Graduating students share their most Queen’s moments

Remembering cherished memories ahead of graduation

Photo: 
Credit: 
Supplied by Grace Guest, Brigid Goulem and Maggie Gowland

Seeing everyone you know in the ARC, passing a horde of purple engineers on your walk to class or using the Romanian flag emoji as a tricolour stand-in, can only be described as “so Queen’s.”

As the semester comes to a close and a year’s worth of Gaels start their next adventure, The Journal asked graduating students to reminisce and share the moments that best encompass their Queen’s experience.

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“During Frosh Week, I was walking down University Avenue wearing jean shorts with a loose bag hanging on my arm. A topless and distraught middle-aged man approached me, asking me what I study, what I plan to do after school, and the like. 

At home, or any setting other than Kingston, for that matter, I would’ve gotten strange and worried looks from anyone watching this interaction. While not scared myself, I was careful to make it clear to observers that I was okay. 

As we’ve all done, I simultaneously tried to focus on the conversation while planning my eventual escape. But before I could conclude on a getaway strategy, the boys drinking beer on the lawn across the street howled—not at me, but at this man. 

‘Hey, Todd!’ they called. ‘Come have a beer!’ And he was gone. 

Although I may not remember the scenario forever, the sense of community in this student ghetto will never be lost on me. It’s when friends come to visit or I’m taken back to the large, looming streets of a big city that I’ll remember the giant hamster ball of Kingston I’m lucky to have lived and grown in these past four years. 

Although I may not remember the scenario forever, the sense of community in this student ghetto will never be lost on me.

Although our bubble is soon to be popped, it only means we’re on to a bigger one. Thanks to everyone who lived with me in this jungle gym—I’ll never not miss you.”

—Samantha Fink, ArtSci ’19

“It’s difficult to put any aspect of my Queen’s experience into words, let alone a short blurb. My time here has been challenging, emotional, and at times ridiculous—but I can confidently say that these past four years have been the greatest of my life. 

As the term comes to an inconceivable end, I find myself attempting to appreciate the smaller moments. I’ll recall the sense of limbo following every lecture—a stretch where my closest friends and I, while walking through campus, would have trouble deciding what spot to settle down in, what route to take, and which life updates were the most pressing for discussion.

I will reminisce about the glorious destination of CoGro—as I’m sure many of us graduates will—a microcosm of the Queen’s community. I’ll think about the countless coffees and conversations, and about the guarantee of exchanging ‘how are you’ greetings with 115familiar faces. 

Perhaps this will be the hardest part, to leave a routine that’s become so predicated upon encounters. Queen’s wouldn’t have been the same without the friends I’ve made. I know these relationships will remain unrivalled, as the strongest testaments to my time at university, and as reminders of inexplicably euphoric memories. 

To these individuals, I can only say thank you.”

—Grace Guest, ArtSci ’19

“My most Queen’s moment happened in the thick of first semester exams in third year. It was the last night that all my housemates and I would be together in the house until the following academic year, as two of the four of us were going on exchange. 

We spent the night making an elaborate dinner—partially to get rid of our leftover food before winter break, partially to truly embrace the treat yourself mindset that exam season so desperately needs. We split a giant bottle of wine between the four of us, tearfully recalling some of our favourite memories from the last year and a half of living together. 

Once we had all reached a decent lack of sobriety, we knew it was time to do a deep clean of our home to prepare for the subletters who would be moving in come January and who were not yet accustomed to the standards of Kingston student housing. 

By the time our home had reached suitable sublet standards, it was already one in the morning and my housemate exclaimed, 'Let’s go to Stages!'

[I]t was already one in the morning and my housemate exclaimed, 'Let’s go to Stages!'

We ran to our final Stage Rage of the year in sweatpants, screaming throwback songs and shedding some tears for our last night together.”

—Danielle Leboff, ArtSci ’19

“My most Queen’s moment of my undergrad would probably have to be my first-ever Homecoming. 

I had never been to HoCo before first year and I was very excited, but I had no idea what to expect. I went to a pancake kegger that morning with my friends from residence and it was so fun to finally see all of the traditions that I had heard so much about—purple people, Purple Jesus, etc. 

The real kicker, though, was walking out onto Aberdeen Street around noon and seeing the street packed with people of all ages. It was nice to see how many alumni came back, since I saw how much Queen's meant to so many people and what I still had to look forward to.  

That was such a fun day with all of my new Queen’s friends—many of whom I’m still close with now—and each Homecoming since has been just as fun.”

—Brigid Goulem, ArtSci ’19

“On a perfect 25-degree Kingston day in September, my housemates and I spent most of the Friday afternoon studying on our front lawn.

We carried out our coffee table and sat on blankets with a speaker and some snacks, mindlessly typing away through the screen glare and lazy shadows of maple leaves on our laptops. This was all months before our senioritis kicked in at full swing—that came much later.

The next day, we threw a day party in our backyard, borrowing a sound system and a folding table, and hanging balloons in the trees. Around 30 of our closest friends showed up, buzzing around the yard. When the drinking died down, we went to the Pier to jump in the lake and snooze off some of the alcohol in the sun.

I vividly remember laying in a row on our towels and someone—probably me, the sentimental one—said, ‘Our lives are never going to get better than this.’

Following our lakeside snooze, we had our weekly tradition of Spaghetti Saturday, where we douse boxed pasta in an entire container of Classico Four Cheese in what would surely be a disgrace of a meal to a true Italian.

Yes, I'm sure something will happen that makes our lives better than this—but the day was so carefree, and so college, I can't imagine how a single weekend could be better.”

—Maggie Gowland, ArtSci ’19

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