For #JoyAtUofT this week, I wanted to write about a place on campus that has brought me a lot of joy – Wycliffe College.
Wycliffe College on Hoskin Avenue is home to a library, a beautiful chapel, a refectory, and classrooms/gathering spaces. It’s a Christian seminary for graduate students, but I don’t really know it for that aspect – Wycliffe College is where I attend meetings and other events with my favourite club, Power to Change (sorry to my other clubs). Power to Change is a Christian campus ministry for which I lead a Bible study group and also serve on the executive team. I joined in first year, got thrown into the deep end, and have just loved being part of it. Power to Change has been the source of my deepest friendships and gave me the community that I needed in first year, when I was desperately homesick. If not for Power to Change, I might not have stayed at U of T.
For the last three years here, Wycliffe has been the backdrop to hard lessons and great conversations. It feels like home to me to be there each week with old and new friends from Power to Change. This past January, Wycliffe also hosted the Relevant Series, a week of collaborative, interfaith events discussing questions of life, faith, and meaning. I got to see other campus ministries come together to discuss these questions and got to engage more deeply with the spiritual needs of the student body, all at Wycliffe.
Although the other things I’ve written about (exercise, eating well, self-care) have helped me find joy, my faith has played the biggest role in bringing real joy to me. My Christianity helps me better understand suffering and gives a meaning to it; it also shows me that there’s something to fight for beyond what I’m feeling right now. In walking alongside friends who share my faith and who have also struggled with mental illness, my perspective grows in who God is and in what I believe. It makes my faith more personal to me.
It’s funny how a building can come to mean so much. In my future, I imagine that I’ll walk past Wycliffe College and smile when I remember everything that happened there in my life as a student, and how much I changed and grew as a result of the things I experienced inside.