By Mansoor Tanweer
When the university 10 minutes from your home sends you an acceptance letter, the decision to say yes should be easy. But when a university based in a hotbed of sports and culture accepts you as well, the decision now isn’t so simple.
Vancouverite and Rams women’s volleyball player Demetra Maragos, 18, was faced with this decision when she saw that the University of British Columbia and Ryerson had accepted her simultaneously. Both had volleyball teams, so it would have been easy to continue her high school passion. The deciding factor, then, came down to what unique opportunities each program offered.
“I was looking into communications programs and I heard Ryerson had one of the top ones. The creative industries program was such a unique program that no one else had, so I applied and got in,” Demetra said.
Her parents were less than thrilled about the idea of their daughter being out of arm’s reach from them.
“My mom especially was more upset because I’m the first (oldest child). My dad also said that it was hard for him to let me go.”
And they tried hard to convince Demetra to stay. “They would say things like, ‘Everyone in your high school grad class will be going to UBC, and the school is literally 15 minutes from the house.’”
Despite their objections, Demetra is now a proud member of Ryerson University, and representing the Rams with her commanding presence on the volleyball court. Meanwhile, her creative industries program gives her the opportunity to explore her artistic side; a part of her personality she cultivated in her high school years at Little Flower Academy.
“I have always been a creative person, in high school I was in chamber choir and actually we even sang at Carnegie Hall last year,” she said. “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I will probably never be able to do that again.”
Her experience with the more prestigious chamber choir came after four years working her way up with her high school group. Her experience with the high profile singers of her school provided her with some great transferable skills.
“In choir you are put in so many pressure situations in performances, and in volleyball you are put in cold to serve and receive,” Maragos said. “You’re under a lot of pressure to perform the best you can, both teach you how to deal with that.” Now, for Demetra, Toronto has become a second home. But she sometimes still gets bouts of homesickness for her Vancouver roots.
“I’m a big skier, I definitely miss skiing, I used to do one or two big Whistler trips a year. The local mountains are so gorgeous,” Demetra said “I miss going to my dad’s home community in the sunshine coast and going to the beach, I definitely miss that. And obviously my family as well.” However, Toronto has become a part of her and she does miss some aspects of Toronto when she visits home.
“I love how big the downtown is here. In Vancouver I can walk from one end of the downtown to the other in 15 minutes. Toronto’s downtown is so much more diverse, you can do 10 different things in an hour.”