Normally I like to give a little preamble before I announce something big. I like to build up the suspense before following through with an explosive revelation. This time, however, I’m going to keep it short.I’m not happy at Queen’s. That much is obvious to just about everyone.

As such, I will be applying for transfer to the University of Toronto for next year. The process is already underway. Actually, I started filling out forms in mid-October.

There are three reasons why I waited until now to announce it.

Firstly, I needed to be sure of my decision. I wrote that blog about finding That One Special Thing a while back, and I had to be sure that I wouldn’t find it here before I made my decision to leave.

Secondly, I needed to know more about the process of applying for transfer. That’s what my meeting on the 16th was supposed to be about. I was supposed to speak with my old guidance counsellor about transferring, and arrange for her to send my high school marks to UofT. Unfortunately, she wasn’t there. No matter, there will be more opportunities for that in the new year.

Thirdly, I needed a big occasion for unveiling my decision. For dramatic purposes, you see. I don’t want just my parents and siblings present when I unveil my decision. I want my whole family around, since it’s because of them that I made this decision in the first place. I could just announce it at dinner one day and then call all the other relatives via telephone, but that’s far less exciting. In my family, there are three big gatherings per year. Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Easter. Thanksgiving came too early. I wasn’t sure of my decision yet. Easter will come far too late. That leaves Christmas Eve. Today.

I haven’t told them yet, but I will within a few hours. I wonder how they’ll take it.

My grandparents will be overjoyed, since they wanted me to stay in the first place. My brother too, as he’s been constantly demanding that I transfer since last June. I’m not sure about my sister. She seems to miss me, but then whenever I’m home, she wants me to leave again. Overall though, I think she’ll be happy. As much as we like to annoy
each other, we have a good relationship deep down.

My parents? I think they’ll be a mixed bag. They’ll be happy that I’m coming back, but at the same time I don’t think they’ll be happy to learn that I’m not doing as well here as my thinly veiled facade would have them believe. I don’t think they’ll be very surprised though.

Everyone else in my family should take it well. They supported me when I made my decision to leave, but I think that they like having me around as much as I like having them around.

So, it should go well. I’m a little nervous about telling them, but it should be fine.

I guess the next question that I have to answer is: Why?

There are three main reasons.

Firstly, Queen’s isn’t good for me. Not mentally, and not physically. I’m not eating well, and not sleeping well. I’m spending far too much time missing home. It just isn’t good for me to live my life like this. Not for four years.

Secondly, Queen’s isn’t what I thought it would be. Two examples of this are the library and the “legendary” Queen’s spirit.

Because of period two spare, the quality of a school’s libraries was a factor in my decision making process. The main library at Queen’s is a gorgeous building. It far outstrips any of UofT’s libraries. I figured that I would be spending countless hours studying in this library. But in reality, it’s impractical. Why on earth would I walk ten minutes through subzero temperatures to get to a crowded building when I could study in my own room? The architecture isn’t nearly as nice in my room, but it’s quiet and it’s comfortable. The ten minute walk to the library just isn’t worth it. I think I’ve spent maybe two hours there over the last four months.

Having gone to a spirited high school, the fact that school spirit at Queen’s often rates at the top or near the top of the Canadian rankings appealed to me. I was excited to become a part of it. But when I got to Queen’s, I was let down. There’s spirit, sure. But it’s nothing compared to what we had at my high school. I’ve spoken to my high school friends about this, and they agree with me. If I had my psychology textbook with me, I’d tell you what this is called. I think it’s called the negative contrast effect. If you’re paying someone $1 and double their salary to $2, they’ll be happy. If you’re paying someone $4 and decrease their salary to $2, they’ll be unhappy. In the same way, I’m sure that a lot of people are very impressed with the amount of spirit at Queen’s. I’m somewhat disappointed by it, however.

But why is going to UofT the solution to these problems? The libraries at UofT are equally impractical, and ugly too. The spirit at UofT is even less that Queen’s. There are drunken teenagers everywhere, not just at Queen’s. Going to UofT would only compound these problems.

It seems, then, that university in general isn’t an environment in which I can be happy. Queen’s isn’t the problem. University is. This brings me to the third reason:

My family and friends.

If I’m doomed to be less than happy until 2013, I’d rather be around them. I can’t stay unhappy long when I’m with them.

I gravely miscalculated the importance of these people to my life. I mean, I always knew that they were important, and I always held them in the highest regard, but I didn’t think that my very existence on a day-to-day basis depended on them.

I said a few times during my decision-making process that my friends and family are loyal people, and that they’d still be there for me even if I went to the moon for university. I’ve discovered that to be true. However, I completely discounted the importance of having them physically there for me.

When I came up with a 14-14 tie after I compared UofT and Queen’s on fifteen different levels. I gave 7 points to UofT for family and friends. That was a gross underestimation of their value to me. I’ve since discovered that in reality, having all of my friends and family around me is worth about ten thousand times as much. 70,000 points.

The final score?

UofT: 70,007
Queen’s: 14

Don’t you see? It’s no contest.

Merry Christmas, everyone.