By Miriam Valdes-Carletti
Second-year RTA student Gabbie Pangan has always been reserved and shy. But that all changed when she moved to Toronto to attend Ryerson University and started a bucket list.
“Toronto is definitely more accepting than back home. I experienced that first hand when people [from home] thought I was a full on rebel.” Pangan said.
Born in Windsor and raised in Niagara Falls, Pangan described herself as introverted in high school. Trying to live up to everyone’s expectations and please everyone is one of the main reasons she didn’t branch outside of her comfort zone.
“I felt like people would judge me,” Pangan said.
Now free from a Catholic high school that restricted unnatural hair colours, Pangan has dyed her hair almost every colour of the rainbow. She currently sports green hair and is aiming for pink as the next colour. While she enjoys this change, others don’t.
Her parents especially didn’t like her choices. She explained how they thought having coloured hair is often associated with negative connotations. But Pangan’s parents finally became unphased after she got her cartilage pierced.
Being a Ryerson student has made Pangan feel that she can really pursue anything she’s ever wanted, such as burlesque dancing and uploading song covers to her YouTube channel. These are just a few of the things on her bucket list that she has been doing since she entered first-year.
“The burlesque dancing is something completely unlike me, considering my past” Pangan explains, “I wanted to break those expectations.”
She describes the lessons as empowering and a great way to get fit.
Ever since she’s been out of the high school environment, Pangan says she’s happier and more confident and will do whatever it takes to stay that way. That means dying her hair, experimenting different fashion trends and taking on new hobbies.
Learning Korean, taking fencing classes, play the harp and visiting five different countries while backpacking are just some of the things on her bucket list.
“I don’t think I’ll ever stop trying new things.”