RCMP Career Update

I had my recruitment meeting today. The two recruitment officers were both women which I felt was good for me to hear about their experiences over the last 15-20 years in the RCMP.

Good news, I don’t have to to the exam because I have my degree. Bad news, the application process takes a full year to complete after you have put in your application.

I also don’t have to do the PARE until after I have finished cadet training, which takes 26 weeks to complete. I will need to still bring myself up to a more healthy standard. Now that I know it’s going to take a year to complete the application, I have time to do that. I will just keep on my current regiment of gym activity and keep increasing it over the next few months. I don’t think I will need a personal trainer to do that but I may take a practice exam just to see if I am close to the PARE level before I get into it. Now where am I going to find a 100 lbs bag to carry around?

I will need to study for the aptitude test and get ready for it. There’s also a polygraph test, which is both cool and scary. There’s a few other things that I will have to do as well but it’s all part of the application process.

This is all feeling very real now and I am glad that I went to the recruitment meeting today. The room was packed with people and most of them were women. I was glad to not be the only woman there. I gained a lot of personal insight as to what my life will be like in the RCMP and to be honest, I am pretty excited about it. It’s going to be a major change in my life but if I don’t do it now, I won’t do it at all.


Down the Reddit Rabbit Hole

I have been resisting creating a Reddit account for a few years now because I am one of those people who has a tendency to “Follow the White Rabbit” all the way down the hole of the internet. I cannot tell you how many days of my life I have lost to following links on Wikipedia alone.

I recently came to the conclusion that browser and Pinterest searches only end up yielding the same results time and time again. I decided it was time to give Reddit a try and holy hell, I think I am in love, I mean, as much as one can be in love with a web forum.

I have been keeping my interests specific for the time being. There’s a project that I have been working on for a few months now that I have not talked about to anyone. It’s sort of a pet project that I hope to build up some more content for before I start sharing it. I don’t want to give anything away about it yet.

Yes, I am still working on my career path towards joining the RCMP but I am one of those people who needs a creative outlet. Blogging only takes me so far when it comes to stretching my writing legs. After completing the NaNoWriMo project last November, I built up enough confidence that I can follow a writing project through to the end.

What I am working on will be a multimedia project that will include writing, photography, music, and maybe even film. The end goal of the project is to create a multilevel experience. I have even been playing with the idea of building a mobile app to go along with it. I found a great MIT site that makes it easy to learn to code. I have also been doing some research for it on Reddit and have picked some specific subcategories that are related to the theme/setting of the project.

I can give you a hint as to what I am working on. The inspiration for is coming from authors like George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein, Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, and Isaac Asimov. Also, I have already begun to publish it on a top secret website under a nom de plume. So hiding somewhere on the internet is this pet project.

I will have more on this as soon as I feel that there is something worth sharing.

Career Planning: Part III

I had a successful meeting with the academic planner at the Okanagan College a couple of weeks back. There was good news and bad news though. The bad news was that none of the courses I took are eligible for transfer to the Okanagan College (lame). The good news is that I don’t actually need to go back to school to apply at the RCMP or other police forces.

I have a new plan of action as a result of this information:

  1. Increase physical fitness to pass the PARE test
  2. Study for the entrance exam
  3. Attend the recruiter meetings for RCMP
  4. Do the practice exams
  5. Do the practice PARE tests
  6. Apply at RCMP

The time scale for this is to apply by no later than next year. Ideally, I would like to start as soon as possible but I know that I need a great deal of physical training in order to prepare for this.

The academic advisor recommended that I get accepted to the police force first then use opportunities with the force to go back to school to upgrade. I think it is a brilliant idea. I still want to take criminology studies and there’s opportunities to take courses online through Thompson River University.

So, I am going “back to school” right away but it’s a school of my own curriculum. I have a study guide for the written exam and I might be hiring a personal trainer for the PARE exam. I will have to weigh that out as a trainer is costly. For the most part, I know what I need to do and I have friends who have offered to help me train (bonus for them because they get to train too). I am currently doing my own 12 week plan for increasing my fitness level.

