Interview with the Second Monitor
When did you start at CH? What was it like coming here and what were your impressions compared to life before CH? How did you adapt?
In 2018, I had reached a point in my life, where I knew I was ready to start a new chapter and step outside my comfort zone. Bewildered by the promises from the Old Blues in my family that CH would change my life, I took the leap and left my home on Vancouver Island, Canada and travelled across the world to become a student at Christ’s Hospital.
I think perhaps what scared me most about this new journey, was the word ‘challenge’. It was a word that presented itself in every conversation I had about CH leading up to my departure. I knew that by starting at CH, I had signed myself up for challenge in all facets of my life – personally and academically. I think I saw challenge as one big obstacle you are either prepared for or not – a question of strength, knowledge and ability. I remember fearing I did not have the tools to tackle the challenges ahead. Little did I know, my experience at CH would completely transform and redefine my understanding of challenge. Being submerged in the CH environment taught me that interacting with challenge was not a battle that may defeat me but rather, a daily choice of saying ‘yes’ to exciting new opportunities for growth presented to me, even if my voice trembled.
What activities have you enjoyed at CH and what have you accomplished in that department that you are proud of?
I have always loved to sing, but until CH, my audience was limited to my brother waiting for me to be finished using the shower. However, once at CH, a plethora of opportunities to develop my connection to music were presented to me. From the Gospel Choir to the house singing competitions, from intimate Music and Poetry Nights to the large-scale Big Band performances, there were countless ways for me to nourish my passion for music and connect with the incredibly talented students and teachers in these circles. I felt honoured to have been welcomed so warmly into these supportive circles, and invited to participate in various musical performances, including singing Eartha Kitt’s ‘Santa Baby’ at the Winter Big Band show in my Grecians’ year (Year 13). Throughout the two years, I was continually humbled and inspired by the new friends made – diligent creatives with a strong sense of dedication to their practice and to the shared end-goal of their team.
Tell us about your academic achievements, what subjects you have studied and what you’ve enjoyed about your CH education.
Unlike anything I had experienced before, the CH learning environment was engaging, rigorous and enriching. I felt incredibly supported in my academic pursuits at school, as over the two year period, I developed my understanding of the world through my studies in Geography, French, Drama and English. What made studying at CH so unique was the shared passion for learning and growth across the student body. I found the people around me had a genuine interest in their future and the future of the global community. I believe that being surrounded by driven and inquisitive students was integral to my academic success at CH.
What has it been like being Second Monitor? What were your duties and what has been your proudest moment?
Taking on the role of Second Monitor was a tremendous honour and a profoundly fulfilling experience. When the role was offered to me at the end of last year’s summer term, I was still riding the wave of newness and excitement from an incredible first year at CH. I was taken aback by the humbling offer of representing a community which welcomed me so warmly, inspired me and supported me throughout my CH experience. My ‘duties’ as Second Monitor never felt like chores, from the wild adventures up to London for extraordinary dinners, right down to the day-to-day tasks and meetings, I savoured connecting with the community and learning about the inner workings of the school. Stepping into an active leadership role was not without its challenges, yet these learning experiences changed me as a person and evolved my leadership skills. Despite the abrupt ending of school for our year group, I am incredibly proud of the legacy left by the strong, compassionate and hardworking Monitorial team I had the pleasure of leading.
Tell us about your Students On Ice experience!
In the summer before my Grecians’ year, I was given the incredible opportunity to travel to the North Pole for a two-week Arctic adventure expedition with an organisation called Students on Ice. With 130 other young people from 18 countries, including representation from all 8 circumpolar nations, I ventured up the west coast of Greenland and into the Canadian Arctic. The nature of the expedition was educational, complete with a program of workshops and labs to learn about the lands, history, people and unbelievable biological diversity of this fascinating part of the world. From zodiac rides through sea ice with sleeping polar bears, to kayaking around icebergs and laughing under the midnight sun – the expedition was unique to say the least. Learning from top scientists, researchers and cultural leaders we dove deep into pressing topics including climate change, the blue economy, healthy communities, sustainable development and ocean literacy. It was particularly impactful to learn from indigenous youth and elders about the history, complex culture, and traditional way of life of the Inuit (the indigenous people of Inuit Nunangat – an area that spreads over parts of Northern Canada and Greenland). To this day, I feel moved and grateful for the stories and perspectives they shared with me. They have profoundly impacted the way I see the world and have strongly influenced my plans for the future!
What are your future plans? How has being at CH helped you shape your ambitions and/or secure your university offer?
I am thrilled to be starting my post-secondary studies at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. I have been admitted into a small bi-lingual programme at the School of Community and Public Affairs where I will learn about public policy analysis, advocacy and community and economic development. I chose to pair this programme with a double minor in Women’s Studies and First Peoples Studies, with the hope that I can learn how to advocate real change that leads towards a more equitable, healthy and sustainable future. While at CH, I was exposed to a myriad of enriching learning experiences that unarguably helped me pinpoint what areas of interest I wanted to further pursue at University.
What will you miss most and what are your happiest memories from CH?
The other day, my dad and I were talking in our kitchen about my time at CH and I told him about all the people I was missing. I was emotional as the memories flooded my mind. I turned to my dad and laughingly asked him, “Why does this happen every time I talk about CH? It’s been months now since it all ended”. My dad responded, “Well Rose, I guess CH wouldn’t have done its job if you weren’t feeling this way”. In that moment I was reminded of how lucky I was to have had the chance to make the kind of connections and memories that bring tears of joy when relived. I miss being with everyone at once, and the feeling of belonging to a community. I miss laughing in the lunch queue and catching up with friends over a cup of tea. I no longer expect these feelings to fade with time, but instead I remind myself that this is not the end, and rather only the beginning of life-long friendships and a special connection to a school like no other.