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20th (Part VI)

November 14, 2012

The next few days passed by quickly. But still, every time I was by myself, the ambivalence of what laid ahead of me was still there. I knew there was no point in wondering whether I had done the right thing by dropping my classes; after all, I had already done it. There was simply no point in analyzing whether or not it was the right thing. But that didn’t stop me from worrying about my future. Though I was excited, I was worried that things wouldn’t work out. I was especially worried that things wouldn’t work out at UofT.

With all of the questions I had in mind about UofT, it didn’t take long for me to feel like a freshman again. What are the classes going to be like? How will I measure up to the other students? Et cetera, et cetera. Though I felt happier about my situation, I felt the anxiety creeping back in. I felt like it was going to be an all-or-nothing type of deal; I was either going to leave McGill and transfer to UofT or I was going to stay at McGill (that is, take this semester off and come back for the Winter semester). I felt like time was ticking down; I needed to decide soon so that I could make the proper arrangements.

Then I had an epiphany.

What was I doing? Why was I limiting my choices? It wasn’t an all-or-nothing type of deal. I didn’t have to choose between home and Montreal – I could get the best of both worlds. When I realized this, I became incredibly happy – almost as happy as when I decided that I wanted to become a teacher. I felt like I had choices! (Sidenote: Isn’t it strange how we become so incredibly unhappy when we don’t have enough choices and yet, are still even more unhappy when we have too many choices?)

After telling a handful of people that I was leaving McGill for good, I had to turn around and correct my earlier statement. Instead, I was leaving McGill for one year.

By leaving McGill for only one year, I get all the advantages of being home without getting sick of it (as I will not be prolonging my stay). I also won’t feel sad or worried about my decision because I know that I will be coming back! Aside from the emotional advantages (like wanting to go back because I feel attached to that place), it also makes sense to return to McGill as I found out that not all of my credits from McGill would transfer over to UofT.

By going home for the year, I can rack up my experience portfolio so that when it comes time to apply to Teacher’s College, I will be a shoe-in! So I figured, my main focus this year will be volunteering and teaching. Anyway, here is the plan: I’m currently taking this semester off. Next semester, I will be taking a full-course load at UofT as a visiting student (essentially, I have requested to do a Study-Away/Exchange at UofT). Then for my last year, I will be returning to McGill to complete my degree (major in Philosophy, double minor in English and Psychology).

I was glad that I made this decision. I knew in my heart that I was not done with McGill; I still felt tied to it somehow – tied to the place and tied to the people. What’s more, I always had this picture in my head of how happy I would be at the McGill convocation – how accomplished I would feel that despite all of the problems I had, I stuck it out and finished it. Sure I was sad to have left Montreal, mostly because of all of the friendships that were blossoming just as I was leaving. But I knew that the level of sadness I was feeling then would be nothing compared to the sadness I would have felt if I was leaving indefinitely. I would have felt, for sure, that I had made the wrong decision.

After I made the decision to leave McGill for the year, my days were looking up. I no longer felt cornered and felt more relaxed to go about tying up the loose ends. I was blessed to find the most remarkable girl to take over my lease. I thanked my lucky stars that she found me because she was the most respectable, well-centered, easy-going, friendliest girl! Because I had nowhere to leave all of my stuff, my parents came up to bring them home. There is a funny, yet terrifying, story related to moving my things back to Toronto. After having packed up all of my things, my parents and I started loading everything into the car. Now let me tell you, that car was packed to the brim! So much so that my dad had to stack the big Tupperware bins on the roof of the car. I had told him that I didn’t think he was tying it tight enough but he assured me that everything was okay. He should have listened to me. When I called my mother in the evening to see where they were, my mother informed me that one of the Tupperware bins flew off the roof. At first, I thought she was joking. I still even thought she was joking all the way through to when I arrived home a week later.

She wasn’t joking.

Horrified, a bajillion thoughts entered my head. Of course, I was glad to hear that everyone was safe, but still, I couldn’t help such thoughts like: WHAT WAS IN THE BIN? WHAT IF THEY WERE ALL OF MY PHOTO ALBUMS? WHAT IF THEY WERE ALL OF MY KEEPSAKES FROM FIRST AND SECOND YEAR? WHAT IF THEY WERE ALL OF MY LETTERS AND CARDS? What if there were some novels and VHS in the bin? (Though this last question didn’t matter so much as I knew I could always buy those books and movies again.)

When I arrived home and started unpacking, I started to notice what had gone missing – mainly, all of my philosophy books. I thought this was so ironic and funny. Here I was, wanting oh-so-badly to hold onto that “Honours Philosophy” part of me that I just had to bring all of my philosophy books back home, when I should have left that part of me behind. It was almost as if someone out there was trying to send me a sign – telling me that I was going down a different path now and tht the “Honours Philosophy” path has now been paved over to make room for 300 thousand-dollar condos.

“My books flew out onto the highway.” Isn’t that funny? It has sort of a ring to it, doesn’t it?

Anyway, after my parents left, my former roommate came up to Montreal to help me tie up the loose ends. We spent the last week in Montreal, eating non-stop, watching T.V., getting our nails done, and just being all-around-lazy. It was great. On the last night in Montreal, we went out with a group of our friends. I will always remember that night as, if not the greatest, then one of the greatest nights I have ever had in Montreal. I was so incredibly touched by everyone – how they, understanding my situation, reached out to me, and supported me. Most of all, they believed in me.

On the train ride back to Toronto, I kept replaying in my head, all of the events that had occurred during the past couple of days. It made me sad to think that I was leaving all of that behind and wouldn’t be having anymore of those college experiences for the next while. But then I thought, well, it’s a good thing I’m coming back then. Another important reason why I chose to go back to McGill for my last year was because I felt like I needed another chance at “the college life”. My McGill experience has disappointed me in so many ways. I thought my university years were going to be “the best years of my life”. All I can say is my university years will certainly be the most memorable years of my life; I have done way too much “soul-searching” to forget any of this. In university, I thought I was supposed to make a group of friends who were going to be my best friends for life; so far, I have yet to meet this group of “best friends”. I thought I was supposed to meet the love of my life! Again, I have yet to meet him. So, when I made the decision to return to McGill for my last year, I felt happy that I would be getting a second and final chance to make things right – to get that experience I so longed for and was cheated out of for my first three years.

Tomorrow is the big day! Come back and read the final part of 20th!

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