Graduating journalism student shares her fondest memories of undergrad
When I imagined my last day of university, I didn’t imagine it like this. I didn’t think I’d be in my own bedroom, writing articles in comfy clothes, confined to personal spaces without other people present. I definitely didn’t think I’d be separated from my best friends, having to congratulate ourselves on finishing our undergraduate degrees through iMessage.
Finishing this semester during COVID-19 has been interesting – I’ve flown to Nicaragua for a mission trip, left early because of the pandemic and then spent 14 days in quarantine with five strangers. I’m currently at home with my family, but trying to balance work life and home life has not been easy.
Now I’m saying goodbye to Ryerson University, after four long years of blood, sweat and tears. If these were normal circumstances, I’d be saying goodbye to my long walks down the PATH, which confused me as a first-year but is now my home turf. I’d be saying goodbye to Gould Street (pre-construction) and all the memories I had with my best friends as we laughed, ate free food and strolled down the open road.
I’d be saying goodbye to the rocks around Lake Devo — which surprised me when I realized it wasn’t a real lake — where I sunbathed with my best friend while commiserating about boys. I’d be saying goodbye to Balzac’s, where I had many a friend date over lattes and ginger molasses cookies. I’d be saying goodbye to Kerr Hall, which I still don’t know how to navigate to this day. I’d be saying goodbye to places like the Student Learning Centre and the Quad — golden areas for streeters in first and second year.
The hardest place to say goodbye to would be the Rogers Communications Centre (RCC). As a journalist, this was my home for four years. It was where I was tested, challenged, pushed to tears sometimes, but where my writing and reporting skills were solidified. I made the best friends of my life in that building, with all the classes to roll our eyes at and the various TV series we bonded over. I found safe spaces in offices with sincere professors and kind staff. I’ll never forget the quiet hours when I worked on assignments on the third floor, or the frustrated screams I’d let out in editing suites. I found my voice and settled into who Sarah really is in the RCC.
Saying goodbye to all those things is tough — but what is tougher in this season is going through it with one less person.
Most of those memories involve a best friend. Mine is Yusra Javed.
Yusra was a light and a force to be reckoned with. She was one hell of a journalist and an amazing best friend. We had our ups and downs, as most friendships do, but we always loved each other like sisters. She passed away from an underlying heart condition last September.
Saying goodbye to four years of undergrad doesn’t seem right because she should be here. She should be roasting Ryerson with me; she should be laughing about the messy boy stories we had; she should be saying yes to my invitation to get ramen from Jinya and then sing karaoke at Bar+. She should be right here with me, looking back on these four epic years that have changed our lives and she should be smiling for the fun that will come next.
I don’t know if I can say goodbye to Ryerson completely; it holds too many memories of her. So, I’ll say goodbye for now. I will go on to bigger, better and brighter things thanks to these past four years, but one day, when I’m feeling nostalgic, I’ll come back. I’ll walk on Gould Street (hopefully without construction), I’ll stop in front of the RCC and I’ll go in. And when I do, all these memories will come rushing back and it’ll be like she’s with me again.
So goodbye, Ryerson. See you one day soon.