BC students (PC years 35 and 36) at RaceRocks, taken by Mark Kelsey. Spring 2010.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pieces of Reflection

Dearest Readers,

Embarking on this IB exam time (my first one is this Friday!) I will try and update this blog but I will probably be unable to do so very regularly.  So in typical Canadian fashion, I apologize in advance. But hopefully I'll be able to put some thoughts up sporadically about my last month at this beautiful place, on the shores of Pedder Bay.

Speaking of my last month I wrote a reflection today, we're big on reflections at Pearson.  Unfortunately it's pretty late here and my reflection is riddled with huge grammatical mistakes, so please excuse me.  Hopefully it's still comprehendable.  Anywho, here are some snippets of it:


"The beauty of life is, while we cannot undo what is done,
we can see it, understand it, learn from it and change.

So that every new moment is spent not in regret, guilt, fear or anger,
but in wisdom, understanding and love."

-Jennifer Edwards

I realized today I have exactly 30 days left of being a Pearson student. While this idea terrifies me and has a habit of reaching in and turning my heart inside out, I also realized today that I could not have asked for a more fulfilling, rewarding, and phenomenal experience. My last term at Pearson has continued to teach me about myself, others, the world and what is important. Looking back, this past year has been like strenuously running up a mountain - and only now have I stopped, looked over the cliff, and stood in awe of the view. While I will sorely miss this place I call home and the people who have become my family, I can’t help but overflow with gratitude for the richness of my time at Pearson College. While it has not been easy, the hills and rocky slopes have made the journey worthwhile.

I took a walk with a friend today and found it difficult to describe how this term has been for me. In the midst of it, being swept up in the adventures of everyday (extraordinary) life, it was hard to comprehend all that had happened. I have generally felt very content this term, happier than I have ever been at Pearson. That’s partially because my life has mostly been in balance – being able to reconcile school, activities, other commitments, socializing, and staying healthy. And also because I have been supported by a network of people with whom I connect with on a deep level. Finally I think I have been happier because (with a lot of mindfulness and practice) I have somewhat loosened the chains of expectation and self-judgment, by flowing with  how things are instead of being stuck in resistance. These are ongoing lessons and habits that I am infinitely grateful to Pearson for helping to instill within me.

I have stayed actively engaged in college life in several ways this last term. At the beginning of the term, being part of the theatre production “The Laramie Project” was a very positive experience. Despite countless hours of rehearsal, it was an honour to be part of such a talented cast and crew. The final outcome was something I was proud to be part of, and something that raised important questions in our community of tolerance, understanding, and sexuality.

 I feel this year, all the efforts to create a more supportive and healthy  environment have paid off. As a peer counselor, I was glad to be equipped with some (hopefully) helpful listening tools and strategies to help others find solutions for themselves. On several occasions, in informal situations, people have approached me with a concern in their life, and I have tried to be entirely present for them.

On a personal level, the decision to join the climb and boulder activity enriched my time here immensely. Firstly, climbing was a big challenge and something outside my comfort zone. I quickly found in it a great opportunity to gain new skills (like belaying) as well as exercise, have a lot of fun and push my limits. I enjoyed getting to know the group I climbed with, and had the chance to be in the outdoors.

One World was an incredible experience  once again, and I learned a lot helping with the spoken word/links, doing make up, and being part of choir, The Figgy, and Waka Waka. I loved babysitting M this past term and have appreciated her refreshing and enlightening attitude to life. I’m also very grateful for the yoga activity as it was a very stabilizing and rejuvenating force in my life.

Some of my most memorable experiences looking back, were bonding with my room and talking late at night, dancing in the common room, climbing trees with friends, napping and chatting on the lawn in the sunshine, and walking in the forest. I realize that most of these are not the most pivotal events of the year, instead wonderful occurrences unique to Pearson in a more human, day-to-day way. The opportunity to talk with students from areas of conflict over breakfast and jump in the bay with them afterwards – these experiences have shaped me, have opened my eyes and helped me grow. I think I am a lot more patient and open now than when I came. I consider more points of view when forming an opinion or judgment. I’m convinced now that what I know is not the truth, it is just a truth.

This term has been incredible, but not without its own challenges. One of my main difficulties was coming to terms with ‘the end.’ I found that Pearson had become such a massive part of my life; it was hard to imagine returning home. Talking this over with friends and trusted adults has helped greatly, as well as understanding that it’s not ‘the end’ but in fact a wonderful and exciting beginning. Another difficulty was finding enough time to dedicate to my academics. Considering my limited time here, I wanted to make sure that I took the time to connect with my peers and with nature. Since I spent more time going for walks and talking with friends, I had less time to devote to the IB and thus I am cognizant my academic performance has probably not been up to par this term. However, I have endeavored to do as much schoolwork as I can, but often have not managed to complete everything. I also wish I had the chance to do more outdoor expedition since throughout my two years I did not do any waterfront activities or wilderness or action project weeks. I do plan on learning how to sail before I leave and spending the most amount of time outside as I can.

Overall I feel so different to that excitable and eager first year I was, 20 months ago. I still see parts of myself in her, but I feel more grounded now. I have made my fair share of mistakes during the last two years and I have worried more people than I wanted to, but in the end I think (and hope) it has all been important and valuable. As Jennifer Edwards says, “we cannot undo what is done.” I think even if I could, I wouldn’t undo any of my time at Pearson.

 Carrying on into the future, going to university and travelling this summer, I know that Pearson has given me many gifts and presented many lessons that I will continue to reflect on. I feel more responsible for my own life, for our shared planet, and for serving other people. I think I can find humanity and compassion more easily in difficult situations. I have realized the importance of communicating and having those challenging conversations with people we live with. I have experienced joy and sorrow so deeply here.

So as I glance back on the rocky, steep, yet utterly breathtaking journey of my last term and my last two years, I acknowledge I have come a long way. But I could not have done it if it were not for the countless warm, strong, and comforting hands of this Pearson community, helping me over the slippery/muddy/scary parts. Words will never convey how indebted I feel to the people who make up this community and this organization – and the kindness, understanding, intelligence, generosity and creativity they have all offered. I know I still have many more mountains and hills ahead of me, but this experience has filled me with enough inspiration, hope, and love to carry on resiliently, wherever the path may lead.


                                         photo by larissa sayer http://www.flickr.com/photos/riss/5119321467/

1 comment:

  1. Really nice post, Emmy :)
    Well, I finally did not get in UWC, but the selection experience was awesome, and so was the people. And as I said, I love making plans, so something will work out. By now I'm thinking about what to do in my gap year... yummy!
    Have a nice time in uni next year... I've heard parties there are plenty of fun! ;)