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Original Author:
Halle Cordingley

2020 was one of the most challenging years I have ever experienced, but it was also a year of learning and change. Being a first-year student during a global pandemic was less than ideal but looking back I realize that going to StFX was one of the best decisions I made. Graduating high school during 2020 was not a perfect situation. Losing out on things such as graduation, prom, and so many life experiences was discouraging. So, when it came to deciding whether to move out East for university or stay back home, it was a difficult decision, a decision many first-year students faced.

Would I lose the first-year experience? Would it be safe? There were many questions to ask, but as summer 2020 came closer and closer, I made the decision that I would take my chances and make the move. Move-in day wasn’t necessarily what I imagined. The halls were empty, there were few people, and only one parent was allowed to help. Once my parents drove off, I was left in my little dorm room with many boxes to unpack. The halls still remained quiet. Did I make the wrong decision? How was I going to quarantine in this little room for 14 days? How would I make friends? Luckily, my stress did not last so long. Virtual events began allowing us to make friends virtually, and a later outdoor time allowed us to meet each other in person at a distance. Quarantine was long and dreadful, but I knew that as soon as it was over my new adventure would begin. Despite being in a pandemic, the days after quarantine were as good as they could be, while remaining safe. The next few days, I learned new cheers, went to meal hall, discovered campus, and even Antigonish. There were so many new places to discover, people to meet and opportunities, it was almost overwhelming.

When classes began, I realized how fortunate I was. I was sitting in these big lecture rooms, next to students, with a professor right in front of me, while my friends from home sat watching their professors on a laptop. I got to have a relatively normal university experience whereas many other students across Canada were doing school online. Time went on, and increasingly I came to enjoy the StFX community. One day, I found an advertisement for jobs at the Xaverian Weekly. As a first-year student, I wasn’t expecting to be hired, but I took a chance and applied. Fortunately, I was hired as a columnist. I was shocked and honestly a little worried. I had the job. But was I going to be good enough?

The first article I wrote was on the fishing dispute in Nova Scotia. I spent hours researching and writing, hoping that the article would be good enough. The day the article was published, I remember reading it in the paper and being amazed that something I wrote was in a newspaper! That day multiple people texted me or came up to me and said they read and loved the article. Through all this I realized how much I loved writing. Over the next few months, I had many opportunities to write stories, and I continued to learn. I remember my first time interviewing someone I was writing a story on for the article “What to Expect for the X-Ring Ceremony.” I was worried because I had never interviewed someone before. I researched, watched videos, and practiced how to successfully conduct interviews. When the interview started, I realized it wasn’t stressful at all. It was something I enjoyed doing. More recently, I got to interview all of the candidates for the upcoming StFX Students’ Union elections. It made me realize that being a part of the Students’ Union is something I might consider in the future. Overall, working for the Xav has expanded my knowledge in so many new subjects, it has been the ultimate learning experience and a challenge. Had I not taken the chance and come to university this year or applied for the job at the Xav, I would have missed out on so many opportunities. Ultimately, I would say that it is very important to take chances and risks and challenge yourself and try new things because if you never take that chance, you’ll never know what can become of it.

As Wayne Gretzky said: “You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Stories of Hope