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My Fall 2017 Semester as a Killam Fellow

By Liliana Zigo, 2017-2018 Killam Fellow from American University to University of Toronto

This semester has been one of the most challenging for me, but also one of the most rewarding. Navigating a new educational system and feeling lonely were obstacles I learned to overcome. I will be forever grateful to the friends that I made here in Toronto, as well as to my support system in the States. This experience taught me good friends will be part of your life if you let them, and they will make life that much richer.

I heard about the One Second Each Day (1SE) app before starting my adventure as a Killam Fellow and thought this would be a perfect way to document my semester. This video compilation includes one-second from each of my 109 days as a Killam Fellow.

 

I would like to take a moment to thank Dr. Ellen Larsen, professor emeritus, University of Toronto, who welcomed me into her home. Without her generosity and guidance, this semester would have been one without family. I know I will always have a place to call home in Toronto.

The feeling of sadness as I write this post can only be described as bittersweet. I am beyond excited to return home to see my family for the holiday and to return to American University in Washington, D.C. to finish my last semester. However, despite all of my struggles to find my way in Toronto, this city has become a place where I belong. I have spent countless hours exploring the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario. In both museums, I came across pieces and works that feel familiar and have become my personal favourites.

Being a good student has always been the core of who I am. Grades for the longest time have been a constant reminder that, yes, you are good enough. Entering an educational system where an A seemed at times unattainable, made me question myself as a student and question if I was a person who loved learning for the sake of learning. Readjusting my view that an 80 was indeed an A- and that a B indicated success took time. Canada’s educational system recognizes 80% as excellent work. This indicates to me that it is okay not to be perfect.

Through self-reflection this semester, I learned a lot about myself. I defined my self-worth and my own meanings of “success” and “good enough”. I learned that learning is much more than a grade and that I am motivated to be a scholar for the sake of knowledge. The person I strive to be, one who is kind, passionate, compassionate, and engaged, had the opportunity to grow this semester.  This, in itself, is good enough. In fact, this is more than I could have hoped for.

Thank you for the Killam Fellowship from Fulbright Canada and to the University of Toronto for giving me this gift. I am so very grateful.

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