Reflection on my college quest and discovery of Bishop’s

A photo of Bishop's Library and gazebo. It's a bright and sunny day.

Two years ago I graduated from high school in France and then immediately entered La Sorbonne. Everything was going fine but I didn’t find my place there: something was missing. I slowly stopped going to lectures and finally dropped out after four months of college. But even if La Sorbonne wasn’t for me, I still knew I wanted to go to college. That’s when I started looking for universities outside of France and Europe. I knew I could find a place for me, even if it was on the other side of the world.

Choosing a school is hard

I would be lying if I said searching for schools out of the country is simple. On the contrary, it was pretty hard, because there is a lot to take into account: the ranking of the school in the province; the culture of the country, state or province and the acceptance and failure rates. But all of these factors were more important for my mother than me; what I wanted in choosing my school was to be sure I would have fun and meet a lot of people. I feel like in order to succeed in our studies, the environment has to be right for us… We need to feel at home. 

That’s how I started searching for the top social schools in Canada, and especially in Quebec. After a little bit of time, I found Bishop’s University, an English-speaking school in the middle of a French-speaking city. As a French person, I was totally delighted. I could not only improve my English but still keep my bearings. And even if at first I was looking at the social life, I saw what Bishop’s could bring me academically, and I continued looking at it. It was like my “American dream,” a campus where we could all live together, sports teams, events and so much more… As a European, nothing was comparable to Bishop’s from what I had seen before in France.

Making a decision

Ultimately, YouTube was what made me choose Bishop’s. It was a video about a game day. The Gaiters were supposed to play a big match and the YouTuber who was filming all of it, started talking with students, athletes, coaches etc., and step by step I realized that I was really getting attached to the school and that I wanted to go no matter what.

But I have to admit that I should have done more careful reading of the website about the specific program options available. I could have been a bit more prepared there, but apart from that, I don’t regret anything. I love my experience at Bishop’s, and I think the best thing about studying here is the beauty of the campus and the sense of community.

Living away from home

But even if the experience is incredible and the one of a lifetime, I’m still away from home and that’s something I often think about… actually I think about it every day. Moving out at 18 is something a lot of young people dream about, but I feel like we don’t talk enough about the hard side of things. Yes, I love everything about the social life here and the culture, but since my mother is not with me, I have to regulate my money, think about deadlines to pay tuition, and really take care of myself and think like an adult. That’s the hard part of being away from home. But it also brings a sense of freedom and responsibility; I feel like I have grown ten times since I got here. I’m doing things I would have never done if I were home, and I know it would help me for my life as a complete adult.

And if we see the good side of all of that. I still talk to my mother every day and I would even say that our relationship is better since we don’t see each other every time. Unfortunately, she was also one of the reasons I wanted to be away from France. I still don’t think I could live with her 24/7, but our ties are stronger than ever. So, even if it’s hard to be away from home sometimes, it’s all part of the journey of becoming your own person.

Getting involved

Since I’ve been at Bishop’s I’ve had the chance of finding a lot of work, too, and have been participating in the life of the campus. Sports events, hockey games, football games or even basketball games. They help bring us all together and develop a real sense of community spirit. The thing that is really good here is the fact that everything is close. Like the Gait, for example, our campus bar; there’s no need to go Downtown to have fun and there’s also the Lion. I have never experienced these kinds of clubs close to a university, and in some ways, it makes the sense of community stronger.

Other activities such as dance, theatre, sports or even fashion shows also keep us pretty busy. For example, the fashion show is a student-run event, with all the profits going to charity. At the beginning of the year, it interested me so much that I decided to join because doing something fun for charity is always a good thing, and it’s helping me feel more and more like a real gaiter.

In short, finding Bishop’s was one of the best things that happened to me last year and the people and the opportunities I found here will have a great impact on my future.

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