Category: student life (Page 1 of 8)

Living on campus: Close to class, closer to community

You live 15 minutes away from here? Why do you live on campus? Isn’t it way more expensive than living at home?

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Well the practical answer is easy. Look at our roads right about now. Look at your thermometer, or, the weather app on your phone. Check your bus schedule, and find out that your daily commute is over an hour each way, and that’s when those Winnipeg buses are actually on time. 

So if I choose to live at home, I can either spend a pile of money on a car, or spend my most valuable resource – time – out in minus-40 weather.

That was enough to sell me on dorm life, and I hadn’t even set foot in Poettcker Hall yet.

The first thing I noticed was how great dorm life is as a stepping stone to adulthood. There’s no one checking in on you, making sure you follow rules or get to sleep at a decent hour, but you don’t have to worry about what to cook (or how to cook) every day. Ted Dyck and his crew take great care of that, and the food is unlimited!

6th year

Right from the start, you find out that there are always exciting events on campus, and there’s something for everyone. From incredibly talent-filled coffeehouses to Blazer game days at the Loewen, and everything in between, there’s always something to do. You’re a 30-second walk from chapel twice a week, Wednesday Night Worship, fellowship groups and many more opportunities to discuss and worship God.

There are some challenges as well. Chances are you will quickly have a new sense of appreciation for your mattress at home, or simple things like laundry machines that don’t require your hard-earned-Bible-camp salary to operate. You might come back to your room on a Sunday night to find 2000 water-filled Dixie cups covering every square inch of floor and table space, but hey, you left your door unlocked so what do you expect?

1st year

Most importantly, living on campus is the best way to experience community at CMU. I’ve lived in dorm, then at home, and now in apartments on campus and it’s clear that I’m closest to the people here when I live here. In my first year, I found myself staying up until two or three in the morning regularly, engaging in deep faith discussions with other first years. These were people going through the same life changes, anxious and stressful moments as me. I can honestly say that I learned more about my faith in those talks in my first semester than I had in any sermon or lecture.

CMU is a community, and the best way to experience it is being present all the time, and engaging in everything it has to offer. Take the plunge, move in, and you’ll feel it.

Thomas Friesen is a senior Communications and Media student from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Beyond the Books: Why you won’t regret getting involved at CMU

Here’s a scenario for you: You’re in elementary school and you come home from school, only to have your parents ask, “What did you learn today?” What did you respond with? I’ll bet you responded with, “I don’t know,” and then proceeded to tell them all about what you did at recess, or your lunch hour club.

Jason Friesen - Beyond the Books: Why you won’t regret getting involved at CMU

You may not be in elementary school anymore, but are things really that different? We learn lots in school, but the memories that stick with us come from everything in between classes. That’s why getting involved at CMU is so important. It’s the moments like playing a game of pool in the second floor Poetcker Hall lounge, volleyball games, or going on the Fall Retreat that stand out.

That’s why getting involved at CMU is so important. 

There is just as much to be learned and experienced from extra-curricular activities at CMU as there is from the classroom. That includes anything from learning how to be a good friend from the community life, to learning various skills from being on student council.

Jason Friesen - Beyond the Books: Why you won’t regret getting involved at CMU

But you have to be willing to put yourself out there. It’s tough not to be intimidated about getting involved early in your university career. Looking back, I could have gotten more involved earlier in my time at CMU. As a communications student who loves to write, you’d think I’d have thrown my name in for The Doxa right away. Instead, I waited until my fourth year. Why? That’s a question I still ask myself.

Writing for The Doxa was one of the best decisions I’ve made at CMU in several ways. It was a great way to connect with other students and have a time to get away from the regular homework at weekly meetings. It gave me an opportunity to do something I loved. But it also equipped me with some valuable tools for a career in communications. For one, it gave me some starting pieces to add to a portfolio of published articles; something that any communications professional will need no matter where they apply for a job. It also helped me hone my writing skills, and let me experiment with different styles of writing in a safe environment.

