A Love Letter To UVic

I am a big believer that there are things/people/places in the world that you will always love. Whether that be a passionate love, a quiet love, a whole-hearted love, or love pockmarked with nostalgia. Even things that have hurt you, you can still love somewhere deep in your memory.

University was an experience that hurt me. It broke me down and did its best to tear me to pieces. And I didn’t understand, couldn’t understand, how something that so many people had told me was necessary, had told me would be the best experience of my life, had ended up being the worst.

But here’s the thing: I still loved it. I still love it.

Where else could I take courses like Queering the Undead? Where else could I learn about things that fascinated and inspired me? Where else could I have learned to strengthen my writing by removing certain words or types of words? Where else could I have picked and chosen exactly what I wanted to learn and when and how?

University was a world of knowledge that I got to explore and work my way through. I learned things I never even imagined learning and had fun getting to know profs and working on assignments I felt meant something to me. After years of schooling where I was taught what someone else wanted me to know, I finally got to decide what wanted to know.

Then there are the people I met at university. Some of my very best friends, people I now can’t imagine living without, I met on campus. I was very lucky to go to university with two of my best friends with high school and have them to talk to, to laugh with, to support me through a very scary time. But neither of them were in my program or my classes. So I got to meet new people, talk to them, listen to them, form friendships so strong that I physically hurt from missing them. And although I didn’t find my future spouse in WRIT 100 (*cough* like I was promised *cough*), I found the people who know me, the people who understand me, and the people I love.

Not to mention that I learned a lot about myself at UVic. Without the open, accepting environment, without the new people I met, without the eye-opening courses I took, I might never have realized that I’m bisexual. I might never have felt the need to explore it. I definitely wouldn’t have been half as comfortable with spending a long time without labeling myself because I didn’t feel comfortable with a label without the Gender Studies courses I took.

I learned that even though I’m a lot weaker than I thought I was, I’m also a lot stronger. I got through things I never would have imagined, fought my own brain chemistry for two years, and ended up understanding happiness in a completely different way than I did before. I had support and love all around me and I shied away from it because I was scared of hurting someone else with my own pain. And I learned that was no way to live my life.

I experienced living on my own for the first time, living with roommates, and readjusting to living with my parents again. I learned how to cook. I learned to love the taste of vegetables. I balanced school and work and my own personal creative projects. I fought depression and anxiety and I lost and I won.

I found what I love and I found what I hate. I pushed myself far past my limits and then learned how to take care of myself, how to control myself, how to be gentle with myself. I learned everything I could before it was too much and I had to make a choice: stay with something I love even though it hurt me or leave for my own good.

In a way, this serves as my official goodbye to the university and everything I loved about it. To everyone I met, everyone who helped me, everyone who smiled at me, or nodded. To every building I sat in and every toilet stall I cried in and every classroom I sat in staring at the walls because I couldn’t focus on the words coming out of a prof’s mouth. I love UVic so much but ultimately it wasn’t the right place for me and that hurt a lot to realize but it hurt more to ignore.

I wish everyone luck on their exams, a good summer, and, of course, lots of love in their lives.

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2 Responses

  1. CB says:

    What a wonderful, raw and honest post, Jessica. It takes a huge amount of courage and strength to make such a huge decision AND to put it, so eloquently, into a blog post. While we will most certainly miss you at UVic, we hope you’ll take all the love you have for this amazing place with you into this next chapter of your life. You have 22,000 friends cheering you on! 🙂