something different, and that was just by getting off a bus.
You would think that this change was something to fear, but it was actually the beginning of a 12-week journey that transformed us into polished Army soldiers. So, whenever taking a bus ride and going in a new direction, always remember to reorient yourself to all of the possibilities that you believe will be good for you in the future.