Tag: rest

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
With the students done testing, and everyone resting until the New Year.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Jason Friesen - The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

There is no other break like the Christmas break for university students. The rest of our breaks are given to us with the assumption that we are going to do other things than actually take a break. In the fall semester we get reading days, and in the winter we get a whole reading week. But the name speaks for itself. These days aren’t meant for rest; they’re meant to let you catch up on your work, and to work on those assignments that are likely due right after the reading break.

Then there are the summer holidays. For university students, they get a whole four months away from the books. It’s a nice change of pace for sure, but that doesn’t mean that the work stops. Instead, students go right from final exams to summer jobs, because as we all know, school, textbooks, and dorms don’t pay for themselves.

But Christmas is a different story. The relief of finishing your last exam of the fall semester gives you a feeling that no other break does. It’s not like high school where you are “free” for a couple of weeks, but have upcoming January exams looming over your head the whole break. And for some, there’s added joy in the fact that they get to return home for the holidays, and see family that they haven’t seen since Thanksgiving.

Jason Friesen - The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

With such excitement for a break, the Christmas holidays mimic the advent season for university students. Just as we wait for the coming birth of Jesus, university students long for a break from the many hours of classes and studying. Though it may sound silly to compare a university break to the birth of Jesus, I think there is something to it. God celebrates rest, and puts an emphasis on it with the Sabbath. Through Jesus, God gives us not only salvation, but also a reason to pause, and for this we should be thankful. God realizes that we all need to rest at some point, and Christmas has become one of those times.

The Christmas break, just like the coming of Jesus, represents new birth for students, as well. The Christmas break brings a new year, which brings new beginnings in itself. But it also marks the start of a new semester where we get to tackle new subjects, which is also refreshing.

So, whatever the Christmas break brings your way, make sure to pause and enjoy it. Enjoy the time spent with family and friends, the many tasty treats, and the traditions. But don’t just pause to enjoy the break from school; enjoy the fact that Christ was born to save us, and that he can give us rest.

Merry Christmas to you all.

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.

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