By Emma Campbell
The semester is coming to a close. We students are worn out, sleep-deprived, and somewhat glad our work is almost over. Time flies, and deadlines approach faster than anyone ever anticipates. Despite this, though, many of us are sad to leave Montreal. This is because, along the way, we’ve formed a community that has helped us survive the weight of our workload.
In our very first weeks here, it was Ryan (our Assistant Director), Hannah (our Activities Coordinator), and Geneviève (our Director) who tied us all together through fun events, humor, and good food. And they kept that up all semester long! We’ve been on studio visits, shows, movies, lunches, and landmarks together. But it was the people themselves that really gave it a sense of family.
During orientation, for example, a few packages of Eggo waffles were bought to serve at breakfast. The leftovers were put away in the freezer. Being college students, we combined these waffles with the Nutella in the cupboard to create Nutella sandwiches: the ultimate snack for working in the labs. Waffles and Nutella became such a staple that when we ran out, I approached Ryan about acquiring more.
“Are people really going to eat those waffles if I buy them?” he asked, surprised.
“I assure you, Ryan, these waffles are essential,” I replied.
We came back a few days later to find the entire freezer full of waffles, much to our delight. Ever since, the campus has never gone hungry, and all of us remain indebted to Ryan’s kindness.
Then there was the pumpkin-carving competition, around Halloween time! Embracing her British roots, Hannah carved
the Union Jack into her pumpkin, much to the delight of those participating. We students often enjoyed striking up a playful banter
about English stereotypes when Hannah was around, which was all in good fun. Our Secret Santa event is even called “Cheeky Santa” because of her, and she participated in it!
Geneviève, despite how busy she is keeping the campus together, is always happy to strike up a conversation. She delights in her students, encouraging and supporting them every step of the way. Her wealth of knowledge and experience always makes conversations with her interesting and engaging, as well.
The point is, the staff at Montreal are more than authority figures. They are friends and companions, and they want to have a good experience as much as the students do. They do everything in their power to secure a great time for us.
Just a few weeks ago, we all went out to see The Room, which is one of the best worst movies in all of cinema history. I’ve always been a big fan, but Ryan? Ryan takes it one step further. He’s actually been in the same room as Tommy Wiseau, and has been to so many screenings of The Room that he knows all the heckling lines. Going to a screening with him was simply fantastic. He bought us all spoons to throw (which is a tradition of viewing The Room) and was one of the most entertaining hecklers in the theater. He made the whole experience even funnier and more enjoyable than expected.
Then there was laser tag! Hannah and Geneviève announced to us they had a surprise planned for the first week of December, and we were all thrilled to learn that it would be laser tag. To see Hannah and Ryan, armed with laser guns, running around and yelling with the rest of us, was priceless. Hannah placed rather well, if I recall. As for myself, I am the absolute worst at laser tag, and am proud to say I landed a solid 30th place out of 30 players.
Hannah and Ryan have been with us on so many adventures, that it’s like we’ve all formed a little family. The students have started calling them “mum” and “dad” because that’s pretty much what they are like to us. They’ve taken us out to breakfast at Universel, and to Dim Sum, and they’ve played games and carved pumpkins with us. We’ve had pasta dinners, and travelled to cities and bars together. We’re going to pet dogs and exchange presents today, but at the end of the week, we’ll have to say goodbye.
It will be sad to leave Ryan and Hannah and Geneviève when we go back to Burlington, and it will be sad to break up the community we’ve formed here. People I never thought I’d know are now people I play Pathfinder with every week. I’ll never forget the time I spent here, and the fun we all had together. I made lifelong friends of not only my fellow students, but the staff as well. I’m excited to someday soon return to Montreal, and maybe even see some of those friends again.