Dear future me: What students are excited to experience back on campus

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Balzac’s, bubble tea, never knowing if your Presto has money on it…there’s so much to look forward to.

visuals by harry clarke

It’s been a long ass year, so for our final issue of the year we decided to focus on a theme of hope. And what’s more hopeful than president Lachemi vaguely mentioning that he’s “increasingly optimistic” about a return to campus next year? That’s why we decided to ask students to write a letter to their post-pandemic selves, when classes are back in-person. Here’s what they said:

“This time was full of uncertainty—the kind that creeps over me when someone isn’t standing in their designated circle in the Costco line or when my grandma coughs over the phone. But I’m excited for the world to return to a place where uncertainty is just a regular, forgettable part of my day: the feeling of wondering if I can run from the Rogers Communication Centre to the Ted Rogers School of Management building fast enough; sitting in a study room I didn’t actually book; walking up to the Presto terminal at Dundas station, not knowing if the screen will turn red or green; waking up each morning, a little unsure of where that day would take me. Maybe the sentiment is weird, but I’m unbelievably excited for that kind of uncertainty to replace the kind that looms over my days in lockdown.”

Mariyah Salhia, second-year journalism student

“Even though you’re graduating, know that you’re so deserving of this degree and future jobs. It’s been a long and hard four years; it wasn’t a waste of time, your work shows for it. Once this is all over, and you’re working full-time at an amazing company in a phenomenal position, be sure to know your roots. In the great words of One Direction: ‘Don’t forget where you belong.’ Visit the campus and breathe in the somewhat toxic air of Gould Street, remembering the worthwhile memories you made there.”

— Sidra Jafri, fourth-year journalism student

“Hey man, hope you’re doing alright and not missing the lockdown life; though, I guess it has a few advantages. Third year is supposed to be rough but I hope you’re making the most of in-person classes. Is the SLC still crowded? Are the Friday post-class vibes still immaculate? Damn, I could really go for one of those Ali Baba’s shawarmas right now. Whenever you start feeling exhausted and running low on sleep, remember it’s still better than being stuck at home and having nothing to do but sleep. Take care man, hoping life is good to all of us.”

Muaaz Ashfaq, second-year computer science student

“Have you seen a friend in the hallway and spontaneously decided to get lunch yet? I love seeing friends and classmates on Zoom, but it doesn’t compare to laughing in the classroom, without the sound feedback. There’s so much to be hopeful for; I’ve only been in three Ryerson buildings so far. I hope you can congratulate your friends in person rather than tagging them on Twitter, that you stay up late in the same building together and that you can say hi to the professors you’ve connected with in your classes. I have many wishes and I hope you can fulfill them all.”

Julia Lawrence, first-year journalism student

“I’m so excited to be back on campus to spend countless hours procrastinating with friends at Balzac’s. I’m looking forward to spending all my money on food that I don’t need but really want to buy. I’m also so excited to meet new people and make more friends. I’m sure you’ll look back at this past year with so many emotions, but I hope you’ve found peace and joy at the end of it. Cheers to you!”

— Kennedy Byron, second-year social work student

“I can’t wait to not fear the crowds; for packed concerts, classrooms and hallways where people laugh and smile. I’m excited to take risks and get involved in community theatre, to dress up and go dancing and to hug people I’m being introduced to for the first time. I can’t wait for safely-pursued hoe summers, scream-singing with my friends in clubs and bonding with random women in the bathroom as they contemplate breaking up with their boyfriends. I just can’t wait to feel comfortable around others again and I look forward to seeing the masses!”

Zanele Chisholm, third-year English student

“Yo, I know stuff is tough right now as I write this, but you were always killing it before, during and after quarantine. I hope you didn’t cry too much after moving back to Toronto and seeing your friends, who are honestly more like family. Bubble tea dates after class and chaotic moments at the Student Learning Centre are no longer to be taken for granted. Enjoy them and embrace the little victories and things that make you happy. When it’s all said and done, that’s the only thing that really matters anyways.”

Jade Eutiquia, second-year arts and contemporary studies student

“Fingers crossed that you’re experiencing life to the fullest again, from outside of your bedroom. It’s the simple things I now yearn for the most. I anticipate brushing shoulders with friends as we walk to the TRSM building, going to the Eaton Centre right after as a reward for attending class in the first place, seeing Yonge and Dundas Square’s bright lights and stores, being a part of the bustling Ryerson crowds. Slowly, yet surely, we’ll reach a time when COVID-19 cases are at an all-time-low and we’re allowed to visit our loved ones with no confines. In the meantime, continue having hope for what’s to come in the near future! It’s what has gotten you this far after all.”

Isabella Mensah-Koduah, second-year sociology student

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