The Best Student Experience

// Sharanya Menon

3, 240 km from home, there was no point relying on recruitment slogans

I am not an optimistic person; nor will I ever pretend to be, but my inability to recognize the positive features of my life during my first year served as a great and detrimental disadvantage to my overall experience. In truth, attitude shifts focus and perspective. This is something that I realized much later than necessary.

Entering Year 1 at UWO was exciting, because I could finally live on my own and deal with myself by myself. A classic sense of utter freedom and weightlessness. In stark contrast were the emerging feelings of inadequacy, unfamiliarity and general discomfort; weight. Living in residence, in my opinion, is a crucial experience. I was surrounded mostly by cool people who were very different from me, who had lived and were living very different lives than me. At some level, I think I began to compare all the new people I was meeting with my friends from home, which made me cynical. They were not my friends from home, they were not at all like me. It made me feel angry, and then stupid for comparing very different people to an unfair standard. Despite this, it was comforting to see others continuing while being completely uncertain of how to myself.

It all seemed drenched in impermanence. Nothing seemed solid or palpable, because I had left everything I was sure of at home. I was in a deep emotional limbo. I was uncomfortable with the fact that I had left my two younger sisters at home to come to university; it almost seemed selfish. I was uncomfortable with the fact that I had left my best friends during a difficult time in all of our lives. After spending so long developing these incredible relationships with people who know me, who are me (basically), being on the other side of the country trying to replicate them seemed fraudulent.

Being sure of myself, of my new friends, and of my decisions, was always an attempt, never a reality. There was a lot of weird self-inflicted doubt that is still difficult to verbalize. All in all, it was a rough year, a lot of new things for someone who had convinced herself that she could handle it. Ultimately, I, like, spent the year, like, realizing.

I can recognize now that everyone has to drift through these highly sore emotions before finding ground. Further, the use of past tense is entirely deliberate. I am in a much more “sure” place now. I have settled for what I can control, which is myself. I can cope with abandonment and failure, with loss and the precipitation of my insecurities. Maybe not entirely, but in some part, with confidence.  


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