As I prepare to leave for graduation I find myself feeling a bit nostalgic. There is a rather unusual similarity between my first day of kindergarten and my first day with AU. I started both in a cast. I remember making my “grad” speech in grade seven as we nervously prepared for high-school. I don’t remember much of it, actually, I only remember a single line: “I started school on one shaky leg and now I am leaving with both feet planted firmly on the ground.” I find it amusing that the same can be said for my university experience. It was while I was laid up on the couch that my mind wandered over to AU and I found myself enrolling. I was unsure how to start, where to start, but I knew I had to start.
Hopefully, I don’t need bed-rest and casts for future decisions. Since returning to school I have felt the mix of emotions that goes along with it: excitement, fear, uncertainty, stress, stress (no, that isn’t a typo I really do think stress gets two spots on this list. I would add more, but a certain editor may not find the humour in deleting a hundred repetitions of “stress”). There were many times within AU that I had that moment, the “Ah ha! I am on the right path; I know I am.” I made the right decision, and even if the surgery to rebuild my ankle did not make it 100%, that surgery got me here. It pushed me to make a move when I couldn’t move. These moments came unexpectedly, they came in the form of courses, interviews, and making the leap to writing for this magazine.
Last week Barb L. wrote an article about interviewing students. It was from my own interview with her that I got up the courage to email Karl and ask what is involved in writing for the Voice. I had seen the ad on the bottom of the emails and contemplated asking, but I never did. Barb’s excitement through the interview was contagious. I was nervous. But it got me here. Through this magazine I have learned a lot about writing and about communication. I have made connections with other writers that I believe (I hope) will go beyond the figurative walls of the magazine. The experience of writing for the Voice improved my writing skills and helped my academic writing. It gave me courage and self-confidence to tackle topics without concern. I was able to voice my opinion and have it well-received (at least as far as I know).
For any students who read this magazine, and who look at the ad and wonder if they should try and write, do it. This experience has underlined the importance of making connections and has enriched my university experience. It wasn’t without rejection. And it was not without criticism. But both of these made me grow as a writer, a student, and of course as a person.
It is hard to believe that the next article I write is going to be about the experience of convocation. I will leave you with a line that has been whispering itself in the back of my mind for the last few days, I started AU with one good leg, but, I am leaving with both feet planted firmly on the ground. I am leaving with purpose, confidence, and aspirations.
Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature