I remember the first time I ever stepped on McMaster University grounds as a freshman. As I examined the trod of a multitude of footsteps all with a sense of direction, a feeling dawned upon me. I felt invisible.

It felt like déjà vu. I thought to myself, “Is this going to be high school all over again?” As I took a deep breath, ready to accept the reality that my appearance had assigned to me, something unexpected happened. Someone stopped and said hello.

Flabbergasted as I was, I almost thought that I was not the one being spoken to, but it turned out that someone cared enough to stop and talk. Then another feeling dawned upon me, one opposite to that of feeling invisible.

After talking to this pleasant stranger for a while, she directed me to the building I was looking for. This act of kindness that was shown unto me made me see things in a new light.

Suddenly I noticed the freshly cut grass and how its greenness showcased the life I was about to start, it radiated out energies unexplained and perhaps showed me a timeline of how much I was going to grow.

The blue sky stood out without a single shadow of obstruction. It made me see clearly a form of tranquilizing peace that filled the air, the youthful exuberance that clouded the campus, and, most importantly, it gave me hope.

There was the humming of birds, the chattering and grunts of squirrels, the whisper of the leaves in the trees, the screams and laughter of students on campus and the smiles that where thrown my way. All this contributed to the feelings of anticipation and optimism that built up within me.

As I tried to navigate my way around, trying to find my way to my first class, there were always people willing to give me a helping hand.

As I approached my first class, the hall was so big, and yet I felt seen even when no one was looking. As we all settled for our first class, I looked around and examined my peers closely, my 2015 class of elites.

The thrill, the excitement of welcome week made it all in all worth it. There were a lot of exciting events and a lot of student representatives willing to advise my peers on our journey through our freshman year.

I do admit that transiting from high school to university was not easy. The curriculum was far more loaded and much harder than that of high school. But McMaster University is a place where teachers are willing to help smoothen our transition and make our academic careers a success.

I believe that we have two families in this life, the family we are born into and the family we choose. McMaster University soon became home to me and we were all family to one another. I met the most amazing people and my experience through my freshman year cannot be overstated.

Many times I fell, and I arose stronger. After a while I was not afraid of falling anymore because there was always a soft landing waiting for me, but more importantly a chance to rebound stronger.

Now, freshman year is over and I am not afraid of the bumps that I would encounter while transiting to my sophomore year because I know that I have a family willing to help me through.

When I look in the mirror, the image of my growth for the past year is personified. I actually see a reflection looking back at me. I do not feel invisible anymore. My family here on campus helped me discover myself.

As we transit to another year, we all hold our breaths in anticipation and eagerness as we await the next freshman class that is coming to fill the vacuum we are leaving behind. If only they knew what a journey they are all in for. Well, I guess they will just have to wait to find out.

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