I am in my room looking outside, and it’s snowing. Earlier, I was on campus in my office when I missed an important email from the Internationalization Office. The email read, “St. John’s campus closing at 5:30pm due to inclement weather”. As I was hard at work, I did not notice the email until another student informed me about it. I still do not know what to expect from the weather here in St. John’s, so I came home immediately, just to be sure.
This event made me think about the role other students play in my life. At the beginning of the Fall semester I remember that, more than once, people talked about the importance of other students as a resource in our studying experience. Now I can confirm it. Other students are a really important part of my new experience in many different ways.
First of all, students can help by giving you suggestions and comments on your work or exchanging ideas with you. They can inform you about a useful website, a resource present on campus, or a new published article you may be interested in. Sometimes they help you in understanding why particular software is not working as you want. I think it is an exchange interaction, because you can also learn new things by helping them. All of us come from different backgrounds and experiences and it is interesting to exchange our point of view about different topics.
Clearly, some of these people have become new friends. They have supported me and stayed with me when I feel homesick or sad, as I believe many new students often feel. In these moments, it is important to stay with friends and not be alone. Moreover, these students and friends can help you in creating a routine. For example, every Tuesday, when there is the student discount, I usually go to the supermarket with friends. When I went there alone, it used to feel like an annoying and daunting task but now since I started going with a group of friends, it has become relaxing and something I look forward to.
Another thing that I like to do is go to Bitters with other students. Bitters is the Graduate Students’ Union pub located on campus. They serve great food and drinks so it is nice to go there on Friday evenings, after a seminar, to unwind.
In my opinion, it is important to discover and visit the place where you are living. When I have a bit of time, and the weather is not so bad, I like to go hiking or visiting the city and the surrounding area. During one weekend, for example, I went with friends along the “Irish Loop”, a drive through the Avalon Peninsula. It is a nice tour and it is very relaxing. It is possible to see beautiful landscapes, frozen ponds, nice little towns, and some animals, if you are lucky. During our trip we had the opportunity to see a harbour seal. This was one of the few times that I went outside of St. John’s since I arrived and I really enjoy it.
The Works is another great place to relax and keep fit on St. John’s campus. It is Memorial’s recreational facility that includes; the Aquarena and Field House, which offers gym equipment, fitness classes, and aquatic facilities. Unfortunately, I have not yet found the time to go there but I’m hoping I will be able to try it out this semester.
Enjoy the snow!