On Campus

Scott decides

Will it be Waterloo or McMaster?

It’s finally come down to it: biology, biomedical sciences, or health studies. Three programs from Waterloo went into my OUAC application account. After May 28th, only one will remain.I’ve finally gotten over the rejection of not being accepted into McMaster’s Health Sciences program. I’m trying not to take it too personally and do something like egg Health Science’s car, or call him at home and after he says, “Hello?” just breathe deeply and cryptically into the receiver.

That, and whisper Aztec curses into the ear of my Health Sciences voodoo doll.

My marks just weren’t high enough. Especially when you consider that more students applied to McMaster’s Health Sciences program than there are vowels in ‘Ottawa.’

Looking back, it wasn’t going to work with Health Sciences anyway. McMaster was way too jealous about my relationship with Waterloo. We were drifting apart.

I was accepted into the biology program at McMaster, but after having a guided tour of the University of Waterloo campus last Saturday, I feel even more committed to it than ever.

Of course, I’ve refused to revisit McMaster’s campus out of bitterness.

Open House at the University of Waterloo

Open House at the University of Waterloo

(Pictured: Scott Dobson-Mitchell with his sister Jenny and Gary Abbott, their tour guide at Open House)

Waterloo’s campus felt… safe, a natural habitat for nerds. A place where they can roam free. A land where they no longer have to worry about the nastiness of those people who weren’t held enough as babies. Everybody was friendly and helpful, as if there’s some sense of community and kindness between students. As in, the exact opposite of high school.

I was completely culture shocked.

When the tour guide, an engineering student named Gary, spoke to us — a large group of prospective students with our parents — he didn’t instinctively speak in a dull monotone. You know, to make sure everybody knew that he couldn’t care less about the subject matter. Which is shorthand for Cool, of course.

In complete disregard of basic high school survival instincts, Gary made full eye contact, spoke in complete sentences, and was enthusiastic.

It suddenly dawned on me: I was on a university campus.

Even when I asked a completely lame question, effectively spreading the scent of vulnerability in a 20-mile radius, the tour guide didn’t take it as a license to be a jerk. Gary had asked me if I had any questions. I could have asked about the cafeteria, or the student library, or the bussing service. As in, questions that made sense.

I asked if there was a fencing team at Waterloo. And no, we hadn’t just been talking about sports teams. Or goofy black masks.

If a high school student had been there, my exposed jugular would have bled out within 3.2 seconds. If Freud had been there, he would have said that I clearly have a repressed desire to become a pirate (that, or a repressed desire to kill my father). Or maybe I was subconsciously testing the system, seeing whether university students will revert to a primitive grade nine state if their predator instinct is activated.

“Yes, we have fencing here,” said Gary, “but if a fencing club didn’t already exist, you could start one yourself.”

I was able to totally lower my defenses, completely shedding my protective high school shell. I was safe. I was Home.

And then I realized I still have 14 days of high school left.

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