Written by: Julia Bracewell
After months and months of anxiously waiting, planning, course picking, dorm shopping, second-guessing, and list making the day finally came. We packed up our car (literally packed it all the way up) and took the four-hour drive up to Toronto. I was a nervous wreck the whole way up. What would my roommate be like? Would I be able to handle the workload? Was I going to crack and gain that dreaded freshman 15? I couldn’t sit still, and counted down the minutes on our GPS’s ETA feature. Finally we were about to make our exit off of the highway and onto Bayview Avenue when my mother got distracted by a group of bikers dressed up as Power Rangers and completely missed the exit. My stress level peaked as I realized this put us even further behind than we already were that morning.
Luckily our GPS recalculated and got us back on schedule and brought us safely to Tyndale just in time for our usual late arrival. We were greeted by some incredibly welcoming students who helped us bring all my belongings up to my room and get settled in. The next few days would be a whirlwind of icebreaker games, information presentations, dorm meetings, fast introductions and discovering the many different ways you can say “My name is Julia, I’m from small town just outside of Windsor and I’m getting a BA in International Development.” It was an intensely exhausting, yet extremely fun and exciting week. Having said all this, I am now into full-swing student mode and am incredibly glad I made the choice to go to university at Tyndale. The community here is like no other I have ever experienced and I am beginning to form some really enjoyable friendships.
With every change, however, comes a period of transitioning. For me, coming to Tyndale involves many transitions. First, I’m transitioning from living in the tiny suburbs of Essex, to the massive city of Toronto (which I love), filled with culture, excitement, opportunity and a whole new way of living my day to day life. Second, I’m transitioning from enjoying my mothers blessed (and FREE) home cooking to having to now eat the slightly less appetizing cafeteria food in residence here. Because my meal plan is only enough to pay for two meals a day here, I decided myself to buy instant oatmeal and eat that for breakfast. I have had instant oatmeal out of the same dirty mug every morning since classes started (I’m sorry mom). All that being said, free food has a beauty it never beheld before.
Another transition was the transition from being a high school student to now being a full time university student. Professors with esteemed degrees who have written novels, and been apart of historical events such as NAFTA have an air of intimidation that high school teachers could never pull off. The workload is also significantly different.
University has now become a full-time job. Even though most days I only have one class to go, I spend breakfast to dinner doing my readings, rewriting lecture notes, completing assignments and so on. Much different than the hour or two a night I would spend doing homework in high school! Fortunately I am finding my classes enjoyable and challenging and am excited to continue to absorb all the new and exciting intellectual property.
I have felt incredibly blessed through this time of transition. First and foremost I have felt blessed by my Awesome God who has brought wonderful people into my life to encourage me and help normalize all the weird feelings that come with flying the coop! God is challenging me and teaching me so much already in the few weeks I have been here through the relationships I’m forming and things I am experiencing, I’m so excited! Second I have been so blessed by the people in my church community back home. So many beautiful people gave their support whether it was through prayer, checking in via phone calls or social media, ever so helpful gifts of finance, or just by letting me know they would be there for me if I needed it. You wonderful community members have been a sweet picture of God’s family, the church body. Thank you so very much!
The last thing I want to do is encourage anyone who is going through the same transition I am, or who will be facing it in the next year or two. Going away for school has been such an exciting experience and I wouldn’t change it, however there are some challenges, and that’s okay. Every good change has challenges. Don’t worry too much about the change in workload, schools have tutoring programs, workshops and there are always upperclassmen who are willing to help you out. If you work hard in high school, starting University is a natural progression. It is also very common to go through a roller coaster of emotions. Every first year experiences some nerves, times of homesickness, or times of questioning; it’s all normal. I was fortunate to have been told all that going in, so it has been easy to work through those moments for me because I know they are completely normal. The longer I am here, going to class, making friends and living rez life, the more I am feeling comfortable and confident. I encourage you to do the same and enjoy this exciting time.
I hope your have enjoyed hearing about my exciting time of change! I can’t wait to one day share about all I will experience with God by my side helping me navigate and make the most of the upcoming years. God Bless!
Julia Bracewell is 18 years old and currently lives in Toronto, Ontario while attending Tyndale University for Business in International Development with a minor in Music. She is very passionate about music, literature and adventuring new places. After University she hopes to work abroad employing women and children who have been involved in the sex trade. She hopes to one day make it to the New York Times Bestseller list and buy her mom a fancy jet plane so she can travel the world.