Student Life, Word on the Y

Word on the Y: First-years’ experiences on campus

Isabella González, Staff Writer

Coming from an international school where I knew everybody, I was overwhelmed when I stepped into overcrowded lecture halls with 100 different students during my first week of in-person class. As I walked into a bustling lecture hall lit up by blinding lights, I decided to take a seat next to a stranger. The anxieties teeming in my head discouraged me from saying hello, but I pushed those feelings aside and started a conversation. After all, I’m a stranger to them too; we both have the same irrational fear of being the first one to break the dense silence between us. While 100 students in one lecture hall can seem like 100 individual things to worry about, those are also 100 exciting opportunities for meaningful conversations, valuable friendships, careless laughter, brunch outings, and late-night study dates at the library. I’ve decided to embrace these opportunities in my first year, and live boldly outside of my comfort zone. While I won’t get to know everyone in my overcrowded lectures, as long as I make one or two friends with whom I can pick up a warm and comforting chai latte after class, I’m set.

Abby McCormick, Staff Writer

As I take a seat in my first in-person class of my second semester at McGill, the aura around me is one of comfortable silence. While I initially thought that being in a sea of people once again would fill my stomach with butterflies, instead, it reminds me that I’m not the only one struggling to find a sense of normalcy amid the chaos of the pandemic. I smile at the girl next to me through my black mask. She smiles back. It reminds me how much I missed the simple gestures of human contact during these weeks of isolation. With the return to the classroom, I am hopeful for more opportunities to connect with other students and make my first year one for the books. Even though I’ve missed out on many quintessential freshman year McGill experiences, like lectures in Leacock 132 and nights at Cafe Campus, I am confident that the uncertainty of the pandemic has made me more adaptable and will—hopefully—make my upper years at McGill feel all the more worthwhile. 

Rosie Kaissar, Contributor 

After a long break filled with isolation and quarantine, I couldn’t be happier to be back on the beautiful downtown campus with lots of commotion all around. While going back to McGill brings back the stress of finals week and 3 a.m. crying sessions in McLenny, the beautiful sight of white, powdery snow and feeling of the refreshing, though extremely cold, air have made it difficult to stay away from campus—even on the days when I don’t have any in person classes. I love how I can just go for a small walk and run into friends who I haven’t seen since early December. Even with the hybrid model of school this year, campus feels like a home, and I am excited to be back.

Sabrina Nelson, Contributor  

As I enter the room of my first in-person lecture, I feel out of place amid a sea of unfamiliar faces. After two years of seeing black squares on my laptop, I had forgotten what it felt like to be in a room filled with strangers. Yet, as I take my seat, the person next to me smiles and says hello. Suddenly the butterflies are gone, and I am at ease. I quickly realized how much I had missed the small pleasures of human contact—the exchange of glances, smiles, and laughter. I had forgotten the excitement that came with meeting someone in a classroom for the first time and sharing a meaningful conversation. I have missed out on so many high school and first-year experiences because of the pandemic, yet even if things will never go back to how they used to, I hope that the return to in-person will make up for everything that I have yet to experience—like Montreal’s nightlife and art scene—and that I will still get to have the college experience that I have dreamt of having. Looking forward, I will grasp every opportunity that to form valuable friendships and push myself out of my comfort zone to make unforgettable memories. I won’t take anything for granted, even the seemingly mundane things.

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