This year, Queen’s University sent a special gift to all members of the Class of 2021 — a custom notebook produced by alumna Alissa Sokolski (Artsci’09) via her company, Any Key Press Inc. What follows is an edited version of the letter that was tucked inside each book.
Dear Graduate of the Class of 2021,
Last year, for the first time ever, we sent a custom notebook to every single one of our graduates. We wanted to give them a gift that let them know we understood they had been through something extraordinary, and that they had succeeded despite the unprecedented challenges. We thought, at the time, that these circumstances would not be repeated for your class, a year later.
They were, of course. But they were also different and unique to you. When you entered your final year of study, you knew about the pandemic – you were living it. Everything had changed, from the way you connected with friends and family, to the way you attended classes and labs, to the way you conducted your research and planned your career.
That’s why we knew that no hat or water bottle could express how incredibly proud we are of you, and your ability to achieve and persevere in these unprecedented times. You set aside all that you knew and forged a new path, for yourselves and those who will follow in your footsteps. You achieved your goals, fought for your future, and proved your mettle.
You did it.
This custom notebook, created by a Queen’s alumna on vintage presses, is an updated version of the one we sent to the Class of 2020. It’s brighter, to reflect the optimism we hope you feel upon graduation. It features signatures and messages from members of the Queen’s community who are cheering you on as you embark on this new journey. And it includes a pen for you to record your hopes and dreams.
This notebook also contains a gift we hope will stay with you for the rest of your life – the gift of giving. You see, the notebook we purchased for you will contribute to a charity of your choice. We’ll be reaching out to you soon with more details so you can help us make that choice. You and your classmates will be able to choose a cause that is meaningful to you and we will provide the funds in your name – all you have to do is cast your vote.
We hope this gift will bring you inspiration in the days and months and years to come – that it will remind you of your days at Queen’s, that it will bring you confidence when you need it most, and that it will serve as a memento of the year you conquered with strength, resilience and indomitable spirit.