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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

There’s a running joke amongst my family and friends that as soon as the weather gets a few degrees warmer, I’m nowhere to be found. Between summer camp, a stint in Italy on a study abroad trip, and seasonal jobs across the country, I’ve never spent one year of my life in one place.

Every year of my childhood and adolescence, I spent the entire school year in my hometown, going to school every day, working a part-time job, and participating in extracurriculars. But, as soon as the weather gets a little warmer and the sun shines a little brighter, I pick up and leave for the summer. 

Every school year I can remember, I would say my goodbyes on my last day of school, or the day of my last exam in high school, and would bid farewell to my hometown for at least three months. 

In my younger years, this meant moving to my cottage town, where the neighbourhood kids would all reunite for the summer season to spend days on the water and waiting for our week at summer camp to arrive. However, as I got older, this meant spending summers working at camp for weeks, living in cabins, and eating questionable food. 

When COVID-19 came, my parents moved full-time to the cottage town, and I left my hometown, where I never really spent an entire summer season.

Now, being a university student, the need for a higher paycheck became more apparent, and the town’s local ice cream store became the place where I spent most of my time. 

For three years, I left my life in downtown Toronto to rely on my small-town ice cream store job to be the source of entertainment for my summers. 

Despite going to school in Toronto and living there full-time for eight months of the school year, as soon as May rolled around, I was itching to leave the city for the refresh that change gave me. 

Although I will always be an advocate for the diversity and culture the city immerses you in, it’s important to leave every once and a while to touch grass and gain perspective. 

While I loved working in my small town, three years at the same job had me craving something new. Therefore, when one of my best friends from summer camp texted me about a job posting at a hotel in Banff, Alta., for the following summer, we both sent in applications within hours. 

The school year leading up to the move across the country felt like a lot of lasts. Even though I was only in my third year at the time, and I knew I would be returning to the city for school like always in September, it felt like I would never get my summers in my small town back again. 

Despite the initial excitement about the new job, I became fearful that it would never live up to every other summer I had spent in the small town in Ontario. I felt guilty for leaving my parents after consistently coming home every summer for three years, and that this was one of the last chances I would spend an entire summer at home in a place that I had learned to love so much.

After the confirmation that I had gotten the job out West, I felt conflicted about whether I even wanted to go. Even though I was moving with one of my best friends, suddenly, four months felt like a lot of time to be away from everyone I knew. 

Even though I had been leaving Toronto every summer for the past three years, I couldn’t imagine leaving it this time because the distance seemed too great. 

My family kept reminding me of being able to travel to Italy alone and study abroad and that moving temporarily to another place in Canada would be nothing compared to a different continent. Nonetheless, when the day came, I got on the plane to go meet my friend in Banff.

The first few weeks were uncertain. Although we had requested to share accommodation with one another, my friend and I were given different rooms, and while working in different areas of the hotel, we were lucky our schedules allowed us to see each other. I felt uncomfortable and minuscule in the grand scheme of the complexity of the hotel. 

Little by little, the people I worked with made me feel excited to come to work every day, and after a month of complaints to the staff housing office, my friend and I were given a room to move in together. 

It was then that I felt the same excitement I had when I first got the text message about the job posting so many months prior; I knew that moving to Banff was the right choice. When it came time to think about moving back home to the city after four months, my life in Toronto felt a little like a hallucination that I couldn’t fathom I would live in a number of days. 

Saying goodbye to my co-workers wasn’t sad. Without wanting to sound too corny, I truly felt like I had made lifelong friends I knew I would see again, either back in Ontario or for another summer in Banff. 

After similar deliberation this school year of what my future looks like post-graduation, I wasn’t sure if the “right” choice was going back to Banff. I thought maybe it would be best if I took steps to better my future career by getting an internship or job in the city. 

I had fully retired from the ice cream store, and I knew the other job prospects in my small town weren’t for me. The idea of being in the city for a job I wasn’t excited about made me dread the summer season for the first time in my life. 

After months of debating my choice, I realized the best job I could have to better my future was the one that would make me the happiest. With past co-workers returning and my friend also signing a contract for this summer, moving back to Banff seemed like the only choice. 

At one point, Banff was a place I couldn’t wait to leave. Now, it’s a place I can’t wait to return to. The certain change in environment for four months was originally daunting and scary, but it’s only four months out of my entire life. Only now, I have so many more people there waiting for me. 

Lucky for me, it’s been warm in Toronto lately; it’s the perfect time to pack my bags.

Annie Willick

Toronto MU '24

Annie is a fourth-year student at Toronto Metropolitan University. When she's not busy studying or watching reality TV, she loves to drink coffee, question existence and go thrifting with her friends.