One hundred years after King’s campus in Windsor burned down, we find ourselves once again facing the unknown. In 1920, classes resumed within a week, and students were welcomed into the homes of Windsor residents. In 2020, classes began again (though in the admittedly different form of online learning) after a week hiatus, and students have found themselves continuing their education from the many corners of the world.
Student life may look different than it ever has, but it has not stopped. Here are some of our students’ stories.
Right now, I’m doing an online political science course through Dalhousie, and will be doing another one next month, as well as biology courses online. Otherwise, I’m biking through the city, or doing all the housework that I’ve always said I’ll one day get around to.
I’m reading We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe and Cien Años de Soledad by Gabriel Garcia Márquez. Reading Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe has brought me a lot of hope lately. It’s about precolonial agriculture in Australia, and the author has recently been growing traditional native crops to encourage bringing them back in national agriculture. It’s not related to the pandemic, but it’s so significant in and of itself, and that shows positive progress to me and that good things are continuing despite the pandemic.
In doing the Foundation Year Program (FYP), I think I became a lot more comfortable at the idea of being alone with my thoughts and exploring ideas on my own. Having some of my own thoughts reflected in the texts that we read helped give me confidence in my ideas, and I’ve become more inclined to let myself explore ideas, having better learned how to do that. That’s really helped me during social distancing and isolation. It also really helps to put life in perspective, in context that this has happened before and it will end, and good things will come of it eventually.
I’ve been doing a lot of embroidery and reading. I finished my studies for the year a couple weeks ago, and I miss it already! I was just recently accepted into the Fountain School of Performing Arts (FSPA) acting program, so I’ve been practicing some singing and looking for monologues to work on. I’ve been using embroidery to try and channel my nervous energy into a tangible form. I’ve recently been helping my mother sew fabric masks for community members in need and helping her do no-contact drop offs.
Peculiar, isolating, warm
One thing that has really suffered from a lack of social contact is theatre, which is a huge part of my life. Katie Clarke (another King’s student) is starting to organize a social distanced play that she has written, and the possibility of doing theatre with my friends gives me hope for the future.
At the beginning of COVID-19, I spent most of the time worrying about the safety of my parents who are back in China. After school officially ended, I went to volunteer at DSU Food Bank for the first time. I fill the rest of my time with learning Welsh, taking an online course and cooking the food that my parents would make for me if I was home.
I learned that at the time like this, it is essential to keep myself busy. Whether it’s cooking, reading or working out, having a routine helped me a lot. And of course, it’s important to have someone there to be your study buddy! My boyfriend and I created a timetable (remotely) for the two of us and we have scheduled when to do what.
Also, I have learned to be more patient with not only myself but my parents and people around me. Having the majority of time to my own, I realize it is so difficult for me to stop and rethink. There are many things that I do unintentionally just to fill the spare time. Now I find out that this little habit is extremely unnecessary. Now, with the schedule I have, I left certain empty time slot just to do nothing or anything it comes into my mind at the moment.
With enough spare time, I am able to learn to be more patient with my parents as I talking to them.
I’ve taken up knitting recently, so I’ve been caught up with that. I’ve also been creating some digital art as well as painting, but I’ve also been watching a lot of YouTube. I would normally be working full-time during the summer, so it’s been weird to have so much time on my hands.
Reading hasn’t been able to keep much of my attention recently, but I’m taking summer courses starting in June, so I started trying to read the Bhagavad Gita in preparation for my philosophy class.
Back at the end of March, I had to make the decision within three days to move out of my Halifax apartment due to landlord issues. It was at the time when the pandemic had just began to cause restrictions on travel, and my partner and I had to figure out where to go. The amount of King’s people—my peers, the administration and even my professors—who offered places to stay, who gave me legal advice and who helped me in any way gave me immense hope for the community we are a part of. The chaplain and two friends stepped up without me asking to help me move in two days and drove me and my partner to the airport that night. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the compassion, care and hope everyone at King’s provided me during such a time.
Reflective, challenging, growthful
The Things of the Earth: Treasuring God by Enjoying His Gifts by Joe Rigney.
Definitely going away for school means that I’m used to connecting with friends and family over technology instead of in person. That’s definitely helped, because I’m happy to be home, and I’m happy to talk to friends, so in a lot of ways, it’s the best of both worlds. I also definitely know the sort of things I’m interested in learning more about because of FYP, so when I’m bored and want to challenge my mind, I have things to go to.
Since coming home from an abrupt but surprisingly beautiful end to my first year of university, I have dedicated my days to finding gratitude, understanding what I want out of life, as well as taking risks in attempts to challenge my belief system. What this looks like are days spent being insanely productive in terms of academics and self-improvement as well as others consisting of introspective hours spent journaling and meditating, letting myself miss whoever or whatever I want to. […] Truthfully, I do my best not to judge what I end up doing with my days and remind myself there is no ‘right way’ to handle our situation.
Through both the content of the Foundation Year Program and my experience within the university’s community, King’s has helped me better understand how to be compassionate and there for others during times of need. The Foundation Year Program has taught me how to sympathize with individuals in situations far different from my own and attempt to see why they make the choices that they do, rather than simply judging them. Equally, the incredible staff and students at King’s have taught me how to voice my thoughts more effectively, reach out for help if I need it and support others when they choose to do the same. These principles of compassion, I see now, are the ones holding people together during this pandemic. They help to ensure each person’s physical and mental well-being is taken care of to the best of our collective ability.