I have not ruled out taking a few courses up at UBC-O though. I am currently enrolled as an “unclassified student”, which means that I can register for regular classes after all the current undergrads have registered for theirs. I am looking at taking some sociology and psychology courses that fit in with criminology studies. If I have not made any significant advancements in applying to the RCMP, then I will take one or two classes from UBC-O and just juggle my work schedule around them.

I have to say thank you to everyone who has been supportive of my plans to return to school and apply at the RCMP. For some, it was a surprise that I would be making this dramatic of a career change and I understand that. Those of you who have known me the longest weren’t all that surprised more like, about time!

I feel good about my future plans and to be honest, I like having a plan. For the last few years, I haven’t had any long term plans about my life and working career. I had some financial plans which I have managed to complete. The only thing that I feel a little apprehensive about is my age. While I know that thirty five is not that old, I still feel like I am a little late coming to the game. I had never planned on making a career out of working in the tech or gaming industry, I don’t have a passion for it.

My goals in life are not based around making money, buying a house, or getting married. I have always been driven by creativity, learning, and discovery. Jobs that offer those are few and far between. Working in law enforcement isn’t about catching criminals, it’s about upholding the laws of the nation I live in. There’s a deeper root to the job than making money and that’s what is appealing to me. I only wish I could start tomorrow.

Getting Down to the Nitty Gritty

It’s almost incomprehensible how much work I have ahead of me in applying to the RCMP. I have been going over the application process and there’s so much more involved than I had even imagined previously. First off, the screening process alone is intensive and then there’s the aptitude testing and physical requirements.

I imagine that if my whole life had been based around getting ready for this, I would have a much easier time of it. There’s a ton of resources available on the RCMP website in regards to what I need to know in order to apply. Whoever has been building up this site has done a pretty good job of making the process transparent. As of right now, I am not %100 sure that I have all the it takes to be an RCMP officer but I have some pretty good ideas on how I can get myself there. I think that I will start with the application process, at the very worst, I find out what I am currently lacking and at best, I get to start in on training right away.

Back up to this, would be attending school in the new year with the Okanagan College for the criminology and social justice program. All the while, keep up with my physical fitness training and then try applying again the following year with the RCMP. There’s about a six month application process for getting into the RCMP and it doesn’t cost me anything to try.

If I do manage to make it into the RCMP, I will be the first one in my family to have gone into law enforcement. From a clan that became famous for setting up the Black Watch in Scotland, it seems only natural that eventually, someone would want to return to those roots. I always have had an overdeveloped sense of justice and a firm believe in the rule of law. Not that I think those laws could stand a little changing now and then. Laws themselves are often political in nature and it’s up to the people to decide when it’s time to change those laws. Officers just need to make sure that while they are in action, the laws are enforced.

There are some opportunities to work with the RCMP in a civilian capacity that I am looking into. All of them would require me to move someplace remote. While not ideal, I can see myself doing that. There’s a telecommunications training opportunity that looks promising. Not to mention, I already have ten years of experience in the field.

In the meantime, I am using my current gym membership time to get ready for the Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation (PARE). They have a great outline of how to train for PARE on the RCMP website.

I am currently working on strengthening my right hamstring which was weakened from an injury in 2013. It’s only been two weeks and I already notice a big change in my leg. I need to work up to being able to run for 60 minutes a week. Right now, I am spending time on the electric bike and the elliptical machine. It’s my plan to alternate between days at the gym and yoga at home.

I have a feeling that my yoga training is going to be a big help in a career in law enforcement. While I may never see a return income directly for my training, I think that the valuable content that I learned in both regards to mental and physical health. It may even be more beneficial than my degree.

Clara D Munro

Deactivating Facebook

The time has come to deactivate my Facebook account. After the recent whistleblower and the amount of advertising I have been seeing, I rarely see anything positive being shared on Facebook anymore. I might have grown beyond the uses of Facebook and perhaps shortly following, Instagram.

I realize that many of my contacts, both family and friends, are on Facebook but I have decided that if they truly need to contact me, they can do it through phone, text, or email. I have also left it open for access to the Messenger app on my phone. I realize that 90% of my contacts were on the Messenger app and it makes sense to keep that. I didn’t make any kind of dramatic announcement on Facebook about it, I just decided enough was enough and closed the account.

