HEY SHAD CALGARY! Hey what? Countoff…
That’s how we start every day here at SHAD Calgary. Sixty-four students gathered around our Program Assistants in the common room at 7:50 am, each saying their assigned number to count from one to sixty-four. Some are excited and ready to go; others, we’re pretty sure, are still asleep even as they stand there.
After countoff, we head to breakfast for a hearty meal which will sustain us through the first lecture ― “StrengthsQuest Workshop.” This workshop, for which we filled out an extensive survey the night before (seriously, it was over 100 questions), helps us analyze our strengths and understand the many ways in which we can contribute to group activities here at SHAD and into the future.
Following the lecture, the SHADs are introduced to five committees: Clothing (to design SHAD swag), Banquet/Talent Show, Open Day, Monthbook/Instagram/Blog (yours truly), and Videobook. We get the chance to pick which committee we wanted to join, and we’re all looking forward to working together to help make our experience here more memorable.
Then, lunch! This is an appropriate moment to note that the food at SHAD Calgary is amazing. Today’s lunch of lasagna was widely appreciated by the SHADs at U of C. In the half-hour of dead time between lunch and the next lecture, we hear some exciting SHADspeaks covering topics from concussions to finding yourself as a leader. We applaud the six brave souls who volunteered to speak!
At 1:30, it’s time for our next activity. The “Design Challenge” is put to us by Dr. Anis Haque, one of our Program Directors. We have only 30 minutes to design, in groups of four, a robotic arm that can grab and lift a cup containing weight. The catch? We have very limited materials. Confined to only a few pieces of cardboard, two hangers, some rubber bands, paper clips, popsicle sticks, golf pencils, and brass fasteners, we’re grateful that we at least get access to scissors, pliers, and tape. Armed with these materials, we set to work ― only to realize that, in true SHAD fashion, we’re being thrown even more challenges along the way. Ten minutes in, Anis tells us that we cannot speak for two minutes. Twenty minutes in, we lose the use of one of our hands for the same amount of time. Still, the SHADs pull through and build some phenomenal robot arms!
Done with robots for the day, we split into three groups and move on to Daily Recreation. One group hits the dance floor to learn some new moves, another heads off to play badminton, and the last makes their way down to the squash courts. For an hour, we work at our assigned activities; then, we walk back to the residence to get ready for dinner.
After dinner (which was some lovely Greek food and pasta), it’s time for the highly anticipated KARAOKE NIGHT! After a little break to prepare any sort of sing-along act, the SHADs all gather in the dinning hall and wait for the show to begin. The SHAD community at University of Calgary go on to perform songs from a huge variety of genres. There are songs by Queen, Journey, Miley Cyrus, and even from the High School Musical soundtrack. Although some of the SHADs may have lost their voices, the experience made the relationships built today a million times stronger.
All in all, arriving to the SHAD Calgary campus was an adventure for some, yet it was all worth it when they got introduced to their new rooms, lecture halls and most importantly, their family for the rest of the month. From the welcome orientation to goal setting sessions, discovering leadership identities to team building activities, amazing races to daily fitness; we have made relationships that already feel like they could last a lifetime.
In conclusion, what are SHAD Calgary’s top ten moments in the last 3 days, you ask? Well, countoff!
Meeting all the other new, wonderful and interesting SHADs.
Being guided and mentored by our lovely, enthusiastic PAs and Directors.
The amazingly interesting SHADspeaks, although they must be so nerve-wracking for the presenters.
Drink water! H-2? WHOA! There have been many reminders so the SHADs can stay as healthy and hydrated as possible.
Listening to interactive lectures on values, identities and transforming the effects of stress into strengths.
Determining and discovering our strengths as individuals and how they apply to all aspects of our life.
The incredibly variable weather here in Calgary that makes for an interesting travel around campus but gives character to everyone’s memories.
Design Challenge which let us use all of the SHADs’ engineering skills to innovate and construct a robot arm.
Karaoke ― singing along to songs of all genres; from High School Musical’s Breaking Free to Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing.
Finishing our 1000-piece puzzle that many of us have been slaving over for two days.
We’ve had such an amazing experience already and it’s only been three days! We look forward to bonding time with our SHAD family for the rest of the month, where we learn, grow and establish lifetime bonds with individuals who invest in their own uncommon purpose!
Anikah Kapur (Mississauga, Ontario) & Navya Sheth (Oakville, Ontario)