by John Leung

Well, New, this is it: my final blog post. I am shocked by how fast this year went by. Mentally, I still feel like an 8-year-old boy in a candy store. This is a bittersweet moment; I am a little unhappy for this school year to end as I still have a lot that I want to do and, of course, I will miss writing for The New.

Looking back, I am surprised how I was able to write a new blog post every week for you to read; I mean my life isn’t that interesting. It did feel odd at times since I lost a bit of my privacy as I revealed insights of my personal life, such as where I live, the places I hang out at, my old high school, etc. On the other hand, it was pretty fun to share my stories with all of you.

First-year university was not what I expected. It was definitely a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be. The competitiveness at U of T makes the atmosphere a lot more intense and insane. However, my peers have told me that “the first and second year are the hardest”. So I will take their word for it. On the bright side, I have yet to pull an all-nighter for school or hand in an assignment late so I’m probably doing something right.

John Leung

My first selfie in Toronto foreshadowed my rollercoaster adventure.

What does your prof want? presentation slide

The toughness of courses sometimes makes you feel that professors don’t want students to pass.

Despite the intense schooling that occurred almost every day of every week, there were some amazing experiences which I will never forget. My first year unforgettable moments include New College Orientation week, Student Voice Project, University of Toronto Outing Club trip to Collingwood and much more. Along the way, I met a lot of fantastic people.

John Leung during Orientation Week 2015

Orientation Week.

View from the UTOC cabin.

The view from the U of T Outing Club cabin.

Also, I cannot forget the little things that made first year more exciting. I will never forget the 3 a.m. trips to Popeyes or shooting pool for hours at Cat’s Eye in Vic or spending almost two hours in the caff eating and socializing with others or staying up late in people’s dorm room while drinking coffee.

pool table

The pool table I usually play at in Cat’s Eye.

I am very blessed that I’ve had the opportunity to be an active volunteer with Health Out Loud (a local non-profit in the community), the U of T First Aid Society, the U of T Chapter and working for U of T Intramurals as well as The New. These involvements truly added meaning to my student life throughout the year, so thank you!

I believe I was able to survive the first crazy first year at U of T due to my support network. So, I would just want to thank New College Office of Residence and Student Life, my two dons, and my friends for pushing me through to end this year.

Although first year has been a rollercoaster experience, this journey ultimately allowed me to learn more about myself while increasing self-esteem. I have three pieces of advice for all first-year students, which I am confident will be useful during this confusing and awkward stage.

  1. Do what you want to do, not what others want to do.
  2. Your dreams are worth it, so hold onto them as strongly as you can.
  3. Make the most out of your situation, because you can truly make something meaningful of every scenario.

You are not your GPA

For incoming members of New Colleges, I hope to be one of your Orientation leaders this coming September. If you are living in residence at New, don’t be shy to talk me if you see me – I love meeting new people! For all the readers, thanks for sticking with me through my year with The New.

John Leung in Wilson Lounge, New College

I’ll miss blogging for The New

All the best to everyone!