Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Looking back on my first three years at RUC...

If there is one thing that scares me about this school year, it is that this year marks my final year at Redeemer University College. I'm a fourth year! Who would have thought? If I may, a few reflections on the past three years....

I decided in grade six that I was going to go to Redeemer after High School. Why? I'm not sure what my reasoning was, I had never even been to the school, but Redeemer was definitely the school for me. I therefore procedeed to tell both my brother and sister, when they enrolled at RC two years later, that they were following me to school. When it was finally my turn to hand in the applications for University, I didn't even bother to look at any other schools. I got up early on Labour day, bid a quick and teary farewell to my bestest bud (who got up at 5am to see me off!) and headed off with my mother and my worldly belongings to the scary world of college. Registration was nerve-wracking, but my dorm seemed to be a hit- my RA was sweet, and some girl named Becky had a really nice mom...
I went through what I consider to be a fairly typical first year. Our dorm baked a cake or cookies every day for the first two months, I ate cereal for breakfast, lunch, supper and midnight snack, and I gained 20lbs. The core courses didn't excite me very much, and within a month, I ruled out a major in both Social Work and Sociology. A good friend told me, "Jenn, in twenty years when you look back on your time in college, the things you'll remember are the memories with friends, not the test that you only got a C on." This piece of advice was sufficient enough to encourage nights of 4am fun and very little studying for tests. My roommate ended up hating me, but that was ok, because I was convinced that I had met "the One" for me-- and after spending three months with this third year student, over 40 hours a week (that's a full time job!), my heart was kinda trampled on a bit and my dormmates and some wonderful new friends were left to pick up the pieces of me and bandage everything back together. These new friends of mine turned out to take a keen interest in me, and invited me to join in their dorm for the following year, and I accepted with great inthusiasm. First year came to a close with a very low GPA and the summer was spent answering phones and returning and exchanging printers and binders: "Thank you for calling Staples Business Depot, how may I direct your call?"

My second year opened on somewhat of a sad note: my 93 year old grandmother--my only remaining grandparent-- passed away, and while everyone else was moving in on Labour day, I was in Chatham with my family for the funeral. Once moved in, however, the year got off to a great start, and I completed all of my readings for the first two weeks of school. I got along great with my dormmates, and got to meet (and peek into the lives of) some amazing boys living next door. I soon found myself enmeshed in this group of people, my initiation into it perhaps being completed when, one night, I recieved a welt the size of a tennis ball on my butt from a too-successful towel-whipping from one of the boys. (This, I might add, was completely unprovoked and is still in the process of being avenged.) Our dorm was not clean, and was perhaps one of the more problematic dorms on campus, but God's presence was very clear in almost every situation. I chose an English major, and almost on a dare, made it an honours-- I had to prove to myself that I could do it. I tried to be dilligent with my studies and papers, and managed to succeed in raising marks, but as any student will tell you, a first year GPA is a hard thing to raise. I swore off the male gender for the year, but ended up dating someone in Grand Rapids, which meant hours upon hours of sitting in a car on the weekends to visit. Second year also marked my entry into choir, which was one of the most amazing things to date that I have done at Redeemer. I remember sitting in practice on the first day, and instead of warming up with the rest of the choir, I sat there listening, thinking that if a group of people singing a scale or tongue-twisters or the like could sound so beautiful, what an experience it will be to sing with these folks in a concert! I almost left Redeemer after second year to persue a writing major at Calvin, where the programme is a little more advanced than at Redeemer, but after meeting with the faculty there and going on choir tour with Redeemer, I was convinced to stay for the remainder of my University career. The Michigander and I broke up shortly after that decision, and I had so much more time on my hands after spending all of my weekends in a car! I learned how to two-step, made my first visit to Hess Village, and decided to go to BC for the summer with Laura Kenny. Oh, and Sam convinced me to apply for the Oxford programme.

After an amazing summer in the mountains, I returned to room with one of my first year dormmates who had decided to RA. I fully intended on concentrating on my already-present friendships and only sort of getting to know the girls that I was living with as I was going to be leaving for England in January (I know, I'm such a snob!), but God blessed us with such an amazing group of girls that I couldn't help but desire a real and deep friendship with each girl. I had no intention of getting involved in any relationship, seeing as how I was leaving the country in a few short months, but regardless, an interest arose and between that, my girls, my friends, and my first senior level English classes, I was a very busy girl. It broke my heart to walk by the choir room and hear them practising without me, but I wasn't able to be a part of it due to my one-semester attendance for the year. I left Redeemer very reluctantly in January, and it wasn't until I was actually settled into my room in England that I actually became excited about the semester. Stratford, London, Oxford, Charlbury.... the programme was absolutely nothing like with thought it would be, but the semester was an unforgettable and phenomenal experience nonetheless. Spain was thrown into the middle of the trip, and I had the chance to practice my very limited vocabulary of Spanish (Unfortunately, Don Fernando and Raquel didn't seem to have a whole lot to do with ordering food in a restaurant....). I experienced the thrill of being in a drama for the first time since highschool, and I "wallowed in the quagmire of stupidity" for several days after I lost a fifteen page paper for my Independant Study and had to rewrite with half the sources of the first paper. School finished, and I travelled here, there and (nearly) everywhere in England for three weeks with two guys. I returned home to Ontario to a month of unemployment, the end of the aforementioned relationship, and three months of work at a hat factory.

And that about brings us to today. I'm quite sorry, I didn't realize that a few memories from each year would contain that much information--so much has happened, and this was only a fraction of my life. I have indeed been blessed.

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