Welcomed As You Are


By Amanda Backal, student

“I have found that whenever someone describes Open Circle, they almost always comment on the beautifully welcoming and inviting atmosphere. As we navigate university life, it is common for students to experience loneliness, stress, and confusion. Even in a positive school environment, so many of us still struggle to find genuine connections with people we can trust and relate to. As students become overwhelmed with the increasing amount of independence and responsibilities that come with student life, we are so lucky to have our Open Circle community as a safe space to reflect on our journeys and get in touch with our values and spirituality.

After three years of involvement with Open Circle, I know I can always expect the same warm and relaxing environment during meetings and events. It is so nice to feel comfortable sharing your ideas and personal stories because you know that your peers have learned the value of truly listening and embracing silence. It feels amazing to know that you can be honest about your current emotions and experiences because the group is focused on holding space for others and accepting you as you are. While sometimes I may not feel heard or seen in different areas of my life or find myself wrestling with new challenges thrown my way, I can count on the Open Circle community to respect and honour my stories, feelings, and thoughts without judgement.

I am so grateful to be part of a community of students who, like me, are motivated to slow down, reflect on our thoughts, and develop a positive and resilient approach to life. Whether I’m dropping into a Reflection Circle or planning a new and exciting event during a meeting, I always know that Open Circle is a place where I will be accepted as I am and can connect with kind, creative, and open-minded people.”