It’s normal to be nervous, its unnerving to be normal. Am I exciting enough?
Will I make friends?
Will I like my professors?
Will I find my way around?
Questions zip past my mind faster than the speed of light. The answers to these questions? A bit harder to come by. If anyone were to glance at my internet history, they would come by pages entitled as “Top 10 Ways to Calm Pre-College Nerves”, “Adjusting to University Life”, “20 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Starting University”, “Human Psychology to Changes”, the list is indeed endless. But after browsing through articles and studies and surveys, the anticipation of starting university only doubled. Like the many faces entering UTM this year, my expression is calm. Externally, I’m laughing, I’m breathing, I’m fine. Yet the apprehension continues to build inside, like a shaken can of soda.
The summer before university is the time of rearrangement. Whether it is saying good bye to your parents, your old friends, or whether it is moving, packing, and reorganizing- it is the time of change. In such a time, I look back at other instances of change, and am brought back to high school. The end of elementary and middle school was one of my scariest times as a child, I was worried about high school academics, about demanding teachers, and about emerging bullies. But as I look back, what made my high school worth remembering wasn’t the schoolwork, or the pressure felt by outsiders.
Having read my yearbook almost thrice this week, made me realize what I missed most was the people I met. Building relations and exploring connections was the core of high school. Sure, the dates of wars, the Pythagorean Theorum, the cell structure, trigonometry, covalent bonding, Newton’s Laws, persuasive essay writing- these topics were essential in building a solid foundation of the world we know and love. Yet some of these topics fade away; what really stays, and matters are the friends- the peers, the teachers, the staff. I believe that anyone can be a friend, as long as you open your heart and let them in it. As cheesy as that sounds, it is the exact reason I look forward to my first year at UTM.
University has just started, but I already feel at home with a campus like UTMs. From meeting people on their guided tours, to connecting with soon-to-be classmates through the official UTM Facebook page, my first year journey has already begun. The famous saying about university goes, “University is a lot like riding a bike, except the bike is on fire, the ground is on fire, everything is on fire…” But this sense of instilling fear is perhaps the last thing we, as prospective students need right now. We need support, belief, and a sense of belonging. The University of Toronto motto- Tantum Nobis Creditum [so much has been entrusted to us] gives us the sense of unity that we long for. Student unions, academic societies, clubs, utmONE, LAUNCH, all ensure that not a single student is left alone or unaided. UTM has all its resources orientated toward student transition. The rest is in the hands of us students.
Am I willing?
Am I open-minded?
Am I curious?
It is these questions that perhaps take a while to come by. But they carry the simplest answers.
Yes. I am willing. I am open-minded. I am curious.
I am UTM.