My Choice, My Dream

A reflection

by Zyra Mae M. Ramirez
BS Psychology 4 student at St. Paul University Manila
and On-the-Job Trainee at AFPCMOS-CRSAFP


In a few months, my final year in college as a Psychology Student at St. Paul University Manila is about to end. Sometimes difficulties make or break our hearts. To have my on-the-job training (OJT) for my Industrial/Organizational setting in a government institution has always been my goal, but of course, I do not limit my talent to venture to private companies as well.  To tell the truth, it was not as easy as I thought.  I have heard it said that “uutusan ka lang mag timpla ng kape,” or “ipapag leg-work ka lang doon” or “ipapag xerox ka lang ng mga papel don” when you have your practicum in a government institution, and this made me think twice about having my OJT in the government.  But after contemplation, I still pushed through with my practicum in a government institution, and, specifically, in the military.

I had my OJT at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Civil-Military Operations School Civil Relations Service Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFPCMOS-CRSAFP) at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City. This is a school which provides education and training in Civil-Military Operations (CMO).  The mission of CMO is for the military to win the valued support of the civilian populace to help it carry out its mission to protect the people and the state.  I was assigned to the Research and Doctrine Development (RDD) Branch of the AFPCMOS, where I initially I thought that I will only do paper works and encoding tasks.  But then my OJT experiences surpassed my expectations.  Here, I had the opportunity to learn how to develop different Human Resource Management Forms that are vital for Industrial/Organizational work, and I was also involved in the planning of the School’s Graduate Tracer Study. I was also given the opportunity to facilitate various ice breaker activities to the students.  Yes the task may sound simple, but it was not easy. I was nervous at first, especially since I was dealing with adult learners.  The students are uniformed personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and Bureau of Fire Protection.  Although I am used to talking in front of my classmates back in my school, the environment here is different, and the challenge of handling the class of professionals from the Philippine Security Forces helped develop my confidence to speak in public.  I feel very happy that the activities that I conducted were successful. Feelings of nervousness have always been there but I found inspiration in a phrase someone told me after the first activity I facilitated in class: “Ang kaba, lagi yun nandon and it was good kasi kinakabahan ka kesa sa hindi ka kinakabahan at pag nakita mo silang nag eenjoy, mag enjoy ka din, para hindi lang sila yung nag ienjoy, ikaw din.”  I feel very fortunate with this unique learning experience in my practicum.  It definitely helped that the soldier-students have made me feel welcome and always treated me with respect.  I am basically a stranger to them, but their hospitality, active participation in the activities I facilitated, and in all of their actions towards me, it is as if they are telling me: “Hindi ka iba sa amin kahit na military kami we still consider you as one of us.”  I am also very proud to note that during my stay at the AFP CMO School, I observed among the School Staff and the students that military men and women and uniformed personnel share a similarity among them that sets them distinct from the civilians.  Their discipline, alertness and snappy actions are really admirable.

All throughout my 150 hours of training experience at the AFP CMO School, I have seen how there are always people who are very willing to train me and who believe that I am capable of doing things on my own despite my self-doubts.  I know that this might be a bit different from what I will be experiencing in the world of work after I graduate from college, but still, I thank the AFP CMO School, its RDD Branch, and the School Staff for helping me and encouraging me to believe in myself more and for providing me the training and the skills that I should learn as a Psychology practitioner in the Industrial Setting.

I grew up in the military environment and I could say that my recently conducted OJT at the AFPCMOS helped reinforce my childhood dream of being part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.  Whereas there have been times when my dream career seemed to change, my heart always returned to that dream of serving our country as a woman in uniform.  I will fulfil this dream someday soon.  Meanwhile, my experiences in my OJT have taught me valuable lessons that can help me prepare for it.  I have learned that amidst our doubts, opportunities do come.  I doubted pushing through with my practicum in the government, but I still tried, and the risks I took led me to a great learning opportunity which helped me become a better person, better prepared to fulfil my vision of wearing the military uniform and offering my talents to serve the country, and being much closer to realizing my dream and my choice.