Days of Life with Rachel West

May 15, 2021 | Hamilton, ON
Contributed by Rachel West, IBH Level IV

Rachel West and Mom

Rachel’s Days of Life of her fourth year at DeGroote is all about inspiration, friendship, and making the world a better place.

Who has qualities that you aspire to develop in your days of life?

I aspire to develop many of the qualities that my Mom possesses. Since her retirement a few years ago, my Mom started a second career as a life coach. In this new chapter, her training has enabled her to develop essential listening skills that allow others to feel seen and heard. I think that being a strong listener is an undervalued skill in today’s society. We are so quick to speak but slow to truly listen and actively acknowledge the words and stories of others. Purposeful listening is not something that comes naturally to me. My first response is often to try and jump right into sharing my opinion or giving someone advice. Still, through my Mom’s example, I’m learning that often when people are sharing, they want to feel heard and understood. I would love to develop these listening habits to help others feel seen, encouraged, and valued.

Field of daffodilsCite one thing that’s made you feel rooted in the last few days/months of your life.

Over the last year, I’ve often found it challenging to retain a comfortable rooted feeling in my life amidst so much change. So many things that were once second nature and integral parts of my daily life are no longer at my fingertips. It can be easy for me to focus on these things I have lost and start to feel like I’m floating through space and time. Recently, one thing that has left me feeling more rooted has been the arrival of spring and the changing season.

Seeing the flowers bloom and hearing the birds chirp once again has been a beautiful message of hope for me. Being outside in nature reminds me that even after long winters, the sun shines again.

While the future has so many uncertainties, the changing season reminds me to stay grounded in the present and give grace to the world around me as it changes and evolves.

Describe acts of generosity you have observed throughout your days of life at DeGroote.

While I have been on internship this past year, I’ve still been able to witness the generosity of my classmates at the DeGroote School of Business. I have loved seeing the social initiatives and small businesses my classmates have launched be embraced by our peer group online this past year. From baking shops to virtual events, the student community has shown up for one another with their time and money. Beyond these public forums, I have felt incredible generosity through my friendships. We offer our time and support to each other when we are going through a difficult time. We celebrate life milestones together on Zoom or send a small just because gift to show appreciation. These friendships may have been created at DeGroote but will live on long after leaving the physical campus.

What does education with purpose mean to you in your days of life?

As a student in the Integrated Business and Humanities program, receiving a purpose-based education was one of my top priorities when selecting where to go to school four years ago. I was seeking an education that went beyond the classroom and allowed me to learn ways to contribute to the betterment of my communities. Throughout the last four years, DeGroote has enabled me to do that both inside and outside the classroom. However, over the previous four years, I’ve also learned that education with purpose means so much more than I initially understood. More broadly, education with purpose means educating oneself with intention.

Learning to take ownership over my educational experience has been pivotal in maximizing my learning potential and societal impact. I find that those who are consistently asking what they want out of their education and seeking ways to meet their objectives are most engaged in their learning. To me, this type of engagement and intentionality is what makes an education purposeful. It allows us as students to go out into the world and have the most significant impact.

Rachel West online birthdayWhat haven’t you taken the time to learn about? What do you want to learn about next?

This past year I’ve had the opportunity to learn many new things simply by having more time to myself. I’ve learned about habit building, self-care, work-life balance, the world of marketing and sales, and even origami. One thing I haven’t been able to learn about as much as I’d hoped over the past year is the many cultures and places that make up our diverse planet.

My original plan was to spend this summer travelling the world, but the pandemic has temporarily prevented me from exploring the global classroom. While I try to absorb as much as I can through books and other media, there is nothing quite like the learning that comes from fully immersing yourself in a new place or culture.

One thought on "Days of Life with Rachel West"

  1. Blair Ruelens says:

    Rachel: I want to congratulate you on your recent Days in Life conversation. It was engaging, inspiring and thought provoking. And I agree with you and your mother on the power of listening. Our value to others is in our ability to deeply and passionately listen for content and context to others, before we chose to comment. Best wishes on your completion of IBH and whatever crosses you path on your life’s journey.

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