By Naomi Chen
Residence students at the International Living & Learning Centre (ILLC) were shocked to see their residence advisor, Aima Bhatt, microwaving two and a half mosquitos for breakfast.
“Aima was drooling at the crackling sound coming from the microwave,” said ILLC student Julie Smith. “She ate one plain and rolled the other in peanut butter and raisins for ‘extra protein.’”
Since the winter semester began, Bhatt’s nocturnal sleep schedule has been transforming her into a bat at a rapid speed. By the first week of February, she was requesting fruit flies to be added to his sandwich order at Balzac’s. Within days, her condition had progressed to reading upside down by the Student Learning Centre tree.
“By the next week I had to get rid of my AirPods, because they didn’t fit my increasingly pointy ears”
“I was staying up late a lot to catch up on coursework, and I started to notice my eyesight was significantly better at night,” Bhatt said. “By the next week I had to get rid of my AirPods, because they didn’t fit my increasingly pointy ears.”
Bhatt’s roommates, Winston and Jean, said she originally had terribly soft arms which have since shrank into her armpits and grown back as crispy wings, covering her entire lower back. When she could no longer sleep on her back, Bhatt attached a hook to her dorm room ceiling so she could hang upside down to rest.
Judith Grace, a mammal specialist and dean of the Ryerson Faculty of Science, said the digestive system in humans are prone to developing bat features after experiencing highly irregular sleep schedules. Given how students are living these days, Grace said she’s surprised that students didn’t start transforming sooner.
With changes in one’s sleep schedule, the digestive system may begin to release what is known as “batal acid,” which causes mutations directly linked to bat transformation in the digestive tract, she explained.
“If individuals experience more than 24 hours of nausea after departing from their regular sleep schedules and find themselves craving beetles, moths or mosquitos, please go to your nearest emergency department to get ready for your transformation,” Grace added.
In anticipation that other Ryerson students will soon begin their transformation, Ryerson Student Services will collaborate with the Toronto Zoo to create a 24-hour bat hotline to assist students.
Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi released a statement on Bhatt’s transformation, reading: “The university treats each and every student with equal respect. Aima’s bat transformation is a sound example of our commitment to diversity and inclusivity.”
Lachemi added that he is working with the Ryerson PR department to launch a marketing campaign starring Bhatt, with the slogan: See how high you can fly: At Ryerson, the sky’s the limit!
As part of her transformation, Bhatt quickly gained familiarity with the bat language and is finding it increasingly difficult to recollect English. Bhatt’s marketing professor, Ophelia Wan, has purchased a MultiLan animal translator to minimize communication barriers with her. The translator is endorsed by over 5,000 bats from 16 countries around the world, including Canada and the United States.
“So far, my attempts at speaking bat have been unsuccessful, but when I typed ‘How is your project coming along’ into the translator, it said ‘hiss-sisisisisi-chu-shu-chu-shu,’ which Aima seemed to understand,” said Wan.
Bhatt’s roommates have contacted her other professors to arrange the purchase of four more translators for her courses.
In addition to these adjustments, Bhatt has progressed further in her student life at Ryerson than ever before. She was named RA of The Month in January after saving a student’s life during a small ILLC fire by cradling them in her wings and flying out of the window. Bhatt credits the on-call incident success to her newly developed super speed.
“We’re incredibly thankful that Aima was quick on her feet—or wings, I suppose,” said Jennifer Futton, an ILLC residence service desk agent.
In anticipation that other Ryerson students will soon begin their transformation, Ryerson Student Services will collaborate with the Toronto Zoo to create a 24-hour bat hotline to assist students. The ILLC also plans to install a hook on every bedroom ceiling to provide alternate sleeping arrangements that best fits students’ needs.