“Can I have your Passport please?”, asks the immigration official.

“Sure”, I replied.

The immigration official looked towards me with an investigative look. Paused for a second and then handed over the Passport back to me saying, “Welcome to Canada”. That very moment all my imaginations, hallucinations, and dreams got realized. From a carefree hippy, who wasted most of his time trying to figure out how to make use of the time most effectively to an ardent reader determined to make his way through the SAT reading comprehensions, the journey until now has been festive and transformative. Like most of the international students who get super excited after receiving an acceptance letter from a university abroad, my journey to Lassonde also began the same way. It was a Sunday morning when I was dozing over the Shakespearean mysteries of language, when I received a letter of acceptance from York. Since that day time just took on wings. Days passed into months and sooner than I realized I was on the flight 407 Lufthansa en route to Canada.

It all seems like a dream today, and I wonder often that I’m living a dream. Even though if it is a dream, I simply refuse to wake up. The vibrant college community quietly engulfed me and I was participating outside of the classroom as much as did in the classroom and after a while a little more. I helped kick-start a discussion forum called Explorer’s Café, which was a 2-hour long biweekly session where we began with the question: “What’s the change that you want to see in the world” and we ended up contemplating “What is it that I have to change in myself to see the change in the world”. I’ve had times when the killing course load of Engineering and highly demanding social life almost took me apart but what helped me was what helps us live – “Keep breathing”. The best advice I’ve ever had to the overwhelming university life is from an International Development Professor who said, “Don’t worry if you get overwhelmed occasionally because that’s what makes the school years so amazing”.

Don’t take this piece as a guide to the university because you’ll get plenty of those. This is just to give you a taste of what you’ll be immersed in over the coming years. You’ll have times when you’ll be jumping out of ecstasy after successfully completing a project and you’ll have times when you’ll be crying over a bad midterm that you just had. Just fool yourself by repeating, “All is Well” over and over until you feel so. So, take a deep breath, have a nice sip (of whatever you prefer), and prepare to walk the most serpentine yet rewarding journey of your life.

P.S. Make sure you bring you have your phone batteries fully charged for the endless selfies that you’ll be taking outside of the Bergeron.

Utkarsh Pandey

International Computer Engineering Student

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