Remembering Life at SJC
When I received a request to write a submission for a publication celebrating the 15th Anniversary of St. John’s College at UBC, a broad smile crept over my face as a flood of amazing memories filled my mind. I remembered the formal dinners, the choir, the coffee house amateur nights, the fundraisers for international causes, the inspiring guest artists, the BBQs up on the deck, language tutorials, concerts, carols around the piano, Christmas tree decorating, Halloween celebrations, and, perhaps to the chagrin of the principal, the room crawl parties.
It all began when an announcement was made in one of my graduate music courses that there were vacancies at St. John’s College. My husband, Peter, and I were living with our youngest daughter in Vancouver and she was about to head off to Montreal to attend McGill University. It was just the two of us again, and, eager for adventure, I broached the subject with my husband. Would he be interested in living in a graduate residence with lots of younger students? Were we too mature for such an escapade?
Obviously, we decided that living at St. John’s would be an amazing opportunity for us, but little did we know that this decision would ensure that the next four years of our lives were the most inspired, most productive, most fulfilling, and, sometimes, most exhausting. Nothing was more exhilarating than sitting down for supper with some of the most incredible minds that the world has to offer and discussing various aspects of science, music, art, politics, law, and occasionally plans for an upcoming social event that would provide a fun diversion from our scholastic pursuits. Peter and I were absolutely enthralled by this exciting world of possibilities; each and every resident was undertaking their research studies with such vigour and enthusiasm that one could not help but be inspired. Complementing this vigorous academic environment was a world of friendship and camaraderie unparalleled anywhere else. We laughed together, sang together, behaved a little crazy together, and most importantly cared about each other and the world around us. We raised thousands of dollars for goats in Sudan, chickens for the women of Lesotho, food for the homeless in Vancouver, and fresh water systems for undeveloped countries. There was never a shortage of volunteers, for each of the residents of St. John’s had entered the college dedicated to enriching community life. And, enriched our lives were!
Despite the smile on my face as I reminisce, there is a large part of me that feels sadness that my time at St. John’s is behind me. However, the sadness quickly dissipates each time I reconnect with any of my many amazing friends from St. John’s and realize that the bonds created during my tenure at the college are permanent and life-long. Years and distance may separate us all, but the friendships remain and the memories will continue to remind me of one of the most amazing times in my life!
SJC resident, 2003 to 2007