A girl sits by the window of a high-rise building and you can see the skyline in the background.

My Support System at UofT!

Last week, I celebrated my 21st birthday, and besides being the exciting time a birthday is, it was also somewhat of an emotional roller coaster. To begin with, this was my 3rd time celebrating my birthday away from home, away from my family and all my childhood friends. On top of that, I also happen to share birthday with my younger brother. What used to be a double-celebration when I was back home has now become something very different. Luckily, here in university I am fortunate to have a support system, a group of friends whom I now call my family. 
A group of friends raising their cups to the centre.
21st-birthday dinner!
If you’ve read any of my blogs before, you already know how much I love my friends at university. These same friends are the ones that won’t only be there for all the good times, but also during tough ones. Being able to see my friends when I’m sad is probably one of the most important things to me. It’s easy to stick around when everyone’s having fun, but if a friend can stay with me while I’m sad, that’s how I know it’s real. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll cry to them or even ask for advice. For me, being sad could be just sitting in silence with each other. 
A boy laughs in the light looking away from the camera.
Caught mid-conversation
What I expect from my friends is also what I intend to give back. Support systems work both ways. They have been there for me during the great and not-so-great times, and we rely on each other for so many things. Even if I just want someone to complain about all my readings! I also remind myself to ask before I rant, as sometimes we have both had long days, and they (or even me) might not be in the best position to have these type of conversations. However, even acknowledging these kind of things shows that we’ve got each other’s back.   
A bouquet of pink roses in a white container and a pink heart-shaped balloon that says Happy 21st Birthday
A surprise gift from my parents.
My support system also involved my family from back home. I was lucky to be woken up on my birthday by a call from them back home. It was 6am and my younger brother was getting ready to go to school. My brother was having breakfast as my parents sang Happy Birthday to both of us. This was perhaps the best thing that day, but it was also what made the day the most emotional. All day I couldn’t help but think about them, making me miss them more than usual. We all kept in touch throughout the day, and they made sure I was feeling okay. And thanks to them and my friends here, I was able to have not only a great birthday, but an amazing week. 

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