Hi HOEMies! We hope you're enjoying our Humans of HOEM series! If you're new to our blogs, just click here to check out the other great stories our students have to share!
Today’s interview features Minakshi, a 3rd year pursuing a Bachelors Degree in International Economics and Finance at Ryerson University. Hailing from Queens New York, Minakshi is not only passionate about basketball but all things technology as well. She is skilled in robotics and coding, mechanics and working with cars - you can catch her working at the Services Desk this fall for any EDM or playlist recommendations!
Now, let's get to the interview:
Ani: Welcome! What’s your name?
Ani: And what is your happiest memory at HOEM?
Minakshi: I’d probably say in the beginning when I moved here, they had this community meeting and I actually met my two closest friends here and I have great memories with them.
Ani: That’s nice! How did you meet your friends in the building?
Minakshi: Through the community meeting. What happened was that we were just doing these icebreaker challenges and they asked where we were all from. He [my friend] ended up being from Queens as well and we just kinda connected like that!
Jordana: What’s one thing you would want someone to know about you?
Minakshi: I think the biggest thing is the fact that I look like one thing, very extroverted in this floral top, but I am kind of another. Like my personality is way more of an introvert than extrovert. If someone else is to describe me, they will be like “Yes, she is nice, she is fun, she does these things to [be hospitable].” I’m just genuinely a very easy person to talk to.
Ani: Who are you inspired by?
Minakshi: I’ll say my dad. My dad is a scientist and a biologist, and he works at NIH (National Institute of Health) in Washington, DC. In a Southeast Asian family, it is really hard to keep up to standards, but he does inspire me a lot to keep going in school. He has an MPH so I'm trying to reach the level to get there. There's one quote my dad always says to me “The truth always prevails,” which basically means honesty is key and you can never truly accomplish anything without it. These are words I live by.
Ani: Southeast Asian family? Which country specifically?
Minakshi: We are Guyanese but Indian descent.
Ani: And what was your first day at HOEM like?
Minakshi: It was hectic I’ll say. I was kinda nervous because you know, it's the first time I'm living by myself with roommates. Definitely very surprised to meet my roommates and stuff. At the end of the day, I ended up enjoying going out and looking at the city. I’m also international so this place was new for me. When I first moved here, I was just like I’m gonna be myself and not really try to be something else right now when making friends.
Jordana: Is it because you weren't being yourself before?
Minakshi: Well I’m trying to find myself here and trying to be more outgoing, but I never was an outgoing person. I'm just trying to get out there a bit more because I struggle with social anxiety. It is a really big problem for me, so I think like mentally I'm not there, but physically I'm trying to get there. There are reasons why I try to join the community. Like I would have never agreed to this [photo shoot] a year ago. It's just, I have been trying to put myself out there.
Jordana: And you are doing it, you are actively doing it. I think a lot of students, just people in general, struggle with anxiety. Especially social anxiety, like making friends and things like that. Obviously, you want to get to know people and you want to have friends, but you don't want to compromise who you are as a person and how you like to do things.
Minakshi: Yeah, I think a lot of people struggle with [social anxiety] and it affects your personality, how you make friends. It's nice to have friends that understand some of these complications, friends that you can rely on.
Ani: What do you like the most about HOEM?
Minakshi: Honestly, I really like that they do stuff like this. Like the little Zen rooms, or for Christmas, they make cozy areas for you and your friends to chill. It just makes you feel at home even though you are not really at home. I like that a lot about this building because they try to make you feel comfy.
Ani: Why do you think it is important to live in a student residence for at least for one year?
Minakshi: It took like a year of convincing my parents to move to a student dorm. One of the main things that I said was, in university or college, it is a really good experience to have - to live by yourself. It is a lot of responsibility, and you learn independence. And I feel like a lot of the kids that don’t end up moving to a dorm, they don’t understand what comes out from it. Like, living by yourself and when they graduate and try to be an adult, they’re just gonna be like “OMG now I have to move out and have so many things to do.” You learn all of those things when you live by yourself here.
Ani: Would you say there is a social advantage to it? Even if you are living alone, you could live in an apartment.
Minakshi: I think the advantage here is that most student residences you get like roommate matching surveys where they’ll see who you are most compatible with and put you with that person. Even if it is just a trial process to see if you guys can be friends. And it is a really good way of making friends. I definitely made my closest friends in residence, but it’s definitely something I'm not good at doing [alone]. The social factor [in residence] is way higher than you just doing school from home.
Ani: Okay. We are almost at the end. What are some of the most favourite places you visited here in Toronto?
Minakshi: So, Harbourfront is probably the place that I go for inspiration most of the time, or Sugar Beach. Those are just places that are peaceful to me and usually I go there when I’m anxious or stressed out. There is also a music park. The Financial District is my favourite to walk through at night.
Ani: Final one. What advice would you give to someone who is moving to HOEM or Toronto in general? You can pick which one!
Minakshi: For HOEM specifically, I would just say, do not pack things that are unnecessary. My biggest advice is to take only what’s needed. Like I’d say buy a rice cooker, small little items that you can share with your roommates or keep to yourself, but still have enough space for everyone.
Ani: So like, take a minimal approach basically.
Minakshi: That’s the best way to put it. I think also just be prepared to face all the responsibilities that are gonna come your way.
Ani: Definitely! Those were all of my questions. Thank you!
Minakshi: Thank you!
And thank you for reading! Stay tuned for the next Humans of HOEM interview as we gear up to welcome our HOEMies for the Fall semester!
Images by: Jordana Petruccelli
Interviewed by: Anirudh Muruganand
Transcribed by: Melanie Feng Chen