It depends on who you ask…

By 26612 OCdt (I) Claire Matlock

Upon asking First Year Officer Cadets to describe their feelings at the end of this autumn-school term, one of three reactions occurred:

1) Some individuals would reveal a subtle grin and laugh or nod or make an effort to turn the topic of conversation onto the interviewer. These Officer Cadets are generous with their time, seeming to have no shortage of it; this is evident by their well-pressed white uniform shirts and glistening oxfords. They are the keepers of knowledge for both school-related and squadron-related activities. Their optimism regarding this first semester indicates an overall satisfaction with life at present and their ability to excel within the RMC mould. x

2) A tired-looking Cadet would rub their eyes and groan about the workload, unknowingly showing-off their daily effort in a habitual manner: massaging a knot in their sh oulders, re-shifting a heavy school knapsack or patting down their pockets to find their notepad or schedule. These students appreciate the demanding nature of RMC. Coping mechanisms range from coffee to gym-sessions, and from friends to power-naps. They take pride in their ability to complete their duties with growing efficiency. They are intuitive to the intricacies of RMC and think critically about life after school.

3) The Cadet would turn to the fellow-student beside them and look for support in answering the question. Resulting feedback tended to generalize the RMCC experience thus far, including phrases like, “awesome,” and “crazy” and “different than we expected, but just as exciting!” More significant is the manner in which they consoled in someone else to describe their own experience. This speaks volumes about the bonds First Year Officer Cadets have built with each other since meeting in August. A lot has happened in these past few months, and the unifying nature of each lesson learned is enough to trust a fellow partner in crime to answer a question for you.

Collectively, First Year Officer Cadets feel well-integrated into the college. They have figured out how to acquire an extensive list of military kit, handle a C7 rifle, perform drill on a parade, prepare a room for inspection, bond with their roommates, properly mould a beret, mail letters, acquire the best barber come haircut week, find transport to the base medical clinic, get measured at the tailors, prepare the ever-popular cinnamon-toast in the dining hall, write a half-decent essay, sprint up to Fort Henry or venture into downtown Kingston. After exams, Christmas break will come as a welcomed period to relax amidst those homely comforts which, as we add plants and candles and coffee-pots to our dorm-rooms, will not seem as foreign as they once did to our more vulnerable selves a month ago.

Look for more First Year Reflections next week!

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