As I write these first words I sit surrounded by piles of the palpable contents of my entire life. By this time tomorrow I will be on an Iceland-bound flight, awaiting a 24-hour layover before jetting off to my final destination: the University of Amsterdam in the beautiful country of the Netherlands. I have two suitcases stuffed with socks and snacks, a carry-on crammed with clothes, and a backpack brimming with magazines and Gravol, but I have a feeling no amount of tangible preparation will ready me for the journey ahead. Six months abroad is enormously exciting, but also a tad bittersweet. I will be leaving behind not just my hometown and family, but also my home in Montreal and my McGill family. University can often feel like something that you just need to get through in order to get to something better. You often see it as a means to an end, without fully embracing the fact that this snow-splashed, beer-soaked, and stress-filled moment is an end in itself, and it is something worth holding on to. Tightly. With that being said, as I look forward to Europe, here are 20 of the most meaningful things I will miss the most about McGill while I’m gone, and that I think others might too.
1. The beauty of the McConnell Engineering Building after a first snowfall.
There’s just something about the glint of fresh snow atop the intricate stonework, and the way the icicles sometimes decide they want to annihilate the people innocently walking below.
2. Tokyo Thursdays.
Although I’m slightly embarrassed every time I climb those stupidly steep steps, it’s always just nice to know that Tokes is there if I want it.
3. Students’ passion for social issues.
While some students can’t stand this, I never get tired of seeing people stand up for what’s right, and give their all to make things happen. I’m proud to go to a school that’s known for their students’ relentless fight for change.
You know what they say: it all comes down to the friends that will pick up the phone for you at 3 am. I think it’s safe to say that Alto’s is everyone’s best friend.
5. Canadian pride despite the high percentage of international students.
The true north strong and free is felt at every moment.
6. Tim Hortons in its entirety.
I’m not going to lie; I’m probably going to miss good ol’ Timmie more than my own brother.
I’ve been told that the Europeans have never heard of this love of my life, and I have a feeling I’m going to have to do something about that.
Sangria Wednesday, I will be back for you.
9. The Montreal skyline from the top of Mont Royal.
There will never be enough insta pictures of this striking lookout.
10. The infinite number of organized drinking events.
I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for a Power Hour as beautifully bizarre as the ones at McGill.
11. The red and white sea of spirit wear.
Keeping my fingers crossed that my comfy crewneck still be acceptable across the pond.
12. The contrast between the stunningly historic Arts Building, and the urban metropolis across from it.
It’s like stepping into a time machine.
13. The law library.
Food, family, a roof over my head…it’s my second home in every sense of the term.
14. Being in the same time zone as everyone else.
When you have to start watching the Super Bowl past midnight you know the struggle is real.
15. Brunches at Universel.
I refuse to believe I’ll find as good of an omelette with a side of friends anywhere else in the world.
16. Being a scary level of comfortable with your roomies.
I’m truly sorry for the things you guys have seen (especially the state of my room during midterms).
17. The high-quality education we take for granted far too often.
I’m positive that my ability to read an entire semester’s worth of readings in the week before the exam will come in handy someday.
18. Sunsets on Sherbrooke.
Is it just me, or does everyone feel like a city socialite while walking down Sherbrooke with a coffee cup in hand?
19. The city’s architecture.
Even though I’ve been in Montreal for three years now, the streets never fail to offer up something beautiful to catch my eye.
20. Those forever kind of friends.
They know who they are, and they better not have any fun without me.
Adventure is alarming and separation is scary, but knowing I have all this to come back to makes it a little easier. See you in a few, Montreal!
Images obtained from http://airviation.tumblr.com/post/82584264112 and http://dailymontreal.tumblr.com.