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Chronicles of Awesome

FYOP Mornings

Rating: 5 votes, 5.00 average.
Best. Decision. Ever..

.. Not that that was going through my head at 5:50 in the morning as I'm trying to sneak out of bed to get a head start before the coming of the daily apocalypse of the First Year Orientation Program (FYOP).

Technically, wake up time was 6:00am. We weren't supposed to have any alarm clocks or means of telling time, but I found a way.

Luckily, too, because having the blaring of nightmarish "O Fortuna" be your only wake up call is terrifying. It's the kind of song that reminds you of just what's coming: wave after wave of daunting mental and physical challenges; the kind of melody that sits heavily on your sore back as you scramble to tighten the perfect hospital corners of your bed. Needless to say, avoiding "O Fortuna" as the first thing I hear in the morning as often as possible was glorious.

Unfortunately, that wasn't an option right at the start. I was incredibly scared of being caught with my own personal noise making device, so I left it safely tucked away in the corner of my desk drawer.

I had no means of telling what time it was as they had taken our watches and alarm clocks, and checking my laptop wasn't an option. The light from the screen could be seen underneath our room doors. This meant that our FYOP staff had no problem catching us if we were out of bed. This also meant that we weren't allowed to leave our rooms for anything while our staff was making their rounds. That includes the washroom, which was located one floor down for the ladies. Once I got over my initial weariness of getting caught with an electronic device in the middle of the night, I began to work around my other fears. After all, our staff had to sleep at some point.

I set the alarm on my secret device for 1am and once it went off, I quickly slipped on a pair of socks and snuck out of my room, collecting other female bathroom goers for our nightly bladder relieving party. It was fantastic. The boys, on the other hand, didn't need to bother with the washroom. In their own words: "That's what we have sinks for." (It's alright to shudder - we did too)

After the bathroom run, I would make sure that everything was laid out efficiently for the morning. If we were going to have PT, my runners would be unlaced and loosened so I could slip in immediately. If we were supposed to wear our Combats, on the other hand, I would often change into the pants and t-shirt. Then I'd turn to my bed, fix the mess from having to sleep underneath the covers when they "put us to bed," and curl up at the foot until my second alarm went off.

Before I had my advantage, if I woke up in the middle of the night, it would be impossible to get back to sleep. The static sound of the concert speakers being plugged in to blare "O Fortuna" mimicked the noise that came from the heater/vents of this building. Any sudden white noise had my heart racing. With the alarm, I felt a bit better, because I could check the time an acertain that I did in fact have time to sleep a bit longer. My eyes shut.

The alarm goes off, I throw myself off the corner of the bed and immediately proceed to tighten it as well. I put my hair up for the morning activity (usually a ponytail, sometimes a bun). I begin to get dressed. The feedback of the speakers is audible and suddenly, with a blast of impending doom as silent accompaniment, the song starts. With it, our staff starts to yell "encouragements." "HURRY UP!" "GET OUT HERE." "DON'T MISS THIS TIMING." The latter was the most popular, since the song wasn't just meant to wake us up, but we had to be formed up outside our building in appropriate dress ready to go by the end of it.

At this point, my roommate is awake too. We clean the sink area, ensure our canteens are full to the brim and standing properly on the front right corner of our desks. If we aren't dressed already at this point, we get that done in a few blinks too. One last look over the room and over each other to make sure we're dressed properly (everything down to the colour of your socks was predetermined - you had better be to standard), and we're out the door, locking it behind us. If we forgot to lock our doors, one of the staff would trash it, which is a mild descriptor of what actually happened to the room. Once out of our rooms, we'd run as fast as we could along the directional "highway" in our hallway - a set of taped off lanes that were only to be followed in one direction, so that I had to run to the end of the hallway before I could go down the stairs.

Then I'm finally out of the building. I dash towards the already forming division and find my place, unless I'm IC, in which case I stand in front and desperately hope no one is late, and that if we're doing PT, my flightmates didn't forget the marker vests.

The song ends, our staff is outside. If we're on time, good for us. If we're late, we do push-ups. Then we go running. This isn't just a pleasant jog either, ladies and gentleman, but often a slow sprint or fast run around bends and up hills. On the way, we check other FYOP flights and barmen, as in "Check Warrior flight (the first year flight from 9 squadron) - Good morning Warrior flight!" I can't speak for everyone, especially since we had a lot of fit people in my flight, but those runs were death for me at first. My lungs would sting fiercely and the pace seemed impossible. With repetition (and boy did we ever have lots of chances to do that), I got better though. By the end of FYOP, I was running at the front for the entire duration of the run. It was a good feeling.

We'd return to the building after whatever morning fitness routine and then we were given 7 minutes to shower and get changed from PT into combats. We never made this timing at first, so we did a lot of push-ups, but eventually, we managed. After that we formed up again and went to breakfast.

There, we walked in a single file with our arms checked at our sides, facing forward, silent. We grabbed our food, set the trays on the tables in the annex reserved for segregating the first years during FYOP, and stood behind our chairs at attention until everyone else in our flight was ready to eat. Then the IC would report at the top of their voice to whomever had the pleasure of being in charge of us for the day. Finally, we were allowed to stuff ourselves as quickly as possible, since we hardly had any time to eat. Our staff tapping a plastic cup against the table three times was our cue to stop eating, get up, and clean up our trays.

This, though it restricted how much we ate, was a relief, because now school would start.
Before FYOP I never thought I would say this, but classes saved us. No staff, just education. It was amazing.


TBC with afternoons/evenings and whatnot


  1. Juice -
    Juice's Avatar
    Sounds a lot like my experience on Gunnery TG III when I did it. Almost to a tee, to be quite honest.

    Good for you on your improvement as time went on, and your ingenuity
  2. Lt(N) Deck -
    Lt(N) Deck's Avatar
    I enjoyed reading this, NCDT Bowen, and look forward to more from you when you have any of that precious time to spare.