With that, the 2022-23 hockey season has endedMarch 10, 2023
Victor Ding, Grade 11 student
As an international student from China, I received my favourite school’s offer — St. Michael’s College School — five years ago. My house was right beside the school, and I live a busy and fulfilling life in Toronto. In the summer of 2022, I did not go back to China as I was preparing for my Grade 11 school year and the upcoming hockey season. Unfortunately, I developed a serious illness because of a high fever after returning from being a leader at the Grade 9 camp during the first week of school. As a result, I had to stay at the hospital for two weeks and was told by the doctor that my recovery could take between six and eight weeks. The seemingly endless two months of waiting not only had a huge impact on my body (lost 20 lb.), but I also missed up to five weeks of school, team practices, and games. For the 2022-23 hockey season and school year, I made sufficient preparations, but everything was different and beyond my expectations.
While I was in the hospital, even though I could not open my right eye, I still self-taught the curriculum and completed my assessments to the best of my abilities. When I got home from the hospital, I usually studied for four to six hours a day and stayed up until 1 a.m. with all my schoolwork. Thankfully, my teachers provided me with all the support I needed to ensure I was able to quickly adapt to the learning environment. My teachers gave me extensions on assessments and provided me with extra help to make sure I knew the content. Without the support from my teachers and school, I could not have finished the term on my own. Eventually, I was able to catch up with all my work and transitioned smoothly through class content, successfully achieving all ‘A’s’ on my first report card.
Although both the doctors and my family told me it was not a good idea to rejoin the hockey team, I made the decision to return to the team right away because of my love and passion for the sport. My coach, Mr. Lachcik, and all my teammates provided me with the greatest encouragement and understanding when I returned since there was a huge difference in my physical fitness. This sickness made me realize facing difficulties requires not only courage and challenges, but also accepting them calmly and solving them with dedication. However, I still gave 110% during practice and worked out on my own, even though the results were not obvious. Now, looking back on this season and term, even though I encountered difficulties, this sickness taught me many things, such as always persevering through hardships and having your priorities in line. More specifically, hockey taught me to never give up and battle hard through problems, while school taught me to always believe in myself. I hope to keep all the lessons I learned through this experience throughout my journey at St. Mike’s and my life. My journey in hockey and what St. Mike’s taught me helped shaped me into the man I am today.