Convocation Profile: John Jones and Morgan Weir

Like many Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation students, a keen interest in science and human movement is what brought both John Jones and Morgan Weir to the University of Alberta four years ago. Pursuing their Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology (BScKin) degrees, John and Morgan knew that by taking the program, they would leave university with the knowledge and experience that would set them up to transition into their desired careers. What they didn’t anticipate, however, was the fulfilling and important relationships they would make along the way.

Morgan and John initially met in their first year of studies as teammates on an intramurals innertube water polo team. While they got along at the onset, it was in the second year of their degree program that they saw their status of classmates and acquaintances evolve into real friendship. 

“We both started to work with Campus & Community Recreation in our second year, and we quickly realized that we not only had a lot of classes together, but that we shared very similar interests and values,” says Morgan. “It didn’t take us very long to transition from ‘work/school friends’ into ‘real friends’.”

Their friendship quickly blossomed, and they soon began to rely on one another to help each other overcome the challenges that students are often faced with in a highly competitive program. 

“It can be overwhelming and somewhat isolating at times when you’re a student,” said John. “School is hard, and it’s important to have someone to help lift you up—who will listen to your late-night rants and help you get out of your own head. For me, that person was Morgan.”

Morgan echoes John’s sentiments, noting that the balancing act of attending classes, managing assignments, working a part-time job and trying to have somewhat of a social life can cause moments of intense stress. It was one particularly stressful night where she was preparing for a biomechanics exam, where John demonstrated what it means to be a good friend.

“I was having a terrible time wrapping my head around a concept, and called John in a panic. He calmly listened to me, reminded me that I indeed knew the concept, have already done the work to prepare for the exam, and that nothing good comes out of studying at 10:30 p.m. the night before when I should be resting instead. He promised to go over the concept with me in-person the next morning. John provided me with that brutal honesty that is sometimes needed when it is clear panic has set in, and reminded me to take care of myself.”

If you ask John what impresses him the most about Morgan, he’ll speak at length about her relentless positivity, and how she is able to make everyone around her better. When you ask Morgan about John, she will emphatically tell you that he single-handedly saved her sanity and GPA early on in her degree. The admiration and respect they have for one another is far-reaching and definitely mutual.

“Morgan is the person you go to when you’re looking for advice—whether it be about a class or about life in general. She has achieved so much during her four years at the U of A, both academically and in all her volunteering pursuits, and has this ability to uplift everyone around  her. Morgan is a great friend, and I’m glad we met.”

“John taught me how to study—how to put the time in and trust the process. Our friendship was constructive, as opposed to competitive, and I think that speaks to John’s ability to remain calm and his desire to see others succeed alongside him. It’s hard to imagine what my BScKin experience would have been without him.”

While their career paths may take different routes—with Morgan pursuing her nursing after-degree in the Fall and John keeping what’s next for him close to his chest—they both have achieved a lot during their time in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation. They both positively contributed to Campus & Community Recreation through their roles as recreation facilitators. John recently completed a successful practicum with the Edmonton North Primary Care Network as an exercise therapist, and Morgan spent her practicum in Cambodia the summer of 2017 as part of the Play Around the World program—both applying their learnings into real-life scenarios.

As they get set to convocate on June 12th via the University of Alberta’s first-ever virtual Convocation ceremony, they both take a moment to be grateful for their education, experiences, health, family and—of course—friends.

“With so much going on in the world because of the pandemic, I’m not concerned that we’re convocating virtually,” says John. “There are a lot of bigger things happening in the world right now for this to be a concern. But, when it is safe to do so, you know Morgan and I—and a number of our other friends/classmates—will get together to celebrate properly.”

Like John, Morgan is looking forward to celebrating in-person when it’s safe to do so, knowing that her friendship with John will certainly outlast the pandemic. 

“I came to the University of Alberta thinking the main outcome would be obtaining my degree. I didn’t realize that some of the most important relationships of my life would be created here. This has brought to light what I value most in life, and I won’t soon forget the bond John and I created during our time as KSR students.”