When I was in high school, I was a shy and timid girl that didn’t speak up at all and didn’t want to try new things. I was the girl that liked to spend time on my own watching anime and reading books and I only had a few friends. Although I don’t have many, the few I do have are precious and trustworthy people. When I look back on my high school years, I remember that time of year when every grade 12 student had to decide on which university to attend. Most of my friends decided to go to Waterloo, some to York, others to the St. George campus and a few of them went abroad to study in the U.S. and overseas.
I chose to go to UTM alone, though not in a direct way. Two years ago, I was a student at UTSC. I first applied to psychology, which I couldn’t find any interest in, I just couldn’t put myself in the right mindset. It was the first time taking charge of my own decisions—my first taste of being an adult.
Day by day, I attended classes, took notes, and commuted home. Everything became a routine—a boring, unending routine. I wasn’t studying well and I only achieved mediocre grades in my first year of university, I just wasn’t myself at that time. I have never been an exceptional student before but back in high school I had friends around me for support and to share my feelings with. Now I was alone. I had no friends with me, no one to talk with, and I didn’t realize how necessary it was to get involved in a community on campus for support and friendship.
I was just another student sitting in one of those study cubicles, like an endless, boring 9-5 office job, except I didn’t earn money and instead I was paying a great debt. I felt like I was just a number. I was afraid. I was helpless. But I knew I needed change no matter how much it scared me.
I spent almost a month thinking about my life and my future. I needed to make a difference for myself. I searched online for programs and courses at all the universities. When I was ready, I spoke with my parents about my new choice. I wanted to move to Mississauga and attend UTM, mainly for their ICCIT program. I remembered my interest in arts. I always had a passion for it. I wanted to learn how to design, a new skill that I had no experience in. Knowing that moving to another city would add more financial weight on my family, I hesitated and thought about sticking with my original plan and staying at the Scarborough campus because it is close to my home. But my parents encouraged me and supported me wholeheartedly.
In September, I rode the bus to my campus, the new campus: UTM. I knew I was coming here alone, but this time I had a different mindset. I wanted to change and learn to step out of comfort zone. I discovered my passion for writing when I began contributing articles and photographs for the student newspaper, The Medium. When I joined UTM Scribes, the creative writing club, I met a lot of great friends. Participating in a work-study program allowed me to apply what I learn from ICCIT to the real world.
Everything was a first time to me. I still have a lot to learn and require a lot of practice, but even if it’s slow and even if I fail, I know my efforts will not be in vain because that’s the process of growth and through them I know where my dreams are and I will find the right way to reach them.