Academic Week Breakdown

Here is another academic week breakdown from Facebook.  It was part of a huge word document that someone compiled as they prepared for OTS.  If you know what the source to this information is please let me know, otherwise the author will remain anonymous.  I am pretty sure this was written for one of the earlier classes in 2017.

Academic Week 0
  • Outside of your academic orientation, there are no academics in the first week.
  • Our WBT test and PT test are both scheduled for the second week.
  • We have had zero privileges during the first week, so we have not been able run at all.  Today is the first day we have access to the track.
  • The majority of the first week is yelling about items from the OTSMAN and marching; lots and lots of marching to the point where you can barely walk.  Make sure you have comfortable boots and break them in before you get here, and get insoles.  Also, wear your pt socks under your boot socks to prevent blisters.
  • You get a lot of time to look over the OTSMAN and HAWK while you’re here and you get tutorials from the MTIs on just about everything you do, so trying to memorize everything before you get here isn’t necessary unless you want a leg up to make it easier.
  • You’re room doesn’t have to be inspection ready for the first week, so use that time to sleep.
  • Once you get here, focus on the procedures for the things that are currently happening (chow shark, mess checker, dining facility procedures). For example, you may be pulled in at the last minute by an MTI to be chow shark or mess checker.
  • Bring everything you can from the packing list with you.  It’s a pain in the ass trying to get over to military clothing and you have to carry it all back in formation.
  • Males:  cut your hair short on the sides upon check in.  Even if isn’t that long, there is a good chance they are going to send you out to get one.
  • On top of this, check in early.  You may get yelled at more, but you will in-process much quicker than everyone else and will have a lot more time to unpack in your room while everyone else is still in-processing.
Academic Week 1
  • This week started off with us getting yelled at for not following the rules over the weekend, so we got our Pennant Test (drill test to receive your guidon flag and be able to march on your own as a flight) delayed and had MTIs yelling at us even longer.
  • Took our Pre-Req test on Tuesday and apparently it didn’t go very well for just about everyone.
  • Sat through a ton of briefing and lectures.
  • Took a test on the OTSMAN and HAWK on Thursday.
  • Took our PT Baseline test on Thursday
  • Our first paper is due Sunday night.

Takeaways…  knowing your OTSMAN and HAWK earlier may be worth your time.  You get so overwhelmed with everything that goes on throughout the day that your mind just shuts down and it’s impossible to remember anything.  You cherish the down time and the last thing you want to do is study more.  Get your homework finished as early as possible and be sure to pick a simple topic.  You don’t want to spend unnecessary time researching when you can just choose something easy to write about and complete the entire assignment in two hours.

The whole thing is extremely frustrating and taxing on your mind and body.  Prepare the best you can, but it’s not easy to anticipate.  Just push through it.  There are good times and bad times and it’s up to you to decide how you get through it.  You won’t be able to talk to your loved ones for weeks because you won’t have any privileges for the first few weeks.  We’ve only lost a couple so far to injuries and self-elimination.  Overall, I’m still alive and ready for another week!

Academic Week 2
  • Last Sunday was our first paper due date and looks like it didn’t go well for most people.  Recommendation:  Take your time on it and if your academic monitor isn’t taking the time to dive into the books to figure out the template from the Tongue and Quill, do it yourself and make sure your spread the word.  There were individuals getting 28% on this thing, and it’s not a difficult paper.  You just get knocked down for every little error, so it’s easily noticed when you don’t take your time.
  • Monday started off with the first assessment test, and that was really difficult!  Slight disclaimer to this is that we are only the second course to go through the new curriculum, so they are still working out the kinks.  I believe five questions were dropped from assessment 1 because of ambiguous answers.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday were Leadership Reaction Course (LRC) days.  This was awesome!  There are several obstacle courses and each person leads one and is graded on their leadership ability, not completing the course.  Obviously completing the course looks better on your evaluation though.  Probably the best time I’ve had so far.
  • Sat through a bunch of briefings the rest of those days.
  • Thursday was a madhouse!  They somehow have expectations of where we are supposed to be at certain points throughout the course as far as knowing the OTSMAN and HAWK and the overall respect of the staff, etc.  And I guess we didn’t meet the criteria for that and the staff crushed us!  We got hit with insane amounts of HAWK knowledge and every tiny issue we had turned into a shouting from an MTI or OTS staff.  It was a long day.
  • Friday we had HELPS, which was basically land nav in the middle of a field.  It was really easy.  And the staff left us alone most of the day with more briefings and study time throughout the day.
  • Paper 2 was due tonight and briefing 1 is on Tuesday.
  • We have our first MTI led dorm inspection tomorrow as well.

