The rain falls, drop by drop, on our car. Another tradition fulfilled: it always rains when we drive up to Canada. I’ve driven this route more times than I can remember, but today is different. Today I’m not just going to Canada for a weekend with my family; I’m moving into residence at UTM. Today this drive seems longer than ever before. New Jersey to Canada: eight hours; 477 miles…or 768 kilometers, as I will have to learn to say. Oh gosh, kilometers? Celsius? How will I ever get used to all this? I already have been wondering for months how I will adjust to life in college…or university, as everyone in Canada seems to call it. There are just so many changes all at once!
My friends and I have been talking about our apprehensions for a while. Will we do well in class? Will we make friends? Will we be able to manage living on our own? How do you choose what clubs to join? How do you deal with lectures that have more students than were in our entire graduating high school class? These are thoughts that many students have before college. When you’re going to another country, like I am, you also have some thoughts and fears unique to your situation, such as: how will I get used to putting the ‘r’ before the ‘e’ in words like “center”, or learn to spell “color” like “colour”? How will I remember to call a “bathroom” (or “restroom”) a “washroom”? How will I deal with that much snow? And that’s coming from someone who lives in a place that gets a lot of snow, so I can only imagine what it’s like for people coming from places that are always warm. The thing is, America and Canada seem so similar, but it’s when you actually move from one to the other that you come to realize how different they really can be, even in the smallest ways. Canada isn’t just “America with nicer people”, as so many Americans like to think.
Even so, there’s so much to be excited about, too! A whole new world of university, and a whole new country in my case, is out there to explore! New adventures, new faces and places, and there are more things that I can do in the next few years than I can even begin to imagine right now. That is one thing I know I will have in common with the other first year students: a lack of understanding of what university life will come to mean for each of us. None of us knows what the future has in store for us, but it’s clear that this is a brand new start. We are all blank slates and untapped potential in this new phase of life, and we will all find our ways of trying to transition to university life during this year. All of my older friends have advised me that university is what you make of it. I’m hoping that Frosh Week, the rezONE program, and the utmONE program will all help me make my university experience a positive one.
As we near the Canadian border, there’s just one thought left in my mind:
Let’s do this!