So you graduated college and got commissioned as a United States Marine Corps Officer, but what do you do if the Corps has decided to throw you into the individual ready reserve. If you were fortunate to get an assignment to The Basic School with only a few months to relax then you probably don’t have any worries. Move back home with the parents, or stay around school and keep working your day job. Sadly, that will not be the case for many new officers such as myself. With a 12+ month waiting period ahead of me there is no wonder I started this website in the first place. Fortunately, I am going to do my best to offer some advice to those who are scheduled to twiddle their thumbs for the foreseeable months.
Get a job…SIX+ MONTHS BEFORE YOU GRADUATE!
Chances are you have a desire to put some money in the back, pay off some loans, pay rent, etc. The best, if not only, way you are going to be able to do that is by getting a job. I HIGHLY encourage those of you still in school to start looking months beforehand. Even if you already have a job that you enjoy there is no reason to sell yourself short. The last job I worked at college was doing technical support. I was very happy with the job, people, and better than average $14.00 an hour. However, that did not stop me from searching for new opportunities to use my degree. I applied for a job as a computer engineer in December of 2012. It wasn’t until March of 2013 that I was contacted. A month later I did a series of interviews and two weeks after graduating in June I started as an engineer. I don’t say this to be boastful, rather I want you to understand that it takes a long time to find a good job. If you put it off the opportunities for short term employment will shrink.
Enjoy some time as a fat body
Hopefully you ended senior year in peak physical condition. If so, I would say take some time to live a little. IRR is horrible in so many ways, but it does give us some time to relax and enjoy a purely civilian life. Criticize me in the comments all you want, but I say eat fried pork and drink beer to your hearts desire. There will be a day when you need to turn the fun off and get back in some boots. DON’T SHOW UP TO TBS A FAT BODY!
Travel. Explore. Disappear.
Marines in the ready reserves don’t get much from our military status, but they do get Space-A! If you don’t know, Space-A is a way for service members and their families to travel on military flights at a low cost. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to use this great benefit, but I do know it is available. Consider getting together with some fellow graduates and taking a trip somewhere. It could be a flight across the world, or a road trip for a few days. There will not be another opportunity for you to do this for years. Who knows you might not get the chance to travel freely and without worry until you retire.
There are not a whole lot of reasons for you to be happy about being put in the Individual Ready Reserve for an extensive period of time. My hope is that you will take up a better attitude about the situation and make the most of it. Enjoy time as a civilian and don’t worry too much about TBS. The time will come when the Marine Corps becomes interwoven into your lifestyle so cherish the moments you have left with your families, friends, pets, favorite restaurants, bars, stores, and whatever else you love.