Life @ U of T

Reflecting on My Week at #JoyUofT

Though I am undertaking a virtual term abroad, I am proud to call the University of Toronto my home. This is an institution that has supported my academic growth to the degree of turning me toward applying for a Killam Fellowship in the first place. Without my peers and professors, I would not have found my calling in academia. Being a student here brings me joy, and I am glad that last week's campaign reminded me of how others experience joy in different means.

The lack of on-campus activities and classes moved my attention to social media. There, I found photos of smiling students alongside quotes on what brings them joy. Among the quotes I saw mentions of pets and of skip rope, both things that I have taken for granted. Spending a virtual term abroad means not having to leave behind my dog, Haidyn, and skip rope was my recess activity of choice during my years in middle school. These are all small and accessible fountains of joy that I am reminded to be thankful for.

A boxed lunch of salad and rice along with a laptop and tote bag on a table.
Having a packed lunch at the Innis Cafe space on campus.

This week is reading week at the University of Toronto, providing much needed refuge from a barrage of assignments and quizzes last week. It is a time for focusing on the self, on relaxing, and for me: on my readings. I used to fall significantly behind on my readings mid-way through the term, so reading week was the perfect excuse and opportunity to catch up on my school work.

Where I am studying now, at American University, we have wellness week. Although classes are proceeding as usual, professors are advised not to impose any due dates on this week. There are also virtual events like Zoom clubs fairs to attend, in the place of in-person workshops that have occurred in previous years.

I am really glad that going on a virtual term abroad has lent me the opportunity to be part of two different academic communities. With each come unique cultures and students from different walks of life. The joy I experience at the University of Toronto, I realise now, is largely owed to the experiences—in person and in a virtual space—I have shared with classmates and club members I've met!

The back profile of someone sledding down a hill by Robarts Library on the St. George campus
Going sledding on a yoga mat at the back of Robarts Library with a friend on campus.

All in all, there may not be a reading week for me this year. However, I am glad to still have the time to reflect on what my home institution has introduced me to. I hope you are having a wonderful reading week, and that you are taking the time to relax and perhaps: reflect!

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