University of Toronto: Take One – blogUT

Ah, university. The one phase in your life where it is socially acceptable to come to lecture on two hours of sleep, still looking for your room keys, and trying to finish another class’s assignment that is due in an hour… Well maybe it’s not ok, but you get the point. University is the transition from childhood into adulthood, and for many of us, it’s the first time we’re away from home, the first time we have to do laundry, and the first time we have to live with a complete stranger. For me, it’s my first time being out of the country for over two weeks. Yes, I’m an American, and yes, I did wear American flag shorts on July 4th and am quite proud of that, thank you very much.
Now I’ve only been in Canada for eight weeks, but I can already point out the major differences. First off, there are coins for dollar bills. Ok, I know that doesn’t sound like a huge difference but the change section of my wallet would beg to differ. It actually took me an entire week to figure out that a ‘loony’ is not a cartoon character but a dollar coin. And please, don’t even get me started on all of my US pennies that Canada apparently do not accept. Another challenge I faced was figuring out what letter ‘zed’ is. When someone asked me how I pronounce “z” I actually thought they were asking me about the band Zedd.
But the biggest change is living in a city like Toronto. There is something magical about living in the city. The nightlife, the attractions, the lights, the 24 hour all you can eat sushi restaurants. The best part of the city is the people. Everywhere you go you see that you are, in fact, just a small piece of dust trying to find a place in the universe. Even as I sit in my dorm I can hear conversations of people outside, reminding me that my life is not the center of the world. In a way, this can be helpful. Take tonight, for example, as I ponder my impending friend problems, when I hear a fight outside my window. It was the usual friendship fight, but it did wonders to my ego, reminding me that I am not the only person in the world having tricky situations. At the same time, it’s hard living somewhere where you are never alone. The city is an oxymoron in the way that although you are surrounded by millions of people at every waking moment, you still feel lonely. It leaves me to question how, in a world full of billions of people, can I still feel like I’m all by myself.
We, as university students, easily forget the other lives happening around us. But can you blame us? Our lives change so fast. Many aspects are constantly changing; different relationships, different interests, different friends, different assignment due dates. It’s hard to keep everything in order. It’s easy for life to become too much, and I find myself wishing for a way to press pause at least once a week. But it’s important to remember that although we feel alone in the world, we are not. There are people everywhere going through the same situations, and that if we just stop and listen, we’d hear so much.

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