After 30 days, all of my information will be gone from the account and unless Facebook starts putting up some stronger personal information protections, I will not be rejoining it. I doubt at this point that I will even after that. Too many years of bad experiences has left the platform with a bad taste in my mouth.

I have a feeling that more and more people will be doing exactly that I have done and removed themselves from Facebook. It’s been a dying platform for a long time now. If more scandals and breaches of privacy show up, you will likely see more people cutting their losses with the service.

I am testing out a new kind of social media, Vero, which will be using a subscription basis for their platform. Currently, I use a subscription to watch movies/TV online and stream music, so it’s not much of a leap for me looking to try that same model for social media. I have no idea if this platform will take off but if it does, it might just be what our future needs. I recommend that you try the app out to see if you like it. You can look me up at Clara D. Munro.


Back on Campus

I made my way back up to my old university campus today. It was the first time I had been back there since my graduation in 2008. I had an enlightening conversation with an academic adviser about my previous degree and my plans for going into law enforcement. I also picked up my alumni card and updated my campus login information.

I was able to review both my high school and university transcripts. They paint an interesting picture about my academic career. I did not recall graduating high school with honors, so that was a nice surprise. Those marks are so good, that I could apply to pretty much any university in the country on them alone.

The first part of my university transcript reflects that stellar academic record but the second half, well, let’s just say I was going through some serious young adult shit at the time. I even had an entire class that I forgot to go to. I mean, that’s the kind of nightmares people have about school but me, I actually did it. I should be horrified that I managed to screw up a perfectly good transcript but it’s been ten years, what the fuck am I going to do about it now? The adviser says that I only need to get ten more credits in 300 or 400 level courses to make up for those marks. Which is good because I found out that I am eligible to take 3rd and 4th years psychology and sociology courses.

I have one more academic adviser meeting at the Okanagan College regarding the criminology and social justice diploma program. After taking a look at my old OUC transcript, I have a good portion of the first and second semester sociology, psychology, and English requirements completed. I just hope that the credits are transferable. It would be nice not to have to redo any of those courses. Mind you, it wouldn’t be so bad to have a refresher in both sociology and psychology.

The best part of the conversation was finding out about a contact with the RCMP recruiter and advise on how to find out what they are looking for. I may not need to actually go back to school because my previous degree might be enough when combined with my current work experience. While I have the option to return to school, I may not need to if I happen to have what the RCMP are looking for right now. Any if I don’t, I have an action plan to get there. Either way, I win.

Academic Planning

I made some progress this past week by calling up the academic advisers at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan and the Okanagan College to set up appointments with both institutions to chat about returning to school.

I have been running through some ideas of what I would like to pursue and I keep coming back to a possible future in law enforcement. There’s a Criminal and Social Justice diploma program with the Okanagan College that looks promising. It would open up the way for further education at larger institutions like SFU or BCIT for further police studies in criminology. However, I would like to meet up with the advisers at UBC-O to see if there’s a similar program with them.

I suppose, if you don’t know me all that well, the idea of me being interested in criminology and law enforcement seems like it’s coming out of left field.The thing is, I have always been interested in it since I was in high school when I was taking law. Even when I look back at the courses I picked in my first few years of university (sociology, psychology, history, anthropology) I could already see a pattern forming. If I had not been on the path towards teaching and a degree in history, I might have switched to criminology sooner.

Ten years later, I keep coming to law enforcement and a possible career path. It’s the one that I am most attracted to at this point but before I make any commitments, I am going to be having these meetings with the academic advisers and I have a seminar with the RCMP recruiter in April to look at what I might need to pursue a career with them. Needless to say, I finally have a goal in mind that I am excited about and one that won’t require too much in the way of further education or financial investment.

Had I gone down the path of getting my teaching degree, I would need at least two years of catch up courses at the college and then another eighteen months in the teaching certification course. All and all it could end up costing me another twenty thousand or more. Where as the social justice and criminology diploma would only cost maybe ten thousand and there is the option to go either right into law enforcement or if I wanted to specialize into specifics, I can apply at BCIT or SFU.

I am not limited to RCMP once I have the education. I can apply at VPD or other government agencies involved in law enforcement including bylaw, security, or even private investigation. All of which hold interest to me. I don’t want to rush my interests though. I want to give myself time to absorb the information and find out what I have a natural aptitude for.

