By Katriona McColl and Sidney Sponer
It’s not hard to spot first years. We’re the ones introducing ourselves in the lunch line, showing up to every club meeting, and sweating profusely through our brand-new Quest swag. But as we finish up our first block, we have begun to settle in: we’ve conquered Cornerstone, dressed up for Wine and Cheese, and made it through exactly one million mandatory lectures. Probably. We are full of stories, questions, and ideas for change. Let us take this opportunity to introduce ourselves to the rest of the school.
“The block system is so unique, and will help me to go deeper into what I’m studying,” says Grace Uwase of Rwanda. We see Quest as the first step to accomplishing our dreams and end goals. Uwase wants to see students “gathering together to see what is missing in our school,” and to this end has plans to create a collaborative environment on campus, reminiscent of her school experiences in Rwanda. Inian Moon of Portland, Oregon would love to create a sustainable music yurt that is soundproofed by moss. Some incoming students feel that they haven’t been on campus long enough to have any concrete ideas, but all are excited to bring a new perspective and get involved with the many different initiatives at Quest. For example, Calli Bull of Healdsburg, California is eager to interact with the variety of students and teachers and see which dreams they inspire her to pursue.
Many students were drawn to Quest because of Squamish’s natural beauty. Christian Gomes and Nich Godri of Alberta both noted Squamish’s spectacular location. “You look outside the window and it doesn’t look real,” said Gomes. “The smell up here is the greatest thing … fresh, green, refreshing,” said Oliver Rothenberg from Los Angeles—at the first sign of rain he and his roommates opened all their windows and let the air flow in. The relative seclusion of the campus was also appealing to Uwase, who said that as opposed to schools in cities, which can get distracting, Quest seems to exist in its own self-contained environment.
While most people are very excited about being at Quest, there are still things that people miss from home. For many first years, this is the first time living by themselves. When asked about what people miss the most two things came up again and again: food and animals. Bull misses the food in California and having animals around, while Moon misses the food in Portland and her cat. Rothenberg misses the Santa Monica sunsets, but mostly he misses his dogs. He explains how he feels “dog deprived” on campus and wants to instate dorm dogs for therapeutic purposes.
We see Quest as a first step. A first step into our undergraduate degrees and also a first step into adulthood. We hope that we can grow academically and personally, while always remembering to appreciate and enjoy our surroundings. Moon would like to “develop a more well rounded idea of the world” and use it to make a difference for the better. The hope of leaving Quest with an ability to look at the world from different angles is common in the freshmen class. Each day we look to the mountains from inside the academic building, as Hogan Ingram puts it, “plan for what to do next while retaining a sunny disposition.”