It goes without saying that this semester has been an emotional rollercoaster ride for me. Well, pretty much my entire cégep has been an emotional rollercoaster ride.
When I rolled into Vanier back in the fall of ’19, I ditched my birth name and decided to start a new life as Jack. I left everything that reminded me of my difficult years in high school in the rear-view mirror. When I attended my classes, I knew I was missing something from my life. I ain’t called Lonesome Jack for nothing. I had no friends by my side. Friends ain’t something that comes easily to me. Pretty much everyone I saw at Vanier was in their little gang. I was drowning in the hallways of laughter and smiles most of the time. They say that the best part of your life starts at seventeen. But all I had were wings but no sky to fly. I just had a front-row seat of everyone taking off. I often felt unwanted by my peers. I felt I was denied the opportunity to leave my mark. All the mud I threw on the wall failed to stick. I knew I had to do something.
I joined the Insider the following semester as a way to break out of my loneliness. When I wrote my first article, I knew I had joined a team of dedicated and passionate students. I realized I had some big shoes to fill if I wanted to move up the ranks amongst that gang. By the time I was trying to mingle with the team, the pandemic had come and ravaged every part of our social life. It seemed life was determined to see me fail when it came to socializing.
As I struggled with online learning, I continued writing for the Insider as a coping mechanic. However, despite the lack of in-person social interactions, I made new connections online through my classes. However, by the time online schooling was coming to an end, all my friends I made left Vanier either for university or somewhere else. I believed I was left finishing cégep alone, just like in 2019.
It turns out I couldn’t be more wrong. It turns out all the work I’ve done for the Insider paid off. When I was summoned to join the executive team, I was unanimously made editor-in-chief – a position I thought I’d never achieved. However, I realized I was the only guy left from the pre-pandemic team. I felt like a private promoted to 5-star general overnight. Because many students had never set foot on campus before, I felt like my team and I had to rebuild the Insider from the ground up.
By becoming EIC, something else happened in my life. I was finally making friends here at Vanier. Whether it was the friends I made with my executive team or the friends I made at the VCSA, I couldn’t be happier for the first two months and a half of the semester. This all came crashing down when November came.
November – the month of unhappiness, I called it. All the bad events that happened in my life seemed to always fall in November. I realized I had to lose all the friends I made at Vanier after graduating this December. It seemed everything I’ve done this semester was for nothing, as I would soon be leaving. It became apparent I didn’t want to leave Vanier. I no longer wanted to be alone no more. I no longer wanted to make friends just to lose them. All I wanted was to make long-term friends. All I wanted was to feel wanted by my friends. All I wanted was to have some friends to care deeply about me. All this fear of potential loneliness opened the wounds that I had accumulated in high school. It was like life was repeating itself.
It was then I realized I was wrong. I had friends who cared about me and made me feel wanted. It may not like what I expected, but I can sense this feeling of appreciation from everyone here at Vanier. If it were not for my friends at the Insider and at the VCSA, I would have never opened my eyes to the legacy I’m leaving here at the Insider. I finally realized the mark I’m leaving at Vanier. Without the help of my friends, I would have never achieved what I’m doing now.
I don’t know what the future holds for me. I don’t know what’s going to happen next semester. But I know that I no longer have to worry about my past haunting me. Life is like an upward spiral staircase. Life will repeat itself. It will repeat itself for the better.
By Jacques Wang