university of british columbia
in preparation of graduating ubc and never going back to campus again (or, at least, not as often in the foreseeable future), i made a video of my top favourite places at school. ubc is a really beautiful campus and i wanted to remember the places that i frequented most often. this vlog is filled with amateur filming and evidence of my shaky hands, but it also contains a few of my favourite things, including japanese gardens, sandwiches and stairs (not). take a look:
reflections while making this video:
1) the day i filmed this, it was sunny and bright and i thought about how misleading it would be for someone not from vancouver to watch this. they would probably think that ubc is the best school ever and that vancouver is the best city ever and why do other universities even exist? the truth is though that 90% of the time, ubc does not look like this. it is rainy and grey and i wear my rain boots excessively throughout the school year. while i personally think ubc in the rain is no less beautiful than ubc in the sun, i admit that it can certainly be a lot harder to appreciate.
2) while i was walking around campus with my camera, i started thinking a lot about privilege. i am extremely privileged to attend university and this is a privilege that not everyone gets. there are domineering systems of class, status and wealth that make it easier for certain people to receive post secondary education over others, and to be honest, i’ve often felt guilty about receiving this privilege and living a life of middle class wealth when we live in a world that is so grossly imbalanced. why should i get so freely what other people do not? the guilt often comes from knowing that i’ve done nothing to deserve these privileges just as other people have done nothing to not deserve them, so what then? on the flip side, do i reject what i receive because of guilt?
i’ve spent the past five years writing a combination of literature essays and creative writing pieces about ghosts and clowns, so i’m struggling to convey these sociological thoughts into words. my personal reflection, however, led me to believe that guilt should not be my final destination or the motivating factor behind any of my decisions. i think it is so important to be aware of the societal structures that surround us and to recognize privilege for what it is. i also think that it’s important to be thankful for what we have and to honestly take advantage of this privilege that we’re given. who is it really helping if i decide that it’s not fair for me to get what other people don’t and give up what i have because of that? i might be making a statement on unfairness, but i think that’s a statement that’s been made already. i’m not saying anything that people don’t already know. what’s more, i’m just letting go of an opportunity to rise up into a position where i could possibly influence how our society is shaped.
i live in a world of power imbalances, but i don’t want to be intimidated by that. i don’t want to be scared of the imbalance, whichever side of it i may feel like i’m on. instead, i want to use whatever power or influence that i have to empower others and be a voice into our world.
these are some of the things i think about while i’m eating my avocado & greens sandwich. maybe the things that i’m talking about are deeply obvious to other people and i’m just catching up now. or maybe it’s such a jumbled mass of thoughts that it’s hard to track with what i’m trying to say. anyway. my brain is always swimming.
3) student life can be tough. but going to places like nitobe and wreck have helped me to remember that there is a bigger picture, a bigger purpose and a bigger world. what we experience right now is not everything, not even close, not even an iota or a smidgen or the smallest atom of an atom of an atom (etc). school does not own us, but we often treat it like a master. so take a break. go to the garden or dip your toes in the sea and remember who your real master is.
yesterday i handed in my final final project ever. it was a comic book about a clown named cardie who gets tired of performing and runs away from the circus. so this is it! i’m done! maybe it will hit me more at my graduation ceremony or in september when people around me are getting ready to go back to school and i’m not. but right now, i can’t say that it’s fully sunken in. for now, i’ll just leave it at this: thank you, ubc, for being a place where i could grow, be inspired, and learn how to cry. i would not be the writer, or the person that i am today if it weren’t for you and all the people that i met within your gates (figurative. you have no gates). i hope that one day you will be satisfied enough with yourself that you stop your never ending overboard construction. thank you! see you later.