By Michelle Lu Tian

There are two more weeks until freshman year is over.

It’s really weird that I can say that. I still remember being a sophomore in high school and dreaming about going to college. Every time I thought about it, I was just overwhelmed with excitement. They all say it’s the best four years of your life, and I couldn’t wait to experience it myself.

I was throwing my cap up in the air at my high school graduation. I was saying goodbye to friends who have been there for me forever, and while leaving them was hard, flying away from my home of 18 years in Vancouver was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. 

But when orientation started, I felt something new. It was optimism, it was eagerness, it was just pure joy. I couldn’t wait to start this next chapter and connect with people from all over the world. I just felt such a need to put myself out there to do something I don’t normally do and I wanted to take advantage of that.

This year, my first semester was tough. My first wave of homesickness started around mid-September, never really ending until I went home for American Thanksgiving. But I still bonded with people and made the most of what I had. 

Looking back, I wish I had joined more clubs and taken more risks. But the transition was huge and I’m very proud of how much I put myself out there. I wasn’t in my home country, yet I still adapted fairly quickly. It wasn’t easy, but I managed. 

Also, classes were difficult. I messed up during registration and didn’t get the classes I wanted, but I worked hard and it did pay off. 

The second semester was much better than the first. I felt at ease and was familiar with the academic system (to say HUB confused me would be an understatement), and I knew the environment and people. I joined more clubs, which was my best decision because I met and bonded with people I vibe with. 

But then coronavirus forced us all to go back home. And boy, that sucked. Of course, I love it back home and I love spending time with my family, but it’s not the same when being home isn’t a choice, and there were so many freshman experiences that I was looking forward to. I wish there were more things I could have done since this is my only time being a freshman and I wanted to live it up. 

I didn’t even go to a hockey game. And I’m Canadian

There were some days where I would just sit in bed and think whether going to a new country for university was a good idea. But in the end, I always tell myself that it was. Sure, it’s outside my comfort zone, but if I’m not going to step out of my safe bubble during college, when will I? I’m proud of myself for making this decision.

Freshman year might be over soon, but the memories won’t fade. I’m looking forward to the future, and I can’t imagine being this happy at any other university. 

I can’t wait to be back. As soon as all this is over, I know I’ll be complaining about how many people there are on Commonwealth Avenue or having a mental breakdown in Marciano Commons. But for now, I’m excited for the day I get to fly back. 

Here’s to three more years at my second home.