Quad Stories: Crying In The Quad

By Paige Chu

Quiet and peaceful with greenery filling the large, open space, the UC Quad has all the essential features of being the ideal space for student life. Since its opening in the 1960s, it has held club fairs and frosh opening ceremonies, been a meeting spot for last-minute history readings with a study group, and offered a moment for students to enjoy some fresh air.

According to Beth*, a UofT freshman, it was also the perfect place for her first breakdown of her college career.

“It was probably around the fourth week of school.”

Right around the time midterms were starting. Makes sense.

“Actually, never mind. Probably the third week.”

So about only two weeks after we’d stood on those very benches and screamed with froshie pride. Seems a little early in the semester, but the upper years did warn us about this happening.

Much like other first-year students, Beth was feeling overwhelmed with university and the weight of making very real, very adult decisions. She’d been getting to know a guy in the same residence hall for a while and their discussions were going from the light-hearted to the more serious, each conversation taking place at a different spot in the quad. One day, her friend stopped in the middle of the conversation and asked if she was okay.

“I just bawled.”

One month later, she laughs about the incident, “We weren’t even THAT close at the time.” But they were, as she puts it, “on the same wave-length for certain things,” as they’d discovered having talked about upbringing, independence, maturity and the like. Still laughing, she explains what had been going through her mind, “I was very tired and felt like I was working towards nothing in my university life, and I just cried on that bench.” Thank goodness for the house bonding earlier in September and thank goodness for the decent benches (Beth rates them 6/10). They sat and chatted for another hour or so before they both left for class.

The UC Quad with the surrounding stone architecture and tall, overarching trees creates a feeling of enclosure. So apart from providing a location protected from the urbanism of downtown Toronto, this story seems to be a testament that UofT still holds up its tough reputation, and it’s a good thing there are lots of safe spaces to cry in UC.

*Names have been changed

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