As the cruel winter season slowly (very slowly) comes to an end, and the birds start singing their songs again at the break of dawn, and the jackets start coming on, there is a sense of happiness that almost immediately breaks loose. Like animals out of a cage, students feel a sense of newness and happiness. In the spirit of newness of life and seeing the foot of summer, there is no better time to celebrate a few of the many things that our school has excelled at and continues to excel at. Students, professors, and staff alike: in the spirit of celebrating the new and long awaited season of spring, let’s look inside our institution and applaud the big things that bless us greatly.
1. The gracious and compassionate Student Life staff and chaplaincy.
There is not an abundance of universities where students can say they have a relationship with their professors and Student Life staff. The Student Life staff have excelled in the art of real relationship. Hosting people for dinner, meeting weekly with RAs and even former RAs and HAs, and mothering the well-being of students in general, Student Life seems to always put students before themselves. When there are personal issues that interfere with school, they do whatever they can to accommodate. This is incredibly counter-cultural to the universities that have a very “your issues are your issues” type of attitude. Within reach by a quick email, professors, chaplaincy, and Student Life are all ready and willing to meet to discuss more than just school itself. Stand back and think about that. How lucky are we?
2. It’s really easy to get to know Professors better
Unlike other universities, there seems to be no sense of professors being the “untouchables” here. Professors are extremely down to earth and personable. Between chats after class, talking in the halls, or planning pub nights together, the professors have outdone themselves in being friendly. Always willing to meet up, even sometimes for coffee (so cool, eh?), connecting on social media etc., they are always there to crack a joke, comment on your Facebook status, or even send you interesting articles they found. Kudos, professors, for being our teachers and our friends.
3. Having a meal plan that lets us buy real food.
If you talk to anyone from another university about our unique meal plan they would think it was absurd. Instead of lining up for poutine for breakfast lunch and dinner, our food plans allow us to serve each other by cooking for one another, and eat together with food made by ourselves. Being able to eat together and try out different recipes together is something unique to Redeemer, and although there may be limitations to it, overall it is really healthy for us—healthy to be unselfish with food, to cook food in our own kitchens, and to eat as a community around a table. This is something that many people may not even do with their families.
4. We have the Spiritual Events bases covered.
There are passionate people who run weekly activities to help us grow spiritually. Chapel: a unique worship service in the middle of the week. Wednesday Night Worship: a chance to calm down and hang out with God. Hotspot, small groups, women’s ministry Identify, and men’s breakfast; we have all the bases covered. There are not many places you will find that have such variety for spiritual growth within its own walls. This may be something we take for granted, but we ought not to.
5. Promoting community (Communal)
Most people would say that Redeemer has made them extroverts by default. You are always surrounded by people you know. Within 2-3 months of coming to Redeemer, you usually know or at least recognize most people. There is a sense of family with these people around us—always someone to talk to, sit with in the library, and go to Williams with. Even the fact that our entire student body is welcomed to eat together once a week is, in itself, radical. It almost feels like summer camp. This is also true when everyone is out reading or playing volleyball on the lawn once the weather goes over 10 degrees. These are things that are so unique to Redeemer and that we would probably consider some of our best memories.
As in all things, it is easy to get caught up in the negative, to critique and criticize because it is simpler to find things wrong than it is to find things right. In the spirit of trying new things, let’s challenge ourselves to look at the positive in whatever we can. Recognizing the good things in the place we are spending four crucial years of our life is a good place to start. Look around you as the flowers start blooming through the grey snow. Life is beautiful; let’s start recognizing it.