Category: 2016-17 (Page 1 of 9)

Three weeks: a graduation poem

three weeks: a graduation poem by #CMUwpg student Emily Hamm

Three Weeks

I came to CMU four years ago
I said, “mom I’m moving to Winnipeg on Monday, we’ll have to pack the car.”
I said “I’ll stay for three weeks, and if I hate it I’ll come home.”
Three days after I got here I sobbed for two hours and I told her how I couldn’t do any of it.
          School hadn’t even started and I couldn’t do any of it.
I told her even my dorm room didn’t feel safe and that everything was terrifying
          while all the functional people ate smokies on the lawn and listened to Pocket Change.
She told me I could come home if I wanted.
I didn’t want to want to.

I went to class the next day. I was at least intrigued.
I realized there were people who wanted to think as much as I thought all the time.
I realized I could focus my thoughts on something other than fear.
So I studied what I wanted.
I didn’t study for a degree,
When Adelia sent me the forms to declare my major I put them in my trash folder and picked courses
based on what I wanted to take.
When Connor sent me the forms to declare my major I put them in my trash folder and picked courses
that I wanted to take.
When Vern sent me the forms to declare my major I put them in my trash folder and picked courses
that I wanted to take.
I filled out degree audit forms at the kitchen table with my friend and I cobbled together a degree out of
the things that I wanted to take.
(and a couple of unfortunate hail-mary communications fulfillments, thrown together to create a degree out of first year biologys and chemistrys, some comm. courses I took mostly because I like stories and an intense fascination with the old testament that sometimes accidentally involves the new testament
too)
And eventually I handed in my forms to declare my major and to graduate on the same day. (sorry)

Emily Hamm, (centre), with her family on graduation day at Canadian Mennonite University in June, 2017.

I took a degree that made me a person. I put myself together after time and again after breaking myself
apart. I picked up my dismembered arm and taped my kidneys back in
After
Relationships I got wrong
Privilege I had and couldn’t give away
Mental illness – you know PTSD-GAD-PDD-OCD all the letters I got that never went on my
transcript.

I loved some people and some people loved me and when it overlapped it was beautiful –
Like a venn diagram that’s just a circle – it was so clear.
And I learned things I didn’t want to, like when I fly overseas, someone’s home gets closer to flooding.
Like when I use a logical fallacy, I’m not really winning an argument.
Like how to write a marketing plan.

I learned a lot of things I did want to learn. Things that made me a person.
That communication theory explains how I talk to people, and how I should talk to people.
That honestly the best part of the Pentateuch is Shiphrah and Puah.

After academics shattered my faith I learned how to believe in Jesus again – also from academics.
I learned about the world wider than my degree.
I learned about bio and English,
chemistry and business,
geography and psychology,
environmental studies and sociology.
I saw the people around me become a countryside of roads, without separate end, beginning, only
connection,
rather than seeing them as islands, like the north half of Canada that no one wants to colour.

I learned the paths in the Assiniboine Forest and which ones are wide enough to walk with someone
side by side.
I learned what pedagogy means, and parsimonious. I learned what on earth a metaphysical dualism is
and that Illich’s work is uncomfortably prescriptive.
I learned reformational isn’t a word but it definitely should be,
And that “I’m going to bed” is sometimes a better choice than “Yes, let’s play another game of
foosball.”

But also that the answer to a 1am “Want to go for a forest walk?” is always yes.
And the answer to a 7am knock at the door is “come in.”

I didn’t come to CMU for a career path, which is good because I definitely didn’t find one.
I came to CMU for three weeks,
and I think I might have become a person here.
Sewn together, pieces in the hands of others, loose ends and all, God’s paint still dripping where it
hasn’t dried yet,
I might be a person here.

Emily Hamm graduated from CMU in April 2017.

From Outtatown to CMU – finding the perfect fit

From Outtatown to CMU - finding the perfect fit

Hey I’m Cole! I’m from Victoria, British Columbia, and I am very excited to be coming to CMU next year! I recently returned from South Africa where I had the time of my life with Outtatown, and now I’ve chosen to continue with this amazing school for further studies. Some may call me crazy for deciding to trade in BC’s beautiful coastline, and mild weather, for Manitoba’s harsh, cold winters, and flat prairie land. But I do believe CMU is where I’m supposed to be. (Plus, I think it’ll be good for me to experience a true Canadian winter).

