It’s been awhile

*blows off a thick layer of dust*

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Well, it’s certainly been awhile since I’ve posted anything on here. It’s not that I forgot about my blog, but my training is fairly intense. Lots of studying. Oh boy, studying up the wazoo! But AVS training is very theory heavy. The practicals certainly help.

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I’m officially done my training! I’m a QL3 qualified Technician! So now I’m off to my next unit and begin my apprenticeship!

So I’ll now try and fill in the blanks from my last entry. I’ll be brief, I promise! Or I’ll try to…lol

Not much too exciting occurred, other than our postings. Back in the fall we put in our posting preferences. Those of us who wanted specific bases put in memos to help sway the CoC (chain of command) in helping us get our preferences. For those of you unfamiliar with this and why one would need a memo, I’ll try to explain.

Bases only have so many openings for certain positions. Now those number change throughout the year. One base could be closed and not accepting anyone new, but then a few months later some people get posted to other bases and then viola! There are openings! So they’re constantly in flux. There is no set number of positions available per year at any given base.

Some people want to be a certain geographic area, and the reasons could vary. For example, if they have a spouse of child who requires special medical care that’s only available in let’s say Toronto. So their obvious posting choices would include Borden and Trenton, as they are only about an hour commute away. So that individual would write a memo, give their reasons and as well submit any supporting documents to further strengthen their memo.

Of course, not everyone will get their first choice. We are allowed to submit our top 3 choices. Most got their first or second choice and some got their 4th choice. I got my second choice. I was shocked, because I was so sure I’d get my first. But there’s nothing they can do if that base has no openings. But as the days passed I began to accept my new fate. I honestly think it will be the best for hubby and I. It will give us the opportunity to start an adventure on our own. Make a new life for ourselves. It will be hard, I know. Being so far away from our immediate families and friends will be tough, but we’ll survive. There is always holidays and opportunities for us to go back and visit family.

Oh, where am I going? We’re moving to Winnipeg! Or Winterpeg, as some like to refer to it… lol… A lot of people like to tease me about it because Winnipeg get’s a “lot” of snow. It’s actually a myth to be honest. I did my research! Out of all the major cities in Canada, Winnipeg comes in 9th for annual snowfall. Toronto, believe it or not, actually get’s more snow! The big difference is that Winnipeg doesn’t get random thaws throughout the winter months. So the snow comes and it stays. Whereas with places like Toronto, it snows, then melts a little, then snows and melts etc… etc…

Well, so much for being brief! I didn’t mean to get so sidetracked, but it’s been so long and so much has happened!

I can’t go into details about my training for obvious reasons. It’s been challenging at times, I’ll leave it at that. Some areas I struggled with, but when you’re having other problems going on in your personal life, it’s difficult to focus. But in the end I graduated!

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Graduation was bitter sweet really. There are some people who I am going to genuinely miss. Then there are other individuals I’ll be happy not to see. When you’ve been stuck with the same group of people for nearly two years (or longer), you either learn to tolerate or despise each other. You can’t get along with everyone. I try to tolerate everyone. but some people just have a lot of growing up to do.

 

And Now I Learn How to Do My Job

I successfully completed Common Core. I score particularly well on one of my final practical tests. I got a sweet 97% which made me super happy! Especially since the final month of Common Core was more so geared toward what my trade entails. This particular test we had to troubleshoot a wiring box (which we had previously assembled). I do believe I had one of the top marks for that test too. The highest was either a 99 or 98 and I think only 3 of use were in that range. It felt good to be on the top.

After I finished my course I was back on PAT, but I had a tasking lined up already so I didn’t really have to do any of the PAT platoon stuff. PAT seems to have shrunk again, which is good. That means more people are getting on courses quicker or are being tasked out. So at least PAT does seem yo be continuously improving.

I’m all moved into my PMQ with my wonderful hubby. It’s so nice to be out of the shacks. I’m fairly confident my shack was making me sick. I thought it was allergies, but within days of moving out I felt so much better! I even checked the local pollen report and it actually was worse days after I moved out.

I just wish I had of moved out sooner because then I think I would have passed my fitness test. I was so run down and medicated the morning of my test. I was light-headed, dizzy and so out of it. I found out afterwards that I could have rescheduled it. Wish I had of known that before hand but I was told I needed to do it before I started my QL3. I passed everything except for the final test, the sandbag drag. I got about 3/4 done and I started to feel like I was about to pass out.

