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Yet Another MEPS Experience

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The ASVAB

When you see the sign that says, "turn off all cell phones and pagers," do yourself the favor and turn it off. "Silent" doesn't count. Just do it; the guy inside the door will like you better. Once inside the door, you'll be instructed to put down your backpack and he'll show you to a computer. This is where you'll take the ASVAB - Armed Services Vocational AptitudeBattery. This test is somewhat like the SAT, except it covers more subject areas like electronics and car maintenance. I suppose you could study for these things, but then you might end up in a career field you know absolutely nothing about. So, unless you are a complete idiot, don't worry about studying for the ASVAB. I personally know very little about car repair and even less about electrical engineering, and I still got a 91 of 99, which is considered to be a high score. My sister--who has probably never even checked her oil--got a 94, and she's only 17 years old. On the other hand, if you know how to wire a house and change a transmission, but failed high school Algebra, you'll probably do alright, also. Where you lack in one area, you can make up in another. Like I said, don't worry!

One thing you should start doing right away is to pay attention to the directions you're given. Not just on this test, but from the people in charge. The Sergeant who administers the test will probably give you very explicit directions about what to do if you need help. Pay attention!

At the End of the Day

When we were done, Miss Congeniality (the first Petty Officer from the Control Desk) patted us on the head and put us on the shuttle. Well, maybe not exactly. She lectured us about what would happen if we were caught drinking while staying in the hotel and told us to stay out of trouble. (That is the nice, paraphrased way of saying it). Once you are on the shuttle to the hotel, you are out of the eyes of the MEPS folk. Loosen up! Make a friend. Talk to the people around you, and at least you'll have someone to sit with at dinner.

When you get to the hotel, just tell the folks at the front desk that you are military, and they'll send you where you need to go. You'll sign a paper saying you won't tear the room apart, get a dinner pass, and get your room key. You'll probably have a roommate. If you get to the room and you are alone, expect to come in the room after dinner and find them there. Enjoy this time. You may never see this person again, but if they are shipping, be sure to wish them luck. They are probably scared out of their mind, and they need all the encouragement they can get.

Go get yourself some dinner, enjoy the company of those around you, and get some sleep. Your 4:30 a.m. wake-up call will come entirely too early. Also, remember that if you incur any room charges, you are responsible for paying them. MEPS only picks up the tab for the room, not phone calls and movies.

Day #2

On the second day, you need to be ready to get on the shuttle back to MEPS no later than 5:00 a.m. They will take off at 5, if not sooner. (This may vary by MEPS station. You should have been paying attention before to find out!) Don't expect a wake-up call . . . set your alarm. It's a good idea to go downstairs and get breakfast at the continental breakfast that the hotel offers, because lunch isn't till 11:30 or so. It's a long day if you are hungry!

Once you get to MEPS on the second day, they will be even less friendly than the first. They'll line everyone up in an entry area, debrief you about entering the building, and then single-file, everyone will go through the metal detectors. Be quiet. Even if you know the routine and you've been here before, be quiet. You don't want to piss off some Marine Sergeant at 5 a.m. It's not worth it! Maybe he was just saying it to scare us, but apparently the day I was there, he pulled three shippers out of line and they were going to have to wait another six months to ship because of their conduct.

The Liaison

This will probably be your first contact with your branch of service at MEPS. You'll check in with whichever branch you are entering. Sgt Heronimus checked me in (I'm Air Force). You sign a little paper, get a little nametag, and if the guy is as cool as "Hero," they'll give you a little review before the physical, just to make sure you didn't forget anything.

"Ever do drugs?"

"No."

"Ever been sick?"

"No."

"Are you gonna' change any of your answers for the doctor?"

"No."

"Outstanding. Good Luck."

As you can see, these guys are on your side! Plus, any liaison who has Puddle of Mudd's "She Hates Me" on their computer play list just has to be cool.

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