I want to talk to you about this officer/NCM thing. I'm getting this idea that you see officer as the only path to go down, and I want to tell you something.
When I was fifteen, I also wanted to become an officer. You can probably even trace my posts back to that time less than a year ago when I was badgering the board about my hopes and dreams. "I want to be an infantry officer!" I was saying.
I wanted desperately to be an officer. I thought that was the only way to get some sort of respect, and everyone wants to be respected. I honestly think that as a fifteen-year-old, I just wanted to be saluted. Now I am sixteen, and my entire paradigm has shifted.
I've completed reserve NCM BMQ and am about to go on BMQ-L, and wanting to be an officer has completely fled from my mind. I look back to those times with a sense of amused astonishment; I actually prefer the NCM path now. I don't think I was ready to be an officer- not even now. People have suggested it to me on many occasions, my course officer badgered me constantly about ROTP. Even though others think I have what it takes, I still think I have too much to learn before I lead. I just don't want to be an officer anymore
. Maybe later I'll consider it again. Salutes aren't actually all that- they're a formality. Respect is a completely different matter- you persevere and you give the CF and your fellow soldiers all you've got, and you will be respected and acknowledged for what you do.
So really think about the NCM alternative. You never know until you try.
I have also heard about the difficulties of making the switch once in the reserves NCM, but you must remember that these things happen on a case-by-case basis. Certainly there have been cases wherein the transfer was relatively hassle free. The Canadian Forces values experience and skill, and both professionally and socially a more skilled soldier is valued higher than a random civilian off the streets applying to become an officer. What others have said about getting some experience before making going officer is completely correct; there is a respect system as well as a rank system in place when it comes to all members of the CF. It's unspoken and unwritten, but it makes a big difference in how others perceive you. Put in a few years as NCM, do some good work, and it will pay off when (and if) you transfer into Officer.
By the way, personally I'm under the impression that time in the reserves looks better than time in the cadets. Anyone can join cadets, but not everyone's got the guts, grit, and passion to truly serve. By the way, even as a reserve Private, there are lots of leadership roles to be had if you look for them. Aside from section seniors/platoon seniors, your leadership skill is constantly put to the test via section attacks, team tasks, etc. You may not have access to leadership courses right away, but we do have leadership roles distributed among ourselves. Sometimes it's better to learn by action than by powerpoint!
Your experience as a cadet would also probably help your section if you're humble and willing to give it.
I hope this helps.
Best of luck.