Congratulations! You did it!! You made it through the term to the end of classes.
What a year this has been. Amid the uncertainty engendered by the lasting global pandemic, you have triumphed. Yes, it has been tough. Spending so much time online that your eyes are burning. Wondering how long it will be before you can hug your friends and family in person. Doubting whether you will retain what you’ve been learning in this new way. Missing out on in-person celebrations and events.
Yet none of this diminishes what you have achieved this year or the road you have travelled.
I often tell students that if they get through their degree at StMU without being really stretched – question who they are, what they want to contribute to the world, what matters to them – then as faculty we are not doing our job.
I admit though, I did not ever anticipate that collectively we would encounter so much stretching as we have this year. Yet, isn’t that what a great liberal arts education is all about?
As Martha Nussbaum asserts, an effective Liberal Arts education “is a preparation for life, and people typically appreciate more and more, as life goes on, the expansion of their minds and hearts” (Union College Feb. 24, 2011). She goes on to say that “people in all walks of life … feel that their ability to enjoy life, to think about other people and themselves, and to understand the world around them is enhanced by the liberal arts.”
So, as you enjoy the feeling of satisfaction from having completed an unusual and, no doubt, a stretching term, I invite you to think beyond the assignments, texts, and textbooks of this year to ponder the ways in which what you’ve been learning has sparked your imagination, prompted you to think about people around the globe, and shifted your perspectives.
As you prepare for final examinations and what is ahead in Spring and Summer – and perhaps after graduation if you are in the Class of 2021 – I offer a passage from artist and writer Emily Carr’sHundreds and Thousands: The Journals of an Artist. What she says is as applicable to your studies and the path you walk throughout your life as it is to writing and art:
“Be careful that you do not write or paint anything that is not your own, that you don’t know in your own soul. You will have to experiment and try things out for yourself, and you will not be sure of what you are doing. That’s all right; you are feeling your way into the thing. But don’t take what someone else has made sure of and pretend it’s you yourself that have made sure of it till it’s yours absolutely by conviction.”
May you find rest after your labours, joy in each day, and the conviction to root yourself in your own being.
Summer Camps at StMU for Grades 5-8
Register at: https://stmu.ca/extension-studies/summer-camps/
COVID Safety – Your Age Group can Make the Most Difference!
As the variations of concern continue to rise, please stay safe: restrict your number of contacts, wear your mask and sanitize your hands. No more than 10 people in an outside gathering – and keep your masks on and do not share food. We need to interrupt the transmission until more people are vaccinated. Super-spreader events have been connected to graduation parties and socializing.
You age group can make the most difference! So please, stay safe and celebrate following the COVID protocols.
Have successful exams. Until next week,