Eric Bryce '14 University of Toronto, Engineering

It is with a heavy heart that I write a reflection upon my year at the College. While today seemed so far away in September, it has indeed slowly crept up on me.
It is with a heavy heart that I write a reflection upon my year at the College. While today seemed so far away in September, it has indeed slowly crept up on me.

I recall, for example, in September, thinking about how much I wanted to get out to sail on Lake Neuchâtel. Of course, as winter approached, I put that mission on the back burner. Just yesterday, in fact, I finally got around to renting a sailboat with some friends and finally accomplishing what I have put off for so long.

It was certainly that way with many of the grandiose schemes I had in September. Some such schemes, I will proudly admit, have indeed been realized. Strolling about the grounds of the United Nations, for example, was one of my highlights of the year. One of the greatest things about NJC, I think, is how accessible it makes the rest of Europe. Never, while living at home in the suburbs of Toronto, would I so much as imagine taking a day trip to the United Nations – much less obtaining accreditation and attending the proceedings of the Economic and Social Council.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have, as must be patently obvious in the preceding paragraph, a fascination for history, technology, and politics. Another of my favourite experiences of the past year is, undoubtedly, attending the New European Speech, Debate & Acting tournament in Munich, Germany this past fall. Regardless of my success in the tournament itself – in my opinion, the greatest part of the trip was the host family to whom Declan and I were assigned.

We found ourselves on a foreign post of the Unites States Army, on the administrative grounds of one of the Department of Defense’s think tanks on post-Soviet security policy. It was an honour to watch CNN with a decorated colonel of the United States Army Rangers.

Even outside an academic context, NJC has provided innumerable opportunities for personal growth. I will concede, unfortunately, that for much of the first semester, I was very shy – very nervous. It was on the trip to Kenya that I came out of my shell. I found wonderful friends whom I know I will have for life.

I cannot believe this year is coming to a close. I am sure that I will look back upon this experience for years and decades to come. I fear only that if I ever find myself again on a train passing through Neuchâtel, that the NJC I know and love will be gone. Neuchâtel will still be here. The College will still be here, certainly. But my NJC will be gone.

I thought it was absurd, at the beginning of the year, when Mr. Boyer was reading the emails from past students, that anybody would, with tongue in cheek, wish a bad year upon us: wish that we wouldn’t enjoy ourselves. I now understand what they meant. NJC was theirs. Now it is ours.

And next year, I hope that we may pass on NJC’s legacy to an even more inquisitive, adventurous, and ambitious group of students.

Nevertheless, I believe I am ready to take on my next adventure: the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering for the Engineering Science program, arguably the country’s most rigorous.

Regardless of whatever challenges I face in the future, I know that NJC has equipped me to succeed wherever I go. The confidence and personal strength I have built this year cannot be found in a textbook. But somehow, NJC has created the perfect formula to build leaders of tomorrow in a productive, exciting global classroom.
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