In The Media

My freshman experience: divided but whole

By Sophia Miao • Schulich Leader at Queen's University
Summer 2014
Category: 

A couple months ago, I read an article entitled “Queen’s student wearing Queen’s jacket alerts fellow Queen’s students on Queen’s campus that he too studies at Queen’s”. And despite its satirical intent, I couldn’t help but burst with pride because in 8 short months, I’ve fallen in love with my school and I, too, sport its colours proudly. Because in 8 short months here, I’ve learned and grown both academically and as a person. And 8 short months have flown by but as always, I’m grateful for Mr. Schulich and for the privilege of being here.

My courses this year at Queen’s were challenging but rewarding, as they encouraged me to continue my pursuit of science, albeit in a slightly different direction than what I had previously intended. Originally planning on concentrating in the life sciences, my interest in chemistry — fueled by gallium, Frixion pens, ion spills, and a self-proclaimed (and rightfully) sassy professor — resurfaced and prevailed. I’m excited to be majoring in this subject and balancing it with a minor in world languages.

First year offered many challenges, the toughest of which is time management. Though I initially fell into the trap of overstressing, undersleeping, overexercising, and undereating, I soon managed to find a balance between classes and other activities. Volunteering, tutoring, graphic design, and social activism continued to play a major role in my life. I joined new groups and volunteered at a neat little shop called the Earth Centre, selling environmentally-friendly products and educating students on a greener lifestyle. I even found a way to spread my enthusiasm for my school by volunteering as a tour guide during the March Break Open House.

After an eventful school year, I’m thrilled to be working for the summer with Parks Canada. I’m currently doing outreach for the Road to 2017 project in an effort to promote and celebrate our beautiful country with urban youth, as well as raise awareness about our parks’ environmental and cultural importance.

I see my freshman experience as divided between its semesters — the first was about exploration, the second about growth, and the summer about both. But as a whole, everything I’ve done this year, whether inside or outside the classroom, adds up to the things I fiercely believe in, and helped me discover more about who I am. I’m grateful for this opportunity and looking forward to the new school year!