I absolutely loved it, although my two years at Pearson were two of the most challenging years of my life. As an introvert, it was hard for me to deal with so many things going on at once– extracurriculars, managing coursework, bonding with regional groups, birthday celebrations, group walks to the lake, different projects going on-- there was always something to do. I was constantly learning about the people around me, their cultures, their languages, and learning about myself and how I could be more present and mindful. Some things I picked up at Pearson was the practices of yoga and meditation. For me, they served as an escape from the bustle of Pearson life and allowed me to recenter my intentions as I went about my day. Mental health remains a problem at UWC because with everything going on, it can be extremely difficult for students to navigate what is going on in their own heads, whether it is homesickness, academic stress, feeling inadequate, feeling overwhelmed, etc. At Pearson, a lot of work is being done to address this problem such as scaling down the number of scheduled activities in the calendar, hiring professionals to counsel students mentally, spiritually, and physically, and training students to be able to coach each other effectively.
Going to UWC has changed my daughter's life. In fact, not long ago she said, "I have never been this tired and this happy in all my life." The school has a demanding academic schedule coupled with an equally demanding schedule of personal growth and service. It is transformational to students and to the communities they operate in.
I loved going to school at UWC. I loved the physical environment, the isolation (at times), the starkness of the beauty. It was completely immersive. While I don't think I needed mental health support, I can imagine that it's a very difficult place for those who do. Therefore, I think the school should be more attentive to the students' hardships because as much as the school left me with a life-changing experience in a positive way, I'm sure it could have the same impact in a negative way for somebody else. We came to Pearson at a vulnerable and malleable time in our lives, for better or worse. As I've said about the students, some were more focused on living the experience, while others were stressed and focused on academics.