During our first semester of Outtatown, we spent quite a bit of time in Winnipeg. Every time I was on campus at CMU, I felt a sense of warmth and friendliness. Whether staff or students, every single person I met was so welcoming and kind. The experience honestly made CMU feel like a second home to me.

In the past, I considered different schools, but they never seemed right for me. CMU is different though – it’s definitely the perfect fit. The fact that it’s a smaller school has an obvious impact on the sense of community. I’m excited to be attending a school where I’m not just a number, where people know my name, and care to know me as an individual.

In terms of program, I’ll be studying Communications and Media. For the longest time, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life, but communications and journalism were both prominent options. While our Outtatown crew was in Hope, BC, we had a visit from the fantastic Danielle Bailey, (Enrolment Coordinator at CMU). She mostly came to hang out, but she also came to talk about CMU, and answer any questions we had. I brought up my interest in journalism and communications, and she told me all about CMU’s communications and media program. I was interested, but as the semester got busy, I sort of left it on the back burner. Over Christmas break, I prayed about what I should do, and sensed God pointing me to this program.

During our second semester in South Africa, we were lucky to have Mike Wiebe (CMU Admissions Counselor) and Paul Peters (Outtatown Program Manager) visit us in Soweto. I talked to Mike a lot about the program. He highly recommended it, so I filled out the forms right there!

From Outtatown to CMU - finding the perfect fitI am very thankful for the sense of community at CMU, and I’m also grateful for the opportunity to attend a school that is faith-based. I hope to enrich my relationship with God alongside Christian brothers and sisters. To have the freedom to do this at university, to be encouraged to do so, is invaluable, and I think, quite uncommon in our society today.

All this is to say, I am absolutely positive that this is where God has led me, and I am so very excited to start a new chapter at CMU! See you in the fall!

Cole Stewart is starting his journey at CMU in the fall, majoring in Communications and Media.

Change and the art of going with flow

Change and the art of going with the flow for #myCMUlife

I’m terrible at dealing with major life changes. I’m constantly trying to figure out where I am, and who I am, within the rhythms and patterns of school, work, and social life. And as life changes, I’ve had to learn to go change with it.

During my first semester of grade 9, instead of doing our usual summer road trip to Somewhere, Canada, my family took a sabbatical to Europe for three months. This was a fabulous opportunity. Everyone around me, from my friends to the elderly ladies at church potlucks, asked me how excited I was. In response, I’d plaster a giant smile on face, and sound just enthusiastic enough to placate them. But inside I was afraid of leaving my routine, my school, and friends, for a whole semester. I was anxious that all of my friends would forget who I was, and somehow I’d come back to school as the new kid.

On landing in Dublin, and looking up at the grand Celtic cathedrals surrounding me, though, all my apprehension disappeared. I was finally excited to travel and explore all these countries I had read about for years. And when I returned to school three months later, my friends had not forgotten me.

Change and the art of going with the flow for #myCMUlife

I was first drawn to CMU by family connections, and the Outtatown program, with no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I stay because of the interesting classes and the allure of a close-knit community. And while university is certainly stressful at times, and has led to a lot of questioning, the unexpected beauty of this place is it’s teaching me to adapt.

The answer to the question of “what am I doing here” is, I don’t know. I’m currently trying to understand people, and the world around me through classes in sociology, psychology, and international development. I’m building community through formal leadership opportunities, and casual chats at the Blaurock. I’m living in this beautiful time of being a second year when I can simply enjoy being in this space without actively worrying about the dark vortex of graduation. I’m learning to rest in the constant motion of university life.

Change and the art of going with the flow for #myCMUlife

As I think about where I’m going, I can’t but think of where I am coming from. I see it in my sister, who just finished soaking up the last few rays of sun in South Africa with Outtatown, an incredible learning experience that I can only hope was as meaningful for her as it was for me.

I’m inspired by my parents, who just finished travelling through China, using their medical and organizational skills to help with conferences for Mennonite Church Canada. I don’t yet know where I’m going, but I hope I can one day be as cool as they are, and use my love for people, and education in a similarly meaningful way.

And as I think about my family, stretched between three different continents, I find myself centred in this place, facing the uncertainties and questions that come with university life. And I think I’ll enjoy being here for a little while longer. 

Mackenzie Nicolle is preparing to enter her 3rd year at CMU, majoring in Intercultural Studies.

