Thoughts on the meaning of X-Ring
When was the first time you heard about StFX? Who told you about this university? Well, chances are that person was a proud owner of an X-Ring. That individual is only one member of the Xaverian community, a proud and widespread network of alumni from our tiny university nestled here in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. But why is it that such a large community of people are united by one symbol, the simple yet elegant X-Ring? Why does it matter?
From the beginning of our time at StFX, we see the X-Ring everywhere and hear about it all the time. Every year the atmosphere on campus changes on December 3 as the graduating class celebrates receiving their X-Rings; you can feel the excitement in the air. While other universities may ridicule our ceremonies and fascination with a simple ring, it is from this excitement we feel every year on the feast of Saint Francis Xavier that justifies the meaning of the X-Ring. For me, the X-Ring represents the memories of my time at StFX. Through the highs and lows, the good and the bad, the ring reminds me of my experiences here and how I have grown from them. Who I was when I first stepped onto campus is entirely different from who I will be when I leave. As a student of StFX, I am fortunate to have an iconic memento to stand as a constant reminder of who I was, who I am, and who I will strive to be in the future.
Have you ever been in a public place wearing StFX apparel, and someone approaches you only to start up a conversation about your studies, all because they wear an X-Ring on their finger? This bond with the Xaverian community of members both new and old lasts through generations and it is arguably one of the greatest assets that StFX has. No matter where we may be, meeting another bearer of an X-Ring is sure to spark a tantalizing, nostalgia-fuelled conversation about the incredible times once had on our beautiful campus. I have had many of these such encounters while out in my home community, from conversations with elderly ladies at Costco to a recent graduate of 2016, the connection between Xaverians is timeless. Through these conversations, the everlasting bond between fellow Xaverians grows and continues to attract new students to our university each year. My elementary school music teacher is a Xaverian, my high school hockey coach is a Xaverian, even my MLA is a Xaverian, and connections like these are not uncommon amongst the students who attend StFX.
This of course all hinges on the social meaning that the X-Ring inevitably holds, especially as the Xaverian family becomes more widespread. It is the symbol of the StFX brand, and we as holders are its advertisers. Some may view this in a negative light, as corporate greed or as a means to support a societal structure that relies on students being pushed through universities all for accreditation. But while arguments could be made to support the negative, I choose to see things through a lens of positivity. The X-Ring shines bright as a representative of the best aspects of our university. From our amazing programs to our house cup hockey games, our Welcome Week and O Crew, Wing Nights and our outstanding varsity teams, it is through these amazing qualities and many more that the StFX experience is remembered so fondly for much of the Xaverian family.
The truth is, the X-Ring means something different to everyone. Your ring represents all the work you have put in to be able to wear your ring for the first time. All the tests, projects, readings, presentations and hard work, your StFX experience will be forever embodied by the golden X-Ring you can call your own.