On the brightside, I actually improved in a couple of areas of the test. So that’s something. But now, because I failed I have to do special “reconditioning” PT for 3 months. It’s not too bad. I actually feel like I’m getting a much better workout compared to the group PT they have for us on course. I’ve only been doing the Special PT for almost a few weeks now and I’m made a lot of improvements. But it also helps that I’m feeling 100 times more healthy too. I really wish we had this sort of PT all the time. But I understand it’s not really possible when you have about 100 students all doing PT at once. We had the same issue in Kingston while on POET. There’s simply too many students to actually set up and run a proper workout. So we end up doing a lot of cardio or focus on endurance.

I suppose the big downside to having to do the special PT is that I now miss some class time. I miss about 2 hrs a week in order to go to the appointments. I can’t miss them as it is a direct order from our CoC (chain of command). I can only miss them if I have an exam that takes place at the same time. It is a bit annoying, and especially right now as we’re in a fairly difficult PO (course chapter). But just means I have to study more on my own time. Luckily the guy I sit next to has been really helpful in filling me in on what I’ve missed. So I’m extremely grateful for that.

 

From One Course to the Next

I’ve been back in Borden for the past 2 months now. It was a very quiet drive back. I have a love hate relationship with my new barracks. I hate how far away it is from everything, but I love that I don’t have a roommate and how quiet my building is. So that kinda balances things out a bit?

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I wish I could say the food had gotten better at the new kitchen. But I can’t say that as that would be a lie. It’s not terrible but it could be a lot better. Most of the food is either over cooked or over salted. Occasionally they’ll prove me wrong and make something amazing.

I started my next course just a few days after arriving, which is a good thing. I didn’t have to stay on PAT for too long. The new CO has really made a lot of improvements from what I can tell. They’re pushing through more courses, getting people trained quicker so they can go do OJE (on the job experience) which will be beneficial for when their QL3’s begin.

Once again I am the only girl on my course. 17 guys and myself. I think it’ll be the same for my QL3’s, which also got bumped up! I was supposed to start that in July but now it’s May! Almost exactly 2 weeks after I finish my current course I start my 3’s! I’m very excited about that. I wasn’t looking forward to having to wait 2+ months for my next course.

My new course, Common Core, has been going fairly well. I’ve been generally scoring above average on our tests. This course is designed to train everyone in the core air force trades some core knowledge. We’ve learned about different tools and how to us them, as well as general safety. Other things we have been learning are marshalling air craft, hanger protocols, doing paperwork and basic air craft maintenance.

The course is more relaxed compare to POET. But POET was very condensed. I believe the school’s CO said what we learned in the span of 8 months would have taken almost 2 years if we went to a civilian college. And on top of that the grade standards were higher as well. You go to any normal college and a pass is usually 50-60% but for us if you were under 70% that was a fail.

I’m also not saying that Common Core is easy either. Some things, sure but that’s because I had previously learned it. Other things like how to do lock-wiring were brand new to me, so it was a little bit of a struggle. Not to mention all the different maintenance forms we need to know and how to fill them out properly. I’m more so enjoying the pace of my current course. Not being tested every 2-3 days is kind of refreshing.

I’m in the last leg of Common Core called BEET (basic electrical & electronic training). This is where all the AVS techs on my course should excel. The theory thus far has been essentially a refresher for us, which is not a bad thing whatsoever. It re-instils what we already know.

In other news I got approved for on base housing so my hubby can move up here!

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It’ll certainly take a strain off of things. Commuting home on the weekends is such a hassle. Especially when people no longer become reliable for rides home and I’m stuck taking the bus. It’s a long bus ride and means I don’t get home until almost 11pm on Friday night.

I’m hoping this coming week proves to be better than last week. Wont go into details. Basically it just progressively got worse and worse. One thing would happen, then another and another. Like how I forgot my meal card on my desk back in my room one morning, so I had to go grab hat before lunch then at lunch I knocked over my glass of water turning my lunch into a cold soupy mess.

Certain people didn’t help either with my mood, which progressively got worse too. I just about snapped on a few people. It’s exhausting being tolerant all the time. I let a lot of things slide because I don’t like conflict. But it seemed like everyone was just trying to push my buttons.