Jason Friesen - Beyond the Books: Why you won’t regret getting involved at CMU

Better yet, the opportunity I had with The Doxa gave me opportunities outside of CMU. While people are often aware that smaller universities offer plenty of places to get involved within the school, they commonly have the misconception that they don’t offer as great of opportunities outside the halls of the institution. That couldn’t be more wrong in CMU’s case. Being involved at CMU and joining The Doxa helped me get a job at the Winnipeg Sun this past summer, and prepared me for a practicum at True North Sports and Entertainment this year.

Being involved at CMU and joining The Doxa helped me get a job at the Winnipeg Sun this past summer, and prepared me for a practicum at True North Sports and Entertainment this year.

What’s the point of this story? Well, it could happen to you too. What better place is there to build a foundation, and make some friends? Where else will you get opportunities like you do in university? These things get tougher after university life, so make the best of them while you’ve got the access to them. You won’t regret it. 

Jason Friesen is our lead blogger, and he’s in his final year of a Communications and Media degree at CMU.

A New Kind of Jam Session

With such a historic building on campus, CMU is bound to have many hidden treasures. If you’re like me though, you probably aren’t aware of most of them. But thanks to fourth year interdisciplinary studies student Samantha Peters, a CMU gem is being opened to the community. The weekly ART JAM that Peters is running as part of the Spy Tower Press Book Arts Association is now giving the CMU community access to the art room/printing press on the third floor of the north campus building.

A New Kind of Jam Session - Art Jam with Samantha Peters

The Book Arts Association was sparked when Peters fell in love with CMU’s printing press last year through the History of the Book course with Prof. Paul Dyck. Peters said she and Dyck began to dream of what the space could become over the summer. 

“We talked about how we could make the space work better and be more usable. We decided that if we were going to make it more usable, we should use it more,” Peters said.

And that’s exactly what Peters did. She now offers weekly ART JAMs; lunchtime sessions where students, staff, and faculty can bring creative projects to work on, and plans to offer other workshops as well.

“We want this to be a community thing where people can work with their hands together,” Peters added.

A new kind of Jam Session - Art Jam with Samantha Peters

She notes that this is not your typical community gathering, which is just fine with her.

“I’m an introverted person, and if community building is centered on visiting and talking, I tend not to stay very long,” Peters said. “But what I love about things like the ART JAM is they’re kind of like an introvert party. People can just come and work on stuff, and as conversation arises, you follow it. But the whole point is not having to generate conversation. So part of it is making space for community gatherings where the focus is on the hands.”

For Peters, the Book Arts Association and ART JAM go much further than just giving an art outlet to the CMU community, though. It offers people a way to express themselves that doesn’t include digital technology and media.

A new kind of Jam Session - Art Jam with Samantha Peters

“As we move more and more into a digital world, people are saying we’re going towards a paperless society,” Peters noted. “But I actually don’t think it will happen that way. We are such embodied creatures that we are going to become thirstier for this kind of stuff.”

Peters points out that this idea of embodiment is even more important in a theological context.

“I know that in the world of theological discussion at CMU, there’s a lot of talk about embodiment and wanting to overcome the mind-body dualism that we feel like we’ve inherited and has been harmful. So I think the more ways that the community can practice embodiment, the better.”

But at the end of the day, Peters hopes that at the very least, the ART JAMs and printing press can become a place of release and escape for students and staff.

“It’s great to get out of your head. It’s easy to get lost in thought in academics.”

Peters invites all CMU students, staff, and faculty to get involved by joining the Spy Tower Press Book Arts Association page on Facebook.

Jason Friesen is our lead blogger, and he’s in his final year of a Communications and Media degree at CMU.

From South Carolina to the South Side of Grant

Andi Jacobs - from South Carolina to the South Side of Grant

Throughout high school I knew I wanted to do something different for college. I didn’t want to attend the same four universities that nearly everyone from my high school chose. So when my family was visiting friends in Toronto, and I learned about International Development, a degree that is not widely offered in the States, I felt the opportunity to take a different path. It sounded like it would be just the right fit for me.

After a quick search on Google, I learned about Canadian Mennonite University. Not only did CMU offer a degree that was different, but it also offered small class sizes and a real relationship with my professors, which was definitely something I wouldn’t have if I attend the larger state schools in South Carolina.

