As students from across the world enter the Pearson campus, memories are created every second of every day. These moments at Pearson College are valued by alumni and often looked back upon as highlights in their lives. The students interviewed within this article will be a part of the graduating class of 2024; also known as members of year forty-nine. They have just begun their two-year journey at the college, and are excited and apprehensive for the journey ahead. It has been an exciting start to the year, with activities such as: nights at the observatory, European regional day, and bonding with new friends.

Mila Ossowska is a student from Australia, and she describes her favourite memory at Pearson College as a night at the observatory. This night was planned for students to view Jupiter, as it was at its closest approach to Earth in 59 years. This was a special night for the scientific community at Pearson. On top of this, for many students, this was the first time the stars were clearly visible to them at all. Mila proceeds to explain to me how, “Not very often do you get to use a massive telescope to look at the stars”. Pearson College holds the largest private telescope in Canada, and it was utilised that very night to look at the planets in clear detail. Mila describes her thoughts throughout the night; “Thinking about UWC for so many months, and then to finally be here, present, standing on the ground looking into the sky, it felt surreal.”. As students stood watching the stars, many reflected on how far they had come. There was a stoic silence that was held throughout the majority of the night, showcasing the surrealism and awe being felt by many. Mila described the night as having an overall feeling of, “togetherness; everyone watching the same patch of sky, standing in awe.”

Aliona Fedorovič, from Lithuania, and Diana Shyshkova, from Ukraine, share their most memorable experience at Pearson so far. The experience was European Regional Day, a day in which students from Europe share parts of their culture. This sharing of culture includes traditions such as dance, art, and food. Aliona and Diana held a workshop on Eastern European Ornaments. Diana says it is, “…so good to know someone is interested in your culture”. Both students were amazed by the number of the community that showed up to partake in their workshops. They state that there were roughly forty-five students in attendance,which Aliona says made her “realise people actually care, even when people don’t know where your country is”. Throughout the day there were many activities, but one that made both students feel closer to home was the food fair. Students from all around the world created food from their homes, and shared it with the rest of the campus. This brought forth a lot of nostalgia and emotion for many. Diana says, “all the sweets were amazing”, and reminded her of her mother’s cooking. Aliona says that, “food brings people together, even when you don’t know them very well”. In the evening students were brought along to a performance which included dancing, singing, and poetry. Aliona and Diana both performed beautiful dances. They both describe to me how they were feeling during the preparation for and performance of the dances. They both agree that it was overwhelming, as they only just arrived on campus a couple of weeks ago. Diana says she wondered; “How am I supposed to do that?”, when posed with the idea of performing Ukrainian dance in front of the school community. However, the performance was incredibly beautiful, and Diana noticed, rightfully, that the “audience was smiling like crazy”. 

Throughout the first few weeks of Pearson, the community has created a sort-of air of support that has surrounded many on campus. Being in a new environment can be overwhelming, invigorating, and maybe even frightening. That support from those in the community has helped so many, and continues to do. A night under the stars, laughing with new friends. An evening of dance and celebration of your culture. A snack. Support has come in many forms, from many people. And, as students overcome challenges in their personal and academic lives, the ultimate support has been our community coming together to create lovely new memories. As these students have shown, even after being at Pearson for a short amount of time, life-long memories are already being created. And, many more will be made over the journey ahead for all community members two-year journey ahead for the year forty-nine.

Sophie Smith

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