Royal Canadian Mounted Police
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Graduation Day: A Look Back

“Sweat and blood rewarded by pride and honour”

Graduating troop in red serge on the Parade Square

2005-12-05

Graduation day started on Sunday with the troop, along with family and friends, attending church services early in the morning. Oh what fun it was to be out in the cold on this fine Sunday morning in my walking-out order (skirt and pumps, and a silk-lined Serge) in -30°C temperatures! Monday proved to be a little warmer but still chilly. At least I got to wear warmer clothes. The morning started with one final Drill class in order to prepare for the day’s graduation events.

In the morning, graduation began with the signing of the oaths and swearing-in ceremony. Lunch and the final S/M’s Parade was followed by our final Drill performance and the badge presentations. To end the day, we had our graduation banquet. All in all, a long day, but well worth it. It's somewhat bittersweet. On the one hand, it marks the beginning of something new and the end of many days of hardship, but it also indicates the end of our time together as a troop. It's somewhat sad to think that we've all been so close over the last 24 weeks and in just a few short hours we'll all be off to different parts of our vast country.

Looking back over my time at Depot, I've made some interesting inferences: firstly, attending Depot is like a really long job interview where you're being evaluated 24/7 for 24 weeks straight. During this time everybody wants a piece of you - each discipline requires extra work and commitment and the question always remains. Can each cadet juggle accordingly? Often you feel like you're facing or stuck in a tidal wave - the sink or swim principle. Everything is a test and often it's not about what you do, it's about how you do it. Throughout the process, you're assessed on cognitive skills and practical abilities, but mainly it’s a test of stamina and endurance. How do you respond to pressure, frequent change and uncertainty?

Depot is also a true test of your interpersonal skills. I quickly established a good rapport with my troopmates. You essentially have little choice but to get along with your “new family” as you need to rely on them for help and collaborative efforts, just as they rely on you. Although there were numerous occasions over the 24 weeks where we found ourselves at odds (as is to be expected from a group that spends every waking hour together), you need to work through your conflicts/differences and move on. There is no room for constant conflict, no time for childish behaviour, and certainly no tolerance for grudges - that kind of negativity is usually to the detriment of several parties! As time is scarce, the sooner this realization becomes clear, the easier everything gets for all those involved.

The point I believe they're trying to get across is that being a Regular Member of the RCMP is not just a job, it's a way of life and Depot is supposed to prepare you for this kind of commitment and dedication. Many will tell you they enjoyed their time at Depot all the while admitting that it was a challenge. This is a case where the ends justify the means, and in the end, it's all worth it!