If there’s one thing CMU teaches, it’s interconnectivity

When I chose Communications & Media as my major, I probably wouldn’t have pegged Manitoba Public Insurance as the place that I would be completing my practicum. Nonetheless, that is exactly where I found myself one year ago. I was set to be one of five other students with the title of “Community Relations Assistant,” and as a team, we would be responsible for going around to schools, daycares, and summer events across Manitoba to do bike safety and road safety presentations.

Jason FriesenMy communication did not take the form that people typically think of when they hear the words “communications and media.” There were no blog or social media posts. Instead, I engaged with people face-to-face on a daily basis on behalf of MPI. Though at first glance our job was to state the rules of the road and making presentations, it became obvious that interacting and connecting with communities across Manitoba was far more important.

Many of the events I attended showed this, and were part of larger community gatherings. Not only was our team running a bike safety course, but there were other organizations giving away bikes to kids who did not have one, and members of the community would be barbecuing hot dogs. The events were designed to connect different organizations, and bring the whole community together.

It wasn’t hard to tell that this was meaningful to the communities. At one country fair, a man told me that he had been in a car crash several years ago, and had to go through rehab to recover from the effects of it. He then proceeded to sincerely thank me and MPI for all of the funds and assistance that he had received.

Not only did this interaction make me feel like I was building community, but it really made me feel that even in a large corporation like MPI, everything is tied together. What I was doing was not separate from those collecting payments for licenses, or from those making sure that Manitoban’s are cared for when they are in an accident.

My education at CMU has been much the same. I have taken a wide variety of courses, from communications, to business, to Bible, and science. And somehow, I have been able to find connections between many of them.

Making connections will only help me in my future endeavours. Professor David Balzer summed it up best. “Any other academic discipline can be connected to communications, because you won’t be communicating about communications. You’ll be communicating about science, music, business, and other things.”

Jason Friesen is a fourth year student majoring in Communications & Media

How I found my voice…as a radio cowboy

BRIGHTON

Brighton Thiessen behind the mic at CHVN

Your 18th birthday is supposed to be this great thing. You are celebrating that you are free from the clutches of your parents, and you technically become legal in Canada.

I spent my 18th birthday packing up my things and moving to a first floor dorm room at Poettcker Hall. I felt as though I was still a high school kid who was still too young to understand what goes on at university. That first year, I struggled in class, and I wondered why I even was going to school in the first place.

I considered dropping a couple of times, but there was that little itch in the back of my head saying that I should stay, and that your time at CMU would be worthwhile.

Fast forward to now, and I am graduating this year, and I am currently doing a practicum assignment working as an on-air host at CHVN radio in Winnipeg. I guess it makes sense for me considering I am a Communications & Media major with a Biblical and Theological Studies minor, and CHVN is the only Christian radio station in Winnipeg.

Looking back on my time here, I realized that every course I took at CMU prepared me to be an on-air host, which I didn’t think I could do at first. I guess the moment I realized was in my first-year Media Workshop class. One of our fun end-of-the-year projects was to come up with a cool 30-second audio commercial for the Carnaval BBQ restaurant at the Forks.

For some odd reason, I got picked to speak in a ridiculous cowboy accent.

So I am sitting in the recording booth and it’s not going very well. I decided to take it one step further by just overdoing the accent. Communications & Media Professor David Balzer comes over the loud speaker and says that was too much, but the whole class said, “No that’s perfect.” In that moment, I felt like I truly found my voice.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the CMU community as well. I’ve had the chance to learn from great professors, great staff members that will drop anything that they are doing to talk to you and to see how your day is going, and my fellow classmates who turn what could be a regular old university class into a fun-loving environment that you can immediately feel comfortable in. I don’t know if there is a better community than CMU.

I recently had a conversation with the program director at CHVN. He said, “When I first met you, I wasn’t sure this was going to work because you were  quiet reserved individual who liked to keep to himself. Now, three months later, you are doing lots of on-air stuff for us, and it’s really worked out.” And then he said, “I like you a lot, and I kind of don’t want you to leave.”

Right now, I don’t want to leave CMU, but I know that my journey here is complete, and I have grown from a high school kid who sort of knew what he wanted to do, to being able to see that I can do anything that I put my mind to.

Brighton Thiessen is graduating in April from CMU’s Communications & Media program

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