I would describe myself as a keener. I love being on time, I always sit in the first three rows of a lecture hall, and I live by my agenda.
I started UBC in August of 2012 with Jump Start, an orientation program for new-to-UBC international students. Coming from Seattle, I barely considered myself to be international. And after attending Jump Start, I felt ready to start school, figure out how to kill my first set of midterms, and go through my first year with ease.
Imagine UBC, to my understanding, was intended to orient students to campus and help them make connections with other first-year students. I felt like Jump Start had already prepared me for campus life and given me an amazing group of friends, so I was unsure about attending. The night before Imagine UBC I went out with some friends and had a late night. The next morning, my alarm echoed in my ears at 7:30 am as I felt my body turn over and make the semi-conscious decision not to attend Imagine.
I rolled over and crept back into a blissful sleep until 10:15 am, when I decided that it was time to do something with my day. I met up with a friend who had also decided to sleep in and we headed towards Main Mall to check out some clubs that we might be interested in joining. As we walked around different booths chatting with various students and staff, the path quickly populated with students pouring out from the Pep Rally.
I reconnected with my friends from Jump Start, and they were shocked to hear that I had missed meeting my future classmates, conversations with the dean, tours of the university, and the Pep Rally. They told me about the connections they had made with new domestic students, the upper-year students they had met, and most of all…how incredible the Pep Rally was. They kept raving about how amazing it was to have that many people in one stadium, and feel like a part of something so much bigger than them. I continued to smile and walk through the booths with my friends, but I began to regret missing out. It would be the only time in my undergraduate career where the entire class of 2016 would be in one place at the same time. Years later, I still have yet to attend a Pep Rally. Every year, I see how exhilarated students are as they leave Thunderbird Stadium, smiles on faces and excitement in their eyes.
Looking back, I wish I could have woken up my first-year self and told her that attending Imagine UBC was more important than those extra hours of sleep. Coming out of Jump Start, I thought I knew everything that I needed to know, but what I didn’t know was that Imagine UBC is about more than figuring out your way around campus; it’s about feeling like you’re part of something bigger, that you’re part of a community, that you are UBC.