Category: 2017-18 (Page 2 of 7)

Financial Aid: A Source of Hope and Confidence

University is a fantastic experience…but your bank account might try to convince you otherwise after you’ve spent a semester or two in school.

Lacey Siemens - Financial Aid: A Source of Hope and Confidence

For a student moving away from home, expenses go beyond paying for school and textbooks. The cost of living, groceries, gas tanks, and more, dig deep into the bank account and can be extremely intimidating. How are you ever going to make that much in one summer? Well I can assure you there are resources to help you cover the costs of university.

Scholarships that I have received have provided a source of relief and comfort during my time at CMU. This past summer I had the opportunity to work for a drop-in centre that provided snacks, supper, and day programs for children in the north end. This opportunity was rewarding in countless ways, and truly helped me develop skills in areas that will help me in my career as a music therapist. Yet, in this position, I was not able to earn enough to pay for even one semester. In making the decision to pursue experience in this field, I sacrificed a comfortable, high-paying job and free rent at home.

After paying rent for the whole summer, I barely broke even. But it was during this time that I experienced firsthand God’s love and provision. I received a letter informing me that I was being awarded a CMU academic excellence award, in addition to a generous scholarship from a CMU donor. This aided in covering my tuition expenses and fees, along with the cost of living as an out-of-province student.

Lacey Siemens - Financial Aid: A Source of Hope and Confidence

This summer was a time of relying on God to provide the means for me to continue studying at CMU. The day I received the letters outlining the scholarships I had been awarded, I remember calling my parents and laughing about the concerns that had us anxiously praying months previous. Scholarships are so much more than just a basis for financial support. They are a source of hope and confidence. Some generous person is showing they believe in you through their willingness to help you on your journey.

Use the tools and resources available to you, and don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help by applying for scholarships. The funds you receive might just be the hope and confidence you need to kick-start your dreams.

Lacey Siemens is in her first year of a music therapy degree at CMU.

Balancing Basketball and a Bachelor’s Degree

University started with basketball. I showed up as an 18-year-old focused on spending all my time in the gym and the rest on the minimal amount of homework I planned to do. I suppose it was a mixture of finally being on my own, feeling indestructible in my athletic abilities, and the overall drive of a dream coming true, that fed my focus. Schoolwork was what I had to do to play ball. I was required to maintain a 2.0 GPA and that’s all I hoped for.

Matt Warkentin - Balancing Basketball and a Bachelors Degree

And for a little while, it was fantastic! But as with any good thing, eventually it had to come to an end. Reality kicked in when I got my first semester midterms back. I had just barely cleared the GPA requirement. I wasn’t going to be able to keep this level of effort up if I wanted to succeed in academics too. But did I even want success in my academics? Or was I just here for basketball?

This is a scary question given that the cost of living, tuition, and having a good time all costs around $6,500 a semester. So, was I going to be willing to pay that much money just to play ball? Or would my focus have to change? The answer was simple. Yes, I wanted to play ball that much.

Thank God for the support of my friends and family. Without it, my view of school and ball would never have changed.

Matt Warkentin - Balancing Basketball and a Bachelors Degree

I was able to finish my first year in the clear, and entered my second year with a new attitude. My focus hadn’t changed; basketball still came first. But now schoolwork was a very close second, and I was determined to succeed in both.

During my second year, I began to learn how to balance school with ball. And as I entered my third, I considered myself a pro. My mind-set was this: homework will get done and will always get done, without question. Basketball – as long as I work hard at it – will continue to give me an escape from the busyness of academic madness.

As I found my stride, I found I was worrying less on the whole. On top of completing my schoolwork by the deadlines and showing up to all my practices for ball, there was even time for life! I hit up the city, met new friends, and succeeded in living the classic university life.

Thank goodness CMU was forgiving when it came to the learning process of succeeding in education after high school.

Matt Warkentin is a fourth year English major at CMU.

Inside CMU: The Walk from Marpeck to the North Side

If your plan is to come to CMU next year, there are lots of insider tips you may need to make the most of your experience. Tips like which are the best classes to take, or the best places to find a reasonable price on a textbook. It’s always helpful to know some of the smaller details about a university before you start attending, and CMU definitely has many small aspects that make it what it is. One of those is the much talked about walk from Marpeck Commons to North side of campus in the dead of winter.

Inside CMU: The Walk from Marpeck to the North Side by Jason Friesen

CMUers who were around before Marpeck Commons existed can appreciate that the bridge over Grant Avenue has cut the outside portion of the walk from South to North side in half. But even though Marpeck Commons is a few years old now, how to handle the outside walk to class and work is still a hot topic when the weather gets cold.

The walk is not terribly far, which makes it tempting at times to not go through the hassle of putting on a parka, mitts, and toque. But some days are cold enough that even the approximately 100-yard walk warrants all of your warmest attire. Yet it is still easy to convince yourself that if you take a brisk run across the path, it won’t be so bad.

Needless to say, the strategies of taking the short trek in the dead of winter are varied. Some choose to bundle up as much as possible. Others brave the elements in sweaters and jeans. Some have even been caught running across in flip-flops.


Inside CMU: The Walk from Marpeck to the North Side by Jason Friesen

So how should you as a future CMUer plan to cross the campus? Well, who better to learn from than current students? One student said they walk as quickly as possible, with their head down as if they are on a mission. Though it may come across as rude to the people you pass on the path, most are understanding. And the student did note that they do look up and smile at passers-by when they can.

Another student noted that comfort is key. Naturally, they bundle up with a hat, scarf, mittens, and jacket. They say that being bundled up like this allows them to look around at the people they pass to say hi, but that the cold weather still restricts that somewhat.

