In my first few weeks here, I've formed some opinions, merely by scoping out the lay of the land and dealing with clients. For one, I've noticed how very small the Marine Corps is. Every day, I'm running into Marines I knew from Officer Candidate School (OCS), The Basic School (TBS) or Naval Justice School (NJS). All those experiences provide us with a common ground to build further camaraderie.
Next I learned there are so many resources available on base to learn a new skill. Our gym has a rock climbing wall in the middle of it; you can take an archery or car maintenance class if you want to; there's a job fair going on today for Marines that are about to EAS (end of active service). I'm using MarineNet to learn French and eventually take the DLPT (Defense Language Proficiency Test) for extra nontaxable income.
Finally, with the current market, I would caution you to ONLY buy a house in the area if you intend on returning to it after you are done with the Marine Corps. In this area, there are so many Marines who bought a house because their mortgage payment (with no money down) ended up being cheaper than paying for a rental. But they failed to think about the cost of ownership. With home ownership, all maintenance, association, and upkeep fees are theirs, with a rental, the landlord bears the burden. Additionally, once they PCS (permanent change of station) after 3 years (it is nearly inevitable), they inadvertently become landlords or decide they want to get rid of the house. But at this point, they are stuck because no one wants to buy it. I see at least a dozen "For Sale" or "For Rent" signs driving back home from work.
What are some insights you've picked up on from reporting to a new duty station?