A change in the wind

For all my best laid plans for 2018, they all just got a serious blow. I was issued a end of tenancy from my landlords because they want to move their daughter into our place. They said that they looked for a different place for her for September but couldn’t find anything. Of course they couldn’t, there won’t be any places up for September until at least July or August.

Kelowna is a hell of a town for trying to find a decent place to live for a decent rent. I love my current place and and I have been there for six years now. I am very upset to be moved out because of this. I have three months to find a unicorn of a new place to live.

That all being said, I have a backup plan. I just happen to work for a company that has the ability for me to work remotely. If I can secure a remote position, even just for a short time, it will allow me to move back in with my family in Sicamous. While I am there, I can put more focus on paying off my debt and help my parents out while I am there.

While I will definitely try to find a place in Kelowna, I no longer need to stress about not having a roof over my head or having to find a place for Dexter, my dog. This is a good place to move forward from.

So, if you are one of my old friends from Sicamous, this is a heads up! You might be seeing me around again and I would very much like to touch base with you.

Nature Connection

Understanding our biology as humans is incredibly important to me. Our bodies are our best teachers in how we connect to our environments. Recent studies show that our bodies are not as equipped to handle the daily stresses we have been putting them into in our new technological and developed age. It’s starting to manifest in symptoms of mental illness such as anxiety.

These days, a doctor will try to subscribe to you a pill to cure your mental illness and treat the symptoms of it rather than trying to figure out what is causing the illness at the root. Now, this is not to discredit some of the more serious mental illnesses that are caused by chemical and hormonal imbalances which do require some more advanced medical help. That being said, those serious mental illnesses still need a deeper level of therapy and understanding in order to cope with them.

I do not have a diagnosed mental illness but I can recognise that I have the symptoms of anxiety and depression. I have seen varying degrees of these symptoms in others and can place myself on a scale of sorts. There are times when I don’t want to leave my house because my will to do so is just not there. Then there are days when all I want to do is be around people, talk with them, and socialize. I am thankful that I am starting to recognize my patterns.

I have been doing some reflecting on where I grew up and what kind of a life I lived in my formative years. I lived out in the countryside and a fairly remote area of my hometown. I spent a lot of time on my own keeping myself company. This is where I developed a very active imagination and a knack for storytelling. The upside to this lifestyle was that I feel very at home with myself and moreover, when I am out in nature. I cannot tell you how many hours I spent outdoors growing up.

Whenever life got too stressful, I would take a walk and sit down by the river that was only a mile away from my home. I would take my dog for protection and that’s it. Somethings don’t change, I still go out into nature with my dog when I need to ground myself. These days, I tend to go to a dog park so that my dog can run around while I sit and meditate. There’s a great one next to a creek just on the outside of town.

Sometimes, all I need is to just sit outside on my patio in order to ground myself after a long stressful day at work. Just sitting and watching my dog play in the backyard or listening to the breeze through the wind chimes is enough for me to feel more relaxed. I will miss being able to do that once winter settles in. Granted, if I wanted to fire up my propane fire pit, I can do that and enjoy the warmth of the fire while listening to the stillness that snow brings.

It’s spring now and the long dark of winter is over. It was a hard winter for me and my dog. We didn’t get outside very much because it was too cold. I managed to escape the worst of winter and go on a trip to Hawai’i with my family. It was nice to get out of the wet and damp for a while. The last few months have been hard though, trying to get out of the slump of winter and a rainy spring.

Today, it was warm enough for me to pull out one of my dresses to wear. I knew that it was a bit of a gamble because of how quickly the weather can change in the spring. I have been able to go outside without a long sleeve shirt or a jacket the past new days. I look forward to getting out to my favorite hiking locations this week to enjoy being out in nature again. I want to reclaim for the areas that I missed due to my depression last spring and summer. I can’t wait until it’s warm enough to go swimming in the lake!

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.

https://www.vero.co/

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