It was a bittersweet moment for Laura Schindel, fourth-year History student from Trent University. The Last Lecture event, held on April 7, was going to be her last time in Trent’s Wenjack Theatre, the room where her journey at the University all began.
It was the location of her first-year Psychology class and now, as she approaches graduation, Ms. Schindel said that to have the chance to sit in that lecture hall one last time was a meaningful end to the her time at Trent.
“Just to be able to sit in the same room and sit beside some of the same people you sat beside that first lecture is a great way to finish our time at Trent,” said Ms. Schindel.
Each year, graduating students from the colleges at Trent University meet on the last day of classes to take part in The Last Lecture. The annual event is inspired by the story of Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, who delivered his final lecture to his students after being diagnosed with cancer.
Trent has continued this tradition by giving three unique speakers the chance to present members of the graduating class with personal stories, reflections, and words of encouragement as new graduates set off and begin their lives outside of the University. This year’s panel of speakers included: Trent alumnus and current president and CEO of Bullwealth, Julian C. Smith ‘97; Psychology professor at Trent University, Robyne Hanley-Dafoe; and Jessica Randall, fourth-year History student at Trent who is in the Teacher Education stream.
Ms. Randall said it was an honour to represent the graduating class of 2017 as one of the Last Lecture speakers. She was selected by students to be one of the lecturers at the event, and said that to be able to look back on her own Trent experience while preparing this lecture was a special opportunity.
“When I came here in first-year, I did not think that I would get very involved in the school; the plan was just to get here, do my work and get out,” said Ms. Randall. “However, I ended up joining Lady Eaton College Cabinet and getting really involved at the school and I am thankful now that I did.”
Like many of her peers sitting in Wenjack Theatre that afternoon, Ms. Randall said that the event was a chance to celebrate the end of their time as Trent students together with friends that will always be there for each other after convocation.
“If it wasn’t for the support of friends, doing something like speaking in front of this many people would have been daunting,” said Ms. Randall. “I will always look back on the incredible friendships that I have been able to make here at Trent that have supported me to do things I never thought I could do.”