The University Experience- Finally!

Hi! My name is Joanna Joseph and I’m a second year undergraduate student at University of Toronto. As is the case with most second year students, this is the first time I’m experiencing University in person and I cannot be more excited to finally catch up on all that Zoom was missing. As an international student living on the other side of the world facing a nine and a half hour time zone difference it became extremely difficult to attend the various events being conducted online thus lending to the gaping feeling of not truly being part of the larger UofT community. However, as we slowly limp back to normalcy, as classes become in person and most students return to their residences, I’m looking forward to meeting people, making connections and hopefully realizing the true university experience that last year has made me crave and value more than ever.

When I landed in Toronto and came to campus for the first time, a good week into the start of classes, I felt like a tourist exploring the campus, the city and just about everything here. But as the weeks pass, I can feel myself settling into these almost familiar surroundings, knowing fully well that I have so much more of this lovely campus and city to explore. The beautiful nooks and crannies, the cozy study spots, the picturesque pathways, the old world charm of the buildings, the myriad libraries, the cute roadside eateries are all waiting to be experienced and I hope that I can take you along with me as I embark on this journey.

There are a host of things that I'm passionate about and being a blogger/storyteller definitely tops that list. If I had to pick just one word to encompass the topics that are important to me, it would be equality. Over the past few years and especially over the last year when my UofT journey began, I have been involved in organisations/clubs working towards equality in different forms, be it gender based equality, protection of children's rights, protection of human rights or ensuring equal opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds. And these engagements with UofT clubs have led to some really interesting experiences that I hope to be able to share with the readers through this blog.

I am currently working with the Centre for Community Partnerships, an office of Student Life at UofT that works with students, professors, and community partners to explore and implement a collaborative vision for a better world. Students can learn from and work with community organizations to contribute to a more equitable society through community-engaged learning and research opportunities. Working towards goals of equity and diversity, CCP has been instrumental in helping a large number of students realize their potential and I'm thrilled to be part of this amazing team this year.

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