It has only been three months, but the experiences I have had so far, my my, can they please be repeated? I could not be happier at the fact I chose UWaterloo.
I entered university knowing I wanted to laugh, cry, fail, succeed, play pool, party, direct plays and movies, eat and nap. I have done all of these so far. And it has only been three months. I am so privileged, thank you.
Initially, I wanted to attend university in the United States, but I chose Canada when I had to make the decision. Thank you Dinar’s decision making skills. Dinner at 8? 😉
Upon my arrival, I had already made quite a number of friends. I have always been a very social person, so talking to strangers is a hobby. I still converse with them and we catch up on whatever has happened to each of us since. I befriended more people from my program and even more from my residence, Ron Eydt Village. If there was one thing I did not like in the first two weeks, it was getting lost. To my dismay, I discovered that Google Maps can also fail you. It was annoying being late to classes just when you are trying to create a good impression. Oh well. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, I was always grateful I found my way back to REV and my cozy bed.
So far, I have been involved in a lot both on and off campus. I attended Salsa classes on Tuesdays, and volunteered at a Bingo event in Kitchener. One Saturday afternoon, I volunteered at the annual NightShift Placehacking Festival. I reached Vaughan just to go on roller coasters! I recited a poem on feminism in front of strangers. I sang Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah with a stranger at a Karaoke event! Furthermore, I directed Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House for my Drama 100 class, as I aspire to become a film director one day. (I am the pretty one in orange)
Additionally, I also created an adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Third and Final Continent. Although I received credits from IB English HL that excused me from taking any 100-level courses for English, I still took Fiction 100A and that led me to creating my short film. I first performed a close reading of the short story and then decided which aspect of the story I wanted to focus on and bring out the most in my film, which was adaptation to a new country and its cultures and its people. When I was creating the film, it reminded me of Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue” and I realized how connected everything in life is. Both texts talked about adapting to new languages and new places. It is surreal that these things have occurred in a short time span, and I can only wonder what is yet to come. I guess entering university with the mindset that I want to try everything is what made me be more involved. Thus, I urge you all to always have an optimistic mindset. Know that your life is always going to be full of wonderful things, wonderful people and great experiences! Some of the greatest things in your life haven’t even happened yet!
Temporarily, I worked at Public Outreach and fund-raised for Amnesty International. I loved doing that because I was part of a global movement that fought for human rights. I will go back and work during the summer so I can dedicate more of my time to this terrific cause.
I am surprised by how brave I am, and how this bravery has led me to do things beyond what I would normally do. As an international student, I am expected to be settling down, and getting used to the weather but instead I released my adventurous self and explored the city. “You come from Tanzania, but you know how the buses work better than me! You’ve been to Kitchener for heaven’s sake!” Oh, how I love these comments.
Guys, just explore. You are still in your first year. Don’t be discouraged if you get a grade you did not expect in one of your assignments. Use that to perform better in the next one. Accept failure with open arms! In your writing, write shitty drafts! Put everything in one word document, and then after the feedback, rearrange those paragraphs after you have finalized your claim.
As you travel on a path of your own choice, always remember that you matter. Your words and ideas can change the world, no matter what. (Do watch Dead Poet’s Society when you can [preferably before Finals])