How stopping to explore the culture of Hamilton helped Volume 93 A&C Reporter make up for lost experiences as the world kept turning
Time is argumentatively linear. By that, I mean it continues to move forward even if you don’t realize it. Even when you try to keep yourself awake a little longer to make the day last longer, 12:00 a.m. will always mark the beginning of a new day.
The reality that time doesn’t stop at one's will is something people spend their entire lives accepting. It isn’t that the mass population believes they can stop time, but rather a sad feeling knowing there will always be time that can’t be returned.
These kinds of thoughts never plagued my mind growing up. As per the average child, I was just happy to exist. I found easy happiness in holding my mom's hand as she walked me to the big yellow school bus that would always stop over the same bump and made all the kids yell.
However, in recent years, I have fallen victim to the hope that time will pause with me. I know it is truly unrealistic to hope for such a thing, but alas I am one of the billions of people who cycled through a pandemic and now I'm one of the many third-year students at McMaster University who sometimes forgets which direction on Main Street West will take her to downtown Hamilton.
Though the glaring lack of knowledge about their university town isn’t uncommon among university students, the degree to which it affects people is different. When I brought up my own fears to my friends about how little I have explored within Hamilton, they admitted they didn’t necessarily have the same worry.
To them, it was a given that they didn’t explore Hamilton as much as the average student. Though it is more than fair, it was hard for me to accept how little I knew about a city I lived in.
My worries of not knowing much about Hamilton became more prominent through my position as a reporter for the Silhouette. For almost the past eight months, I have been learning about how robust Hamilton is. Every week I have had the privilege to talk about the arts, thriving businesses and new events prospering in Hamilton.
It wasn’t as if an external person was keeping me from the plethora of culture in Hamilton, but rather the glaring eye of time. As a third-year undergraduate student, so much of the year was spent trying figure out my next steps and classes, I felt as though I would lose time if I enjoyed myself.
The first time anxious knot in my stomach had begun to unravel was for a piece I wrote earlier this year. I had thought the interview was meant to be done through Zoom, for an upcoming exhibition. Instead, it ended up being an interview that was meant to be in-person, at the exhibit. What had been a miscommunication between the interviewee and me, ended up becoming a secret blessing.
With limited opportunities to leave the confines of McMaster this year, visiting the exhibit in-person for the interview offered me a unique chance to experience art in real-time. As I walked around the exhibit, with the artist who had spent years creating the work, I found myself truly connecting. When I was able to put aside my initial hesitancy regarding the underlying fear of losing time, I was enjoying myself. The simple mistake made me realize how fulfilling it is to explore; how even if I may lose time in one aspect, I am enriching myself in another.
The chance to view my own life beyond the confines of my own fears would not have been possible if not for my time on the Silhouette. The undeniable reality is that time will continue, no matter what we do.
As someone who up until recently was consumed in the fear of never fully using my time correctly, I urge you to take a chance. Visit the art exhibit showing up on your feed, go to the concert even if it seems far away, stop by the street fair that pauses the traffic and let yourself be present. Let yourself take back control of the time you fear you’ll never get back.
I never actually applied to be the Arts and Culture Reporter, I got here mostly by accident. I applied to a few other positions on staff, but when I got a phone call from our Editor-in-Chief on a windy summer day to offer me a job, it was for A&C Reporter. I didn’t even know it was a paid position for another month.
McMaster isn’t my first school, I went to Western for two and a half years before coming here. In my first year at Mac I didn’t know very much about the school, and to be honest I still don’t know where Thode is — and at this point I’m too afraid to ask. But the Silhouette gave me a home on campus (our little office in the dungeons of the MUSC basement, untouched by natural light), and a group of friends that I didn’t have before. It made me feel like I was a part of a family, and a part of campus.
As Uncle Ben says, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
One of the best parts of working at the Silhouette is being able to give a platform to community events and organizations that matter to me. I’ve had the privilege to write about sustainable fashion, body positivity, local businesses and charitable organizations in addition to exciting arts initiatives. I was gone from Hamilton for a few years, and the Sil helped me to see my hometown in a fresh light. My magnum opus is my article on a local meme page The Hammer Memer. Don’t let your memes be dreams, folks. If there’s something happening in the arts community in Hamilton, don’t hesitate to contribute something to the Sil. It’s worth it.
I’ve also had the opportunity to write for other sections of the Silhouette. Being able to give voice to my thoughts about the Yellow Vests outside of City Hall was something vitally important to me, and the Sil let me do that. If I hadn’t been a part of the team I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to submit something, but I’m so glad I did.
As I sit at my desk at home, I feel a deep sense of loss. This is my final year at Mac, and I don’t think I’ve entirely processed that it’s over now. I can’t chill on the couches in the office and ask Hannah when the desks for the reporters are going to be built (spoiler alert folks: it didn’t happen). I can’t warm up my lunch in the microwave that can’t be used at the same time as the kettle without blowing a fuse. I can’t chat with my friends about the latest tea while munching on the chicken strips from La Piazza. It feels like just as I was settling in — everything ended.
In grade 12 English I read the book Stone Angel, which ends mid-way through a sentence. That’s how these past few weeks have felt for me; like an unfinished ending. It’s unsettling and unsatisfying, and I think we’re all feeling that way. Zoom calls are fine, but they’re not the same as sitting in your final few lectures and talking to your friends over coffee.
It feels wrong to mourn for this when there are people who have it much worse than me right now, but undergrad has been a long and complicated process for me, and I can’t help but feel sad that our end of year festivities have been postponed or cancelled. This is it, this is our last issue for the year, and we can’t have a last hurrah. Oh jeez, I’m crying a bit just thinking about it.
So here it is, my love letter to the Sil. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for this wild ride. Maybe this isn’t an ending, but a beginning. At least I can use the Oxford Comma again, thank the lord. Thank you to everyone on the team for being so kind, and thank you to everyone reading this for getting through to the end of my sentimental ramble. This isn’t a goodbye, just an until next time.