It’s the last day of two long and stressful months. I have felt a lot through these two months, felt desperation, helplessness and unfairness at many points, and most notably, felt bitter and unhappy.
I remember encouraging my juniors (when I met them) to strive and achieve their COC as much as possible, and I truly meant those words when I stood in a position without so. I would not have the opportunity to even make a choice between summer school and UGPMET back in Singapore, I would have to go back to the same squadron with an equally taxing routine, or even worse when I’m supposed to be “enjoying” my summer holidays. In my current position and extra experiences from these two additional months, I can see on hindsight why I did not succeed in my previous assessments. It truly takes a lot of moral courage to vocalise that you are not ready because that means you are way behind your peers, but I can say with certainty now that I would not trust that unconfident individual one year ago. One year on and I am far from being perfect. But I am much better and I definitely will be way more confident when dealing with unexpected scenarios in harbour.
I also had a brand new crew this year, much to my surprise when I did not get posted back to the same ship because of their constraints from an exercise. I was initially apprehensive, at the same time happy, because I was worried that I would be identified as HT’s girlfriend when I’m on board instead of my identity as a YO in the process of learning. I regretted that decision along the way because it was once again a struggle to establish rapport with the crew as well as gain support in your endeavours when they knew nothing about your competency. It eventually paid off, but I cannot deny at many times I regretted not expressing a preference to return to the same ship. It seemed much much easier, and it would also have been easier to return to the same page where I can continue learning instead of restart learning.
This year I couldn’t wait to get out of VA because I was extremely stressed and it was really taking a toll on my mental health with all the tears shed after demoralising debriefs. I thought about the possibility that I may have to restart this journey all over again, and I felt so so so beaten every single time. I am extremely thankful that all this is over, and I am happy to leave on a good note with my last day at FF Training at Mandai. I learnt much much more about fighting fire in a more realistic setting (which was my very weakness since last year), and where I managed to have great conversations with the crew over my farewell lunch. I definitely feel attached to everyone especially after seeing them day in day out for 2.5 months despite the rough start, and am thankful that I had a unique experience despite having stayed put in the same squadron.