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  • Sydney Daniels

waterloo - chapter one

Hi, it's been a while. After finishing my first year of university I realized how long it's been since I went out to take photos. I, unfortunately, didn't have the chance to do so during the school year, but I managed to catch the odd one every so often and I thought I'd share them with you as a compilation from the past eight months.

In the loo

Moving out to Waterloo might have been one of the best things to happen to me in my life. It was such an amazing experience and I really needed the new living environment to start this new chapter in my life. Took so many adventures, met so many friends, and made so many memories that will stay with me for years to come. Overall, Waterloo has treated me incredibly well, I cannot wait to get back (even when surrounded by an army of geese).

My new home

This school, this program, and this city is the perfect fit for me. So many opportunities for something to do on "a mental health day". A trip on the Ion to visit uptown, a quick walk around campus or even my residence building had some pretty scenery from time to time. One of my favourite places in Waterloo was actually in my residence, the chapel in St. Paul's but we know it as "Dave". The big table surrounded by large windows is a great place to study, people-watch, and have dinner with my friends. "Dave" is especially pretty when it's snowing outside, it feels like you're inside a snow globe. This place really felt like a new home.

Sunny days & sunny nights

Obviously, a new city means new sunsets and sunrise, and Waterloo did not disappoint. On the days when I'm actually awake for my 8:30 classes, the sunrise from my dorm room was the best thing to wake up to in the morning. The same thing goes for the sunsets. Taking sunset pictures is really fun for me because I somehow manage to remember everything that was happening in those moments. From the outside, you must see different pictures of the sky and some clouds, but I see several happy memories that actually led to much bigger parts of my time in Waterloo. Some of the photos are from a drive home after touring some houses with my friend, a few days later we would be signing the lease for the next fall to live together. Another was from a walk back from the tattoo shop near Laurier where I got my first tattoo (and I absolutely love it). Funny how these strong memories were accompanied by the prettiest scenery to paint the full picture.

Plant check

Speaking of plant shop, obviously, my green babies came with me to school (my parents didn't love moving them in but we made it work). In my single dorm room lived myself and about 14 plants when I first moved in, but that number slowly climbed back up to 20 by the end of the year (not my fault). I was good, I only bought one plant (for myself) during the whole year, the rest were gifts (my friends know me so well). Even though my plants looked really pretty in the morning sun and I did in fact win the award for best room decoration on my floor, the plants weren't all happy. A few of them definitely preferred their home in Brooklin but we made it through with only one or two casualties. I'd call that a success, hopefully, they're even happier in the Jungle Apartment next year. As an environment student, the first place I had to see in for myself was the two-story plant wall in EV3 and oh my god is she gorgeous. I had classes there both terms so I got to walk by and give her a wave every week. One of the girls I would walk to class with would often leave me behind because she didn't realize I had just stopped to stare at the living wall for a good five minutes before class. You need to physically pull me away from there if you want to go do something else.

Straight chilling

Winter term was when I got out a lot more thanks to classes moving back to in-person. That being said, many of these pictures were taken for my labs when we got temporarily placed online but still, I got to wander all over campus on land and in water, we got to bust out the hip waders and get in the creek and kick rocks! Even though the university is well known for its cold and windy conditions, it was actually quite picturesque in winter, especially with hundreds of tiny goose prints in the snow. A typical evening for my friend group involves regular trips to the plaza nearby, but it is extra fun when it's snowing. There have been a few nights where the flakes were massive and would cover everyone's hair, coats, and eyelashes and we would spend most of our time shaking them off during the walk. Although it was absolutely frigid, a quick walk with friends singing old war songs and getting subway is well worth the cold temperatures.

Mr. Goose

Even though I was at school for eight whole months, I sadly did not pull out my camera once, but I did get to use someone else's. A few of my friends entered a twenty-four-hour-long short film competition and they needed someone to shoot. Since the first guy couldn't make it, I got to play camera woman! It was very chaotic but also very fun working with them. They had written the script in the morning and I got back from class and they immediately pulled me outside to film with them, I had no clue what they were shooting but it was cool seeing the work they had put into the script and the characters beforehand. The one thing I will say about working with these guys is that we definitely needed the twenty-four hours because we, as a group, get distracted very quickly, In between every take someone has a quick story to tell, or during serious scenes at least one person starts breaking. Although you guys tested my patience that day, me giggling in every take tells me that I had a good time working with them.

The troupe

By far the best part about first year was the people. Someway, somehow I managed to make like twenty new friends who would later become my family. I could not tell you how difficult first year would have been without this amazing support group. Every dinner in Dave, every chaotic sushi outing, every spa night in my room, every LCBO or plaza run, and every presentation night, were all critical parts of my first-year experience. Never in my life would I have imagined meeting such a wonderful group of people so full of passion, creativity, ambition, humor, and love. In terms of photography, I wasn't able to capture much of the nature outside, but the real beauty was in that chapel with my friends. <3

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