“Sweetest Goodbye”

“And with a tear in my eye,
Give me the sweetest goodbye
That I ever did receive”
-Maroon 5

Hello readers! I realize that I did not post for the last month as I said I would, and I believe that I owe you all an explanation. The CUPE strike at UofT was really all anyone talked about all month long. This platform was to remain neutral on that topic, but truthfully, there was no part of my first year experience that was not affected by the strike. For this reason, I chose not to post all month. The strike is over now, but unfortunately, so is the term. This post will be my last on this site, and I hope that you have enjoyed reading my posts this year as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

As a first year, it’s amazing to think how far I, or really, any of us, has come in such a short time. It’s also very strange to realize that there are only a few short years left for us here.

At the start of the term, I was nervous about moving here, but every day since then has made me feel again and again that I made the right choice.

I still can’t understand things like “kilometers” or “Celsius”. I might avoid talking about them or stop midsentence to pull out my phone and convert measurements in an app so that my friends can understand what I’m talking about. I’ve heard a surprisingly large number of people here say “bathroom” instead of “washroom”. I have slowly learned how to adapt the way I speak to wherever I am, although I do still make mistakes. I’ve also had Canadian experiences that I didn’t even expect when I came here, like trying poutine or Beavertails for the first time.

There were negative things, too. Getting homesick wasn’t fun. Living by yourself for the first time comes with issues of its own. Making friends all over again wasn’t easy (for me, at least). And the amount of problems I’ve had at airports is pretty ridiculous. Seriously. I’m pretty sure Snow Patrol could write a song about my experiences. Instead of “Chasing Cars” it could go somethings like “Let’s waste time, chasing gates, around airports…” (yes, of course I had to throw in one last parody).

What’s my point in all of this? I look back at all of my fears from the start of the year, and I can see how I have grown and changed. I handled those and other challenges and made it through the year. No doubt, you did, too.

In the next few years, we will see a lot more challenges. We probably can’t imagine what most of those will be. Not even a little bit. But it’s important to remember that we’ve already overcome plenty of obstacles. A few (or a lot) more is nothing that we can’t handle. Every moment of every day of every year for the rest of each of our lives is not a challenge; it’s an adventure. Sound cheesy? Sure. But it’s still true.

And so, fellow first years, I wish you all the very best for the future. And for exams, of course.

“Parting is such sweet sorrow”, and so, here is the “sweetest goodbye”
for you

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The End Credits

This week will be the last week of work-study. Every week I’ve talked about some aspect of my first year experience, but I haven’t really talked about work. The truth is that this job has been a huge part of that experience. If I wasn’t blogging my experience, I would probably not have thought about my experiences in the same way. My life isn’t very interesting. I go to class, try to get my work done on time, figure out how to survive on my own, and try to get some sleep before I get up and do it all over again. Figuring out how to write something interesting based on that was a challenge that has definitely changed the way I think about things.

This job has been important in my life also because it was my first job ever. I’m so lucky that my first job entailed doing something I love and working with amazing people. I am extremely grateful to all of the lovely people at utmONE for giving me this opportunity and for the fantastic experience that came with it. When I applied for this job, I didn’t think I would get it because I didn’t have much experience. Coming out of this job, I can’t imagine what my first year would have been like without it.

So this is my official thank you to everyone I have worked with. Thank you Jackie, Annie, and Michael for being less like employers and more like support systems through the year, and thank you Anxhelaa and Karissa for great memories and thoughts we would share at meetings.

And, of course, thank you, my readers, for coming back week after week to read what I write. I hope you found it relatable and entertaining.

But wait, there’s more!

The work-study may be over, but the term isn’t and neither are my posts! I hope you enjoyed my blog so much that you will continue to check back here each week for new blog posts.

See you back here soon! 🙂

The Disney Sing-Along Series -Part 3

I’m back with more Disney! This week, I used a song from “Pocahontas” to describe the awful situation a lot of people end up in when the world makes them choose between careers that they are passionate about and careers that are well-paid or that they “should” be in, according to other people.  I really don’t think it’s fair, and I hope this problem will decrease for people.

