Hello, my name is Julia Regier. My family has been part of RJC for generations, all the way up until my great-grandparents. Now, having experienced it myself, I understand why we keep coming back to this place.
Over the last month my plate has been overflowing with responsibilities, appointments, social gatherings, and work. I now know that it was all worth it, despite the high stress levels that come along with deadlines and difficult assignments. I couldn’t have done it without the environment that encompasses RJC, because RJC is an environment that appreciates realism without pessimism. It is an environment that seeks the light in every dark corner.
Recently, when discussing these overwhelming feelings, I realized that I’m not alone in what I have been wrestling with; in fact, I bet that this happens in every generation of grads. My parents went through this before me and even my great-grandparents have experienced some version of these feelings. For many of my relatives, RJC has been the place where they grew through these feelings alongside their classmates.
Sometimes high school is looked down on, but I believe that it can teach you a lot of things even if the actual school part isn’t really your favourite. For example, there comes a point in everyone’s high school career when you realize that you just can’t make that deadline despite the countless hours you put into the project. I know the feeling of emailing that teacher or boss and profusely apologizing while simultaneously asking for just a little more time, and the subsequent relief when it is granted. Knowing that you worked hard and it won’t go to waste. After sharing this experience with people who are wiser in years than myself, I have often been met with the words, “Well, that’s nice, but you know that’s not how the real world works right?”
Normally I nod, and agree, the world is a dark unforgiving place, right? Then it clicked for me: You don’t have to be pessimistic to be realistic.
Even in your darkest hours there is light, and there always will be, you just need to know where to look. When I say that you might think it’s common sense, but think about it, how often do you hear someone assume the worst case scenario? I bet it’s more often than you realize.
This school has shown me that, yes, the world is dark, but there is a path of love and light in Jesus. As we walk in his footsteps, pursuing discipleship, we spread love, light, and kindness in our wake. The real world is here, in Rosthern, just as much as it is in any place. Just as God is here and in every place. So yes, the world may have certain dark realities, but offering and graciously accepting kindness where given will surely spread light within our hearts and to those around us.
Someone once asked me, “If everyone did one selfless, kind thing a day, can you imagine how different the world would be?” A simple smile in the hall, waiting for your friend to tie their shoe, sending a reassuring message to a friend who’s been quiet lately, inviting someone to a hangout that you may not normally invite. All these small things matter. Imagine that with me for a second; love, light, kindness, all around you. If we could experience even a sliver of that dream, I know the world would be better off for it. Even during the busiest time of the year with finals, musical and grad, I have so much gratitude for the realistic and light-filled view of this school. These last few weeks have been heavy. We have had our emotions validated and we know that everyone who has been in our shoes can understand. Everyday we were encouraged by staff and by our peers, and here we are. I believe we made it to this stage because of that mindset. So go, find the light wherever you can and trust that it is always there.
To my classmates, continue to spread your light, work hard, forgive those around you, and forgive yourself. Don’t let yourselves succumb to the temptations of pessimism, instead seek a love-filled mindset in your daily life. Remember that tomorrow and every day after that, everything you do makes an impact on the real world.
This reflection was written by Julia Regier and delivered at the 2022 Graduation Baccalaureate Worship Service at Rosthern Mennonite Church on June 26, 2022.