School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

The Lake Shift – Arrival Day

By Colette Steer, June 24, 2016

Students arrive for the Lake Shift

At 10.30am Marta and I packed the cars and set off to Lake Opinicon to ready ourselves for the arrival of 41 graduate students from 7 Ontario Universities at Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS). From 2pm, on they started to arrive in cars and a big yellow school bus. Some arrived with excitement and some with a little trepidation, after all some are city folk and what is this camping experience really all about.

By 5pm the majority of the students had arrived with the last few still battling traffic – its long way from Cleveland and Sudbury! With an introduction from the QUBS staff (which are awesome by the way), on staying safe at camp and what you need to do when on kitchen duty (very important), the gang sat and listened, laughed occasionally and gasped when hearing about bear sightings, check yourselves for ticks daily and don’t drink the tap water.

Then came what everyone was waiting for – the bell for dinner. Rung 3 times a day to signify breakfast, lunch or dinner is served. It had already been a long day and some had travelled more than 8 hours just to get here (we are so lucky that QUBS is only 50 minutes from campus).

And the discussions began. What is great about writing retreats like this, is the opportunity for graduate students to mix not only with others in their program, but grad students across disciplines. This time there was the added bonus of meeting graduate students from other Universities.

At 7pm (or there about), Vice Provost and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, Brenda Brouwer opened up the first workshop for the gang. Aptly titled “Identifying and overcoming obstacles to progress in writing”. Joined by Associate Dean, Marta Straznicky, this was an opportunity to highlight some obstacles that many graduate students find during graduate work. What were their fears of writing (or even to start writing), what were their time commitments to writing and everything else they do, what were some of the ways students had used to overcome them.

Lake Shift Sign in table

Then it was my time – CJ the DJ (CFRC 101.9FM radio show, Grad Chat fame) had ventured to the writing retreat to come back with lots of material for the show. But first, I had the luxury of being able to be the one to hand out a one of a kind #thelakeshift t.shirt to everyone in the room. Yes I planned it well to make myself look good. So as t.shirts, (kindly donated by Queen’s Campus Bookstore and designed by Arts & Science staff member, Sarah Chapman), Brenda, Marta and I tossed the tees out to the excited crowd. What graduate student doesn’t like a freebee!

T.shirts in hand, the weary lot ventured off towards their respective cabins, to either continue their discussions or crash for a good nights sleep. Some went for a dip in the amazingly warm and super clean lake. What a way to refresh yourselves.

So that was arrival day. Tomorrow the writing begins.

If you want to see where we are and to find out more about QUBS and the many activities they plan throughout the year for both researchers and the community, then check out their website.