London Lessons — Bryan Jacobs

This year I will enter my third year at James Madison University. The University has given me a myriad of opportunities in both the academic and extracurricular sphere and has instilled in me a sense of social activism. Academically, I am pursuing a double major in history and political science and recently decided to minor in public administration. This year I have completed a majority of my history major and now have begun to focus primarily on upper level political science courses, my public administration minor, and French. As for extracurricular activities, I am heavily involved in two areas. First, I began working for James Madison University’s Office of Residence Life (ORL) as a resident advisor beginning my sophomore year and I plan to continue into the end of my junior year. Second, I am involved with James Madison University’s Student Government Association (SGA). I began my career as a student representative and recently have become an At-Large senator, primarily working on the Legislative Action Committee, Constitution Revision Committee, and Environmental Committee. Other extracurricular activities that I participate in less frequently are the National History Honor Society (Phi Alpha Theta), Hillel, and College Democrats. This year I have arranged through James Madison University’s social work department to tutor English, complimentary, every weekend to Harrisonburg’s economically disadvantaged population.

After the end of the 2011-2012 academic school years, I traveled Europe. Primarily, I resided in London but I managed to travel to both Paris and other parts of the United Kingdom.  The first five weeks that I spent in London, I lived with fourteen others in 19 Bedford Street and other townhouses in the famous Bloomsbury district of central London. During this period, we studied chemistry, astronomy, energy dynamics, and law through James Madison University’s study abroad program. Besides a strict regimen of learning our group managed to attend multiple plays, travel widely, visit historic places, shop, and enjoy ourselves on the weekends. My fondest memories of England were the various places that we visited outside of London in the scenic English countryside. The quick, efficient, and relatively cheap rail system allowed us to travel to Bath, Oxford, Stonehenge, Cambridge, Bristol, Brighton, and Hatfield. Each city and place was different in history and tastes but shared a common British identity that is characteristically posh, neat, and clean. After the program ended, I headed to Paris for a week and then returned to London to work for a financial regulatory firm, Compliglobe.

From my travels in Europe if there is one characteristic that I could bring back and emphasize to the Student Government Association it would be humility. One of the great aspects of historic British leaders is there passion for the people instead of the individual or faction. Instead of putting themselves first, great British leaders often put the respects and wishes of the British people in prospective and made decisions accordingly. As members of a Student Government, I think that it is important to remember that we work on others behalf and we have been entrusted with a sacred honor that requires vision, determination, and above all, humility.

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