I have ordered a copy of the latest edition of The Oxford Handbook of Criminology to give myself food for thought and find out if I truly am interested in criminology before I make any more investments of my money and time. Unlike when I went to university the last time, I want to make sure I know exactly what I am doing this time so that I don’t waste anyone’s time or money. So far, I have only invested $65 into this venture with the purchase of the textbook.

On the upside to all of this, my degree in history will be beneficial to a career in law enforcement. At the very least, I can show that I have what it takes to finish something that I started and to find new applications for the knowledge that I have gained. I know that this time, no matter what I choose to return to school for, I will be a much better student and likely more driven than I was when I was in my twenties. I am even willing to pick up more student debt in order to make this happen if it means that I can start as early at January 2019.

~Clara D. Munro

An Internet of Lazy Writers

Symbolbild-Jean-B-Fotoliacom-Foto-Jean-B-Fotoliacom-466546I am a bit of a news and information junkie. I spend a good portion on my day looking over the days news stories in the Google browsers. I am pretty sure that my news is being tailored to my browsing history and for the most part only shows me things that I am interested in, which is great most of the time but every once and a while it shows me absolute garbage.

I have noticed a trend, and it’s not a new trend, of writers and journalists not taking the time to properly research topics before posting articles or they just take information from other sources and repost it without even bothering to get their own information. I am as guilty as the next writer of taking information from internet sources as citations and it’s quite lazy. It’s lazy because I know better and I have access to more credible sources but it’s so much easier to just grab a link and use that as source material. Most of the time when I write, I just use personal opinion rather than citation because I tend to forget where I read my facts. This is a habit I need to get out of as I inch closer to going back to school where that kind of lazy writing is not looked well upon.

Essay writing has never been my strong point. The benefit to keeping a regular blog like this is I get a chance to keep up with the practice of essay writing, even if they are just mini essays. Don’t be too surprised that if in the next few months you start seeking more legitimate citations and footnotes in my writing. It’s going to be rough at first but I figure, my writing can only benefit from improving my notations and finding more legitimate sources to reference.

Clara D. Munro

Future Career Pathways

While traveling in Hawaii this January, I met a couple who are retired and spend their time traveling around the United States. When I explained to them that I am a dual citizen of both Canada and the United States, they told me that I have the best of both worlds. It’s true, I feel privileged to be able to claim citizenship to two of the most well known democracies around the world.

With that privilege, there comes responsibilities though. Not only do I have to keep up to date with current politics and affairs in the city, province, and nation that I live in but also the nation in which I don’t. If you think keep up to date with politics in your own country is hard, try keeping up to date with two. Being an active member of the democratic process is difficult in an age with so much misinformation spreading through the internet like a virus. You can’t trust information from just one news source, you have to keep looking at different ones to get some resemblance of the full picture.

As a student of history, I know that eventually the truth will come out but that certainly doesn’t help in the moment when decisions and opinions are being made in the now. As much as I would like to be able to see the whole picture right away, I have to make my own best guesses as to which horse to hitch my cart to in any political race. When I was filling my paperwork to take possession of my US citizenship, I was asked to pick my political party right there. I honestly didn’t know much about which party supported what when I did, so I picked my mother’s party, the Democrats. From what I knew from my observations of Republicans in the early 2000s, I figured that Democrats were the closest to Canadian Liberals as I could get but in reality, what a liberal is to Americans is very different than what it is to a Canadian.

Last week, I had an enlightening discussion with a Bostonian. Hearing his points of view and politics in the United States and finding out what a liberal is to him, got me thinking about how much of my own political views are influenced by Canadian thinking. There was a point in the conversation when he asked if I felt so passionate about history, sociology, and politics, why I didn’t go on to study it further. My answer was simple, money. Thinking back on it now, my real reason was I ran out of stream for the university, I just wanted out. I needed to live in the real world for a while and grow up a bit.

