From the time she was a kid, my friend Cathie knew that she wanted to attend the University of British Columbia. I wish I could make a similar statement, but to be completely honest, UTM wasn’t an obvious choice for me. Having lived in Mississauga for the past five years, what I initially wanted more than anything was to go study in a place that would be far away and different. I was so sure of my preferences when it came to choosing a post-secondary institution that I didn’t even bother picking up a UTM brochure at the Ontario University Fair last September. At the insistence of my parents, I nonetheless sent in an application to the Mississauga Campus of the University of Toronto.

Like countless other high school seniors, my family and I spent the march break on a road trip, visiting every university to which I had applied. At that point, I was pretty confident that I would be heading to Ottawa in the fall. Many of my friends were going there and they had offered me a generous scholarship. However, seeing the place in-person was a bit of a disappointment for me. While it was a lovely campus, with majestic buildings and ideally located, I didn’t feel in my place there. I kept thinking that this institution would be a perfect fit for some people, but it just wasn’t for me. After visiting all the other universities on my list, I was still very uncertain and I was starting to worry.

After we came back from our trip, my parents suggested that we schedule a tour at UTM, as it was the only school that we hadn’t visited yet. So, on a bright Wednesday morning, we made our made to  the  campus, which is just a short drive from my home. As we were parking, I realized that while I had passed by the main entrance of the university countless times, I had never actually been on campus, and I had no idea how the buildings and everything else would look like. Something that I noticed right away was all the greenery surrounding the university. Being a nature lover, I could imagine what a joy it would be to take long walks outside and enjoy the scenery. I also loved the buildings’ modern architecture. The guided tour of UTM couldn’t have gone any better and within half an hour of the tour, I knew that this was where I wanted to spend the next four years of my life. I was thrilled to have finally found the right university and very excited at the idea of joining the wonderful University of Toronto family.

Now that we are just a few weeks away from the start of classes, these feelings haven’t faltered, but they are now mixed with anxiety and nervousness. I’m usually pretty good at adapting to new places and situations (I have attended three different high school in the last four years!) but to be honest, this is the most nervous I’ve been since the first day of kindergarten. Being the first one in my entire family to attend university, I really have no idea what to expect and I’m scared to my wits about what will happen on the first day of classes. Somewhat irrational fears are starting to hover in my head. The uncoordinated klutz that I am will probably get lost in the immensity of the UTM campus and arrive late to class. Or worse, trip down the stairs in a lecture hall and embarrass myself in front of hundreds of my classmates. While trying to sweep those unlikely scenarios off my mind, I have also began shopping for school supplies and a new laptop. I never knew that it was possible to experience a mixture of such high levels of anticipation, excitement and anxiety, all at the same time. Stay tuned for more about my first week at UTM…I have the presentiment that it will be full of surprises!

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