In The Media

A promise of new challenges

By Alexa McAdam • Schulich Leader at University of Manitoba
Spring 2013
Alexa McAdam

I returned to the University of Manitoba for the winter term refreshed and with renewed excitement. As I walked to my first class, there was a promise of new challenges and experiences in the crisp Winnipeg winter air. Yet with the promise of new, there was also a comfort of old in the familiar hallways and faces that greeted me on campus during that first day of a new semester.

I was especially excited for the lab components of my courses where I could put the theory learnt in lecture into practice. My microbiology lab certainly provided me with some memorable experiences. We had to grow a pet bacterium over the course of the semester, studying its physical as well as metabolic characters. It is needless to say that it was with deep chagrin that I tossed my pet bacterium into the biohazard bin after my last lab, bidding him adieu!

In my lectures, I was blessed to meet some great friends who were enrolled in many of my classes and with whom I shared questions, insights and laughs over the semester. Now slightly more accustomed to the style of university teaching, and no longer fumbling to take notes on tiny tabletops, I was able to better focus in my lectures and absorb the material.

Outside of class, I continued to volunteer with Let’s Talk Science, and had the opportunity to participate in many classroom outreaches. I was able to return to Sagkeeng First Nation, taking a day off from classes, to teach grade four students about matter. One of the activities involved placing liquids of varying densities into small test tubes to create a banded pattern. Many of the students wished to keep their test tubes and to bring them home. The kids’ excitement to go home and show their parents what they had learnt was truly inspiring!

I also continued to go to the rock climbing gym on campus over the semester. Though slightly more adept at navigating the various holds on the wall, I still have much to learn. Nonetheless, I decided to join the climbing competition put on by the University of Manitoba Climbing Club, with the full knowledge that I would make a complete fool of myself in front of the more proficient climbers. It was a very fun afternoon, and unlike any competition I had ever participated in. There was a fantastic atmosphere as everyone encouraged each other to complete various routes and to push themselves to the limit of their abilities.

I cannot believe that my first year of studies has already come to an end. It was a whirlwind of challenges, learning experiences and memories that I will surely cherish for the years to come. Though I still have much to learn about University life, I feel at ease knowing that I will be navigating through my studies with the help and guidance of many. I am so grateful for this, and cannot imagine achieving my goals without this support.