A few times every week I make my way to the University Centre to grab lunch at Sweet Greens, the popular spot for made-to-order deli sandwiches and wraps.
I’ve developed impeccable timing in that I always seem to show up just after classes have ended. Let it be known that I am not unfamiliar with the frequent and substantial line-ups that test the fortitude of the undernourished.
But worth it, it is. The patient are rewarded with fresh fixings and the welcoming smiles of a good-natured trio of sandwich makers who perform unheralded miracles with bread, tortillas, and everything good that goes with them.
I’ve also come to appreciate something else about Sweet Greens. Instead of rushing through the noon hour crowd, the sandwich line forces me to stop and take note of things. It’s come to be a welcome immersion into the heart of student life and the ebb and flow of social interaction.
It’s often entertaining to be treated to conversations about last weekend’s parties or the group project that’s due next Tuesday. It’s also given me cause to wonder why anyone would ask for extra ranch dressing on his roast beef sandwich. And yes, unavoidably, over the din of conversation in the cafeteria, there are the mobile phones, ear buds, text messages and, lately, “tweets”.
But, lunch at Sweet Greens reminds me about my own student days and the importance of friendships, and the way some of the best moments are the informal ones, away from classes and homework.
During one recent lunch, I thought about the stories of the three women who are at the heart of this issue. Alumnae Erin Karpluk, Tamara Vrooman and Lynne Beecroft come from similar backgrounds—growing up in smaller towns before coming to UVic—and they share something that, in hockey terminology, would affectionately be called “grit”. When obstacles are presented, they each have a fire and determination that pushes them through. They’ve achieved great things.
At one point, each of them was just like the students at Sweet Greens: getting through the day, keeping up with the work, and looking forward to life after university.
It’s fascinating to think about where today’s students may end up. Witnessing the potential that they’re about to unleash on the world is one of the things that makes being around campus such a great privilege.
Just how they’ll make their mark, only time will tell. But like a good lunch, it’ll be worth waiting for.