First things first…

Hi friends, I’m Jasmin. Dual-citizen, feminist, travelbug, Linguistics student, qualified scuba diver, Spoken Word fangirl and all-round chilled out lady.

You can usually find me somewhere on Queen Street, away with the fairies with a half-drunk cup of tea and tangled hair, tripping over my own feet and smiling with strangers. I’m a month shy of my 21st birthday and since leaving high school in 2012 my life has been spread across three countries.

I was born and grew up in England for the first 18 years of my life, and at the end of Sixth Form (the UK equivalent of grades 11 and 12) I decided to take a gap year. I had always assumed I would take one and 18 year old Jasmin made several grand plans: teaching ESL to child monks in Nepal, scuba diving with whalesharks in Mozambique, interrailing around Europe. Due to sketchy organisations, safety issues and flaky travelling companions, all these ideas failed to come to fruition. But as I’ve learned and truly believe, what is meant to be will always be. You can’t fight life. And believe me, I tried. My mum was planning her own exciting trip: moving to Toronto, where she grew up- and stubborn old me was having none of it. My job in a high end supermarket, my childhood friends and long term boyfriend were way more important than an awesome and cheap way to spend a year abroad, right? Totally, unequivocally wrong. The truth was, after two gruelling years of A-Level exams, I had burnt myself out. I had left high school with no idea of who I was or what I wanted. I barely knew who I was outside of my exam results and the small town I had grown up in. I needed a fresh start.

So, on the 15th of August 2012 my family and I zoomed across the ocean from the rain-soaked island that had always been my home to Toronto.

I’m not ashamed to say that it was tough at first. I had been well aquainted with depression in my mid teens, as many of us are at some point in our lives, and we took to spending a lot of time together in those first lonely months. But between the pages of Autumn and Winter, I gradually found my feet. I saw a counsellor. I spent time with my family. I got lost (a lot). I started working in a tea shop- being English, called Jasmin and a lifelong tea drinker, it was the perfect fit and I met my best friends in that little store. I learned a lot, I laughed a lot, and I even fell in love! And when people asked, I was able to tell them that I was due to return to the UK for university the following school year: I had a place at Cardiff University waiting for me.

So, as expected, at the end of my amazing gap year I flew back to the homeland to start uni. It was fun, I loved my course, but I fell dangerously ill and ended up hospitalised with Pyelonephritis. I spent the entire Spring semester alone in my little uni bedroom, in huge amounts of pain, surrounded by bottles of medication and Netflix. It was a long recovery, and I only barely passed my first year. For someone who had her eyes on Firsts and 2:1s (the best marks available in the British system) this was frustrating and upsetting. It became obvious that I wasn’t well enough to look after myself and do well in my studies- I just couldn’t handle both.

My friends and family were worried sick. As much pain as I was in, I’m also too headstrong for my own good, and I insisted that by second year I would be just fine. But as my summer stretched out around me, I started realising that I was pushing myself too hard. Why would I insist on being so far away from my family when I clearly needed their support? Why was I angry with my body for needing time to heal? What could be the best solution?

I knew that I didn’t want to take another year out. I also knew that I would not compromise my education: I know what I want to study and I’ll take nothing less! Luckily, thanks to the amazing support of my department staff and lecturers in Cardiff, I discovered Glendon. It was perfect: too good to be true. Could I possibly get into such a lovely place? I threw caution to the wind and clicked submit. At that point, I had no idea what would happen next. After a few weeks of being very stressed, mountains of paperwork and two trips up to the FastTrack application sessions (HIGHLY recommend these- so useful!) I finally got an answer: I had been admitted, and with 39 transfer credits! Yes, I shrieked when I found out. Yes, my family also started shrieking.

So now, I just have a few more bits of paperwork to sort out, some unruly eyebrows to wax into submission, and I’ll be on my way to a whole new adventure. Wish me luck- I might well need it!

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