A Look Back on my Time at UCC – 2019

Andrew Mun-Shimoda

2012 was an interesting year. The year shared the threat of the world ending with the release of Marvel’s The Avengers- but it also was the year I started at UCC.

Usually, editors of TBAW talk about what they wish they learned in grade eight. I’m not going to do that- I think it’s unoriginal, and something that has become repetitive. Instead, I’ll talk about why I loved about my time here, and the process in which I realized I loved it.

While the Avengers were assembling for the first time, I was meeting new people, at a new school, making new friends who (I didn’t know it then) would last my entire time at UCC. That’s where I’ll start.

My first year at UCC was a bit rocky. Until that 7F trip to Norval, I don’t really remember fitting into any group of guys. I wasn’t a great hockey player, and I definitely wasn’t living in Forest Hill. But at Norval, that changed. Through the various team building activities, and a massive slap on the back, I had found my first group of friends at UCC. This was confirmed when I came back to school after suffering a three-month long absence due to a concussion at the very beginning of the year, just a couple weeks after Norval. They welcomed me back with open arms as if I had never left.

The year after grade 7 saw the transition to the Upper School. In this new, intimidating environment, we stuck together. While some friends we had made in the Prep left, new ones joined us. Our group grew larger, and our bonds grew tighter. New sports and memorable band-trips helped us define our friendship. Little did we know then, but it would survive the rigours of the upper school.

Throughout Y1, Y2, and FY, it seemed that we never got placed in any classes together. Year after year, we would compare timetables on the first (half) day of school, only to be disappointed when we all had different classes from each other. But an activity we had picked up in the prep kept us close. We would play video-games on the weekends- allowing us to bond without the restraints of the school. To this day, some of our most whack memories come from gaming.

Even with our different forms and classes, and the new experience of the upper school, what remained the same was our getting together for lunch. Our talking at recess. And our taking the bus home together. We wouldn’t crack.

When that first exam season rolled around, an unexpected amount of stress fell onto all our shoulders. I found it hard to manage all of it and I imagine the rest did too. But I think that we all knew this, and either consciously or subconsciously, helped each other out. To quote my favourite computer science teacher, “Friends help friends.” Without that friendship, my time here wouldn’t have been the same. I definitely would’ve been more stressed out.

I guess I’m trying to do with this article is highlight what made my time here so special. If you haven’t caught on yet: it was my friends. UCC is a tough place. It’s constantly asking, and sometimes, that can get tiring. I found it to be like that. But thankfully for me, I had a group of solid guys to fall back on. And although we’re probably parting ways this May, I know they’ll be with me to the end of the line. I know I’ll be with them.

To the graduating guys in my grade- we’ve made it. Two more months, and we’re off.

Hang in there. We’re in the endgame now.