Springing into Summer

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For me, April and May in Canada herald springtime – even if a bit delayed this year! On my walk to and from work, I gladly observe the tulips pushing through soil and bright green buds covering trees and bushes. There always is excitement and wonder of seeing our surroundings transform and dress up in fresh, new ‘clothes’ of leaves and blossoms, with ever longer day light.

In many countries around the world, including Canada, May is also a month during which we celebrate Mother’s Day. I have always had a conflicted relationship with this holiday. Growing up in a German-Jewish family, we downplayed Mother’s Day due to its negative associations with Nazi ideologies during World War II. Over the years, the holiday has become more and commercialized to primarily benefit retailers, from florists and chocolatiers to household appliance sellers. And of course, for those of us who are not mothers ourselves or no longer have mothers among the living, this can be a bittersweet time. And yet, this holiday does indeed also remind us that our mothers are responsible in large part for our existence and growth, for who we are. Whether or not you celebrate Mother’s Day, please do take a moment to think about, and thank, the amazing mothers in our lives – whether our own or a colleague’s or a friend’s!

At the School of Continuing Studies (SCS), mothers – and fathers- often juggle not just their own education but the care of their children. I would like to take a moment to applaud our parent learners, who somehow manage to squeeze in challenging study plans between childcare and other obligations. You inspire the SCS community to rise to any challenge that we might face in turn!

Spring is also the time that we prepare for new arrivals for the summer term. Between this May and August alone, the School looks forward to welcoming as many as 600 visiting students from all over the world, Canada, and Quebec for short-term programs! These are in addition to those learners continuing their academic work and McGill Community for Lifelong Learning members who attend peer study groups and lectures during the summer. The School’s Summer offerings are quite varied. They range from more traditional type of international student mobility programs where undergraduate and graduate students from France, China, Japan, Mexico, and elsewhere pursue intensive language and topical studies for credit at their home institutions, or explore the “World of STEM” in Montreal to professional, continuing education short courses and residencies on parliamentary governance or intellectual property rights.

So for many if not most SCSers, this season is also a time to ‘spring’ into even more action, completing winter term, ensuring that everyone who will graduate next month can do so, preparing both for summer and the next fall term. There is a buzz in the air, a bit of spring fever, and much to look forward to.

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