I grew up in a small town (population 8,000), and always dreamed of moving away to Toronto. When it came time to choose a university, the only school on my radar was Guelph. I had a keen interest to work in a field with animals as a marine biologist or zoologist (Jane Goodall was my hero) and Guelph offered both programs. It was also far enough from home to feel "away", but not so far that my family wasn't further than a five-hour drive.
I will never forget my 18-year-old self pulling in to Mountain Residence with my dad and our overflowing car, and being greeted by happy frosh-week volunteers. It immediately felt like home. While I was scared to say goodbye and be away from my family for the first time, I was beyond excited about the opportunities ahead. Little did I know how much I would learn, both academically and personally, in the four years ahead.
Residence was an amazing ecosystem, full of diverse people, yummy food (I will never look at grilled cheese and fries the same way again) and endless distractions from homework and studying. Growing up in a small town, you're exposed to a very limited group of people and perspectives - what an eye opening experience this was. I made some great friends in those two years in Mountain (Woodlands 3) as we spent countless hours studying, eating microwave popcorn (oh that smell!), and huddling around a tiny TV to watch the latest episode of 90210.
Good grades always came easy to me, but university was a big reality check. You mean I actually have to study for exams?! After two semesters, and some less than stellar grades in chemistry, calculus and botany, I resigned myself to the fact that science wasn't my strength and I needed to make a change. A first year Psychology elective piqued my interest, and set me on a new path.
To "test the waters" and to see if a counselling career was an option for me, I volunteered as a Peer Counsellor at the Raithby House after-hours crisis line. I loved the experience, while at times it was heart-wrenching to hear the stories of students who were struggling with real and serious issues. It felt good to give back and support my peers, but I also realized it wasn't a long-term career for me.
I began my final year as a student finishing a degree in Psychology, constantly asked "What the heck will you do with that after you graduate?". Long story short, I discovered the world of Communications/PR and with the support of a smart and well-connected Agricultural Communications Prof, I landed in my first job at a PR agency in Toronto. My big-city dream at last!
I loved my time at Guelph, it will always be home. I will never forget the lessons learned, the friendships formed, and the endless fun and silly moments tucked away in my heart. I wouldn't be the person I am today without my University of Guelph experiences. #foreveragryphon
Sheri Morgan, BA '00