The day I moved to Toronto it rained. I’m not talking a slight drizzle, I’m talking cats and dogs, Rihanna’s Umbrella music video, The Notebook kissing scene-pouring rain. This provided a perfect example of pathetic fallacy (shout out to the English minor) because I cried for the first week I lived downtown.
While everyone else was busy getting drunk and at frosh, I spent my first week in Toronto scared shitless of my new surroundings, thinking I had made a terrible mistake.
I was plucked from turquoise filled, messy bedroom in my suburban home, and thrown into the land of Drake, brunch restaurants and preachers who scream “Believe” at you on street corners. I didn’t get into residence so I moved into a cute little apartment uptown with a girl I had met only twice prior (who would come to be a great friend), and I was terrified.
Before moving downtown, my mother instilled the fear of god in me I’m hardly from a small town; Brampton’s a pretty big city and in all honesty is probably worse for crime than Toronto. Despite my origins , leaving home came with a multitude of warning from my mom. Her main one being, never, and I repeat, NEVER, have your phone out in public because someone will mug you.
Cut to me walking at Yonge and Dundas days later trying to meet up with my friend from high school, absolutely terrified to check my phone in a public place in fear that someone will pry it from my shaking hands. Do you know how had it is to locate someone in Dundas Square without texting them your exact coordinates? Impossible.
Frosh week was a blur. Not because I was wasted the whole time (I wasn’t), but because I was so caught up in my own world worrying about every little thing, that I forgot to take in my surroundings and enjoy the new people and experiences.
For the first time in my life it was like I was constantly surrounded by thousands of people, but still felt completely alone. This feeling continued into the first week of school, I hadn’t gone to many frosh events so I didn’t make the same friendships that most of my peers had. I went to class alone and hoped for the best.
It was an English class and one of the few friends I had made during frosh week was standing outside the door waving at me. I probably let out an audible sigh of relief. To this day, I really hope she knows what an impact this had on me, even though we don’t talk as much as we used to. I appreciated it.
While frosh week was a blur, I remember my first week as an RTA student as if it were yesterday. Walking into that first audio lecture in complete awe of the massive lecture hall and just how many people there were, all in the exact same position as me. I looked around at the sea of faces around me, people who would soon become my classmates, group members, best friends and hopefully future colleagues.
These were the people I would soon laugh at live tweets during lectures with, cry when our EFP project we’ve worked weeks on suddenly gets erased, pull all-nighters to finish our pitch presentation that we left to the last minute with, and drink a little bit too much with at the TARA after party with. These were now my people.
That very first lecture we had a dance party. Our professor Lori encouraged us all to get up and dance with her. A few people did, but most of us just remained in our seats too embarrassed to get up and join her. I was one of those people.
To this day one of my biggest regrets in RTA is not getting up to dance. I don’t necessarily mean in that particular lecture but in general. I regret all of the chances I didn’t take, all of the clubs I didn’t join, all of the jobs I didn’t apply for and all of the people I didn’t take the time to get to know over the four years. I should have danced.
RTA was an amazing four years. I learned a lot, I met a ton of amazing people and I made memories that I will remember forever, but I think there will always be a part of me that wishes I had stepped out of my bubble a little bit more and danced.