CMU also offered a schooling option that was affordable. It’s no secret that American schools are crazy expensive, especially if you are considering attending university in a different state or a private institution. So even though I’m an international student, CMU is just as affordable as staying in my home state of South Carolina. Not only am I going to a great school, but I will also graduate with relatively no debt (thanks mom & dad).

I’ll admit that I was a little nervous going to university so far from home, as this would be my first time living on my own. Not only was the school far away, but it was also in a different country, which was nerve-racking, yet also exciting at the same time. The unknown is what frightened me, yet the possibility for new friends and a new city to explore far outweighed the risks. Thankfully, the community I found once I arrived at CMU was more welcoming and supportive than I could’ve ever imagined. True to their stereotype, Canadians are a friendly bunch.

Another important factor in my choosing a university was whether I would have the opportunity to play competitive volleyball. I had never considered looking at schools in Canada, but I’m so thankful I did. Last January I visited Winnipeg (my parents wanted to make sure I had a chance to experience Manitoba in winter), toured the campus, and practiced with the volleyball team. My visit sealed the deal. CMU was a perfect fit.

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The support on campus for academics and spiritual growth is something I have already learned to treasure. There are both chapels and fellowship groups during the week, and the leaders guide us through different worship styles whether that is contemporary, traditional, or something different altogether. While this Christian community is a big part of CMU, you can be as involved or uninvolved as you want. Regardless of your beliefs, you will be accepted for who you are as an individual.

Not only are the people welcoming, but CMU’s location is a welcoming place too. It is a smaller, more traditional campus with wonderful scenery, yet it’s only a few short minutes from being in downtown Winnipeg. If I need some fresh air after studying, there are miles of walking trails in the Assiniboine Forest, right behind campus. It is really the best of both worlds.

I am so happy with my decision to come to CMU. It truly has something to offer everyone.

Andi Jacobs is a first year student from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Tom and Jerry or True Thankfulness: An International Student’s View on Thanksgiving

Amo Pllumbi Thanksgiving Reflection

My first time experiencing Thanksgiving was while watching an episode of Tom and Jerry about the holiday.

The thing that caught my attention the most from that episode were the different and delicious looking foods that were prepared and left on the table. Another thing I remember from the episode is that Tom (the cat) was dressed in stereotypical Native American clothing, while Jerry (the mouse) was dressed in stereotypical pilgrim clothing, creating a rivalry between the two just like in every other episode.

After many shenanigans, some of which were probably offensive stereotypical gestures mocking Native American culture, the two have a truce and decide to enjoy the main meal together. That was a nice and rare moment, and those that have seen the show know that these two rarely get along with each other.  

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in my home country of Albania, so most of my experience with the holiday has been from pop culture. I always thought it was a holiday celebrated only in the US, because of the colonial history of the country. Many of the movies and shows that portrayed Thanksgiving had Native American and Pilgrim/Puritan cultures interacting with each other. That’s why I thought we didn’t celebrate it in Albania, as we didn’t colonize any land.

But when I came to Canada, I realized that Thanksgiving, while being influenced by colonization in North America, is also celebrated by other cultures around the world for either religious reasons, or just to celebrate a good harvest.

The first Thanksgiving I had in Canada, a friend of mine invited me to his house to celebrate with his family. I got to enjoy a nice dinner like the one in Tom and Jerry, and I got to meet new people.

At the end of everything I did feel thankful. Thankful that I was having a good time with good people, and thankful that I was experiencing what eating a meal with a family feels like again. As an international student, you are away from your family for a long time. You just start missing those small moments you had with the members of your family that you take for granted when you were with them, like eating a meal together.

During that Thanksgiving, I did feel thankful that I had those kinds of moments before, and that I still get to experience them now with my new friends in Canada. I still celebrate this holiday, and it’s not because I relate to any of the historical reasons it is celebrated, but rather the ideal behind it. Some days you need to appreciate and be thankful for all the things that positively contribute to your life.

Amo Pllumbi is in his fourth year of a Business Administration degree at CMU.

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