This September, we welcomed almost two hundred incoming students from around the world. Their excitement and nervousness was palpable at Convocation and it reminded me of my first year at Quest. Before arriving at school I remember hearing about the “ups and downs” of the first semester – people drew a graph with a line that seemed to go all over the place, climbing steadily in the first block before plunging in the second block and climbing again in the third. Remembering that graph helped me through some of the challenges of my first year. This year is my fourth year at Quest and the incoming class has made me recall my own experience of first year… So here we go:
(if you don’t want to read any of the words you can use the pictures to generally understand the content… you’re welcome)
The Stages of Coming to Quest*
*I am describing my own personal experiences and do not attempt to speak for other students. That being said, I’m sure I’m not alone in some of these.
It felt like the happiest day of my life to be accepted. Quest seemed like a distant reality that I had no hope of experiencing until they actually wanted me.
I watched all the Questu videos on youtube – campus tours, panoramas of the mountains, tiny blurbs about special classes. I looked at the course calendar over and over again, highlighting what courses I absolutely had to take. I emailed my Admissions counselor A LOT of questions. I looked up all my future classmates on facebook.
- Impending arrival
Panic! There’s no time to back out now! Everyone in the incoming-students facebook group looks way smarter and cooler and more experienced than me! What if I don’t make friends! What if the work is too hard! I don’t know what colour bed sheets to get! My roommate isn’t responding to my messages, she already hates me!
- Settling in & Making friends
Driving up the Sea to Sky Highway to get to Quest was like driving through a CGI scene from a fantasy movie – the mountains were chiseled, the ocean was bright blue, trees were everywhere, and Quest sat on top of a hill overlooking it all. In a place like this, nothing could go too bad right?!
Meeting my classmates was overwhelming and exciting – I couldn’t remember anybody’s names and I answered the “Where are you from?” question probably a thousand times.
Meeting my roommates was incredibly nerve wracking. We all awkwardly said goodbye to our parents and unpacked our bags. Jumping on my bed to put glow in the dark stars on the ceiling seemed to break the ice.
- November, the 1st “real” Quest block
September is Cornerstone – an introduction to the type of thinking we do at Quest. It’s full of adventures, fun assignments, and team building. October is Rhetoric – an introduction to the type of writing and discussing we do at Quest. It’s full of papers, journals, and heated debates. November is the first class when you’re with students from every year and it’s intimidating and exciting. Suddenly you get to put all your new skills into practice and you get to see how smart the upper years actually are. I felt a little humbled to say the least.
It rains a lot. A lot a lot. Sun lamps are recommended.
The sun comes out and staying inside to do homework is impossible. My focus went out the window (literally – the views from our classrooms are stunning) and I felt rejuvenated from all the sunshine.
It feels like the year went by in the blink of an eye but I’m also really tired. Looking back on who I was in September and how I changed throughout the year made me realize how much I learned about myself and the world.
- Summer vacation
Saying goodbye to my Quest friends was horrible (even if you’ll see them in a few months). The summer is a welcome break but by the end of it you’re itching to get back.
- I am a “returning student”
Returning in September, I felt like I now understood the “Quest experience.” I knew what I needed to do in my classes and how I needed to organize my time. Second year is like first year only better. (Eventually reality hit and I realized I wasn’t so much of an expert and still fumbled my way through education.)