At the end of each year, several graduating residence students are invited to reflect on their time at Grebel and offer words of wisdom to the rest of the Grebel community at Chapel or Community Supper. Here are several of this year’s reflections.
Bachelor of Science, Honours, Health Studies, Pre-Clinical Specialization, Experiential Education Certificate
It was here at Grebel that I lived, laughed, and learned important life lessons, like how it’s not actually necessary to sleep every night, and how you really shouldn’t trust anyone who tells you the Cookie Mascot is “one size fits all,” lest you end up in the parking lot with your pants at your ankles. But more importantly, this is where I met so many incredible people that have since become truly dear to my heart. At Grebel, I became part of a community that not only knows how to have fun together, but also how to support one another through the tough times. Because let’s face it, life isn’t always peaches and cream. Sometimes, global pandemics just pop up out of nowhere and completely disrupt life as you know it. Other times, mental health challenges claim the life of a friend and you experience a loss like you’ve never experienced before. I wouldn’t say that university has been easy, but it has certainly been easier knowing that, as the wise Troy Bolton once said, “We’re all in this together.”
So, thank you Grebel. Thank you for adopting me into this home where I have made memories and friends that will last a lifetime. Thank you for pushing me to become a better leader and learner. And, most of all, thank you for being a community that chooses to love and support even in the least peachy of circumstances. Moving forward, I hope that I will choose to do the same, no matter where I end up.
As my time here comes to an end, I’m gonna be your mom for just a second and encourage you all to continue to make good choices. Keep choosing to love unconditionally, laugh uncontrollably, live like you’re the main character in a totally epic-sauce movie (because you are), and importantly, as the wise Henry Stevens once told me, “Always go to bed, unless it’s worth it.”
Bachelor of Arts, Honours, Peace and Conflict Studies, Rhetoric, Media, and Professional Communication
I remember walking into Grebel on Move-In Day in 2018, brighteyed and bushy-tailed. In my senior year of high school, I won “Most likely to achieve world peace,” so I knew that I had a lot of hard work ahead of me. I have always been a highly involved person, and this continued into my experience at Grebel for the past five years.
There are few corners of Grebel that I didn’t find my way into, even with three terms online. I lived in residence for three terms, in the apartments for three terms, and was an off-campus associate for four terms. I was involved with Orientation Week, PACS Living-Learning Community, Peace Society, Student Council, Chapel Committee, Talent Shows, Grebel conferences, the Centre for Peace Advancement, and I also took PACS, Religious Studies, and Music courses.
There were many times at Grebel where I felt really connected. At other times, I struggled to fit in. There are a lot of ways I’ve changed over my undergrad, but there are also a lot of ways I’ve not. There are many ways Grebel frustrates me, on administrative and theological levels, but there are also a lot of ways it encourages me to keep hoping for a better, more caring world. I’m grateful that God sustained me over these difficult years.
Now, as I graduate, I reflect back on the late nights writing mediocre papers and the university dreams I never got to fulfill, but also the blessings of knowledge and joy of relationships. The people of Grebel are so genuine and make me feel that the future is in good hands. As I conclude my time as a Grebelite, I leave with a lifetime of memories and a wealth of gratitude.
Bachelor of Applied Science, Honours, Nanotechnology Engineering, Co-op Research Certificate
I lived at Grebel in the residence and apartments for ten terms— with 12 different roommates. When I first moved in, I thought I’d live here for a year and then move out, because that’s what I thought people did. But I quickly learned that Grebel is so much more than a residence, thanks to its interdisciplinary mix of students in varying years and programs, and the unlimited ways to get involved.
In my first year at Grebel, I learned that the Menno Run is lots of fun and a great way to meet others. I reignited my love of card games and realized that even though I am not musically talented, there was still a space for me at talent shows. I also connected with upper-year mentors in my program, many of whom still help me today.
Subsequent years brought the adventures of the Fairy Quad Mothers, the launch of PeaceTech Living-Learning Community, and the joys of being an Orientation Week Leader. It brought Ramen Tuesdays and toothbrushing parties to celebrate the permanence of all-gender washrooms. Third year brought many masks. And even my final year brought new opportunities like the MEDA trip.
Some key lessons learned over my time at Grebel: 1) Spring term really is the best term, even if you don’t play veebs. 2) Dutch Blitz is a competitive sport. 3) I’ll never be too old to dress up for Halloween. 4) Every term is an opportunity to make new friends. 5) Dancing is fun, especially if it’s at 6am before class or on stage with a mannequin head on. 6) And Grebel is a home away from home.
Grebel is a place where I’ve made lifelong friends and memories, and I’m so thankful to have called Grebel my home for the past five years.
Bachelor of Science, Honours, Biology, Psychology minor, Environmental Biology Specialization
I lived at Grebel for four out of five years of my degree and I have loved being part of this community. I’ve been on Larger Leadership Team, I’ve been a don, and on Chapel Committee. I came to Grebel in my second year of university. This is the most significant decision I have ever made. It changed my life in the best way.
I remember a conversation when I first lived at Grebel, talking about faith. At some point in the conversation, I was thinking out loud and said something along the lines of “I suppose if God is love, then I believe in God.” It’s a simple idea, but it hadn’t occurred to me until that very moment as those words fell out of my mouth that it might just be this simple. I don’t need all the answers. I know that love is real! I experience it all the time. Plus, the mystery of it all is pretty awesome.
The thing that exists between all of us here in this community, I’ve realized, is not different from the “God” thing or the “Holy Spirit” thing or the “capital L Love” thing. Because I have noticed this, it is really no wonder that Grebel has had such an impact on my faith. If what I believe is true, then I so clearly encounter God on a daily basis in my interactions with everyone in the Grebel community. I’m not convinced that there’s any human space more sacred than a Grebel table. After graduation, I think the challenge will be to find spaces like this in our post-Grebel lives. I think that our time here has taught us how to recognize these spaces, and even how to create them. I think the world will be better for us going out and finding ways to fill the table wherever we end up. I’m so grateful to all of you for your part in teaching me these things.