Coming from a small town myself, my first year in the big city was confusing, over-whelming and amusing all at the same time. You’re ultimately on your own, in a different city, watching all the different kinds of people walking down Queen St and it’s exciting and exhilarating and terrifying all in the same breath! You’re in a whole new city; the world is at your feet! You can re-invent yourself; the beginning of a new chapter of your life is about to be written RIGHT NOW! When the realness of that starts to sink in and you kind of feel like your chest is going to implode from excitement and fear and anticipation, just take a deep breath! There are tons of experiences to learn from, people to meet and mistakes to laugh about.
Here are some things to know about the big city:
1) Take a day to learn the subway system. Better yet, take two days. You’re going to want to do this. Trust me. When you walk down the stairs of that subway station, take a nice big breath and ask how to get from point A to point B. The TTC officers will be more than happy to help.
2) There is no such thing as personal space when it comes to this city. Prepare to get to know strangers in a very intimate way when in a streetcar/train/bus.
3) The best thing about living in this amazing city is that you will never run out of things to do; whether it be trying out incredible restaurants or going to museums and art galleries; different city events or just good old shopping—I promise boredom is never an option.
4) Go to as many events as you can; the school sends out a ton of invites to amazing events going on in the city. This is the best way to network; to get to know who’s who and who to talk to about different opportunities in regards to jobs and even internships.
5) Don’t forget to look up. Be amazed at the architecture; BE a tourist as much as you want to be! Be inspired! Walk around and admire your surroundings! This city is full of passion and you can find beauty almost everywhere you look.
Be prepared to be stressed. It won’t always be easy and unfortunately, the big city isn’t always as fun and as glamorous as they make it look on The Hills. You won’t always be walking around with a Starbucks cup in your hand because, let’s face it, five dollars for a latte every day is just not realistic for most of us students. But remember what you came here for! There are no short cuts to anywhere worth going! So remember to work hard and work smart! And one day, you’ll be one of the big shots carrying the Céline bag down Bloor street.