… you probably have a lot of questions.
First of all, let me state this: I only know about my experience, and I can only speak to that. Police academies all different; different lengths, different demands, different intensities. My experience is with a partner attending a very demanding academy, which requires most of his time, energy and thought. We don’t have any children at this point- it’s just us. I hope if you are with someone who is attending or wants to attend the academy, you’ll be able to find some comfort with the following words!
From the moment he was invited to apply, I was proud, confused, concerned, terrified, excited, happy, nervous, scared… I had a Rolodex of emotions flying through my brain, and I know I wasn’t the only one. What was going to change? Will he be okay? And all of this came at a time of very tense conflict with law enforcement in our country.
I cried a lot. A lot. My parents would ask me how I’m doing and I’d grin, because I was proud and excited, at the same time my eyes would fill with tears (speaking to the terrified part). Then the academy started, I learned some coping tactics, and my fears were mostly laid to rest. Now, I cry because I’m so proud! (If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a crier. No shame.)
The academy is only the beginning. After graduation, there will be an entire new chapter to get used to, but don’t worry about that yet. My fiancé tells people I’m going through the academy too- and while I’m not in the classroom, I am learning a lot about being a good (future) wife of an officer.
Now, we are more than halfway through his academy. It’s been a demanding few months, but I’ve learned a lot! Here are some of those lessons…
- Get a hobby.
You’ll probably be spending a lot of time without your partner. Find something to do that you enjoy, friends to hang out with, recipes to try… whatever makes you happy!
- Let them sleep.
This was the advice their instructor gave us on the academy’s family orientation. This is also why the above point is so important.
- If you’re scared, find faith.
One of the greatest bits of advice I received was to find faith to help me cope. I don’t mean find religion; I mean find faith.
You have to realize that the cause of your fear is out of your control, and all you can do is have faith they’ll return safely to you every day. Whatever that faith looks like to you, it’s going to help.
- Offer your help when you can.
Don’t do their work. I cannot stress enough how important this phase of their career is- this is where they learn how to stay safe so they can come home to you at the end of every shift. If they need help being quizzed on their spelling lists, that’s one thing, but it’s not okay to write their essays or encourage them to cut corners.
Do pack their lunches (it’s the little things). Do take on household responsibilities when you can. One of the best parts about having a partner-in-life is that there’s someone who wants to make your life easier. Right now, you’re probably going to be the person who does that the most.
- That being said, don’t let them forget to appreciate you!
You’re going to be putting in a lot of hard work and making sacrifices so their dreams come true. It’s worth it, believe me, but it’s taxing! A simple gesture of appreciation goes a long way in making things easier.
I’m not going to sugar coat this: academy life is hard. I can only imagine officer life is even more difficult.
I do know one thing, however: it’s worth it. It’s worth it to watch the person you love realize their dreams. It’s worth it when they look at you and thank you for everything you do. It’s worth it to marry someone who cares so much for people who, sometimes, couldn’t care less about him or his life, or even worse, downright hate him. My heart swells with pride every time I kiss him goodbye in the morning.
Good luck with your journey. Congratulations on taking it. ❤