I’m about 23 days away from graduating with my MI degree (but who’s counting?). I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what I want out of life, where I want to be, and what I want to do. I’m left with a world of possibilities, and all I can think about is 2003-2004, and being a freshman undergrad and going into residence. I was terrified. I had decided that I wanted to go ~away~ for school – my mom’s American and in the States, you go away for school. So, I applied away – I got in everywhere, and was left with how far away I really wanted to go. I could have either gone to U of G, about an hour away, McGill, one province away, or Mount Allison & Acadia -small liberal arts Universities in New Brunswick & Nova Scotia. I chose MTA. I was so excited, and I remember getting their welcome student in the mail. Part of that was a questionnaire to fill out to determine which residence you were going to be in.
I looked at everything, and finally decided to go into Hunton – a residence that described itself as “the family residence” in no small part because our Don’s had two young kids living with them in their first floor apartment. this was arguably the best decision I made academically wise. We were by no means the “tame” house, we had house parties, and more then let loose on Friday nights, but we always understood there were two kids sleeping downstairs. Our house had the lowest drop-out rate on campus, I imagine because our problems were dealt with by people who were parents themselves.
In my twitter feed the other day a link popped up from MTA talking about their small residence approach. If you’re going to university, have kids going to university, know someone who does, check it out. It made a huge difference to me moving across the country. http://www.mta.ca/news/index.php?id=3543#3543
Part of what being at MTA gave me was the desire for a community. I’m faced with finding a job and while most of my classmates are looking in Toronto and Southern Ontario I keep thinking back to what an amazing time I had at MTA. I still have very good friends scattered across the East Cost, 1 god-child (and another a month away!), my boyfriend still owns a house and we go out there as often as we can. I’m not just looking in Toronto and Southern Ontario. I would love to be able to go back out east, and have even just a little bit of what I had for my undergrad.
So, my advice to you is when you look at schools, don’t go safe – go away. I was pushed academically and personally and I came out a better person. A friend of mine’s daughter is going to UPEI for a music degree next year, and I hope she has an even better time then I will (and I’m 100% sure she will). When I graduate, I’m not going to go safe – I’m going to make the most out of whatever opportunity presents itself.