I’m now more than halfway into my first semester of university life and I have to say thank you to all of you for making it as great as it’s been so far. I admit, there was a fair bit of eye-rolling on my part when I came to visit McGill last April with my mom. As we walked down Peel, she spotted the Newman Center and said something to the effect of “Ooh, Newman Center, they had one of those at Queen’s when I went to school, let’s go visit!” And across the street we went. Personally, I didn’t really want to wander into a random building and see what was going on, but apparently that just wasn’t an option. Looking back, I’m really glad we went, but on my first day in a strange city…I was not so impressed with Mom’s insistence.
It was the tail end of exams here at McGill, and Newman was pretty quiet. Still, we were shown around and had a chat about some of the different things that went on around Newman: mass times, SNS, faith studies, soup and bagel…I went away with the vaguely formed idea that I would be going back, having decided only earlier that day that I would be going to McGill in the Fall after all.
This year, as I started meeting people around Newman, first through Fish Frosh, and then at things like soup and bagel and mass, it felt a little like coming home. From the moment I walked in the door, people were encouraging me to get involved at mass, with the choir, in faith studies…pretty much anything and everything that was going on. Overwhelming? Maybe a little, but also reassuring. Your welcome taught me that Newman is so much more than mass on Saturday and Sunday. It’s all of the different things going on throughout the week, and all of the people that create the Newman community. The more time I spend at the Newman center, the more it feels like home. I can take off my shoes and curl up in a chair to study…or to take a break and watch funny owl videos. Sometimes it’s quiet and I get a lot of work done, but mostly it’s alive. People come and go; we laugh or commiserate about a bad exam, and then the work goes on. I might be a little less productive those days, but I’m relaxed and school seems a little less overwhelming. At Newman I can balance friends and faith with homework, because university life is so much more than books, papers and exams. The sense of community and friendship that I find with all of you at Newman is one of the things keeping me – relatively – sane as I make my way through my first year at McGill.
Thank you all for making my experiences with the Newman Center, and with each of you, so memorable.