By: Anindita Gupta, Peak Associate
“Goodbye SFU” is something I have wanted to say ever since my first ever set of midterms. But now that it is going to be reality, I don’t feel ready to leave.
My first memory of SFU is when I drove to university for the first time ever. As an international student, I had only seen the building while sitting in my home in Nairobi, Kenya. Yes, I had been on tours — the virtual ones. I knew some people by their names and profile pictures thanks to the SFU Fall 2015 group on Facebook. But after that drive, it was all real. I could touch and feel the buildings, and these people that I had met virtually were very different in person! The first time the taxi drove up Gaglardi Way, I finally saw the elevated floors of the AQ that I had only seen previously online.
When I look back on my time at SFU, it was everything I had hoped and dreamed of . . . topped with some stress and anxiety.
I began classes and made friends with people in both the communications and psychology departments: these spaces, I knew, were going to be like home for me for a long time. I wasn’t living on residence yet, so I always felt a little left out when all my “lecture friends” talked about going to the Dining Hall together after every class for a meal. That was OK, because I had found a bunch of commuter students, just like myself — but to overcome that and meet more people who didn’t necessarily live on campus, I ended up joining 16 clubs on my first Clubs Day!
After the end of my first university semester and after having dealt with what really writing a paper is like, I remember feeling overwhelmed, but with a sense of achievement. For my first break, I flew back home to Kenya. Soon, I realized that there is no sadder feeling for an international student than having to get back to university after that first break.
I was miserable, after spending only two weeks with my family, to be back to the snowy land of Vancouver. But I began to live on residence, and this is where I found my home and family away from home. It was amazing to have the glorious 24/7 goodness that was the Dining Hall. I was so happy to step up from my regular meals of pastas and Mr. Noodles! I stayed in residence for an entire year: moving between the Towers (#teambrae) and McCow. I met some of my closest friends and the most fascinating people through the SFU residences, and I am ever so grateful for that.
So, my first goodbye to SFU was to residence when I finally left campus to try to really “adult” with a couple of my friends. After endless hours of studying, serious discussions, serious laughs, and the sight of Trump becoming the president of the United States, it was really tough to say goodbye to the Dining Hall, mainly! We suffered the very first day after moving out when we realized what a struggle it was to get groceries, walk home, and actually produce food out of it!
My second goodbye is what’s coming up in a few months: a goodbye to all of SFU. It still makes me anxious thinking about the near future, where my schedule will not revolve around classes. Meeting with TAs and advisors in their offices, rushing to a class on the fifth floor of the AQ that I still can’t easily find (after having had class there for three years or so), bumping into people unexpectedly at the gym or the line at Tim Hortons: these seem like they have been a part of my life for so long, and now, they’re about not to be.
Applying for jobs is similar to being waitlisted for a course: you don’t know whether you have the job or the course for a few weeks, and you live in that world of fantasy where you try to tell yourself this job/course isn’t all that great and there are better ones out there. But at the same time, you imagine your life with the job/course and just how perfect you think it’s going to be.
I know that I am not going to find something worthwhile the second I’m out, but to even walk the walk out of SFU feels surreal. Even though I’ve been wanting to be done with school ever since the first semester, I don’t feel ready to leave. The SFU bubble is a very comfortable one to be in.
If you don’t have a course you’d really like, you talk to one of your advisors and they’ll help you out. If you’re applying for a co-op and you don’t end up finding anything great yourself, the co-op advisors find you something good in the lightning round. If you are confused, slightly or massively, by anything in your courses, your professors and TAs are always around for extra help through so many different means.
But now, once I’m out and if I ever feel lost, I have to be ready to find my way — without any of the wonderful people that have made my SFU journey easier.