Break is right around the corner, and like many of you, I am also excited. But what I realized during this third year at Stanstead College is that everything goes by fast. Many of your teachers have certainly told you that after break, you will not see the days go by. It is true, and I have come to experience it too.
I have been here for three years, and each time I think that I have time to postpone something, I end up not having any. Those three years at Stanstead have passed, and it still feels like I came yesterday. I remember my first time experiencing cold, but also the first day I learned what hockey was.
Speaking as an international student, coming to Stanstead College is one of the best decisions I have made so far. I learned more about different cultures, perspectives, met new people and had the chance to share my own culture.
Now, adjusting to a different culture can be fun but also hard. What bothered me the most, as a new student, was the feeling of not belonging in this place. I remember that one of the first questions I asked my bathroom-mate was what hockey was. In Burundi, hockey does not exist , so it made total sense that I asked about it. But for some reason, I still felt like I should have known.
Other international students knew what hockey was even before their arrival. This simple reason is what caused what I call the lowest point of my Stanstead experience. I started comparing myself to others and forgot about what I came here for: learning, experiencing, and teaching.
As the days passed, I realized that most students here had their futures planned and knew exactly what they were doing with their lives. At least, that is what I thought. Most of my peers were good at sports, had good grades and were involved in many aspects of the school. Me, on the other hand, I was scared to even participate in class for fear of judgement.
I felt useless. Not only because I was not as high of an achiever as the others but because I felt like I was not contributing to this place, which made me think, once again, that I did not belong here.
Luckily, I had made some pretty good friends who helped me reconnect with the people around me. Their kind words and compliments made me realize that I also had special qualities to share with the school.
I am from another country, and as much as I was learning from this place, people were also learning as much from me.
I came to realize that this insecurity prevented me from making the most out of my Stanstead experience. I know that for most of us, it is hard to recognize what we can do because we are too focused on thinking about other people’s thoughts or comparing ourselves to others.
As much as I get it, I still believe that there is a solution to this problem.
Stanstead College gives us all the chance to show and share our uniqueness, our multiple talents and stay involved at school. Obviously, we cannot just ignore the fact that this school has very brilliant people, but we should also believe that each one of us is brilliant in their own way. We should choose to acknowledge our worth and focus on what we can do rather than what we cannot do.
Recognizing and appreciating our own values, skills and abilities highly contributes to our personal growth and development.
So, I would encourage you to use this break to reset. Think about how you can contribute and make the most out of your Stanstead College experience because it is not a chance that is given to everyone.