Picture Yourself Here
While I had known from a young age that attending university after high school was what I wanted, I was confounded by the subsequent question of “Which one?” I read every university viewbook I could get my hands on; I spent countless hours researching programs across the nation; I consulted teachers, family friends, and guidance counselors; I went to every university information fair that my high school put on; and I tried earnestly to picture myself at each university I was presented with. I knew that my choice would change my life, and at age 17 I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of this responsibility.
As a small town girl from Salmon Arm, BC, I was excited about moving to a larger city for university, but I was nervous about feeling lost in this new place I would soon call home. In my hometown I was used to seeing familiar faces everywhere I went, and I was accustomed to the network of support I felt throughout the community.
Could I find this same sense of security at university? Would I be supported when met with challenges I couldn’t face alone? Would I become just another face in the crowd, or would I feel a sense of belonging? In addition to all the considerations I faced – academic, financial, geographical, and otherwise – these questions subconsciously nagged at me during my search for the perfect university.
When I had narrowed my search down to two prospective schools, both stood as equals by my judgment in terms of academic excellence, programs of interest, proximity to home, and available opportunities. Objectively, I was torn. But one day I came home to the sight of the two schools’ viewbooks side-by-side on my desk, where I had left them earlier in indecision.
One, in impressive impersonal all-caps lettering, boasted academic prestige and research legacy; the other, with a stylistic image of a student’s corkboard, conveyed liveliness, personality, and experience. I picked up the latter viewbook from the desk and with new eyes saw the promise of the University of Victoria.
Phrases such as “a place to call home,” “we’re here for you,” “your experience isn’t just about what you study” and “we can’t wait for you to start” jumped at me from the pages. I smiled as I re-read the profiles of featured UVic students that accentuated each section of the book and I longed for more.
For the first time in my university selection process, my nervous doubts of belonging dissipated. The words of UVic painted vivid images in my mind and a sense of ease washed over me. I understood that this was a place where I would be welcomed with open arms, supported in my endeavors, and valued as an individual. I knew that this was where I wanted my life to change.
“Picture yourself here,” the text read; “I couldn’t picture myself anywhere else,” I concluded.
Find the current issue of the University of Victoria viewbook here.
I’d like to thank Margy and the Department of Student Recruitment and Global Engagement in the Division of Student Affairs for giving me the opportunity to view the old promotional materials that allowed me to create this blog post.