After that conversation, I started thinking more about what my passions are and what kind of a future they can give me. With music, I am enjoying challenging myself on a daily basis to get better at the guitar. For me, music will always be the slow burn in the background of my life but not my focus. In regards to writing, I think that I will continue to write in my blogs about subjects that I am interested in and I am passionate about. I don’t think it will be a career for me but more of an ongoing project. Then there is my certification as a yoga instructor. There’s a game new yoga teachers have to play in order to find teaching opportunities that I am just not willing to play anymore. I will always have my certification to teach yoga, no one can take that from me. At this point, I am using it to continue my own yoga path but as far as going out of my way to teach more, I will put that on hold. I believe that I have gotten a world of value out of my teaching certification that was as valuable as my history degree, if not maybe more so.

This brings me back to my degree in history and what can I do with it. I have been tossing around ways to build on my degree but after hours of countless deliberations, I am brought back to one simple revelation: I need to focus point of direction. Getting the degree was the easy part, figuring out what to do with it was hard part. Ever since I finished up my degree in 2008, I have been waffling for a direction and how to use the degree appropriately.

I have been looking at changing careers for a long time now. I don’t want to just run out and get more education if I don’t know what I want to do though. I have been contemplating what to do next. My first instinct was to finish my education degree but now I am thinking that career might not be best suited to me. I am tossing around a few other ideas but I don’t want to share them yet as I have a feeling people may try to talk me out of them. The last thing that I want is someone trying to influence me before I have come to my own opinion on the matter.

What I do know is that I will likely need to upgrade my degree somewhat, it’s just a matter of deciding on how I want to do that. My first step is upgrading some of my adult basic education in English and Math. After that, I will need to bring up my university GPA with ten credits, which is a full semester of courses from 400 level classes. After I bring up the GPA, I may consider applying at other Universities outside Canada. If I can be the good student I know that I can be, I may be able to achieve bursaries to cut down on further debt.

Figuring out a plan of action at this point seems to be the next logical step. I have some ideas of how to move forward but I don’t want to do so until I figured out the next career path. I have some seminars that I am going to attend to learn more about prospective careers and I am going to go up to the university to get my alumni card and talk with an educational counselor there about what do next as far as how to expand on my degree.

~Clara D. Munro

Confessions of an Undiagnosed Learning Disability

I have had trouble articulating how I feel into words for as long as I can remember being able to write. I struggle with spelling and grammar. I just can’t remember the order in which letters go in unless I write them out a million times and even then, I am just remembering the pattern in which I spell out the letters. It comes from what is likely an undiagnosed dyslexia and dysgraphia. Trust me when I say that 90% of the words I write often have a little red line under them.

For a long time, I was embarrassed to show anyone my writing because of my fear of them discovering my flaw. I was actually ashamed of it. Everyone else I knew what so much better at grammar and spelling that it made me feel like I was somehow defective. Don’t even get me started on reading aloud or mathematics. If my ability to write was bad, you should have seen my math scores or listen to me try to recite poetry. I distinctly remember a time in high school when I was asked to read Shakespeare aloud and it was a train wreck. Hard to believe that I was any good at choir because I had a hell of a time remembering lyrics. The tune was easy but the lyrics would always get messed up. Somehow, I managed to ace music but barely pass subjects like math and English. I have been resistant to improving my basic grammar and math skills but I decided that it was time to change that.

I have enrolled in the adult basic education program at the Okanagan College for the summer sessions. I am just waiting on hearing back from the school to get more details. Last year, the government declared that all adult education classes are now free. There are a few things that I would like to re-learn: English Grammar, Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry. I fully intend to get a better understanding of all of them.

Why am I doing this? For one, I am bored. For two, I don’t have enough saved up for collage yet. I have also been out of the school game for almost ten years now and I have a feeling I need to remember how to be a student again. I figure, it can’t hurt to improve my knowledge of the foundations of education. If I do return to university to pursue further education, I want to know that I am at the top of my game again.

In preparation for this, I am looking into seeking assistance for how to strength the visual and kinetic skills I need to cope with my dyslexia and dysgraphia. I took a little online test from the point of view of a parent who has concerns about their child’s apparent learning disability. I was brutally honest about the answers to the survey about my experiences from both childhood and symptoms I still suffer from today. In doing so, I was able to find some clarity about what I have been struggling with for the last thirty years. I have noticed that there are not a lot of resources out there for adults learning to cope with dyslexia and dysgraphia, so if you know of a resource, I would appreciate the help.

Clara D. Munro