Post written by Bronwyn Graham, Mental Health and Wellbeing Assistant
When I started at UBC four years ago, stepping foot on campus for the first time was a surreal experience. I distinctly remember swelling up with excitement and wonder as I looked around and listened to other students tell me about all of the opportunities and services UBC has to offer. To me—a girl from a small town in southern Ontario—UBC seemed to have it all. There were so many new things to see, events to attend, new people to meet. I quickly got wrapped up in the rush and excitement of diving head first into this new experience known as “university”. I must have attended almost every basketball game, gone to all the events organized by my residence hall, participated in a few key fundraisers, and joined more clubs than I could actually take part in. I was wholly embracing my new life as a UBC student.
Four years later and here I am – just a few months away from completing my undergraduate degree. And over the years, I’ve come to realize there’s much more to life than UBC and being a student. Although sometimes it may not feel like it, life extends far beyond the perimeter of UBC’s campus. In retrospect, I realize I got swept up in the excitement of university life, losing sight of the “bigger picture” and who I am in the context of the world around me. My first year at UBC was amazing, but I couldn’t help but feel as though something more meaningful was missing – a different kind of ‘spirit’:
What are my goals, my purpose, and do my actions align with my values?
Having these internal conversations led me to realize that my university experience could have a purpose beyond academics. In short, I was practicing spirituality without even realizing it.
Spirituality is as important to your health as exercise, sleep, and good eating habits. While most people associate spirituality with mono- and poly-theistic religions, it’s important to note that spirituality extends far beyond those distinctions: Spirituality is whatever you want it to be!
For those of you who may be curious about different forms of spirituality, UBC has many resources available to help foster your spiritual growth.
Curious about a specific faith? Or perhaps you just want to talk to someone in the religious community on campus? The Multi-faith Chaplains Association at UBC is a great place to start! Religions and philosophical traditions include:
Healthy Minds Blog
Studies suggest that students who are spiritual or otherwise more comfortable with themselves as a whole perform better in their studies. For how to keep a healthy mind, check out the spirituality section on the Healthy Minds Blog.
Maybe you’re more into clubs and talking with your peers about beliefs and spirituality. There’s a page for that! The AMS has a listing of all student-run spiritual organization on campus, along with dozens of others. They’re a great way to get involved with the surrounding community through volunteer work.
UBC Yoga Club
Looking to exercise and work your spiritual muscles? Check out the UBC Yoga Club for a listing of classes.
Many of these resources can help you explore your spiritual side, discover more about yourself, and get in touch with your values beyond academics. No matter how you come to understand spirituality, it’s always valuable to make a connection to the world around you.