The first official day of school is over at UBC and two thoughts weigh on my mind. One is that I’ve been back to school for exactly one year now. It is an appropriate time for reflection. My second thought is that it is very clear that I am no longer a new resident here at SJC. Old residents, my good friends, have moved away and new residents have come and taken their place.

I’ll deal with the latter of those thoughts now. So yeah, over the course of the week while I was in New Orleans, many SJC residents moved out. Some of these people were good friends of mine. They are good people and they made the SJC community that much better to live in. Some have moved just to different places within Vancouver, while others have moved to different cities. Regardless, their absence from the College will be noticed. I will miss seeing them on a regular basis.

The other side of the coin, of course, is that when people move out, others move in. Over the weekend, over 70 residents moved in to join the close to 70 people that were left here. A year ago, I was one of those new residents. Now, I’m the old veteran of the College. It is a weird feeling to say the least.

On Monday, I went to the dining hall to have dinner. I had to line-up for my food which I haven’t had to do for months. I sat down at one of the tables and looked around. There were entire tables full of people I didn’t recognize. I turned to Dana who was next to me and I said, “Wow, this feels really weird.”

“Now, do you know why we resented you when you moved in a year ago?”

He was half-joking of course, but I knew what he was talking about. Who were these new people? Two weeks ago, we were all a small intimate community where everybody knew everyone. Now some of our friends were gone and these new people had come to take their place.

In WWII, it was commonplace to replace dead or wounded soldiers in a unit with fresh troops. The soldiers who were already in the unit often did not warm up to the new guys right away. I think I’m going through the same thing right now. While it maybe wrong, I am wondering how the new people will be as good as the people that left. It’s just natural at this point that I’ll want to hang around the old residents because they’re known quantities and it does take some work to get to know new residents.

Over time, I am sure I’ll get to know the new residents and I’ll discover that for the most part they too are good people. At least I hope so. 🙂

It will take several weeks for everyone to readjust to the new dynamic at the College and settle into their patterns. A year ago, I felt some awkwardness as I tried to find my way here, what I didn’t know was that the old residents also felt some weirdness as well. It’s all about perspective.

So while I’ve been dealing with the new influx of residents, I almost missed the fact that it was one year ago almost to this day that I began this new adventure in my life. One whole year. What a difference a year makes.

I have no regrets about going back to school. While things didn’t work out exactly the way I had planned, everything in the end wound up exceeding my expectations. When I decided to go back to school I think I was seriously in danger of getting caught in a rut of life, just going through the motions and letting time (and life) pass me by.

A year later, I’ve learned a lot, both academically and otherwise. My life is much richer for being back and everyday I continue to learn some more.

So, as I begin the second year of grad studies, I am happy where the last year has taken me, and I look forward to the next.

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