I love Victoria. So why am I leaving?

I have been, for days, writing, erasing, re-writing and re-erasing all the nervousness, the excitement, the tears (of which there are many), the high highs and the low lows (you get the point) of the very moments that are playing out right in front of me now; so I guess what better thing to do than rip off the band-aid?

It’s been a time, Victoria, but at the end of the month, I’m peace-ing out of this city and moving back home (for a gap semester).

This past year has been, for better or for worse, the most hectic year of my life. From my first few months hating this city because I missed my hometown way more, to quickly realizing how much I actually do love it here and want to eat, sleep, and breathe Victoria, I find myself packing my life back into boxes – bringing home not only the objects I brought with me, but what I had learned for this next chapter of my life.

“It’s not you, it’s me”

I think that my excitement got the best of me here. I tried so hard to make this city my own, to get out of the old and into the new that I lost focus on myself. Even though I did very well in my classes, had three incredible jobs, and laughed until I cried with friends over the best brunches at Spoons, it cost more than what was in my wallet.

The decision to leave Victoria is a culmination of a long internal struggle, but one of the main factors was our good ol’ friend, burnout. If I could go back and talk to the Justin that arrived in Victoria almost one year ago today, I would say “don’t forget about who you are”.

Remember where you come from

The context behind that response is pretty much twofold. It’s two pieces of advice that I heard thrown around as I was getting ready to go to university, but are often overlooked.

The first meaning is that when you are coming to university, you are going to be challenged on who you are and on your ideas. Be open-minded, but be true to yourself. Stand up for what you believe in, and take care of your wingers.

Watch for burnout

Me and my co-op colleagues Chioma, Georgia, and Jared on the fo’c’sle of the HMCS OTTAWA as part of our research to develop preventative sexual misconduct and harmful behaviour trainings for the Royal Canadian Navy!

The second meaning is a bit more pertinent to my situation: take rest.

University is going to be some of the most exciting years of your life. I got to tour two Navy vessels as part of the research and development for my job – I will never have a more exciting moment in any career I pursue than that!

I get to meet high school students and tell them why I am in love with UVic and write about my silly shenanigans.

However, I learned the hard way that these things will come when you least expect them. It is exhausting chasing fun. And burnout doesn’t discriminate – I just happened to be among the unlucky ones.

Take rest when you need it. I promise the world around you will keep moving and you won’t be missing out on anything when you realize that it is the candid moments you’re looking for.

Until next time, UVic

To be clear: I absolutely love the University of Victoria and the community around it, and will never regret my choice to study here.

It’s safe, it’s welcoming, it’s challenging, it’s filled with opportunities to grow – that is why I want to leave, so that I can be back in a year and experience these things all over again in the most authentic version of myself.

I’m going to miss the breakfasts in the Student Union Building, the views from PKOLS, and the buzz of students walking around the Quad in September. I expect there to be more tears now, but an even more resilient person in a year’s time.

À toute à l’heure, UVic – see you on the flipside.

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3 Responses

  1. CB says:

    Happy to hear you are putting YOU first! Take good care, Justin. A whole lot of people are going to miss you!

  2. MM says:

    Life’s mistakes
    Are yours to make
    Miss a term
    Live and learn

    Get a job
    From uncle Bob
    Ten years on
    It’s aoow! and garn!

  3. SDS says:

    I literally teared up reading this. Hope you have a great gap semester and keep on blogging!!!