From urban chaos to rural bliss: my Bishop’s journey

McGreen and tree in bloom

I had always yearned to escape city life, but the bonds with friends, family, and familiarity tethered me to my urban abode. The prospect of going away for university and to Bishop’s felt like a golden ticket to make that dream come true. Here’s how it happened.  

The Golden Ticket  

I remember the day I got accepted to Bishop’s. I was out with my best friends at our favourite club in downtown Montreal. It was our regular Friday night tradition; we indulged, danced, and spent a little too much money. It was like clockwork. Then, I was mindlessly going through my notifications waiting for a taxi at the end of the night, when I saw it —“Congratulations Olivia…”.  

Acceptance night

You might assume my immediate reaction was excitement and pride, but I vividly remember looking down at my phone, back up at my best friends, and thinking that this was the end of  our Friday night shenanigans and that hit me hard; That night, I didn’t tell a soul, though, and went home mourning the loss of a life and friends I had grown so accustomed to. I also had an important role in my mother’s business and knew my departure would leave a serious void. Don’t get me wrong; I knew I wanted to go to Bishop’s. I just had never thought how greatly it would affect every aspect of my life …until that very moment.  

Mourning the familiar

Months rolled by, and I finally mustered the strength to tell my friends and family. Unanimously, They congratulated me and shared their excitement and pride. And yet I still had this lump in my throat. I was still terrified to leave behind the comfort of my city-slicking cocoon and adopt the ways of the quaint and quiet life in little Lennoxville. 

So, I began to adopt this nostalgic way of living, feeling like I had to capitalize on every moment as if it were my last; dramatic I know. But summer finally came to an end, and fall began to peak its nose up. I went out one last Friday night with my friends and then it was time to face reality. The next day, I hit the road. 

Facing the unknown 

I will never forget the first time I drove my car from Montreal to Sherbrooke. I left the hustle and bustle of the city with a packed car, and still this lingering feeling of doubt and fear. What was I doing? Why would I leave the comfort and safety of my home, my friends, my job, my family? But it dawned on me, that the reason I had applied to Bishop’s was for me and no one else. It was to escape the day-to-day pressure and anxiety of my life back home and start anew, away from the city. Even if it was scary, even if my mom still needed me, even if I would miss those Friday nights, I had to take this step. So, I took a deep breath and just kept driving. 

the fall forest and mist from taken from a car
Driving to Sherbrooke

I passed Bromont and into the never-ending peaks and valleys of the Eastern Townships. Beautiful roads. I was overwhelmed by the shock of red, orange, and yellow trees that spanned for what seemed like forever, by the rocky-edged mountains that surrounded my car, and by what seemed like endless untouched nature. I sighed. Not in sadness but exhaling the tension of the road behind me. As I distanced myself from what I called home for 21 years, the looming fear and apprehension slowly dissipated with each passing exit sign. I had finally found the peace I was looking for.  

church steeple appearing above the trees in fall colour
Driving to Sherbrooke

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger 

You should know that I had been enrolled previously in a university for a year in Montreal. To get to my morning class I had to leave 2 hours in advance because of the traffic, the 50/50 chance of finding parking, the inescapable Montreal road work, cyclists with death wishes and the list goes on.  All these “roadblocks” before even getting to class. Let’s just say it’s not the most motivating environment. By the time I even got to class, I was exhausted from the journey. So, I dropped out of that school and decided to find an environment that would bring me peace and a path.  

Nature’s welcome 

Fast forward to my first day at Bishop’s. I left my apartment; no traffic, no aggressive drivers; I simply got to school and parked with ease. I walked towards the famous Gait with eyes wide open. Seeing the beauty in every inch of campus; the historic architecture, the canape of old trees, the endless paths connecting the campus’ buildings all together. I had seen it online virtually, but to be there is an indescribable feeling. I found a comfy spot on the grass, and as if out of some Disney movie a family of deer emerged from the forest and began eating the fallen pine needles from the ground. It was like a sign from the universe that I was exactly where I was supposed to be; in nature, and at peace. From that day on going to school didn’t seem so daunting.  

deer in the woods

Growth 

It’s crazy to see the evolution I have had as a student. From the craziness of downtown Montreal to the peaceful routine I have at Bishop’s. I have become a more focused, energetic, and happy individual. Like a plant, I needed space to grow and bloom individually, and I feel as though I have done just that. Bishop’s in a short amount of time has become my home away from home. If I could give any prospective student advice: embrace change, seek growth and you will find your sanctuary.  

wall quote that read be inspired, be successful, b.u.
Inspirational Quote Taken Inside Bishop’s

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