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A Unique Yet Relatable Story: Jacie Liu and First Year

It’s Sunday morning, there’s a thin layer of snow on the ground, and both my roommate and I have just gotten out of bed. We each grab a mug and sit down opposite each other at the kitchen table. “Should we start?” I ask. My roommate, who is still in her PJs, replies, “First, let me grab a blanket. It’s cold.”

Today, I would like to share a story of one student’s transition to becoming a student at McGill University. It’s a unique, yet relatable story. Meet Jacie Liu. She’s in her second year at McGill studying Microbiology and Immunology. She comes from Winnipeg, which she asserts “is a famous city in Canada”. She also happens to be my roommate.

Michelle Shen for Her Campus McGill (HC McGill): What are your general impressions of your first year here at McGill?

Jacie Liu (JL): I was actually pretty depressed when I first arrived. Montreal was a new city, and I came from a private school where you see the same 20 people every day. I was overwhelmed. I found school difficult, and it used to not be like that back home. I didn’t do as well as I hoped on my finals for first semester either. But nearer to second semester, I became closer to some of my friends here. I put myself out there more. Having closer friends was sort of like a de-stresser for me. My grades improved after that too.

HC McGill: Did your priorities change from first year to second year?

JL: Not really. I still value academics, and I still make time for friends. I was insecure about myself in first year though, so in a way, it was harder for me to get to know people [and to make friends], but I’m much more confident now. I’ve found a great group of friends that are relatable and that I’m comfortable around.

HC McGill: Was there anything unexpected that happened last year that you are grateful for?

JL: My reunion with a long-time friend of mine. I hadn’t talked to him for 2-3 years since he is from a different province, but we had been friends for a long time. I was really nervous when I messaged him at the beginning of my first year, but I am really grateful that I did. He’s one of my best friends now.

HC McGill: Did you do anything crazy last year that you don’t regret, but would probably not do again?

JL: There was one time when I came back to my room late at night drunk. When I came back, my roommate offered me a small pepper, not knowing that I have little tolerance for spicy things. I thought it was a sweet pepper so I took a bite. It turned out to be a hot pepper (I think it was a jalapeño pepper). I passed out. I woke up later on the floor with yoghurt in my mouth, and my roommate was desperately feeding me more. She actually thought she had killed me. Though everything turned out fine in the end, I still use this story as a trump card against her if there’s ever a fight for the last cookie at the caf.

HC McGill: What is a random happy memory from last year?

JL: During the first round of finals last year, my roommate made me a Christmas stocking. She stuffed it and pinned it on our door. Since finals that time was particularly rough, I was really grateful for what she did for me.

HC McGill: Do you have any vividly clear memories from last year? Is there anything that you remember particularly well? It doesn’t have to be a happy one.

JL: There was one time when I was in Chatime studying for Organic Chemistry on the upper level. I was practising with my molecular model kit. As I was pulling the pieces apart, one of the blocks fell over the balcony and landed in the big container of bubble tea below. I don’t think they noticed it immediately, but I hurried out of there after that.

HC McGill: So what are some of your everyday, common joys or pleasures now?

JL: Studying with friends, having a roommate (a double room was actually my 6th choice last year in rez, but I’m really glad that I did get a roommate), and eating with people.

HC McGill: So what are your conclusions about first year? What did you learn?

JL: Basically, that friendship is really important, especially when you’re away from family. 

Find pictured below, a pie chart drawn by the interviewee of what she thinks she spends all her time on.

Images courtesy of the interviewee



Michelle is a graduate student at McGill University studying the intersection between diet and cancer. In her free time, she enjoys reading, sampling poutine restaurants, and taking pictures of flowers. 
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