A Graduate’s Reflections

It has been difficult to write a post on this topic. Although I knew I wanted to write something to close the chapter of life that was my undergraduate degree, I didn’t know what to write. How does one summarize five years that are so filled with experiences? It feels impossible to squeeze every important detail, each impactful person, all significant moments of learning into a single, short blogpost.  

I remember one day in my first-year philosophy class where we were talking about something or another, and for the life of me I cannot remember neither topic nor philosopher in question. Our prof (shout-out to Dr. Uygar Abaci) asked us “How do you define the university? What does a university consist of?” The university is not found in one specific building, in one particular location, or among a certain group of people. What makes a university – what makes our university – is a combination of many things. Perhaps it is connected to a specific location, to certain people, or a set of values. Perhaps it is not – because as history has shown these all change over time. In a sense, the university is not something that is concrete.

This is how I have chosen to think of my undergrad. Though my degree has culminated in the concrete thing that is my diploma, it has been so much more than that. What defines this period of my life was not necessarily where I was, what I did, or whom I was with – but rather, all these aspects together.

Every moment, whether big or small, has shaped my last five years. From my very first Imagine Day, when I saved a boy from a bee and made friends that still remain; to going to my first office hours, scared I wouldn’t succeed; to being rained on countless times; forgetting about the rain as soon as the sun shines; becoming a Fembot; BOOt camp; Halloween x5; all-day or late-night study sessions, made bearable only by study buddies; 3rd-year naps with Mareike in opposing Buchanan couches; cooking, eating and community at Sprouts; becoming involved in campus activism; feeling important and valued; feeling disillusioned; running (and missing) the bus; transit naps; the crowded bus where I first met Tom; procrastinating, stressing and swearing it would never happen again… every term; meeting new people; saying goodbye to friends who moved; more naps; having an amazing boss (hi CJ!); dealing with a not-great boss; president-ing the CSS with Michelle, learning about UBC’s history on Indigenous lands; getting my first A… and my first C; having standout instructors (special shout-out to Dr. Catherine Rawn, Dr. Kim Snowden, and Theo); trying to explore ever nook and cranny of the campus; the advice, support, dinners, and love from my immediate and extended family; and truly, every moment in between.

Every moment until the the very last ones: gazing out over a sea of graduates, walking across the Chan Centre stage, and going outside and feeling really, truly, graduated.

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My parents, grandma, and I. This and above photo taken by Chris Wong @wongski

To each person I have met and who has been a part of my undergrad – thank you. Thank you especially to Mom, Dad, and Liv – you guys are the best family anyone could want. To grandma for always ensuring I am well-fed. Chris, Maria, Miles, and Sarah: you are the coolest and most awesome crew I know, I still miss going upstairs to just hang out. To Tom who stuck around despite taking the brunt of stress-induced breakdowns. Thanks to my amazing friends for always being supportive and helpful.

It’s been a slice, but now I am closing this chapter. What happens next? The UBC motto is Tuum Est which means “it is yours” or “it is up to you.” The future is mine, and it is up to me to shape it.

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Photo: Jacqueline Wong @jac_o_wong
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