Some of you reading this might be contemplating the idea of attending university. Some of you may have had your ideas of education tainted by public high schools. I know I was disenchanted with the prospect of attending yet another school and adhering to more rigid guidelines. Quest is truly divergent from other schools you may have come across and has rekindled my love for higher education. Here are some of the reasons I love my school:
We are located in Squamish, British Columbia, which is mid-way between Vancouver and Whistler (one of the most gorgeous places in the world, in my opinion). We are surrounded mostly by trees and mountains, and the town is quite small. We usually create our own fun, whether that be making music, art, poetry, hiking, biking, skiing, cooking, having potlucks with awesome people, drinking tea, watching sports games, and the list goes on. I have met really incredible people here from all walks of life and my perspectives have definitely shifted as a result of speaking with people from different backgrounds. I look at the world a little differently now after having my own beliefs questioned and opening my mind to those of others. Everyone lives on campus because we pride ourselves on having a strong sense of community. In my first year, all the students (first through fourth) were on a first-name basis. Although the school is growing quickly, the sense of community will never be lost; people I have met at Quest are my second family and will always be. That sounds a little sappy but the small class sizes and close living quarters help keep you close with community members and events that are going on around campus.
Quest has all sorts of extra-curricular activities including, but not limited to rock climbing, choir, adventure clubs, theatre groups, academic talks from field specialists, scientists, artists, and musicians, we offer intramural sports (as well as varsity sports), language discussion groups (from French to Mandarin), poetry writing groups, open mic nights, drum circles in the woods, art room evenings, trivia nights, political groups, social activist groups and the list certainly goes on. Our student government wants to ensure that students are able to immerse themselves in whatever they choose; if there is not a group on campus that you’d like, funds are available to start one (and chances are other students will be interested in joining as well).
There are loads of activities to do here; however, students spend a large portion of their time in class and studying. Classes are only three hours a day, five days a week. After class you are responsible for assignments, readings, and understanding the material covered for that day. Because each ‘block’ or academic subject is only 3.5 weeks long, there’s a LOT of material to cover. This is part of the reason why I came to Quest; I liked the idea of only having one class at a time. I am truly able to delve into one subject as far as I like without worrying about exams and essays for four other classes. At the end of the degree you have the same amount of credits as any other university; the structure in which you obtain these credits is slightly different. Another of my favourite parts of Quest is the ability to choose your own major, or as we call, a “Question”. Questions can be broad and do not have to fit into a specialized degree like other majors do. You are able to pursue exactly what you enjoy instead of being told what to study. Some questions are as abstract as “What is love” or “What is the best way to raise a child” or “What is a healthy body”. These subjects span a wide range of disciplines and you find yourself studying philosophy, psychology, math, physiology, neuroscience, and literature in an effort to try and answer your question. I like to say that the university conforms to your needs instead of the other way around. After resenting high school for telling me precisely what is expected of me and having little creative license with my own education, I found Quest to be extremely liberating.
I know this is long-winded, I just have so much appreciation and respect for what this university is doing in terms of providing students with the ability to have a say in their educations.
To anyone thinking about university, good luck! It sure is a tough decision.
All the best,