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Yet Another MEPS Experience

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The Physical

The physical exam is just as important as the ASVAB. If you don't pass this, you can't get in. Now, that's not to say that there aren't waivers for certain ailments, but remember how important this is. Your answers must be clear "yes" and "no" answers. An answer like, "well, let me think . . ." or "kind of" means "yes." Make sure you haven't done any drugs in the last 45 days, because it's not even worth your time to go down there if you have. This is the most thorough physical exam you will ever take in your entire life. We're not talking about a high school athletic physical, here.

The lady running the show was not very nice. She's not supposed to be. She will try to scare you into putting down any little thing by telling you about the $10,000 fine or time in jail, but really, she's not as scary as my recruiter said she'd be. Remember that anything you answer "yes" to will require medical documentation, and itdelays the process. You should know this up front, and any medical documentation should have been provided to your recruiter in advance. Waiting until the MEPS trip to do this is not good. It's simply going to result in your disqualification until the medical documentation can be obtained and reviewed.

They will test your hearing, vision, depth perception, and take blood. You will also have to give urine with someone watching you. Yes, this means you'll pee in front of someone. The guys said their person was really watching, but for us girls, the lady just stood there facing us, but looking above us. You will have a short visit with one of the doctors, who will check you out and also ask you if you've ever done drugs or anything like that.

The last part of the physical is in your skivvies. Make sure you wear brief underwear, girls! If you wear a thong, you'll have to go to your liaison and ask for a pair. They'll give you some brand new undines if you do--granny panties! After everyone strips down, they'll weigh you, check your height, and look at the arches in your feet. Then another doctor will come in and watch you perform various exercises like arm circles, a duck walk, and walking on tip toes. I don't know exactly what happens for the guys--I assume it's "turn your head and cough". The girls go one at a time into a small examining room with the doctor and a female NCO (Noncommissioned Officer). The doctor will give you a brief breast exam, check your breathing, feel your lymph nodes, and make you put your feet in the stirrups. He will briefly look at you below. It's not really bad at all.

If you pass everything, you are all done! The Air Force also requires that you lift weights to see how strong you are. This isn't hard, but try not to let them rush you! Now, you're all done, and you can take your physical paperwork to the Main Control Desk. If you haven't yet found out what your ASVAB score was, ask them now. They'll have it in front of them.

Job Counseling

You'll go back to the liaison to let them know you passed the physical inspection, and they may go ahead and job counsel you right there. It just so happens I was the only person processing into the Air Force that day, so I had plenty of time to look at jobs. Try to get an idea of all the jobs before you go to MEPS. Once you find out what you're qualified for, you won't have to ask quite as many questions. You can spend more time deciding which jobs you like best, and put them in order of preference. This may seem like a very rushed time, but do not choose any jobs you wouldn't want to do. It is possible for them to book any of your preferences. On the other hand, be open to new possibilities. I had never imagined myself being part of EOD -- Explosive Ordnance Disposal (blowing up bombs that didn't blow the first time), but I was originally booked in that job. I would have been very happy with that career field, and I had never even known it existed! This is why you should have several job options in mind before you go. (As it turns out, I passed an additional test (the Defense Language Aptitude Battery) that I took in order to become a linguist, so upon my request, they booked me a new job the next day. I had wanted the linguist job the primarily.)

They'll send you to lunch, and hopefully when you're done, they've booked your dream job! If not, don't worry. You'll be put on a Q&W (qualified and waiting) list until your job opens up. After you find out if your job was booked or not, you'll be on your way with your recruiter, or wait on the shuttle.

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