Amidst all the papers we had to write and presentations we had to give, we found time to sit together – albeit for a few minutes – and chortled at absolutely nothing. We clustered around desks or stood in doorways… laughter rang down the corridors of the homey Faculty. We lived in the moment and came away with memories.
On Christmas Eve, I stood in my office trying to take the key off a Mickey Mouse-Winnie the Pooh and friends keychain. I struggled. Not because it was hard but because my eyes were blinded by tears. Leaving the Faculty of Forestry was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
While what I was taught helped broaden my horizons, perhaps what I learned was far more important. I learned that I can be pushed beyond my comfort zone and then some, and I’d be able to not just handle it but like it. I learned to think outside the box and connect the dots.
I also saw my friends grow. From public speaking to speaking up, it made all of us proud as we crossed personal milestones. What made it even better was that we were always cheering and rooting for all of us.
During our first ever field camp, at Haliburton Forest and Reserve, I remember being unable to complete the canopy walk. Although my partner for the walk tried to gently prod me along, I stood steadfast and refused. Later that evening, one of my classmates asked me why I didn’t complete the walk. That question stayed with me. One of those afternoons when we were chatting, I brought up the topic of not being able to do the canopy walk with my then partner. He said, if that were to happen again and knowing me as he does now, he’d simply carry me across his back or just throw me across the canopy. I laughed. I realized that for every one person who questions you, there will always be one who supports you.
The last week at the Faculty when we gathered one more time in the lounge, one of my classmates said, “you know we are a ragtag bunch of misfits.” He isn’t wrong at all. What he didn’t say but is implied is that ragtag bunches of misfits are always heroes, from Frodo Baggins to Harry Potter.
Lookout world, here we come.