Today was program orientation, the first good look at things. After taking our pictures for the record, the staff corralled all of us around a table in IMA B02 and took us through some introductions, including points about finances, health and safety, and prof backgrounds. We all said our names and where we’d studied. We ate lunch. I talked with a couple of my fellow Film students. We went on a tour of the Image Arts Building, breathing in the vinegary smell of developer chemical and riding the elevators in a demure silence. We poked our heads into dark rooms, processing labs. I got a look at the big machines and small stations used to wash and re-perforate 16-mm strips. I ran my finger along rows of canisters of film waiting to be resurrected. We took a tour of the archives area of the library and witnessed a tutorial on how to search for journal articles, the information caking our brains.

I have a student card now. I can use it for discounts like some teenaged fool. Ryerson really appears out of nowhere in downtown Toronto once the fall semester looms. On my way to campus, the froshes passed in lime-green- and pink-shirted conga lines, heading off to complete some ridiculous initiation task, the pumping dance music and corporate automatons on Gould Street coaxing them with big artificial smiles out of their parents’ embrace and toward their first credit card obligations. In Kerr Hall, we were warned to watch the halls for people who wander in off the streets, to call security if they see somebody suspicious, to lock the doors with priceless films and equipment contained within.

The last few years have been among the most intense on record, a series of adjustments to beating hearts. In less than a week, everything I’ve been trying to put into my life over the course of those years will finally be in it. That’s significant. I want it to keep me hungry and tenacious. It will be tiring, it will be labour-intensive, it will be stressful at times. But it won’t be hard.

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