Work hard, play hard: it’s worth the effort
By: 27182 Officer Cadet (IV) Carmen Kiltz
“Do you ever get any free time?” My friend from Queen’s University asked me earlier in the school year, after I had apologetically declined yet another invitation to go to the movies.
“Of course I do!” I said in defence, although when I look back in retrospect, I can understand why students from civilian universities see our student lifestyles at RMC as über busy.
Generally, a typical day from the perspective of a more fitness-oriented Officer Cadet involves rising before the sun comes up to train, heading to classes first thing at 0800hrs, breaking for lunch, and staring at overhead projector power point lectures until you become cross-eyed. This is followed by more training until dinner, and you are ready to start homework around 1930.
Well, I shouldn’t say “ready” because you’re actually more prepared to go to sleep, but this is your only opportunity to really hone in on your learning- so sleep takes second place.
But wait! Suddenly you remember that you have an inspection tomorrow, so you pull out your dress shirt and pants that you forgot to take out of the dryer and get to work. Your study session gets pushed back to 2100hrs. You’re finished when you see your own reflection looking back at you on ultra-shiny boots. It’s time to carry on and hit the books.
When the information doesn’t sink in any more, and you begin counting sheep more than working through algebra or writing the discussion of a lab report, then the day is over. Morning may come only too fast, and you’re up again, doing the daily grind!
This typical day, of course, omits all leadership and a lot of military or extracurricular- related time, so as you head into your senior years, your schedule is practically bulging at the seams.
With such a tight schedule, no wonder your civilian university friends stop asking you to hang out with them. It’s just not feasible.
It’s not all work and no play, however. Often, cadets are “rewarded” with life-changing, unique experiences as a result of their work, and when a spare moment of time does surface, it is so precious that it is absolutely impossible not to take complete advantage of it.
Unique or life-changing opportunities come in many forms- whether it be learning on exchange at the United States Naval Academy (USNA), a trip with your varsity team to compete in Belgium, conducting military exercises with the Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR), or hiking Mount Washington with the Expedition Club. Rest-assured that those who take part in these experiences have no regrets, and will likely put in even more work to achieve such an opportunity again. As such, officer Cadets may develop a special appreciation for their daily “hectic” schedule.
The important lesson which is derived from having so little free time is that when a moment of space does open up, we are more likely to take advantage of it, because it is a rare thing!
There are plenty of examples of cadets making the most of their spare time.
This summer especially, the cadets staying on campus have more breathing room, and can afford to get off the peninsula on a daily basis (quite unlikely during the school year).
At last they can explore the surrounding city, and discover places and cultivate passions they never knew existed. On weekends they can afford to go farther- visit family and friends they don’t often see or just take a step back and enjoy the summer.
The combination of working hard and playing hard builds us a background of rich and exciting experiences. This in turn is influential on others in a positive manner, and it makes it very clear in many of our minds that putting in the effort is truly worth it.