Officer cadet

Scott R

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Evening all,

Its been a long road but I have been confirmed on the January intake at RMAS. Goal is firmly Infantry with Para Reg remaining my primary focus.
With Junior Term a handful of weeks away I am here to engage and gain knowledge from those in the know.
Even with the significant constraints on the recruitment process imposed by COVID it was a long road. My advice to anyone is to keep the faith, stay in contact with your recruiter and if you anticipate any drama at the medical stage - gather evidence ahead of time. It will all be worth it in the end.
It is a genuinely exciting time ahead and I look forward to engaging here.

Thanks all and happy new year.
 

Tony_m

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Not an easy path! Keep your head screwed on. Remember two ears, one mouth in lessons and pay attention to how your CSgt cuts about. Learn to embrace being in the field and attack every exercise with the mindset that you are always being assessed. Get your admin, your self and help oppos sqaured away. Don’t be a wet C*nt and don’t drip. Get dirty and get fucking stuck in. Don’t pussy foot around ditches, get in them and smash any PT or Ex with controlled aggression. Take your time and apply all your marksmanship principles on the ranges. Keep your bed space in top order even if you don’t have inspection the next morning. Show some fucking personality too and give straight answers to straight questions. Don’t try and play a role and be yourself. Don’t be a nodding dog and don’t be afraid to question and actively challenge rather than automatically agreeing if you want more information. The Reg wants their one pip wonders to have strong characters, teamwork, leadership, discipline, effective communications and the ability to solve complex problems under real pressure. Good luck
 

Scott R

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Thanks Tony. Sage and quality advice. Something that stuck in my mind during my POIC was when the OC said “Don’t burn precious energy worrying about what you cannot control, instead focus it in sharpening another spear”

Or words to that effect. Nonetheless the sentiment is clear.
 

Snows

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@Scott R , think you may be there already given the date, but in any case, some advice for Juniors. First, everything that Tony said is spot on (particularly ditches...the aim of any section attack at Sandhurst is not to achieve the optimal tactical solution, it is to get in the ditch, remember that). I'd add:

1. Make sure you help others in your platoon in the first 5 weeks. They will be spinning wheels too, and being remembered as the guy who stayed up to help with bone stuff like ironing when everyone else was in bed will pay you back in spades over the year. Any officer, but particularly infantry officers, should always be the guy getting stuck in and thinking of others when times are tough. Be that guy from Day 1. You don't sleep until your platoon is finished.

2. Remember your DS are human. They (generally) want the best for you and will treat you professionally, but they also have a personal opinion of you. Some people treat them as the enemy, because it's all a bit like school. This is immature, and is just going to make them dislike you. That is fatal, because they write all your reports and their recommendations for boards carry weight. Treat them as your mentor. The inherent flattery alone will get you half the way - I've known a fair few Sandhurst DS, and several have been clearly won over by particular cadets with this approach.

3. Understand and accept that large parts of Sandhurst (and the Army) are about 'playing the game'. Shitty but true. Your superiors will say they are looking for original thought, critical thinking, questions, etc. Sometimes they will even mean it. But often they don't. They say that because it's what they think they should say, or what they have been told to say, but are actually looking for someone who will toe their line, get stuff done trouble-free and efficiently, and who they broadly like and respect as a person. Learn to identify what they actually want in any given situation, even if they themselves don't seem to know what it is. Some people call this emotional intelligence: there is more to it than that, but you need all of it.

4. Be honest about who you are. Both to yourself, and to others. This is also a tricky one. Half of Sandhurst is putting on a facade - telegraphing that you don't mind being shouted at, tired, wet, cold, in pain, when everyone knows that you do. But the other half is being genuine - convincing others that the personality they see is real, and they can trust that. This applies both to your muckers and to DS. Even being a black box, being a quiet man, private or naturally guarded, doesn't cut it, because it doesn't build trust (lots try this, it doesn't work). It's better to be a real person with flaws who they can trust, than someone they don't know or understand. This, too, is about maturity. I'm sure you've watched the BBC4 Sandhurst doco from 9 years ago - the Para Reg candidate from that is a great example of getting it right.

5. Demonstrate maturity and intellectual ability. Both are highly valued by Para Reg boards. You may have both these - just be aware that the tribal nature of Sandhurst platoons often leads cadets to regress into group immaturity, and the practical nature of what you're doing leads many to see the Faraday Hall side as a waste of time. Don't let it happen in your platoon, lead the culture. If that isn't possible, stay above it. It will pay off in what the DS see in you. This is (a part of) moral courage.

6. Don't let the platoon fragment. The best platoons, and usually the best junior officers as a result, come from platoons that work together. They aren't the ones with the best cadets, they are the ones with a high average. This doesn't mean you are all the same - mine was a mess of wildly different personalities. But we were never cliquey, and we won every event going because we brought the weakest members into the fold and mitigated their weaknesses. We helped, rather than rejecting them. Many platoons degrade into different cliques and friendship groups. When things get tough, they aggravate each other. Don't let it happen. If you get to read this before or in your first week, this culture needs to be grown right from the start. Make allies among other like minded cadets, and together lead the culture. This is also moral courage.

7. Be clear about the ultimate trick of leadership: leading the group while remaining a part of it. Sandhurst is almost the only place you get to practice this for real, because you are all peers. Afterwards, your rank always means you are slightly separated from the group. Much of the advice above suggests two often contradictory things: do what others want and make them like you; but also make them do what you want and risk unpopularity for breaking group norms. Solving that paradox is the essence of great leadership. Most people (I include myself) don't have it, they fall on one side or the other - most Army officers, I'm afraid, are actually followers, not leaders, and many of the leaders stand apart from those they lead. But always have that ultimate goal in your head. That should be your north star, and if you can do it, you'll be a top candidate for where you want to go.

Finally, excel on Long Reach. Practical tip if you want to go PARA. This doesn't mean you're the fastest, because it's a group march. It means you help, encourage or even carry those (or their kit) who inevitably suffer. You may think you are alone and invisible on the Welsh hills, but believe me, the DS find out everything that happened in those 24 hours. It's the big character test of Junior term.

Good luck, and look forward to hearing what happens in 6-8 months time.
 
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Chelonian

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Excellent suggestions above.
Much of it also relevant to Other Rank RT. None of it is easy to implement, particularly in the early weeks, but even having an awareness offers a head start to those prepared to take note.
 
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