Vancouver: One Month In

I’ve officially survived my first month living in Vancouver! It has been a crazy month, and I have been avoiding writing lately because I’ve been struggling to find the words to express what exactly I’ve been going through.

To put it simply… this transition has not been as smooth as I had hoped. I suppose that is to be expected, but I was really hoping I would be able to adjust to school and life in Vancouver easily. That has definitely not been the case, which has caused me to seriously question my decisions that brought me to this place.

At the beginning of January, right when I first moved here, I felt good. It was as if all of the craziness in my life over the past year had finally calmed and came to a halt. I felt centre and exactly where I needed to be, and entered into this new stage with all of the confidence that I would adjust easily. And for the first while, I did feel like I was adjusting pretty well. I got the chance to reconnect with my friends whom I hadn’t seen in months, which was amazing.

Then I started going to school, which was an interesting dynamic in itself. It felt that school should be something familiar to me, since I am technically attending the same university, and yet everything was strange. I felt as if I shouldn’t feel out of place, and yet I did, and still do. Coming from a smaller campus community to such a large and overwhelming one is a big step, both liberating and intimidating. I find it kind of nice that I don’t actually know everyone that goes to school here, but at the same time, being surrounded by strangers who all seem so dedicated to their studies is very intimidating. Luckily, I’ve been able to make some great friends so far that has helped adjusting to a different campus.

However, I think what I was less prepared for was the amount of schoolwork I was in for, which was definitely something I had not fully anticipated. In these first couple of weeks, I was enjoying my time to adjust, so to speak, and all of a sudden I realized that I was way behind in my readings and extracurricular activities, I had tons of assignments coming up, and I couldn’t keep up. I was losing sleep trying to catch up which led to me getting sick, and I hit a breaking point shortly after, in about the third week of January. I thought to myself, there was no way I could do all of this. I started to wonder if I had made a big mistake, which made me feel so awful because I had been so sure that this was the right decision, but all of a sudden I was in this place where I wasn’t so sure anymore.

That weekend I took a lot of time to rest and breathe and try not to stress out, giving myself time to catch up but also time to take it easy. Reassurance from some great friends also helped to build up my confidence a bit again. I’ve gotten over being sick now, but I’m still pretty behind and it is a constant struggle for me to try and catch up (I should probably be doing homework right now too). I feel like I haven’t had any time to really transition to life in Vancouver at all because I was thrust into my studies at full force and was completely unprepared to do so. I am still finding myself doubting my capabilities and decision at times, but I’m trying to remember why I chose to come here and embrace everything that accompanies this journey. I still feel like I don’t quite belong here yet, but hopefully that will come in time.

Another factor that may be playing in to my difficulties adjusting to life in Vancouver is the fact that I really miss Toronto, which was something I had not expected at all! Often I get these moments where I think back to all of the incredible things I was doing in the fall and the supportive community I was surrounded by, and I yearn to still be a part of it, but I can’t to the extent that I was before. I suppose we can’t continue to look to the past and attempt to re-create it; rather, we should appreciate the good memories and continue to move forward. I hope I’ll be able to keep a part of my experiences from the fall with me as I continue to adjust to living in Vancouver.

This adjustment process so far has definitely not been ideal, but at least it’s pushing me to grow and invest myself in this experience as much as possible. I think one of the key takeaways I have had so far is that I am not alone, and that in itself has made the biggest difference. I am so grateful to be surrounded by incredibly supportive friends and family who make this transition a lot easier, despite the bumps along the way. Thank you to all of you for your continued love and support. I hope you will all continue to join me for the always challenging journey of #chiaratakesvancouver over the next few months!

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