Snow is as welcomed on the West Coast as rain is in Hamilton, says Madi Folkeringa, a third-year kinesiology and biology student. She walked me through some of the key differences between life in Richmond, British Columbia—which is directly south of Vancouver—and campus life here in Ancaster.
“Culturally, things are very different,” she says. “I’m learning a lot about culture here at Redeemer. It’s definitely different from being in Richmond, so close to Vancouver. Being in Ancaster is different, it’s very in-between. Things are close but it’s still quiet.”
When asked why she chose Redeemer of all places to study, nearly 4,300 kilometers from home, Madi said that there were a lot of different reasons, namely, staying in Canada while also being so far from home (an adventure!), going to a Christian school, and having a degree that interested her.
Originally Madi wanted to do a joint major between Redeemer and Mohawk, but Mohawk ended up revamping the program. “I actually can’t do it,” she says, “so, I’m still here, but it’s God’s plan.”
She also added that many Christian schools don’t have a lot of options in science programs, so Redeemer’s was a “big sell” for someone looking to study kinesiology and biology.
While having family in Windsor was also a selling point for coming to Redeemer, Madi says that perhaps the biggest positive was simply a new adventure. “Without leaving the country, I’m moving so far away from home! It’s just a new adventure [for me].”
One of the biggest transitions from life in B.C. to life in Ontario is the weather. “-10 is about as cold as it gets back home. We shut down for snow in B.C.…but rain is totally normal. I’m so used to the rain that my friends here will say they don’t want to walk to class because it’s raining, [but] I’m just used to it.”
In her first year at Redeemer, Madi played on the women’s varsity volleyball team but had to step away from sports after three concussions. “It did affect my memory and concentration. I had to write my exams in learning services in my first two years.”
Speaking to the difficulty of staying positive and faithful when injuries derail life, Madi says that “perseverance is so key to sticking it out, as well as having little goals to work towards!” She also noted that the most important thing was faith—faith doesn’t change.
Without varsity sports taking up so much space in the calendar, Madi has been able to embrace a variety of extracurricular activities here on campus. Known as an elite contributing member of Redeemer’s top intramural flag football team, the Green Bay Gamblers (author contribution), Madi also tutors and works in learning services.
She also helped found the Redeemer Campus Emergency Response Team (RCERT) along with three other Redeemer students to support various student events on campus with a first aid team readily accessible.
The goal of RCERT “is to try and fill a gap in health and safety at Redeemer. We pitched it to everyone under the sun: Julie Kingma [the campus nurse], student life, student senate, and senior leadership at Redeemer.”
Everyone recognized it for what it was: a good idea. Since it was approved last spring to receive funding from Student Senate, RCERT has staffed Launch, intramurals, and various student events. “The whole opportunity is good for Redeemer…just in case something happens. It’s a great way for a variety of Redeemer students to get involved and gain experience.”
Entering her fifth round of exams, Madi has one piece of key study advice for first-year students heading into their first exam season: make a checklist! Divide all your course tasks into specific study days and check them off once you complete them. It’s super satisfying and it makes you feel closer to writing the exam and wrapping the course up.
Feel free to say hi to Madi in the halls before she heads back to rainy Richmond for the Christmas holidays!