By: Yara Farran
I’m a first year. I’m the girl who’s probably asked you (yes, you specifically) how to get to the Student Centre from BSB/Hamilton Hall/Faculty Hollow and the like. I’m the one who casually tries to help other first years find their classes, getting them even more lost than they already are. “Oh that room, it’s probably here,” I say with a smile, slowly realizing that it is actually probably not. Most likely, you’ve spotted me walking in and out the Health Science Library like a lost little lamb and frantically trying to access the Internet on one of the computers (why is the Internet button named “Health Sciences Library?”). It’s not like I’m proud of my shortcomings as a newly knighted freshman, it’s just easier for me to digest this whole new experience if I recollect all of the things that I’ve done wrong thus far.
While scouring Limeridge (For
all you kids new to Hamilton, it’s the main mall. Unfortunately, it’s not the Eaton Centre. Fortunately, it’s not East Gate) I began to collect some pieces for school. “I’m going to dress up every day,” I said. “My hair is going to be straightened every day.”
Now, as I begin to contemplate the actual reality of my closet and grasp the real demands of university, I’m shaking my head. All I want to do is sit in yoga pants, gorge on some Union Market bagels in elastic waistband sweats, and bury myself under a spaghetti sauce stained sweater. The very thought of jackets (shivers), jeans (holding back vomit right now), and shoes (wait, what do you mean flip flops aren’t shoes?) is making me violently ill.
Socializing has never been my strong point. I once said a joke to an unsuspecting stranger that went along the lines of, “Oh em gee, I have so much homework. I’m going to cry tears – tears of blood.” The poor girl took a step back. Then another. Then turned as politely as she could. Cleary she (bless her) didn’t think my (obvious?) joke was funny and felt that her young life was in danger in my presence. I hope she’s recovered from the experience. I know I haven’t. During this past week, every time I have made a questionable joke, I thought back to that moment. Luckily, none have been as disastrous as my previous example, but I have thrown out a few tankers. Now, this would be okay if I had been in the company of long time friends who’d give a few pity laughs or say, “Oh, that’s so you! You’re so wild.” However, that didn’t happen in front of my new colleagues. They still think I’m wild, though. I consider that a start.
This what I’m most guilty of doing. Maybe it’s the lifetime of media consumption and Dawson’s Creek conditioning. Perhaps, my imagination is wired to be completely ridiculous, and disbar the truth about life as a university student. The thing is, I came into this whole situation with a plethora of grand expectations and a bucket load of romanticized notions. University is a lot different than high school, and in some ways, it seems to be worlds away from the one portrayed on television. Once I entered my first lecture in Chester New Hall, I didn’t have an epiphany and discover that I’m meant to be a doctor/dancer/disc jockey. As I casually ate lunch, a handsome, slightly older British guy didn’t ask me out on a romantic date. I haven’t even joined a nu-wave Indie rock band yet. Even though it’s literally been a week, it’s safe to say that these expectations are probably never going to come into fruition.
It’s okay, though. University, as I’ve learned, isn’t about the obvious happening. It’s not about travelling concrete, rigid paths and arriving to the predicted destination. It’s about discovery. It’s about mistakes. It’s the time in your life – and remember it is your life – when it’s okay to not have any expectation and just go with the sweat filled, anxiety ridden wind.
Although, I’m only a first year and have got a ton of first years lost already, so maybe my advice shouldn’t be heeded. Maybe.