While many enlist in the U.S. military as a way to put off higher education in favor of having the government pay for it later, serving in its ranks is certainly a learning experience.

You attend basic training or boot camp, then whatever MOS school, and after that, the training never seems to end. But what they won’t tell you in your recruiter’s office is the amount of informal education you’ll receive at the hands of Uncle Sam. Here are some of the strangest skills you might acquire from the military.

1. How to mop the rain

2. Survive without any sleep for days on end

3. Arrive early to arriving early so you can hurry up and wait

4. Cut your own hair

5. Embrace the suck

6. Eat stuff that probably doesn’t qualify as food

7. How to roll your socks and underwear

8. Make 30 minutes of actual work look like eight hours of diligence

9. Push paper

10. How to down a case of Wild Tiger without going into cardiac arrest

11. What to do, and not do, at a strip club

12. Sew like a seamstress

13. Cook a five course meal in a microwave

14. Cohabitate with black mold

15. Cohabitate with a slew of pests, including, but not limited to, mice and cockroaches

16. Carry your mate home from the bar in a fireman hold

17. Give yourself a bath with baby wipes

Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.

Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.

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