Reflections and summer!

Hi there!

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write a blog post for The Passion Proj. So many changes and yet so many things are the same!

Wrapping up final year

First things first, graduation happened! It was a whirlwind fourth year. I promised myself at the end of third year that I wouldn’t get involved in any more clubs or organizations and focus on graduating but look how that turned out- EXTREMELY WELL. All the MUNs I was involved in or led since my last blog post were amazing. We got Outstanding Delegation in both New York and Portland- the former I’m especially proud of given the caliber of the competition, the newness of the team and how hard we trained for it.

I was immensely lucky to be able to travel to London in February and catch two musicals: Wicked and Matilda. Both of which were spectacular. The free entry to all the museums I visited resulted in viewing breathtaking artworks. All those late nights working at the Burger Bar during the school time were worth it=)

Finals came and went by in a jiffy and I actually missed my last week of undergrad classes because I was competing in New York- WHAT? New York was spectacular as always. So many people. So many stories. So many aspirations. Somehow the dream people have coming to NYC is quite different than other major cities.

And then suddenly I was on a stage, accepting my degree, smiling for a camera, and whoosh, I was officially a graduate of the fine establishment we know as UBC. It was surreal. All those late nights, angst over grades, involvement outside of class boiled down to approximately 10 seconds on a stage. But here’s the bigger picture: I had grown so much as a person and learned how much I knew, didn’t know and didn’t know I didn’t know. My beliefs about the world were realigned.

A Reality Check

People always said a university degree was essential to survive in today’s economy. But for a fresh graduate, the meaning of that piece of paper became blurred. In the months and days counting down towards the congregation ceremonies, a common phrase you would hear was “you need experience to get the experience.”

So many people had and have high expectations for someone they view as a high achiever and they saw going far. It is hard to believe in yourself when there is so much pressure to be a certain person.

What now?

I’ve never been afraid of hard work. Nor setbacks. What frightens me is settling for something less than what I know I can achieve, whatever that might be. Having friends and family to remind me to never settle and always pursue my dreams has been helpful in a way that words cannot describe. A support network helps so much. One thing I realized is this. You HAVE to believe in yourself. Or surround yourself with people that do. Life is an open-ended ocean of opportunities. Every day I am reminded that what I have could disappear very easily. Be more grateful for what you have. And stop making excuses. Start working towards becoming that person you want to be.


Enjoy the sunshine!




Maia’s Reflection on the Queen Alexandra Reading Week Project

Passion (Project) meets community needs

As the semester is coming to a close it is nice to look back at events that we have been involved with, to realize that the whole year hasn’t been just been about courses and workloads.

One of my most memorable experiences was during Reading week with The Passion Project and 30 volunteers at a local elementary school. The students from UBC were all there to be an extra pair of hands during a special project week at the school. All the grades had changed their usual schedule with Math and English to Mini-Olympics or story telling. I was lucky to have the part of overseeing the volunteers from The Passion Project together with PP-exec Chelsey. They took on the role as teachers for grade 6 and 7 and taught them about various creative topics such as finding music in found instruments, drama, song and spoken word.

All the kids were engaged to use their whole creative specter and create their own unique piece to show the rest of the class at the end of the week. Some of the other PP-volunteers helped the second grade with their preparation for a pirate musical. All the participants struggled a bit in the beginning with teaching and keeping control of a class, but the appreciation from the students was loud and clear as they got to know the volunteers. Also the extra work was worth it after seeing the amazing performances the students had created. At the end of the three-days we all agreed that the time had passed just too fast!

Maia was one of the two Coordinators, along with Chelsey, for The Passion Project’s Reading Week collaboration with Queen Alexandra Elementary School.

Maya’s Story: Crayons for Kids

My name is Maya Graves-Bacchus and I am a third year English major. This summer, I worked as hostess at a large scale restaurant and was struck by the amount of waste that was produced. As I mournfully scraped leftover dessert into the trash can, I was surprised to look down and see, amongst remnants of cheesecake, a handful of crayons in red, yellow and blue.

We had been giving each child a packet of crayons with their kids menu, and even if they had not been opened they were tossed away.  However, the sorry image of crayons covered in whipped cream stayed with me and I wondered if they could be salvaged.

Together with the other employees, I put each crayon aside. I didn’t have a place to send them to, but I was sure that somebody would be very glad of them. By the end of the summer I had hundreds and hundreds of crayons, and a huge bag of art supplies given to me by a fellow server.

A few weeks later I was able to send crayons to the Philippines and Rwanda. The lady who took the supplies at Embrace Rwanda said that the children who received them were delighted – they had never seen crayons before. It is alarming to think about how wasteful our society has become and how much is taken for granted. However, I am confident that if we pay attention to what we throw away, much waste can be cut down, or at the very least, we can turn our trash into treasure.

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I am continuing to collect unwanted crayons from restaurants and donate them to those who will make good use of them. If any UBC students have basements harbouring dusty felt tip pens and other art materials, I am happy to pass them on to a good cause and I can be reached at

I have also been fortunate to encounter the art of Alana Hansen, a UBC student who loves to capture all elements of her life and experiences by doodling. She has created a doodle based on my “Kids for Crayons” project:

Alana's Doodle

“People provide me with inspiration, and in turn I “doodle” that inspiration. Art is powerful, meaningful and it matters. I want people to influence my art, while also hoping to have an impact on the people around me. Doodling gives me the ability to put feelings, impacts, issues and inspiration into art… things that I simply cannot put into words. It is my outlet.” – Alana on “Ideas into Doodles”


Check out more of Alana’s art at !


Let us know what you think about Maya’s project! Additionally, we are looking for more blog submissions about the great student-led initiatives happening at UBC and beyond. Contact us at