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Course Over

It has been one hell of a stressful month. My goodness gracious! There were definitely some downs and I got to the point a few times were I didn’t think I’d make it. But I persevered! I picked myself up and moved onwards. My second last course, Power Supplies was quite tricky and I just passed the practical exam, nearly failed it. I was fine with the theory, it was the fault finding that tripped me up some.

Moving onto Multistage terrified me. I was excited to be in the final leg, but at the same time worried I would fail miserably. We were no longer fault finding using Lab-Volt but rather and actual black and white tv (with was as old as me, 30). The theory wasn’t too bad, but oh the fault finding… I struggled so hard with it. The main issue for me was that it wasn’t really introduced well. Or at least I didn’t think it was. The practise exam I pretty much bombed with a pathetic 60%. For those of you unaware, anything below a 70% is a fail for us. So you could say I was really flipping nervous about going into the actual exam the next morning.

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The final practical went incredibly well for me. I did way better than I had expected. I was nervous about a couple faults, but for the most part I felt confident. And when I got my final grade of 96% I was elated! I felt on top of the world! I wish I could have said the same for a couple of other guys on my course. We had two fails. Unfortunately for the one it was his final strike and that meant recourse. The other guy, since it was his first exam fail was given the opportunity to do a retest the next morning. IT would seem luck was not on his side as he failed it again and will be recoursed. It’s really sad to see them both go so close to the end. They were both good students.

This morning we had the dreaded knowledge retention test. It’s 50 questions based on EVERYTHING we’ve learned in the past 8 months. I was terrified. There’s just so much content to study and know.

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Granted a good chunk we should be very familiar with because they’re concept we’ve been using in multiple courses. But then you just don’t know how in depth they’ll go with certain things. And since there’s a number of different versions of the retention test, talking to people who’ve graduated is nearly pointless. Some versions are theory heavy, some have more calculations, some have more fault-finding related questions etc…

After I finished, I felt so unsure. There were a few questions were I was split. Waiting in the canteen to find out the results were nerve-wracking. So much was riding on this. If I failed I would still have a retest, but I don’t know how well I would have done if that were the case. However, needless to say I passed! When I saw my mark I wanted to jump up and shout YATTA!

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It was like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders! All my hard work, all my studying had paid off. Now all that’s left is to do our graduation parade and then head back to Borden, when I’ll start my next course a few days later!

Vacay Time!

The last week before my Christmas break had been insanely stressful. I could punch every person who said our last course was supposed to be easy. It was not; at least not for me.  There wasn’t a lot of theory, but the practical was a struggle for me. But I managed to understand it in the end.

I believe it was Tuesday when we began to do fault finding. That was a bad day for me. It wasn’t sinking in for me. I got so flustered and frustrated to the point where I just wanted to go hide and cry. I  didn’t want to fail. While most of my coursemates completed 10 faults or more completed by the end of the day, I had a measly 5. So that night I studied the schematics and theory some more.

The next day I was doing a bit better, and with some help from my instructor everything began to make more sense. By the end of the day I had done 16 faults and was definitely feeling a lot better. I spent pretty much the whole night studying my tush off. I had both my written and practical exams the next morning.

The written exam I didn’t feel good about. There were a lot of questions where I felt a bit unsure about. But I did a lot better than I had expected. Even scoring higher than some other people who normally do well! That was a major confidence booster. I was feeling a whole lot better about doing the practical.

The practical went a lot smoother. It only took me 40 minutes to complete my 5 faults, which is impressive considering on our first day of fault finding it took me probably close to 2 hours to do 5 faults! I passed with flying colours!

I’m almost half way though my Christmas break, which is sad. I wish I had more time at home. It hasn’t really felt like Christmas this year. I blame mother nature being drunk. Let’s see earlier this week it was actually warmer here than it was in some parts of California. For those of you unfamiliar where I live, normally at this time of year we have snow and are sitting below zero.

Christmas eve was spent at my parents with my husband. Instead of doing the traditional turkey or ham we grilled steaks! It was delicious! Felt a little strange at first but it was grilling weather! Today we’re doing the big Polish Christmas dinner with my husbands family. There will be lots of yummy foods! Tomorrow we’re driving up to Trenton to visit my Brother and his family, doing Christmas #3 with them. Then it’s back home for a few more days.

