Happiness is the longing for repetition.
— Milan Kundera
February 2020. A young writer already drowning under the weight of not five, not six, but seven courses realises he has a dire need: the need for fresh content. Not to consume — Lord knows his Watch Later list on YouTube is overflowing already. No, this young writer needs fresh content to write. He has an entire student body to entertain, and cannot let them down. He refuses to do so.
He decides to venture through our labyrinth of a basement, making his way to the darling hole-in-the-wall that is our current Communications office. A brainstorm, that’ll help, he thinks. He sits across from his boss, and together the two of them work to formulate the February-based theme which will define this month of blog posts.
They get as far as “seasonal depression” before giving up.
Hello dear Reader, and welcome back to The NEW! If you’re wondering why that is the opening story, worry not: there is a reason. I simply want there to be an air of blunt honesty about this post, given what it is. See, if you’ve read the title (which, I mean… if you haven’t by this point… what?), you may have noticed — this is a sequel!
Now, I wasn’t intending on writing a follow-up to the original Leaders of the New. Thing is, that piece was originally supposed to talk about leadership at the college in a general sense. Instead, we ended up with profiles on three specific individuals — myself included. Fun as that was, that’s not a large enough scope for a New College-wide blog post.
So how does one redeem an idea that ended up too small?
One makes it a recurring series!
Alright relax, I’m not going to flood your timeline with constant leader profiles. There is, in fact, a very exciting lineup of content on the docket this month! But more on that later.
As I concluded in the last piece, New is a community of leaders. It stands to reason, then, that every so often we talk about some of them, right? This month, we have two of our best and brightest: fourth-year mentor Anisa Bhatti and third-year OC Laura Gallo! And now…
Let’s get into some hardcore origin stories.
Big Dream Scream Queen: Anisa Bhatti, the Black Canary
Oh you thought we were done with the superhero references? Think again.
Anisa is a fourth-year Life Sciences student, currently doing that thing all ArtSci kids do and questioning her choice of major… I can make that joke, I’m an English major. She’s been an Orientation Leader, my co-Head Orientation Leader, and is currently serving the New community (comNEWnity? There’s a pun in there somewhere) as a SPROUT mentor. She lives and breathes the gold and green.
I dubbed Anisa the Black Canary because, much like DC’s Dinah Lance herself, she is a loving mentor to her students. From sharing prof horror stories to spending time with you in the dining hall, there is little Anisa doesn’t do to involve and help the people around her in college life.
Also, she is LOUD.
In a good way, of course! Be it an Orientation cheer or asking for the millionth time “can you repeat that?”, Anisa is as vocal as she is involved. Her journey began by simply strolling into ORSL and asking a simple question: “Where do I start?”. She wanted to become a better leader, communicator, and more organised person in general. While the jury’s still out on that last part, there’s no denying the brilliant leader she’s become.
Her advice if you’re looking to become more engrossed in life at New is simple: ask, ask, ask! Ask any upper years you know, follow up on the myriad emails detailing opportunities, or meander into ORSL and see what you can find. Anisa says the journey to Newhood is filled with unique and exciting experiences — the most important of which, dear Reader, is yours.
Legacy of the House of No Ls: Superwoman Laura Gallo
Get it? “House of No Ls”? Like House of El? Like Sup — never mind…
Now, while Laura is indeed a Superwoman in her own right, the main reason I view her as such is that she is newly part of a duo. One of our two new Orientation Coordinators, Laura was originally supposed to be profiled together with her partner, OC Emily Yu. The latter was unfortunately unavailable for interview — and that gave me an idea.
A grand leader, happy to take questions and calm the qualms of the people? Their fellow grand leader, equally hard-working but mired in shadow?
That right there is the World’s Finest, Superman and Batman.
As mentioned, Laura is one of our new OCs! On top of that, she is a First-Year Learning Community mentor, the Co-President and Founder of the University of Toronto Women’s Association, and a hell of a DJ. If the big boss energy wasn’t apparent from all of that, Laura also submitted the most cover letter-esque answers to my questions that I have ever received. Truly, a professional.
Our intrepid OC’s journey began in the hallowed halls of… One of the residence buildings, I forgot to ask which. Point is, Laura joined the New College Residence Council! It was only up from there, as she became inspired to take on more and more, eventually finding herself donning the purple robes (t-shirt, but wouldn’t robes be cool?) of the Orientation Executive.
Laura does what she does to celebrate the personal growth, professional development, and loving friendships she has gained from leadership here. If her teams are her family, New is their home. She’s incredibly excited to welcome so many to one day feel the same.
Well, wasn’t that wonderful? Two exciting leaders and I actually had pictures this time! If that ain’t writer growth…
I do hope you enjoyed learning more about some of the people who make New what it is, dear Reader. Hopefully you yourself might feel inspired to take a chance on us, and begin your own story.
Look forward to upcoming ruminations on love, a return to mental health, and more!
And that’s that.
Till next we meet,