Though it may seem comical to think about such a trivial thing ahead of your university experience, the fact is that no matter what university you attend, there are going to be small experiences like this that make the university what it is. Transitioning from high school to university can be intimidating and nerve-racking, but knowing some of the ins and outs of the university you plan to attend can really make your first couple weeks of getting to know the place a lot less stressful.

CMU’s next Campus Visit Day is happening on Friday, February 2, 2018. Experience university life at CMU, and learn more of those insider tips along the way. 

5 Keys to Making It Through the Winter Semester

So the Christmas Holidays have come and gone, and now you’re wondering how you’re going to make it through the winter semester. Reading Week is still over a month away, and your study-motivation meter is waning after grinding out the fall semester. So how are you supposed to stay driven and focused and find success, yet still have some fun in the second semester? Well, here are a few CMU-style tips that might help you get through:

1) Make the Most Out of CMU’s Outdoors


Yes, Winnipeg winters can be cold. But that makes for opportunities that only come in cold climates, so find something you like to do outside. CMU has ice to skate on, trails for cross country skiing, or even just trails to walk on in the forest. Not to mention there are plenty of fields of snow to play in. So find some out-door activities that you like to do, because being cooped up inside all winter is going to drive you crazy.

2) Go to CMU Events


CMU has no shortage of events to attend. That includes everything from potlucks for apartment students, to music recitals, to CMU Blazers games. Or maybe it doesn’t even have to be a formal event, and you end up just hanging out in a Poettcker Hall lounge instead. Whatever it is, find some people to spend time with, because no matter where you go, you’ll find people worth spending time with at CMU.

3) Make Your Classwork Enjoyable…Or at Least Bearable


Let’s be honest…classes aren’t always a student’s favourite place to be. But there are lots of ways to make classes more enjoyable. Many classes see profs assign papers and projects that are open for you to decide on the topic. Take advantage of these, and turn those assignments into something you’ll at least somewhat enjoy. I realize not all classes have those types of projects, so in that case, get to know some of your classmates if you don’t already, and study together. As noted above, most things are more enjoyable with someone by your side.

4) Take Advantage of the Coziness of Winter


When else do you get to wear your favourite cozy sweater every day to class and not get razzed for it? Not to mention snuggling up with a book isn’t quite the same in summer, so here’s your chance to snuggle up with lots of books…and hopefully some textbooks. Grab a favourite blanket and your hot beverage of choice and you’re all set. Seriously, it might help you warm up to those readings.

5) Explore the City


CMU is a great place to spend lots of time, but there is plenty more to explore around the city during a Winnipeg winter. Head down to the Assiniboine Park to skate on the duck pond or to The Forks to skate on the river, or check out the ice castles at The Forks instead. There’s also Festival du Voyageur in February if you want to get a French-Canadian experience. And that’s just a short list. All the stereotypes are true…Winnipeg knows how to have a good time no matter what the weather is like!

More Than We Can Ask or Imagine: A Poetic Reflection

Amelia Pahl - More Than We Can Ask or Imagine: A Poetic Reflection

I see that moment of grace when the sun breaks through a murky sky.
I see the little spark of hope that flairs when someone asks just the right question – and then cares to listen.
I see a new sort of possibility appear amidst the mundanity of daily life. 
I see a dreamer who counts the stars and still only fathoms a drop of water in the ocean of the universe.

“More than we can ask or imagine” evokes a sense of absolute grace, a hope that, whatever our shortcomings,
whatever our mistakes,
whatever our inconsistencies
we’re part of a vast, bold, extravagant universe that is endlessly giving birth to itself.

I don’t know about you, but that’s a wee bit more than I can imagine on a typical day.

I’ve been writing poetry since I was at least seven, and words have come intuitively to me for as long as I can remember. I don’t really write poems, and I hardly ever think them – it’s more like I suddenly find myself bleeding words onto a page and all I have to do is get my self out of the way. For me, poetry is an act of grace, a moment when emotion, intuition, and words come to a head and explode into written form.

Often, in these moments, I feel an enormous sense of relief when I can find just the right words in just the right place on the page to express what normally can’t be expressed in words. It’s a moment of birth after what is usually weeks of growing and churning inside of me; suddenly I am given words for my experience of life – and it’s miraculous.

I like poetry because it doesn’t have to make sense. It allows us to give up our need to understand – if only for a little while – and instead to sit with life exactly as it is. And I’ve found that, in the sitting, life actually starts to make a little more sense. This is grace. This is more than we can ask or imagine. 

Poetry doesn’t have to make sense, and that’s why it can glimpse an unimaginable God.

Here is a poem.

The poet Adi al-Riga, as quoted by Rumi:

“I was sleeping, and being comforted
by a cool breeze, when suddenly a gray dove
from a thicket sang and sobbed with longing,
and reminded me of my own passion.

I had been away from my own soul so long,
so late-sleeping, but that dove’s crying
woke me and made me cry. Praise
to all early-waking grievers!”

Here ends the poem, but the grieving still runs thick in my veins,
I am up to my eyes in unknowing, swimming in the sluggish questions of my waking life,
Wondering where my awkward dance fits in with the graceful grace-filled folly of my world,
            your world, our worlds colliding and
            never quite knowing what to do about the wondering.
Each day I step out in trust
            – or maybe it’s stupidity, I can’t remember which –
And I hold on for dear life, never really sure
            who knows, who cares, who loves, who dares to question with me
            this spinning, half-sleeping place we call home,
            or life, I can’t remember which.
I am alone and never alone
I am known and unknown
I am strange and I am familiar
I am water I am air I am breathing universe I am ancient sleeping tree
I am the early-waking griever.

I died
Once or twice while writing this,
But death is dawn in Rumi’s books, and I tend to agree, though
            not in so many words.

I don’t know anything; I know that much.

Amelia Pahl is in her second year at CMU. 

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