Thoughts on gratitude after attending Evolve 2018

It was frosty in the mornings… but it never quite snowed!

Over Reading Break, I attended a BC Conference United Church of Canada youth and young adults retreat called Evolve.

This retreat took place at the beautiful Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre; over 150 youth, young adults, and Youth Leaders attended to have fun connecting, learning, and worshiping together! “Gratitude” and “Embracing change” were themes that were explored throughout this four-day conference.

A Note on University

A bunch of the young adults doing some ice breakers and chatting about the conference. (I’m in the grey sweater seated on the sofa arm!)

Something that I’ve come to recognize more fully from this conference is that gratitude can be hard to practice, especially if you’re going through life changes or tough times. I think that making a conscious effort to appreciate things in life is part of pushing yourself forward even when the going gets tough. I’m trying to incorporate practicing gratitude into my life — including in this blogpost!

Being in my first year of university has been challenging because I live away from my family and the expectations and methods of instruction in university are different than they were in high school.

I’m learning that these changes are ok — I just have to adapt… or “re-acclimatize.” I’m thankful that I get to be exposed to new ways working and expressing myself. To be honest, though, it was nice get away for a few days and take a break from it all before heading into finals season!

What I was up to for four days

    • Listening to keynote speaker, Peterson Toscano, who performed comedy skits about LGBTQ+ issues, privilege, climate change, and the Bible
    • Attending workshops on topics such as:
      • Yoga and meditation: led by Ingrid Hartloff Brown
      • Climate change and using passion and expertise as a tool to combat climate change: led by Peterson Toscano
      • Forgiveness and hope: led by Julio Cochoy, war victim from Santa Lucía
      • Worship practices: self-led circuit to try different practices such as colouring and tarot reading
    • Having group conversations about:

      Chris Giffen (guitar), Julia Copeman-Haynes (drums), and Curt Allison (keys) made up a terrific band — singing with them was so uplifting!

      • Worship as a young adult/student
      • Changes to levels of church governance
      • School/work/life balance
    • Music and dance:
  • Homework…
  • Relaxing, eating delicious food, and having fun surrounded by awesome, welcoming people

We all put on headsets that could be tuned into 3 different channels — our headsets changed colour depending on which playlist we were listening to!

Now it’s back to the grind

Going to Evolve was an exceptional experience to connect with other young adults in a setting that wasn’t school; I was surrounded by different perspectives and ways of thinking. I appreciate the stories that were shared and the memories that were made. I can’t wait to go back!

Now, school’s in session — the last push before the holidays. We’re coming up on finals and from what I’ve heard… it can be challenging to continue to feel motivated as the sun sets earlier and the rain becomes a more frequent reality.

Something I did as part of self-reflection at Evolve was to take a moment to stop and consider how far I’ve come within the year, and what I strive to do next. I suggest to you to do the same. Think about appreciating some of the things along the way (good or not so good) that have led you up to today — you’ve made it this far — and you can keep going!

Thank you.

The world chucks challenges at us sometimes, and with them can come some pretty questionable learning curves. But there’s also so many exciting things going on!

I’d like to take time in this blog post to just put a general “thank you” out into the world because I know there are people and experiences and good places to go to like Evolve, and UVic, that keep me motivated and keep others going too. 😊

Group photo before saying goodbye… Until next time!

 

 

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