Royal Roads Military College (RRMC)  

Royal Roads Military College Mess Dinner Photo 1978

Writing Formal Exams at RRMC

Academics at Military College
There is no doubt about it, Royal Military College offers a very academically rigorous program of study. Typically students at RMC carry seven subjects as opposed to 4 or 5 that civilian university carry. In addition all students must take a Military Leadership and Management course each semester as well as a demanding Physical Fitness courses.  There are challenging one hour mid-term exams in each course and formal 3-hour exams at Christmas and Year-End. The photo at the right shows a typical formal exam setting. There is a formal exam protocol where students sit quietly as the exams are placed on the desk in front of them. They are forbidden to even touch the exam booklet until the supervising professor directs the class to begin the exam. 

Graduation Ball ... click here!
Grad Ball

Formal Events
All cadets, both those in the Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTP) and those like myself in the University Training Plan Men (UTPM), must attend a number of formal social events. One of the most prominent special events are the formal Balls that occur twice per year. There is a Christmas Ball and a Graduation Ball each year. These are very formal events complete with a receiving line. All cadets wear their best uniforms, UTPM cadets in their military uniforms and ROTP cadets in their best red surge uniform. For the receiving line everyone, including our guests, had to wear white gloves.

Royal Roads Military College Mess Dinner Photo 1978

Mess Dinner at RRMC in 1978

In addition to the two formal Balls each year there are two formal mess dinners to attend. A mess dinner is a very formal setting with a rigorous protocol. It starts by everyone lining up in pairs and marching into the dining room and then standing behind their chairs to wait for the President of the Mess to sit first. Once seated there are five courses to be served. Everyone waits until the last person is served and then watches the Mess President to begin the course before eating. At the end of the dinner the port wine is passed around before the speeches begin.  During this entire process that can last three hours no one is allowed to leave the table so its very important to use the washroom before the dinner.

Receiving Commissioning Scroll ... click here!

The final formal event is by far the most intense - the Graduation Parade - especially when you are one of the graduates. This takes hours and hours of practice in the months leading up to graduation and the parade itself usually lasts 2 to 3 hours.  It is not unusual for one or two cadets to pass-out on the parade square - often suffering some injury when their limp body hits the pavement.

Overall Experience

When I reflect back on my days at military college I recall each day being difficult and their wasn't a week that went by that I didn't want to quit.  However I stuck it out and for the past 40 years I have been thankful that I did.  I was promoted through five ranks to Commander in only ten years which was a rare accomplishment. There is no doubt in my mind that this would have happened if I had not gone to military college. In fact had I been accepted for commissioning after NSIT, I would have been lucky to have been promoted beyond Lieutenant. So overall it was the best career decision I've ever made!

 You can read my thoughts on the true value of a military college education in Chapter 5 under Education "Military College".



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