I love to see you smile

One of my friends recently commented on how I don’t really talk very much about myself anymore. ‘But I blog!’ I defended. ‘About my life! As a UBC student!’

Not really, my friend countered. Apparently, I talk about all the events that are going on around campus and I mention random things that I enjoy in Things I Love Thursday, but I don’t really talk about my life as a student.

Like how yesterday, I stood with some Speakeasy volunteers outside Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and handed out free hot chocolate. (Two heaping spoonfuls of chocolate mix are recommended, though you can have more if you want!) It was the perfect day for hot chocolate — sunny, dry and cold, especially after standing there for two hours. We didn’t have a sign with us advertising the freebie, so we had to call out to passers-by instead — and how people’s faces lit up at the chime of ‘Free!’ It’s the most beautiful sound in the college world.

The sound must also have resonated throughout IKBLC: every now and then, small groups of exhausted students emerged from the bowels of the library beast with a hopeful ‘I heard there’s free hot chocolate?’

Yes, it’s free. No, there aren’t any strings attached or even a survey to fill. We can give you a spiel if you have the time to hear it,* but we’re really giving this out as a form of stress relief and self-care during exam time.

It’s fascinating how suspicious some people can be, but it’s even more lovely to see smiles magically appearing on stressed-out faces. I also gave a couple of free hugs to students, including one poor soul who came up for just the hug and not the chocolate. Aww!

Honestly, the experience really made my day, because one of the things I miss most about being a volunteer is being on shift at the desk, smiling at strangers and being helpful. I got to talk to a number of interesting individuals, including a few exchange students from South Africa and New Zealand (where we commented on each other’s accents).

Then I went back to the office and did a whole bunch of behind-the-scenes work that will just never make it to this blog because, seriously, there is only so much potential to wax lyrical on writing meeting minutes.

And my friend wonders why I don’t talk about my life as a student.

Thank you to everyone who came by and chatted, and good luck with all your exams! Don’t forget to take care of yourselves!

*The spiel:

Speakeasy is a peer support service run by students for students. We’re located in the north side of the SUB. We offer one-on-one, confidential sessions by drop-in; no appointment necessary. Volunteers are trained to tackle issues ranging across the board: exam stress, relationships, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, etc. We also offer referrals to groups both on and off campus who can provide further support. Operating hours during exams are currently Mondays–Fridays, 10–5.

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