Since coming home I’ve finally sink my teeth into Fallout4. It’s better than I had expected. I’m not big on FPS games, mainly because they stress me out a lot. But playing with my hubby right next to me has eased my stress. Mainly because I can throw the controller at him if I’m starting to feel really stressed, lol! And he also offers a lot of moral support by coaching me through what I need to be doing.

This may be my last entry for year, so Marry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

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It’s that wonderful time of year once again! I can’t wait to get back home for a couple of weeks and spend some much needed quality time with my hubby and family. I wish I could say I have most of my Christmas shopping done, but that would be a flat out lie. I have a couple things, but not much. It’s hard because I’m still relatively far away from shopping areas and with being on course I have other priorities like studying and passing my classes.

I booked my train home last week. Thank you Via Rail for your Black Friday deals! All fares were reduced plus I also got an additional discount. I went with Business Class because I can and I wanted to spoil myself a little. Honestly, if you can, choose Business class! It’s worth every cent! More leg room, meals and drinks all included. Priority boarding, access to the business class lounges where there’s more free drinks/food. It’s a pleasant experience overall.

I had a rather difficult exam yesterday morning. I felt so confident going in and then I opened the exam book and suddenly I felt like Jon Snow.

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The problem stems from how wordy the questions are. There were a lot of trick questions. Most exams are like that and it’s incredibly frustrating. I know the subject matter, it’s just gah! The way they word the questions could drive you up the wall! My other issue with the exam is that there were questions on there about stuff we hardly talked about in class. So that gets a little annoying.

We had our practical exam this morning and again I felt pretty good about it before hand. I did really well on the practise exam the day before but my goodness! The first 2 faults were BRUTAL. I got the second one wrong, which I had a feeling would happen. Given the symptoms and comparing the readings to my nominals, it was hard to determine where the fault actually was. From the sounds of it a lot of my course-mates struggled with the first 2 faults. The last 3 were a breeze. At least for me anyways. But still, afterwards I was stressing so much!

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It’s especially stressful having to sit in a room for over an hour just waiting to find out if you passed or failed. Then everyone starts to discuss the exam and you start to second guess your answers. It’s just a downwards spiral! I was freaking out in my head. What if I failed and had to do a retest? What if I failed the retest? How far back would they recourse me? Everyone is different, some people get lucky and only go back a course or two. Others aren’t that lucky. There’s a girl who just failed out of amplifiers (approx 3-4 months into POET) and is being sent all the way back to the very beginning.

Supposedly they send you back to where they feel you began to struggle. But each case is different and they look at a number of things other than your marks, like your attitude, whether you’re staying for extra help when it’s offered, etc… But seeing as this would be my first fail, would I be able to get on the course right after mine? Or would they send me further back? I’ve been here for nearly 6 months, I con’t think I could handle doing all the all over again.

Thankfully I passed. I did get the second fault wrong. I wanted to argue it because based on my symptoms and reading, they wouldn’t have lead me to where the actual fault was. But I didn’t want to fight it. I didn’t want to argue. I took my passing grade as it was. I was just so relieved. No more stressing! At least until my next set of exams next week.

 

Course Progression

I figured it’s been awhile since I’ve talked about my course. I’m now on the home stretch! Only a few more units left and rumour has it that these units are much easier than our previous ones. Now It’s a lot of putting what we have previously learned into action and applying it to new things. I nearly got perfect on my last practical exam! I score 98% which I’m damn proud of! Especially since I felt a little iffy on a couple of my faults. But I did everything right. I lost a mark for one small procedural error.

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Two weeks ago was a pretty intense week. We had 2 tests and 1 written exam back to back. I was so happy when Friday rolled around so my brain could take a much needed break! The next week had been pretty stressful too, but for other reasons, which I can’t really go into detail about.

Long story short, classes got interrupted some because we had stuff to do, which was annoying and a pain in the ass. But it was something that was going to be done regardless. They just weren’t planning on doing it so soon apparently. Any ways, things are good now. We didn’t get too far behind in our classes. I’m just glad this happened last week as opposed to the week before. It’s hard enough when you’re stressed about passing your classes and then to throw some more stress on top of it all.

Sorry for the extreme vagueness but I can’t say much more than that unfortunately. Even though most of the public is aware of it, I can’t go into details. Also granted the public doesn’t know the whole story.

I’m nearing the end of yet another unit now. I’m looking forward to the next one because it’s much shorter with it being only a week and apparently much easier. But we shall see if there is much truth to that. What’s easy for some is not exactly easy for all.