Things I Love

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and all over campus, different clubs are selling things or hosting events along the Valentine’s Day theme. It got me thinking that if Thanksgiving is the time to think of what you’re thankful for, then Valentine’s Day is the time to think about everything and everyone that you love. I could go on about how I love my parents and friends, but instead of people, I’m going to list some random things that I love:

  1. Sleep.  If you read this blog regularly, you’re probably sick of hearing me talk about (or sing about) how much I love sleep.  So basically, sleep is amazing.
  2. PUPPIES!!!  I love animals in general, but I seriously cannot pass a puppy on the street without saying “AWWWWWW!!!!”  I also have a puppy daily calendar in my room.  Absolutely no shame.
  3. Tea.  I’ve been drinking tea for as long as I can remember, but learning more about it recently has made me love it even more.  I mean, have you been to some of the stores that sell tea leaves? So many flavors, so little time.
  4. Really good smells.  Whether it’s a perfume/body spray or a scent to fill a room, good smells are fantastic, and the moment you encounter one randomly is perfection.
  5. Soft clothing.  I’ve talked about this before, too.  Anything that is soft is comforting and perfect.  How could you not love it?
  6. Beans. Random? Yes. But it’s fantastic food.
  7. Art.  Art in all of its forms is life to me.  Feeling stage lights on my face or feeling clay in my hands will make me feel incredibly happy in an instant.
  8. Corny jokes and puns.  This is probably not surprising since I’ve used them often in my blog posts.  Jokes that some people roll their eyes at usually get at least a chuckle from me.
  9. Netflix.  I’ve only had it for almost a year but we already have a pretty solid relationship.
  10. Learning.  I’m not trying to be cheesy, but I honestly love learning everything from random facts to new subjects.  I love the feeling I get when bits of information from a bunch of seemingly unrelated classes fit together perfectly.  It’s amazing how much there is to know about so many different things.
  11. Listening to music.  Music is powerful, and there’s always a song out there that can fit whatever state of mind you’re in.
  12. Nature.  Watching snow fall, looking out from mountaintops, seeing waterfalls cascading down, and observing animals interacting are all amazing experiences that nothing else can compare to.  Nature is beautiful, exciting, and serene all at once.
  13. Writing.  Physically writing on a piece of paper with a pen or pencil in my hand feels amazing.
  14. Books.  I am perfectly fine with reading e-books, but it still doesn’t compare to the smell of a new book.
  15. Fall and Spring.  Two seasons when the weather is the in-between perfect and everything in transformation looks beautiful.

There’s definitely more but I think this list is long enough for now. I hope you enjoy Valentine’s Day with all of the people and things that you love most!

Return of the Homesick

When you live on your own for some time, you get to the point when you feel like you’re totally getting used to everything. But then, there will come events that remind you that you’re far from home. For me, one of these events is coming up and one just passed. I knew of and could prepare myself for the one that’s coming up: it’s my mother’s birthday next week and I won’t be home for it. The one that just passed was unexpected: a snow day.

At home, snow days entailed relaxed days and family movie nights in warm blankets with tea or hot chocolate. We would get the phone call in the morning about school being canceled and my parents would just let me sleep in. On Monday, I got up, saw the text that the university was closed, and went back to sleep. I did watch TV and drink tea that day, but by myself in my dorm. It was nice to have a day off since I’ve been so busy lately, but it was a bit saddening, too. No matter how far you come, the “firsts” of each event you do without your loved ones take you back a bit. That said, it’s important to remember that this is the time to be brand new in everything you say and do.

My snow day was preceded by a great day full of fantastic adventures with my friend. We went to the Toronto Tea Festival, I finally tried poutine, we completely froze as we tried to find our way back to Hart House during a winter storm, and, best of all, we spent almost 2 hours back in the dorms drinking tea and having a conversation almost entirely consisting of tea puns. Are we silly? Of course. Was it a fantastic day? Absolutely. And these fun memories are what get you through the days that feel wrong because they’re just not the same as they once were. New friends don’t replace old friends or family, but they get added on to that group and help form new traditions, routines, and memories.

And how was your snow day?