By Fatima Raza
Toronto Metropolitan University’s (TMU) name change from the former Ryerson finally came through for hopeless University of Toronto (U of T) rejects and dropouts, who can now wrongfully identify as U of T students. Rejects just like me.
Growing up in an immigrant household, there were only three things required of me: 1) Get good grades, 2) Get better grades than the neighbour’s children and of course, 3) Get into U of T. I managed to fulfil all three requirements. Well…sort of, because I did get into the University of Toronto, Mississauga campus (UTM).
Me: So … I’m switching to Ryerson for their journalism program!
Dad: Why? What is wrong with UTM?
Me: It’s just better for my mental health and they have a better program : )
Dad: But no medical school will take you in, how will you be a doctor?
Me: Dad… I’m in journalism
Mom: Does this mean I have to update my facebook status?
The smile on my parents’ faces the day I got my acceptance mail said it all. The news of their smartest child getting accepted into Canada’s Harvard-equivalent spread like wildfire across family group chats with WhatsApp forwards and Facebook posts.
Their joy was alike to that of a Brown boy whose beard finally connects or to a Brown girl who finally fights her sunset curfew. Fast forward, I ended up switching to Toronto Metropolitan University, previously known as Ryerson.
Me: Guys, Ryerson just changed their name, it’s gonna be TMU now lol. Kinda like UTM!
Dad: You’re going to UTM again? Thank god.
Me: No, dad. I’m going to TMU, my school changed its name.
Dad: What do you mean?
Mom: This is great news, I just told your grandmother and my friends about it.
Mom: Woohoo, back to future UTM grad!
The shift away from U of T was a devastating blow for my parents, who still refuse to accept it to this day. But let’s be fair, all immigrant parents are always in some sort of denial. Just last week, I was told by my mom that my stress-induced hair loss was in fact caused by me not oiling my hair regularly.
Our new name makes getting my family adjusted to the change in schools coincidentally convenient. Since I was at the Mississauga campus, going from UTM to TMU doesn’t entirely seem too bad, just a little rearrangement of the letters, right? Wrong! Unfortunately, my entire family—including relatives back home—think I go to UTM and am pursuing a prestigious degree at one of Canada’s top-ranked universities.
It’s not always rainbows and butterflies but I live for the free respect. It does get really awkward, though, when a relative of another relative happens to know someone down the street whose daughter also wants to get into U of T and reaches out to ask how I like the university. Do they mean the classes I take in a movie theatre with dingy cup holder lap tables and NOT an ornate lecture hall? Or my campus that’s basically a mall surrounded by deserted alleyways and endless construction, which is definitely not the epitome of woodland core and high-end architecture?
Some Distant Relative’s Neighbour’s Bestie: Hey Fatima, your mom told me you’re studying at UTM to become a doctor. What is campus like? How big is the library? I might be joining you next year!
I’m gonna be honest, I dig the new name. Despite the full title making it sound like I study at a subway station, I enjoy getting royal treatment at family events. I’m sure my name comes up in the “good role model” conversations far more often than I deserve. I’m probably the child every other kid in the family gets compared to, thanks to my parents’ inability to differentiate two acronyms.