SARAH JOAQUIN | Because I’m free… free falling.


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Hola mi amigos!

I just came back from my grad trip getaway to Cuba a couple of days ago, sunburnt and voice gone, but it’s safe to say that it was the best week of my life! Waking up to beautiful weather every morning with a cup of Cuban coffee, swimming in the Caribbean ocean, seeing the most beautiful beaches Varadero had to offer, experiencing the Cuban culture, making new friends, and creating countless memories with the best group of girls are just a few trip highlights. It was the cherry on top of a great last year of undergrad and the day after we got back, we each received our official confirmations for graduation (best feeling, ever!). It was a trip of many firsts for me, first time to Cuba, first time traveling outside of Canada with a group of friends, and first time skydiving (I really did it!!)- more on that later.

Ladies in Havana
Ladies in Havana

One of the things I did a lot of while I was out there was float around on my own in the ocean. Sounds a bit boring, but something about the crystal clear blue ocean water and the sound of the waves always kept me in there, made me lose track of time, and is probably the reason why I’m 50 shades of sunburnt. I did a lot of reflection in there, too. Reflection on the last 4 years, on how I got to where I am now and how lucky and fortunate I was to even take a grad trip. Looking far into the ocean’s depth made me think about my future and how different my life will be in a matter of months when I move back home to Calgary, kind of like swimming into an ocean of unknown.

just keep swimming, swimming, swimming


To be honest, I feel like I’ve been a rollercoaster of emotions ever since I wrote my last final exam of undergrad last month. I go through a cycle of feelings every day.. excited, happy, relieved, and more recently really anxious and nervous. Anxious because I’ve gotten so used to my life in Toronto and life as a student that I’m afraid it’ll be hard to adjust living back home and nervous because I’m constantly thinking about the amount of time it’s going to take me to pay off my student debt. In some ways, I feel like I’m taking a step back by flying back to the nest when I just left it. I always pictured myself living on my own after I finished university- something I’ve never really done. I’m extremely grateful for my family for always taking me in, no questions asked (I’ll be moving in with my big brother and his family in Calgary), but what I think adds to my anxiety is the thought that I won’t ever be okay to live completely on my own and be 100% independent.

…And then there’s my student debt. I’ve sort of been in denial about it and kind of brushed it under the rug throughout my 4 years in school.. “Oh, I’ll just worry about it when I’m done school.”  Well, I’m done, and I’ve been getting a lot of anxiety just thinking about how daunting a task it’s going to be paying it all off and what setbacks I’ll face because of my foolish spending habits as a student. I have this constant nagging feeling in my chest just thinking about what I’ll be limited to do because of the debt I’ve accumulated in the last 4 years.

My sister suggested I make realistic goals for myself to alleviate some of this anxiety that’s been weighing me down recently. Well here it is, I’m admitting that I have a mountain of student debt to re-pay now that I’m done university, and I’m sharing this fact with you all so that when I do a 5-year update, this post will hold me accountable and I will have hopefully achieved my goals by then, those being:

To live on my own within 2 years and to finish paying off my debt in 3. *you can do it Sarah!*

I want to be able to travel to Europe in my twenties and climb Mount Everest (next on my bucket list). I know it’s going to take a matter of careful planning to help me achieve these goals, something I have already slowly started to do. So get back to me in 3 years folks and I am determined that I will have these both accomplished by then.

On a lighter note, as promised last week, here is the video of me skydiving, the highlight of my trip. The original plan to go was on the Monday that we were there, by myself, but when we saw our travel agent on Saturday, the skydiving company had called and said the best time to go was that afternoon. With only a couple of hours to mentally prepare myself, I went through the same cycle of emotions mentioned earlier: excited, really nervous and in disbelief that I was actually going through with it. Thankfully, 2 other girls from the group decided last minute to join me and together we were one huge ball of nervousness. When they opened the door during our ascent, every thought possible went through my mind.. “what if this plane breaks down right now? ..Maybe I should’ve called my parents to let them know I was doing this.. ..What if the parachute doesn’t work?! ..What is the refund policy?”  When it was my turn to jump, as with most decisions I’ve made in my life, I closed my eyes and hoped with every ounce in my body for the best. Free falling from 12,000 ft. in the air was the most scary, yet exhilarating thing I have ever done in my life but once that parachute deployed and I had a view of the entire ocean beneath me, the risks were definitely worth it. Life is about taking risks, doing things that you never thought you were capable of, and hoping for the best possible outcome. It was an amazing experience and I would definitely do it again and recommend everyone to try it at least once in your life.

[blockquote source=”J.C. Chandor”]“When it feels scary to jump, that’s exactly when you jump. Otherwise you end up staying in the same place your whole life. And that I can’t do.” [/blockquote]

It definitely was an unforgettable week spent with the best group of old and new friends and I couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate finishing undergrad. Here’s a 10-minute recap video of my trip, a week full of non-stop laughter, dancing, meeting new people, and creating unforgettable memories.

Old and new friends that made this trip so amazing!

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As for the rest of my summer, my life is finally slowing down and I have to start preparing for my move back home, i.e. choose my last day in Toronto and book my one-way ticket. I can’t believe it’s almost June, time is really flying by!

Until next week,

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