Recommendations:  It gets really easy to slack off on your HAWK knowledge and the nuances of the OTSMAN.  This is nothing like basic training…  they build a student wing with groups and squadrons ran by cadets, and they expect you to run it appropriately.  If you don’t, they will crush you.  If you do, they let it roll as necessary.  If you slack off, they will know and come after you.  We didn’t phase up to phase 2 this weekend because they told us we weren’t worthy.  I’m guessing this is part of the game, but if you work hard enough to show them how to handle yourselves, they will notice that too.  Push your flightmates and other cadets to take the time and understand the processes.  It’s worth it in the end.  We still have people in the wing that don’t know the DFAC procedures and it’s been three weeks.  That’s the stuff holding us back.  Simple things.

Academic Week 3
  • Dorm inspections were really easy.  Just keep your room up to standards according to the dorm manual and you’ll be fine.  Be sure to look at all the little things in the manual because they’ll get you on all of them.  And standardize within your flight on things that are ambiguous like placement of extra toilet paper rolls and shower shoes.
  • We started off Monday with our second assessment test and it was a bit easier than the first one, in my opinion.  We also had the third assessment on Friday and it only had half the amount of questions as the first two, but still fairly simple if you study.  Don’t put off studying.
  • We started our critical think tank capstone this week as well.  This is a five week capstone where you work with a group of four to tackle an Air Force issue and come up with courses of action (COA) on how to solve the issue.  The top three get to brief the commandant.
  • We had our first peer evaluations this week.  This is where your flight gets together and gives three pros and cons on each other by getting in the hot seat in the middle of the class.  Depending on the dynamic of your class, these can go either really well or really badly.  Ours went really well.
  • Tuesday was our first briefing.  It’s a 5-9 minute briefing based on your first paper.  Very easy, unless you are a terrible briefer.
  • Reached Phase 2 this week.  Was able to get coffee/go to restaurants.
Academic Week 4
  • Week 4 was a short week for the holiday, but we shot the M-9 on Tuesday, which of course was a blast!  Wednesday was WELPS…  which is land navigation with a compass in the woods at Vigilant Warrior.  VW is the name of the forest area where you will perform AEF (two-day “deployment”) and WELPS while you’re here.
  • Thursday was chill…  we did some quick tactical level Graded Leadership Positions (GLP) where a couple people were graded on a 10-60 minute scenarios where they have to lead the group through some random situation.  They are usually pretty simple as long as you understand the objective and lead.  You ARE NOT graded on whether you accomplish the mission, but rather how well you led the team during the mission.
  • Friday we had AFEX (intel/wargaming) and more tactical level GLPs.  AFEX is an operational level GLP that begins the first week you get here at OTS and goes until you complete AFEX.  Most flights have two AFEX personnel, so there are two AFEX scenarios.  It’s a video game where you connect 7 computers via LAN and you are tasked with saving people from a base located in a country that you are at war with, and you have several Air Force assets to dogfight, pick-up personnel, Air to Ground destroy SAMs, etc.  It’s actually a lot of fun.
  • Saturday we took a trip to the Enlisted Heritage Hall on Gunter and also completed our flight community service project being actors in a haunted house for the humane society.
Academic Week 5
  • Monday was our first day of wearing blues (other than wearing them to the heritage hall) and we performed flight level open ranks inspections for short sleeve open collar with only nametags.  We also had picture day and mid-term feedbacks with our flight commander/instructor.
  • Tuesday we did more tactical GLPs and a bunch of academics / briefings.
  • Wednesday was blues again with long sleeve and all accouterments.  We performed our squadron level open ranks inspection.  We also completed our second and final briefing, which is the last academic graduation requirement.
  • Thursday was a lot of fluff and briefings.  I could have done without the entire day.
  • Friday (tomorrow) seems more of the same with a lot of briefings…

At this point I feel there are reaching for things to do.  This course could easier be shortened with all the extra time we have to just sit around and go through unnecessary briefings and class time.