Feature photo: Commander of the RCAF, Lieutenant General Al Meinzinger presenting commissioning scroll to 2Lt Eliza Bruce long-time e-Veritas volunteer.
After the Arch
Article by: 2Lt Eliza Bruce – Class of 2018
There will always be the memory of a sea of red, white, and gold on a parade square in a campus frozen in time that accompanies the memories of all the milestones in the past few days. From Convocation, Sunset Ceremony, Commissioning, and ending with the celebration marching under the Memorial Arch, the finale of our careers at RMC are immortalized alongside those of the past generations of lady and gentlemen cadets. I think we all agree that arriving at this point, and being so well set up for success in leadership roles in the CF, is credit to all our peers, military members instructing us, mentors, coaches, faculty staff, the support of the Foundation, and of course our peers.
Looking back on the time I’ve been privileged to spend writing with and for E-veritas, I recall all the events, traditions, and people I’ve been honoured to learn about and share with the community and family of RMC in its newsletter, and how much I have learned as a result of the things it exposed me to and the perspective I adopted about the military and in particular, RMC. Things I’ve learned from one of the living pillars of RMC, Bill Oliver, include the importance of self-authenticity, sticking to one’s word, and being dependable no matter what. Each of those qualities can save you from even the least ideal circumstances, and I’m so grateful that he took the time to help me see the college, its people, and my own sense of values in a new light.
If I reflect on the most prominent experiences I’ve had while earning my degree and undergoing military training at the college, there’s a significant handful of takeaways I’ve accumulated. Endurance and teamwork were the true prizes gleaned from experiences like FYOP, the Obstacle course, and events like the Army Run. From occupying bar positions and a varsity leadership role, I was taught the importance of getting to know your people and looking out for their interests. Networking events and, professional development sessions, and mess dinners were times we learned balance between the art of questioning and the art of listening. Challenges to personal standards were found for me in aspects of Fencing, athletics classes, and especially PPT, which was a long path from failure to proficiency. Becoming informed about the military in which we enrolled occurred throughout training in the summer, MOC weekends, parades, and many other opportunities to enrich our knowledge of its ethos and traditions. We learned to appreciate its diversity through its cultural outlets, music programs, and many clubs and associations. Through friends, we learned to appreciate the simple moments simply for what they are. Personally, being able to attend the Battlefield Tour and be a part of Nijmegen Team taught me about Canada’s strong international military presence, our history, and the side effects of both war and peace on entire countries. Pursuing a thesis project and obtaining French taught me discipline and goal-setting.
From the many words of wisdom, speeches, and conversations had throughout the years, several major ideas stand out. Be forward thinking and learn before you try to change things in an organization. Never sell out a positive perspective because optimism is sometimes the only tool we have to fight discouragement and defeatism in touch scenarios. Critically appraise information objectively, but graciously appraise people because you never know what they have and are going through. Always look for the lesson or the good in a situation, especially when things aren’t going as liked or expected. Showing gratitude to others never goes to waste because people need to know that what they do is noticed and matters. You can be surprised by friendship in the least likely circumstances. If you let them, people will astound you.
We’re not afraid of what awaits us. We know we’re ready, and we know we have much to learn. As long as we’re humble and courageous, we can face anything with the professionalism and levity we have learned during the rigours of our RMC journey. To touch and be touched by lives without number—by little acts of kindness, grace, and self-sacrifice; to lead in these ways, is a legacy that I, and my fellow graduates in the class of 2018 will strive to follow and establish in Canada and no doubt the world.