by Robyn Fiorda, Storyteller for RU Student Life
Dear 18-year-old me,
You are entering a new chapter in your life. You left a life you knew for 18 years, moved to a crowded city full of people you don’t know and places you’ve never been. Soon you will begin to explore the beautiful things around you. It will take time, and this might sound wild to you right now, but eventually Toronto will feel like home.
The first year of your program will be intense. Professors will tear your assignments apart. You will scramble and race to beat same day deadlines. The learning curve is steep but you are smarter than you think. The hardest things to get through will give you the biggest sense of accomplishment, and the skills you learn now will be the same ones you will continue developing for the next four years.
Living on your own is also an adjustment. You’ll realize you should have paid more attention when your mom was trying to teach you how to cook and do laundry. Thankfully you can always Skype her (YouTube tutorials and your roommate will teach you the rest). You’ll slowly start to feel a sense of independence and you’ll be proud you learned some life skills.
In this first year, you will meet people and feel inspired. Run with that. Try new things and don’t overthink challenges. Apply for the school magazine and join that sports club. Stereotyping and cliquey-ness is for high school. Seriously, go out and do whatever you want. No one’s judging.
You will feel a bit disconnected at times because you will miss your friends from high school. The one who went to Western, the one who went off to Guelph-Humber, and especially the one who moved to Europe. But the city is full of cool and interesting people. You will meet people now that you’ll eventually form close friendships with. You will learn so much from them. They will bring you up and bring out the best in you.
After spending your life in a suburban town, you’ll soon start to feel culturally and politically connected with yourself and others. You will feel smarter, more informed and more opinionated than before. Embrace this.
When you start to feel overwhelmed, remember that nothing is being thrown at you that you can’t handle and some truly amazing experiences are to come. You are too young to stress about your career. Focus on doing well in school, finish projects you are proud of and get to know what kind of work you like and dislike. Have fun, be opened-minded and just take time to get to know you. This is how you will pave the way for yourself.