Graduation

  Photo: Asha Collins

Photo: Asha Collins

It’s September friends! It’s the season of both new beginnings and endings. I am beginning my fourth and final year of International Studies, and it’s already bittersweet. Glendon Frosh Week 2016 came to an end, officially signifying that summer was over. I am looking forward to all that fourth year has in store for me. I am staying motivated thanks to the idea of the “Destination Graduation” – a phrase that that resonated with me when I heard it at the welcome ceremony at Keele Campus on the York wide Orientation Day.  

A friend who is on the Pro Tem team invited me to reflect on the journey that has brought me to this point in my academic career, so I decided to write about it. I asked myself: Why Am I At Glendon? How has Glendon brought me to the place I am now? Like many students, I chose Glendon because of the bilingualism, the community feel, and the International Studies program. But I ended up finding so much more.

Jumpstart and Frosh Week were two of the most important events that I participated in during my first year. These two orientations helped me get acquainted with Glendon life, and I started to feel like I could find a home here. During these key first weeks at Glendon, I met some of my closest friends as well as people who became my mentors throughout the years, and continue to be people I look up to now. Those two events set the stage for the rest of my Glendon experience. I felt immediately welcomed into to the Glendon community, and was encouraged to participate in all that our campus has to offer. The foundation that was built during Jumpstart and Frosh Week led me to take a chance, and successfully co-found the GLmetowe club at Glendon, to run for the Glendon College Student Union Council, to apply to be on the eAmbassador team, and to become a D-Frosh. This community has truly become my family.

Of course, I am at Glendon for academics above all else. My first class of university was International Society (ILST 2644). From the first day of class, I was excited to learn about the international system, and to analyze issues from different viewpoints. Le français est aussi important pour moi. I decided to participate in the Explore program after completing my first year so that I could improve my French skills by being immersed in a completely French atmosphere. Explore was one of the best experiences of my academic career. I became far more confident in my language abilities, and I made some amazing friends.

Another memorable experience was enrolling in summer courses. I found that summer courses are a great way to either get caught up on credits, or to get ahead in a more relaxed atmosphere. One summer, I took a course that became one of my favourites, Transnational Religious Social Movements. In that course, we critically analyzed religious movements that affected groups of individuals transnationally. I enjoyed it so much because it was an area of International Studies that I hadn’t yet been exposed to.

The last thing that has brought me to the place I am now is the opportunity to study abroad for a year in Middelburg, Netherlands. The application process, while incredibly stressful, helped me reflect on the decision I was making. My exchange was the most influential year of my life, both academically and personally. I was exposed to countless academic and cultural experiences that I would have never encountered otherwise. I’m not sure if I would have had the same possibility to go on exchange if was not at Glendon, but I know for sure that I would not be graduating with a Bilingual International Bachelor of Arts in June if I had attended any other school. I have a year’s worth of blog content about my exchange, which you can read at ashacgl.wordpress.com because I cannot do it justice in a few sentences.

And now here I am, a fourth year International Studies major who is passionate about social issues, equality, feminism, and justice. I’m excited for everything that this year is going to bring my way. Here’s to another great year.