By: Jennifer Low, Peak Associate
Dear Simon Fraser University,
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
In truth, I really can’t. Not only do you not boast enough sunshine, but it feels as if you can’t actually make up your mind about which weather to have. I’ve heard what they all say, calling out your dismal hallways, foreboding architecture, difficult transit, and unsettled student government, but there is beauty in imperfection. And, contrary to what they might believe, I know there is beauty in SFU.
The first time I saw you, I was in the lineup at Production Way for the 145. In the bleary morning fog, I joined a zombie-esque line up of students trudging up the mountain on a crisp September morning. I found beauty in the guy who moved his backpack so I could get on and the girl who slid off her seat during a turn and erupted in a fit of giggles. There was kindness in the student who let a peer nap on his shoulder, and in the way every student muttered “thank you” to the driver when they arrived at their destination.
The first time I felt the touch of your hand was on my first day of school. Even though I felt shy and small in my first ever university class, you extended your hand to me and introduced yourself. Through the years, you have continued to introduce yourself time and time again so I never have to sit alone in lecture. Every handshake and every new person I meet brings new experiences and friendships into my life, and I will forever be grateful for those connections.
SFU, you and I shared our first meal at a Welcome Week event. Student volunteers were flipping massive shapeless pancakes onto plates and other students were striking up conversations at random tables of people they’d only just met. The morning air was filled with chatter and friendly conversation as students bonded over trying to decipher the abstract shapes off their pancakes. With smiles all around and more than enough syrup to go around, finishing 8:30 lectures never tasted so sweet. I couldn’t remember the last time I ate a truly filling breakfast before I rushed off to school, so I’m glad I got to share it with you.
I remember a Monday afternoon spent studying by the window in the applied sciences building, when I first heard the voice of SFU: the odd electronic melody of someone’s iPhone game escaping their headphones and distracting absolutely everyone in sight. I would have expected an angry reaction, or for the sound to be completely ignored by a school known for its antisocial student population. Instead, I got a silly, exaggerated eyeroll from the girl in front of me, as a conversation sparks between a group of seven or so strangers. What started as a shared mild annoyance at a gamer, so invested in his quest that the world disappeared, became a friendly conversation about courses and schoolwork before dissolving back into newly comfortable silence. Your voice was so friendly, funny, and kind that I felt included and accepted in a place where everyone said it would be impossible.
Your smell is warm like the crackling firepit at the center of the AQ, where I played a game of giant Jenga for a half an hour with some friends. Every so often, you would stop to cheer us on and give me advice on your way to your classes, suggesting which block seemed to be the loosest even if you weren’t there to see the game’s final results.
SFU is its students, and there is something truly beautiful about that.