There’s a lot of (figurative) dirt that gets thrown at UFV; some earned, some not so much. My two years at UFV have recently come to an end, and so I feel as though I should take it upon myself to tell UFV that I love it, warts and all.
Because that’s what love is. It’s seeing the pimple on the end of your beloved’s nose and not caring. It’s dealing with someone when they’re sick and spewing mucus all over the place. It’s taking the whole picture and saying ‘Yes. I accept you. More than that, I embrace you.’
This is the way I feel about UFV. Not in a physical way or anything; I would never have sex with a building, it just ain’t me. But I do love UFV, and I leave it with a heavy heart.
I hear the same old complaints about UFV, and I think that a great majority of them are unfounded, misguided, or unwarranted. A lot of the time – due to proximity – students compare UFV to SFU and UBC. Now, anyone can see that this is an unfair comparison: one of those schools is 50 years old, and the other one is a hundred years old; of course they’re going to have some things and features that UFV doesn’t have. Not only has UFV only been in existence for 40 years, it’s only been a university for three.
Anyway, I’m not going to use this short space to answer accusations levelled at UFV. Everyone has their opinions, and that’s fine, but I just wanted to emphasise the positive. I like UFV. As a student in the history department, I have encountered some of the most engaging, stimulating, and personable professors that it has been my pleasure to spend time with. In the course of my studies, my eyes have been opened to ideas and ways of thinking that I had never encountered before, and I feel much richer in intellect and experience for studying at UFV.
A lot of this superior academic experience can be put down to the accessibility of the faculty for students. It’s a plus that gets dragged out a lot, but I think it’s more than worth dragging out again. The importance of the personal connection between teacher and student cannot be overemphasised, and the ways that it helps students to grow and develop is immeasurable. It’s something I’ll miss greatly and appreciate more as it recedes in time.
This accessibility is not just confined to the faculty; it has been my experience that most people in the community, both within and without the university, are incredibly receptive to attempts to communicate. It’s part of the trade-off that you get in moving to a big city (as myself and my wife did) – you gain more options and availability, but you miss out on that personable factor and the accessibility.
The sense of belonging that I have felt in my time at UFV is something that I have rarely felt before in my life. From saying ‘Hi’ to the staff in the cafeteria, to seeing familiar faces of friends in the corridors, to enjoying our beautiful campus and grounds, UFV is most definitely a close-knit community, and this is something that should be cherished, not derided. For students who go to class and then get the hell out of Dodge, I don’t envy you one bit. And these are generally the same people who complain about a lack of activity around the school. If you don’t get involved with something, you will never reap the benefits of that interface. If you don’t give yourself to something, you will never belong to anything.
Of course, I’m not denying that there aren’t issues that UFV has to face, and flaws to its set-up (cafeteria food and pricing, public transportation, parking, wait-lists, etc), but I also cannot deny that I love UFV and will miss it a lot. Even in the metropolis, the boonies have their appeal.
You stay classy, University of the Fraser Valley. I’m not Ron Burgundy.