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A students guide: how to transition into university life at CMU

With the last few weeks of summer drawing to a close, you may be starting to transition back into school mode; trading in those beach towels for textbooks, finalizing those timetables, and doing your last minute packing for your dorm room (just kidding, we know you’ve been packed for months now). You are about to begin your first year of university at CMU.

This transition might be exciting for you. It also might be scary. But guess what? The first week is designed to ease you into university and help you get established.

Here is a basic guide for what you should know as you start your first year at CMU:

The first week when you arrive is orientation week. Be prepared to meet A LOT of new people. It is a busy but energizing week where you have the chance to make new friends and get to know your professors. Carry your GO! guide with you wherever you go to know when and where all the fun and important events are happening. If you are at all stressed out about knowing where to go, how to find your classes, or confirm your registration, never fear—the campus will be flooded with student leaders and staff members who are eager to help and point you in the right direction.

It is also important for you to be familiar with your student portal and email—they will be your best friend when you are a student—use them. You will use them throughout your entire degree. Make sure that both your portal and email are working during the first few days when you arrive on campus. Your student portal has all the important information for your registration, classroom announcements, posted marks, etc. Each day you will receive the CMU Daily News in your student email, keeping you up to date with all the happenings on campus throughout the year. Stay on top of your portal and email and the faculty and staff will throw you a parade (maybe not, but they might give you a hug).

The first week is also your chance to buy your textbooks (new or used), which you can get at CommonWordBookstore and Resource Centre in Marpeck Commons. CommonWord  is a great resource for you during your first few weeks as you start—aside from textbooks you can get your bus passes and school supplies here! CommonWord will have your textbook lists for your classes. You can also purchase Ten Thousand Villages fair trade coffee at CommonWord OR Dogwood coffee at folio cafe for all those late night study sessions.

The most important thing to remember during your first week is to RELAX. This can be hard to remember, but it is important. You are not alone in this crazy transition—there are resources set up to help you succeed in your first year of university. Your first year is designed to help you get a sense for what you want to study and what your passions might be. The professors want to help nurture these passions to help you succeed in whatever you are doing. They will be more than willing to meet with you one-on-one to talk about an assignment, a class topic, bounce around career options, or just chat about life. You also will have the option to get peer (PAL) or professional tutoring to help you edit and develop your essays and writing skills.

Be excited to start your first year at CMU. Prepare yourself to enter into a compassionate, forgiving, and challenging community of individuals who are working to develop their understandings of the world, themselves, and God.

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Visiting Israel and Palestine: finding connection in the Holy Land

This past spring, I participated in Canadian Mennonite University’s Ancient Stones, Living Stones Study Tour which went to Israel and Palestine. As a third year student studying Biblical and Theological Studies at CMU I found the tour particularly eye opening to current conflicts which overrun the Holy Land. The land that is now Israel and Palestine has always been a land of many people and many different religions. However, everyone has their own take on history which adds significantly to the conflict which absorbs the Holy Land. By actually being in the Middle East and interacting with the people that live there I began to recognize that the conflict was not started by one group of people.

Selenna Hildebrand on the Ramparts, walking the wall of the Old City of Jerusalem

Selenna Hildebrand on the Ramparts, walking the wall of the Old City of Jerusalem

Everyone that lives in the Holy Land has an extremely deep connection with the land. The Israeli people connect themselves to the Holy Land through the promise God made to Abraham in Genesis. This happened over three thousand years ago. Jewish people understand that it is their duty to be apart of fulfilling Gods promise by living in the Promised Land. A Jewish settler we spoke to who was originally from the United States said that he felt a certain connection to God and his spirituality was strengthened by living in Israel which he would not be able to find anywhere else.

The Palestinian people have a connection to the land which lasts hundreds of years. Our tour guide, Khalil, showed our group his family home which is located inside the Old City of Jerusalem. The house, which was made up of small apartments built randomly on one another, has been the family home since the fourteen-hundreds. He said that the house would sell for a few million dollars because the real estate within the old city walls is extremely valuable. However, the family will never sell the house. It is a part of who they are.

A young man named Mohammed gave us a tour of Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem. Mohammed was born and raised in the refugee camp; it is his only home. His grandparents, just like many others in the refugee camp, continue to hold on to the key that used to open the door to their home in their old village that was destroyed in 1948. The key is a symbol of hope; one day they will return to their true homes in the villages that no longer exists.

I do not understand having a connection to the land in any of these three ways. I am able to recognize that the land is extremely important to every individual that finds him or herself living in Israel and Palestine. It is this connection to the land which is at the root of the conflict in the Holy Land. There will never be a simple solution because everyone has their own strong opinions of what should be done. My hope, as a Canadian Mennonite, is that I can share real Israeli and Palestinian stories in hopes of others learning about the people who truly live in the Holy Land so that we as Christians can learn to see the value of the Holy Land outside of a Christian context.

Selenna Hildebrand is a From the Halls guest blogger

Summer: a time to challenge and ask questions

We asked a number of students what will keep them busy through the summer months. Laura Carr-Pries, who is spending her summer in Toronto, shared the following reflection on how connections between her studies and “the real world” are coming into focus. 

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Metanoia Farmers

It’s go time!

In March, Student Ambassador Alex Tiessen wrote this post about the significance of the collaboration between the Metanoia Farmers and Canadian Mennonite University. We asked Anika Reynar, a member of the Metanoia Farmers Worker Cooperative, to reflect on the first month of the growing season.

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folio cafe

Four folio café faves

folio café has become an important part of the CMU community, whether it is to satisfy your caffeine need, reward yourself after completing that three-thousand-word essay, or catch up with a friend over some gelato. Whatever the occasion, folio always has delicious selections for all who visit Marpeck Commons!

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