CAF Story: It’s the end of the beginning for Officer Cadet Marie-Claire Pharand!

Video / August 12, 2016


I'm a person who always makes things a little bigger than they are. So I'm gonna be stressed. For sure I will probably have small cards prepared for the first meeting with my troop about what to say to them. I'm Officer Cadet Marie-Claire Pharand. I'm in fourth year at the Royal Military College of Canada. This weekend is the end of the year event and graduation — practicing all week for the commissioning parade. So lots of drills and long days.

And then we've got the graduation ceremony today. This evening, there's also the sunset parade —  "Sunset Ceremony" as it's called. I chose military college because first, my parents are ex-military, former officers, so I had heard about it. I grew up with some military values, but without really being immersed in them, since my parents had already retired. But when I got to high school, my parents decided to take me there for a visit — just to give me a taste, to show me what it looked like. And it was really interesting. I told myself I would try it: I still had a year to play with, if I didn't like it I could leave. But ultimately, I loved it. I met amazing people. I had many great experiences. So I decided to stay.

Military college is actually not a university like the others — quite the contrary. We have a much busier schedule. We have a lot of things to balance besides just school. As they like to say here, there are four pillars, four central pillars, comprising academic, military, sports, and bilingualism. So you have to juggle all this in addition to going to school and getting a university degree. I'd say that in thinking about being second lieutenant one day there are worries, but there's also excitement — things I'm really looking forward to as an officer. I think first about being extremely young and facing a troop that has a lot of experience as one of my concerns. I want to be respected, so people understand that, yes, I've just started but I can still bring something. You don't want to look awkward and indecisive, that's for sure. Certainly, for me the biggest lesson I learned at military college is not to forget where you come from. I think it's very important to instill that in my subordinates. But also in my peers. We all started as recruits, it wasn't always easy and you must never forget that when assigning tasks or exercises. It also developed our character. We took the best and the good in each of us. I think that really trained us, making us good officers for tomorrow.

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