Recruiting to the Military for me was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. I am Canadian so the process is different than the USA. The Canadian Forces don’t go around to High Schools and recruit everyone graduating, that I was aware of anyhow. You can go down to their headquarters and apply when you become of age. But offices are usually down town and you have to actually make an effort to go to them.
I was recruited when I was 32. I was sitting with some other single moms watching a hockey game at a local sports bar. Two uniformed city Police came in and were conducting a bar walk through. Next thing I knew these two men were talking to the four of us single moms. One of them spoke to me and asked the typical questions:
“What did you take in university?”
“What do you do for work?”
I told him I took Police Sciences he then asked why I wasn’t in the Police Service. I told him I was a single mom and couldn’t work shift work because I had no help with my daughters. He then asked me if I’ve ever considered becoming a Military Police Officer. I told him I honestly never really thought about it. He then gave me his card and asked me to set up a meeting so we could talk about it more.
I thought about this opportunity and tossed and turned a lot over this idea. Could I really join the Military at my age?
I decided to meet with him and he told me all about the recruitment process. He was in fact the Military Police Recruiter for our area. 14 MP PL. He told me that once you hand in your disclosure documents etc. (This stack of papers was an inch high). That I shouldn’t be expecting call sooner than six months. I guess it takes that long to go through the paperwork etc.
Which was good news for me because I needed to work on the whole “Pushup” idea. I always went to the gym but to this day can’t remember when I last did one before that age. Likely high school which I graduated in ’96.
Well I dropped off my disclosure and recruitment documents and began to focus on my “pushup plan”. I worked full time, was a single mom, and had a few part time jobs just to make ends meet.
Three days later……THREE DAYS!!! I received a call from the Canadian Military asking if I could set up a time to write the CFAT. Canadian Forces Aptitude Exam. This is an exam that you are allowed to write once. Your score on this exam depicts what area in the military you can apply or be approved for. For Military Police I needed to score a 19. It’s the second highest score in the Military. Medics being higher.
They set this up for a few weeks out and wanted to set up the physical exam for a week out from that. This was way to fast I thought. I still cant do a pushup I thought. So I did what anyone would do in my situation. I hired a tutor, to refresh my high school math skills. And hired a personal trainer to help me learn how to do a successful pushup.
The personal trainer I hired had never worked with someone to just do push-ups. Haha. I was so uncoordinated that she literally had to stand above me in push-up position and hold my hips to show me how to do it properly 🙈. Yes, I was that challenged lol.
Well, the aptitude exam came and went and I scored off the chart. With my score I could have joined any division I wanted. I was thrilled. All I wanted to do was join the MPs and now all I had to do was pass my physical.
I set up my physical exam and should have kept it to myself. I had the MP recruiter peeking in. This just added to my stress.
I did all the areas I needed to complete and realized that I needed to do the pushups with my shoes on. Heck, I only practiced in bare feet and could only do the minimum required at this point. Remember I just barely learned how to do this correctly.
The instructor had me demo for the teen male that was also doing his exam with me. I was so frustrated cause I think she should have demoed it. I knew I didn’t even have two extra to burn on a demo!
Well my turn came and I tanked. I was devastated. Can you believe I failed? I still don’t like to admit it but I want people to see that even competitors have learning experiences where they fail.
I asked the instructor when I could do the exam again. She said two weeks but that she believes I needed 4-8 weeks realistically to prep for this. Claimed I had no abs! Haha. This lady was so fluffy I didn’t think she had any say in my Ab condition but I kept my opinion and reaction professional.
I said I’d be back in two weeks. She said I only had one more free exam then it would cost. I said that’s ok, I’ll be back every two weeks until I pass. That this wasn’t a matter of if I ever pass but when I will pass. But I knew I wouldn’t tell anyone on my Military Platoon that I was doing it. I didn’t need added stress.
I made it my mission to work harder than I ever have on pushups. Military pushups start flat and you have to have your hands under your shoulders. If you stop to breathe you’re done. You start flat and keep going until your minimum level for you age is achieved. No stopping. No touching the ground. Nothing.
Well two weeks came and went and guess what? I did it. I passed my fitness test for the Military. She was so impressed she gave me mad respect. I was so glad I didn’t give up. Just because you fail at something doesn’t mean your done. It just means you need to refocus and try harder. We can do anything we put or minds to.
P/C Liz Cranmer