Too many people focus on preparing for the academy, believing it to be the ultimate achievement.  It’s an achievement alright, but the real challenge begins when you hit the streets shortly after graduation. While the police academy is not easy and graduating is definitely a worthy achievement, there are more constructive ways to tackle it and better your experience, and better your life.

Here’s something you’ve probably never heard: The police academy is easy.  Anxiety is your biggest enemy.  To overcome it, you must remember the police academy is in fact easy and the following:

 

1) NO ONE IS TRYING TO KILL YOU.

2) NO ONE IS TRYING TO SUE YOU.

3) PAY ATTENTION.

4) DO WHAT YOU ARE TAUGHT.

 

And the best part:

 

5) THE POLICE ACADEMY WANTS YOU TO SUCCEED.

 

The decisions you make in the academy will never dictate whether or not you make it home at end of watch, and the mistakes you make will not have legal or civil consequences.  Pretty much every aspect of the police academy is designed to keep you on a steady track to success.  Unlike the streets, the academy is a safe environment.  Nothing can hurt you, nothing can harm you.  Your biggest enemy is yourself.

Do you have the resilience to adhere to the police academy’s rules and can you remain cool under pressure?  Knowing the above five bullet points, it should be evident that “pressure” in the academy is not much pressure at all.  However, many recruits don’t seem to think so.  This is because they don’t see the big picture: The police academy is a game in stress management, but the stress is artificial.

It’s important to also note the following in order to gain some perspective. In a world of safe spaces, even police academies have become safe spaces of sorts thanks to law suits and legislation protecting employee rights.  The Millennial experience of the police academy is very different from what senior officers went through.  This article isn’t to speculate if the contemporary police academy is worse or better than its predecessors, but there is definitely more of an academic emphasis, over a stress and physical one.

Nevertheles: The police academy is a game in stress management, but that’s the point.  Enjoy the game.

The most problems you’ll have in the academy will result from your own anxiety.  When people are continually told they can get fired if they don’t meet certain standards, that notion starts to manifest itself as a real possibility.  Just like in high speed driving, your car goes where your eyes are looking.  Don’t stare at the wall you can crash into, look to the open road of your future.  Everything you need to graduate the academy will be taught in the academy, and the academy wants you to succeed.  There are no secrets or special rites, you just have to show up and do what you are taught.

Unless you have a magical alarm clock to teleport you to your appointed place of duty wearing an immaculate uniform and memorizing penal codes gives you an adrenaline rush, the most difficult part of the police academy is:

– Showing up.

– Staying awake.

These two factors are the most difficult because they have to do with your SLEEP, the only time you are not in control. You can only mitigate these problems with advanced planning, while awake.

Once you are at the academy, you sit in a classroom where you are taught everything you need for the tests.  You are told when to work out and when to stop.  Some things like getting tasered or pepper sprayed suck, but pain is temporary, suck it up.  There’s very little critical thinking necessary.  If you are like me and join a department that pays you to go to the academy, then even better: You get paid to pass simple tests, shoot guns, drive fast, and stay fit. (And that’s why the police academy is so much fun.)

In the police academy, you get paid to:

1) Pass simple tests

2) Learn how to shoot guns well.

3) Learn how to drive fast.

4) Exercise and stay fit.

5) Be a badass.

 

I’d like to highlight number 5, you get paid to be a badass.  There are very few jobs that pay you to learn the skills of action heroes.  Perspective is everything but its starts with being grateful for the opportunities and previliges you earn for yourself, whether by chance or sheer work.  Very few people get paid to be a badass.  Once you are in the academy, fuck anyone that looks down on you because you are a recruit, with your silly shaved head wearing a cheap outstretched suit sweaty from all the push-ups you’ve done.  That is some badass shit normal people pay money for.

Lifestyle is the key to success.

Everyone’s heard of “mind over matter,” but it’s easier said than done.  When fitness and nutrition are your lifestyle however, it makes it a whole lot easier to not mind about the stuff that doesn’t matter.

The real challenges begin after the academy.   When no one is setting academic and fitness goals for you are you going to set goals for yourself?  When no one is dictating when you should run and no one is reminding you to eat right, are you going to figure out how to succeed on your own?

Well before I started the police academy I ensured I had some bases covered.  Check the articles below to see some of the things I did to prepare for the academy.

FITNESS

HOW I LOST MY GUT

HOW TO STOP EATING JUNK FOOD

BASIC QUALIFICATIONS