Commentary: Advice and reflections from a fourth-year

The second time I came to Fredericton felt like the first.

All the anxiety, stress and waiting during the final years of high school were part of a journey that was about to begin.

Now, this journey is at its end.

I enrolled at St. Thomas University knowing I wanted to study journalism.

My first year was the best one. I made lifelong friends and I was carefree and optimistic most of the time. I didn’t find my courses difficult and had a lot of free time.

My favourite memories were spent at the dining hall. I always sat with the same people and we would talk and laugh for hours. To this day, I keep in touch with my friends and we still reminisce about the fun hours we wasted at the cafeteria.

But the hardships of university life hit me in my second year when I was homesick, struggling with some classes, found subjects difficult and often stressed about being late, even though I never was.

But by third-year, I was used to the school’s routine. It was a blur. I was ready to get my degree. I constantly asked myself why it normally takes four years to graduate and why it was mentally and physically draining. I was exhausted, but knew I had to keep going for my family who worked hard so I could have a better life in a better country.

I finally landed in my fourth and final year. I have enough maturity to solve academic issues on my own and also have a glimpse of my possible professional future. Will I be a freelancer? Will I work for a company? A newspaper?

I spent the entire winter break getting ready for classes.

“The sooner it starts, the sooner it ends,” I’d say to myself.

Now it’s 2020. A new year, a new decade and, with it, a new beginning.

I started the semester with determination. I realized whining about school was not going to change the system, so I just had to go with it. I did my best and now I am almost done.

I found being an international student makes it difficult to get through certain things that are not easy to describe.

Homesickness is a form of depression. I worried about my family, money, being alone and distance. I was distant from my parents and from what was familiar to me. Canada was not a new place anymore, but a strange one, where I felt like I didn’t belong.

If you’re an international student, keep in mind that you’re not alone. Although the worries never go away, the end of something big is always a relief.

I’ve written for The Aquinian since 2016. I haven’t been the most active reporter, but I just couldn’t let my last year slide without writing something.

Thank you to the AQ team for giving me this little space to write this year, advice on journalism articles and laughs at the meetings. You guys are great.

I would also like to thank my professors and friends.

My friends were always there for me and I hope I was there for them as well.

The profs always had good advice. Thank you for not failing me!

I would also like to thank STU for having me as a student.

I had my ups and downs but one thing is certain, I would never go back on my decision to come to STU. I came here because I wanted to and was accepted. STU will always have a special place in my heart and I will cherish the memories I had here. If I could do it all again without any changes, I would. Without a doubt.

Last but not least, I would like to thank my biggest supporters, my parents.

Family is everything and I owe my life to my mom and dad who worked hard so I could do the same.

Obrigada mãe e pai por terem feito tudo isso por mim. Não sei como recompensar, mas, um dia, eu vou. E, sei que não sou de dizer isso, mas amo muito vocês, de verdade. 

I am grateful for the opportunities I had. Coming to this university and graduating was a big deal for me as it is for a lot of the students.

Do not worry, it will be worth it in the end. Y’all gonna ace it.

Farewell and best of luck,

Bruna Porto.

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