If the Sun Emoji was a Human: Sofia Osorno and Positivity

The first time I met Sofia was when we were in Bronfman basement, waiting in line in Dave’s Store to get our coursepacks. There, in the crammed corner that is Dave’s Store, we immediately bonded over the hardship of buying coursepacks at McGill.

Now, about a month (and a joint marketing presentation) later, I know why her accent shifts ever so slightly every now and then. We also seem to have agreed on the fact that Foodora is a lifesaver and that waiting for the second season of Stranger Things is psychological torture (okay, this is mostly me, but I know Sofia would agree since she loves Stranger Things too; she is probably just not as obsessed as I am...).

Sofia has a packed schedule; she is juggling schoolwork, responsibilities for the McGill Psychology Students’ Association (MPSA) and McGill Mexican Students’ Association. The MPSA is very busy nowadays as they have many events coming up (such as How to Get Into Grad School), and as the first-year representative, Sofia is in charge of her own event for the U1s. Even so, her face is all smiles when I run into her as I step out of the elevator in Schulich Library, where we were going to meet for this interview. As we talk about her dog and how Schulich has basically become her home (because, midterms), she is talking with such enthusiasm that you can tell she’s there with you, and not thinking about what assignment she has to do next.

She hesitates when I ask her about any advice she would give to her first-year self if she could: “Oooh. I guess my advice would be not to give up and just to know that it will all make sense in time. Does that makes sense?” Yes. Yes, it does. “I remember having my first midterm and being super scared and feeling like ‘I can’t do this.’ Then you realize there are harder things that came after that, and you actually dealt with them. So my advice would be about not giving up, and that you’re going to get through it because even though you think that it is the hardest thing, next year you’re going to have to deal with something even harder.”

As Sofia starts talking about moving to Toronto from Mexico, I can’t help but feel as if the theme for today is not giving up in the face of hardship. She tells me that she lived in Mexico, where she was born, for 15 years before her parents decided to move to Canada. “When you’re [in Mexico] and [your parents] tell you ‘Oh, we’re moving to Canada,’ there’s all this uncertainty.” She says The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, influenced the way she looked at life. She still reminds herself of a certain word from the book when she’s living through something tough. “There is this word in the book - maktub - which basically means ‘it’s written’ in Arabic. I know that life is about going through the hard parts and seeing what happens next. When I was in Mexico, I would have never imagined being here in McGill. When we were moving to Toronto, I’d actually told my parents that I was going to do high school in Toronto but that I would go back to Mexico afterwards. Look where I am now. After things happen you realize why you’re there and it's kind of written in a sense, like this is what I was supposed to live through.”

Sofia is the literal human form of the sun emoji. As we say our good-byes, I feel thankful that she loved Canada once she moved to Toronto and decided to stay here.

Pictures provided by the interviewee.