I suppose I should start my first blog by introducing myself. My name is Gina Markle and I am a third-year university student at Quest University Canada. I work as a Senior Ambassador in social media for Quest’s admissions department. I’m from the small town of Waterdown, Ontario and I took the plunge to go to school on the opposite side of the country almost entirely because of how attractive the university seemed to me (the majestic mountains and beautiful, Pacific coast sure made the transition easier too)! As soon as I visited Quest I knew that I belonged here. However, I’ll back up and tell you a funny story of how I got here first. When I first enrolled, people found out about Quest largely through word-of-mouth because we were not very well-established on the internet and in University databases (having opened in 2007). I would never have heard of the school had my grade 11 high school English teacher not told me that her son went here. My English teacher and I had a good relationship and she told me the tales that her son had passed on to her about the university (such as students skiing up in Whistler before their afternoon classes, the infamous drum circles in the forest, the ‘Adeventure Club’ hikes into Garibaldi Provincial Park over block break, and of course, that sense of community that can be seen at no other campus in the country). She told me that I would be a wonderful fit for the school given my love for adventure, my insatiable desire to learn and explore, and the unique perspectives I had to offer to my international, diverse peer group. Sure enough, when I arrived on campus, the school fit me perfectly (instead of me having to augment myself to fit the school).
What I truly fell in love with about Quest is the fact that you are not a nameless undergrad in a sea of thousands, running to classes, with no time of day to stop and look around. When I arrived for my campus tour, there was a big, welcoming sign saying, “Welcome to Quest, Gina!” They greeted me warmly and were truly happy to see that I had arrived and had a safe flight. After such a long journey, this small detail meant a lot to me. I have found throughout my time here that Quest does this often; paying attention to detail and treating you like a human being instead of a number. Everyone knows my name on campus. I have a say in the type of food the cafeteria serves. We have school-wide discussions with the entire staff and faculty (including the President) regarding the state of the university and our recommendations and critiques. Every month, we recognize students and staff for their personal contributions. I even go to the Dean of Student Affair’s apartment for Thanksgiving dinner every year because going home for Thanksgiving is not a possibility for me; living so far away and travel being so expensive. I could go on, but the main idea is that when you come to Quest you are part of the family and everyone will treat you as such. We are all going through similar tumult in our lives (academically, socially, and existentially) and it’s nice to know that you’re not alone.
I’ll stop with the emotional talk and end with saying that although Quest does not train you for a vocational skill to launch you into the work force immediately after graduation, you learn to think for yourself and ‘Quest’ion everything. In our world, technology, jobs, and communication change so rapidly. If you can’t adapt and think on your toes (which Quest has certainly made me do), you’ll be left in the dust. On a similar note, I have also learned the importance of balance during my time here. We may study hard, but we play hard too! It’s a school built in the mountains and forest for a reason; there is nothing more cathartic than a long walk in the woods when you’re stressed with an essay at the end of block.
I’ll leave you with that introduction to myself and my school. Quest represents who I am because it encompasses so much of my philosophy about education, learning and living life to the fullest. There will certainly be more stories to come about my student experience as well as my personal growth here in stunning Squamish, British Columbia.
Enjoy the Squamish sun while it lasts!