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20th (Part V)

November 13, 2012

(Please see the sidebar for Parts I through IV.)

Soon, I became overwhelmed with the questions that were running through my mind. But I remembered two things that my roommate M had said to me: one in a letter that she gave to me at the beginning of summer and another, she said in a conversation we had earlier that day. In the letter she wrote to me, she told me that I should start doing things for myself instead of for others. In the conversation we had, she told me that she was afraid that I would let the little things (like worrying about getting rid of my apartment and transferring my credits over to UofT) stop me from leaving McGill. These two things that she said to me stuck out in my mind as I was sitting there, back to the wall, staring out into space.

In my moment of desperation, I knew that there was one more person I needed to talk to: one of my old high school teachers. He is my mentor, my good friend, and somehow, always knows the right path to take. Even when I was in high school and I had defiantly told him that I was going to be a singer/writer/psychologist (depending on how old I was then, I could have said any of the three), he said to me, you’re going to be back here in a couple of years. He knew me better than I knew myself.

At 8:54pm, I sent him a short email entitled, “Life Problems”, with the opening line that read: “I have 3 hours to decide whether or not I should stay at McGill. Web-drop is tonight”. He opened his reply with:  “Um, that was kinda sudden, no? First of all, relax. You are simply experiencing what every college kid experiences at some time during her college career. You just picked a really weird time to do it – first week of junior year is hardly the norm, but so be it. It is what it is, kid”. After I replied again, he emailed me a one-sentence reply: “Kinda sounds like you already made up your mind.” To that, I said, “Yes. Just scared, that’s all. But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe I can finally start my life now. I just wish that I had more time to think about it. Perhaps one more day. Instead, I have 30 minutes. I hope I’m making the right decision”. This next reply was what really pushed me over the edge and gave me the peace of mind to drop my courses; he wrote, “So I guess I’ll see you soon then. 🙂 ” I wrote back and told him that his happy face reassured me that everything was going to be okay. In the midst of all the confusion and worrying about the little things, I had forgotten about the bigger picture: that after all of this was over, I would be happy again.

At 11:04pm that night, I had dropped out of all of my classes. It felt weird to do it, but I don’t think I fully understood what I had done until I had a couple of days to let it sink in.

The day after was the most stressful day. At that point, I knew where I wanted to go – it was just a matter of figuring out how to get there. I started the day out by talking to my advisors and then to my fifty-year-old friend, Beatrix, at the local café. I remember walking on the street, feeling consumed by all the things I had to do. But in a moment of sudden realization, I became incredibly happy when I thought, “Sure, all of these little things are stressing me out. But it doesn’t matter, because I’m going to come out of this as a teacher, and that’s all that matters”. Even just typing those words still makes me incredibly happy, which, I know is a good thing.

That Wednesday will always have a special place in my heart because it was the day when things began sinking in. When I woke up, I didn’t hurry out the door, regretting my decisions from the night before. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t jerk up at 6am with the fear that I had missed my first class by sleeping through my alarm. For the first time, I woke up in peace. Even as I was walking on the street, I noticed the return of the bounce in my step. I even listened to, “One Heart” by Celine Dion. Gosh, if I hadn’t known better, I would have thought that she wrote that song just for me!

You can run and you can begin, in a place, where you don’t fit in, love will find a way. When you’re down, you can start again, turn around, anything you’re in, love will find a place. If you got, one heart, you are following, one dream, keeps you wondering, love lights your way through the night. One wish, keeps you trying, once your silver lining, love lights your way, through the night. You can fall, a thousand times; you can feel like you’ve lost your mind. But love will find a way. In a minute, it can change your life. In a moment, it can make you right. Love will find a place.

That Wednesday turned out to be a very interesting one. I ended up spending the entire day with a guy I had only met twice before. We had lunch, I told him I was leaving, and he was shocked to hear that. I, myself, was surprised that he was so shocked. Then we said our goodbyes and I told him that I was still going to be in town for another two weeks or so and that we should hang out again. I appreciated that he was there to listen to me. After seeing more advisors, I didn’t feel like going home yet. After all, it was raining out and I knew that if I went home, I would probably just sit on my sofa chair, stare out my 7th floor window, and wonder yet again, if I had made the right decision by dropping all of my classes. So I sent him a message and asked him where he was. I knew he was off studying somewhere and the thought of spending more time with him enticed me. I eventually ended up meeting him in the math department’s help centre where his services were required as a teacher’s assistant. The rest of the afternoon consisted of him scribbling symbols on the blackboard and me, frantically typing away on my laptop. But what I appreciated most about that afternoon was how every time I became stressed out about getting someone to transfer the lease on my apartment (or figuring out whether all of my credits would transfer to UofT, or figuring out when my parents should come up to get my things, or how I would go about withdrawing from McGill), he was always there to tell me what the voice in my head couldn’t: “Don’t stress”.

What I loved most was how peaceful I felt hanging out with him that day. He kept me afloat, pulling me out every time I was drowning in the sea of my problems, and for that, I will be forever thankful. I was obviously quite emotional that day, as I was trying to figure out so many things out. I told him a lot about myself; in fact, I told him too much. I guess I just really needed someone to talk to. By the end of the day, I felt as though a truly good friendship was in the making.

Is it just me or was that Celine Dion music video channeling a Mandy Moore (Cry)/Miley Cyrus (The Climb) vibe? Definitely was the strobe lighting.

Tune in tomorrow evening for Part VI (the penultimate instalment)!

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