February 28th, 2019

Will You Join Us for Graduate Student Experience Week?

By Samara Moore, Gradlife Ambassador

Indulge me, if you will? Think ahead to the end of your graduate school journey. You have assembled with your colleagues at convocation hall to celebrate earning your Masters or PhD degree. When graduate school is over, what are the things that you hope to gain from the experience besides the degree itself? How do you plan to take advantage of the unique opportunity that you have to dedicate to nurturing your personal, professional, and academic development?

Perhaps you have put a lot of thought into the questions that I mentioned and feel quite connected to the resources on campus. Maybe you haven’t yet thought about those things or feel like you don’t know where to start. Perhaps you have so many commitments and responsibilities in your personal life, that the thought of dedicating time to nurture anything else feels unrealistic. Wherever you find yourself regarding this issue, we at Gradlife are here to help you get the most out of your graduate school experience.

We invite and encourage you to join us for a week of fantastic graduate specific events. Gradlife and the School of Graduate Studies have organized Graduate Student Experience Week, running from March 4th to 9th. What can you expect from Graduate Experience Week?

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Daily Coffee Talks

  • “Come to the SGS Graduate Student Lounge for free coffee and refreshments and an informal talk about a range of topics.”
  • When & Where: 9:30-11 am in the SGS Graduate Student Lounge, 63 St. George Street
    • Monday, March 4th: Staying Well: Resources for Grad Students” with Lorie Atkinson, SGS Wellness Counsellor
    • Tuesday, March 5th: Finances & Funding” with Alice Brummell, Coordinator, Student Support & Financial Aid, SGS
    • Wednesday, March 6th: How Can SGS Academic Services Help You? Victoria Hurlihey, Manager, Front-line Student Academic Services, SGS
    • Thursday, March 7th: Services & Supports for International Grad Students, Yaseen Ali, Transition Advisor, CIE
    • Friday, March 8th: Learning the Art of Academic Communication Rachael Cayley, Acting Director, GCAC
  • Register

Facebook Live Chat with G2G Peer Advisor, Grad Conflict Resolution Centre

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SGS presents: 3MT workshop with previous UofT winner, Cristina D’Amico

  • “Are your preparing to complete in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition?  Would you like to get some pointers from a previous winner? Join Cristina D’Amico for a workshop on “How to Present Your Research in Three Minutes.”
  • When & Where: Tuesday, March 5th, 1-2:30pm, at the Grad Room, 66 Harbord Street
  • Register

Panel Evening: Graduate Student Conversations & Connections

  • Strategies for Graduate Success and Beyond
  • “Learn tips on how to make the most of your time as a grad student and beyond. Hear about the importance of career planning early led by a career expert followed by a graduate student panel. Panelists will share strategies about how they have navigated graduate school challenges including imposter syndrome and being on the verge of quitting, to managing conflict, accessing resources and getting involved. Connect with your graduate peers and enjoy some refreshments. Space limited.”
  • When & where: Thursday, March 7th, 6-8:30pm, the Hart House Music Room
  • For program schedule & to register

Graduate Connections: Maintaining a Healthy Well-Being

  • “Take a break and connect with other grad students at our new bi-weekly chat forum. Share your experiences in an informal setting, talk about your challenges and life as a graduate student. An expert staff facilitator will be available to answer questions related to each week’s theme. This is a free event! Space is limited to 25.”
    Tea and Cookies will be available.
  • When & where: Friday, March 8th, 2-3:30pm at SGS Graduate Student Lounge, 63 St. George Street
  • Register

Source: www.pexels.com

Grad Escape: Improv at Second City

  • “Join other graduate students and get a taste of what The Second City is all about! Learn how to think on your feet, be in the moment and say YES to everyone’s ideas all through fun games and exercises at this introductory improv class!”
  • When & Where: Friday, March 8th, 6-8pm at Second City, 99 Blue Jays Way
  • Register

Leadership for Grads: Identifying your Transferable skills and Self-worth in Grad School

  • “Join us to be a part of the conversation about Grad Life at U of T and connect with other members of the Grad community to share your experiences and hear about others’. We will be discussing how to articulate skill-building outside of the classroom and exploring what you’ve gained as a Grad student. Faciliated by Peer Leadership Facilitators, Leadership for Grads team. Free lunch and coffee will be provided to full-day participants!”
  • When & where: Saturday, March 9th, 10am-3pm, 21 Sussex Ave, room 321

In the time that I have been a graduate student at U of T, my involvement with Gradlife has allowed me to connect with the graduate student community outside of my faculty. Attending graduate student specific events have helped me to get a better understanding of the resources that are available to me, as I continue to map out my own journey at U of T.

I hope that you will join us for a week of incredible events intended to support, equip and connect us as we carve out our own unique paths as graduate students. I will be speaking at the Panel Evening event for professional-stream graduate students. If you will be attending this event, I would love to meet you! Everyday brings with it a new opportunity to shape the trajectory of our graduate school experience. Will you be joining us next week?

Signing off,

Samara Moore

“Be passionate and move forward with gusto every single hour of every single day until you reach your goal.”

-Ava DuVernay 

Ps. My tenure as your Gradlife Ambassador has ended. It has been a pleasure to be able to to connect with a number of you at our events and through this blog!

February 5th, 2019

I Challenge You to Register for The Three Minute Thesis (3MT)! Will You Accept?

Source: www.pexels.com

By: Samara Moore, Gradlife Ambassador

Do you want to develop the ability to talk effectively about your research to any audience? Are you looking to build your network in a way that will lead to more research opportunities? Have you been actively trying to connect with graduate students outside of your discipline? Have you reached a point in your research where you want to refocus your approach? Are you looking to re-clarify the purpose of your research? Have you found yourself questioning what the potential impact of your work will be?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, I highly encourage you to participate in The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. In fact, this is an incredible opportunity for any research or professional graduate student working on a dissertation, or involved in a major research project.

What is 3MT?

The Three Minute Thesis is a competition that graduate students are eligible to participate in across Canada. In this contest, students are challenged to present their research in an accessible manner, in 3 minutes or less. Participants will have the unique opportunity to share their research to a local, provincial, and national audience! The panel of judges are non-specialists. They will listen to research presentations that span disciplines, from students across various Canadian universities. Attendance to this nation-wide competition is open to the public. The contest will be advertised in communities across the country. People from the general public, as well as those within universities, will be encouraged to attend.

New Change to the 3MT Competition

While the 3MT competition is not new at U of T, there has been a significant change made to the competition this year! In previous years, the competition was only open to PhD students at UofT. Now, the competition has been opened to both PhD and Masters students who are doing a major research project. If you are a Masters student slightly intimidated by the prospect of competing against PhD students – I have encouraging news! Last year’s winner of 3MT Canada was Chidera Nwaroh, a Masters student from the University of Calgary.

Source: www.pexels.com

Important Dates

As you consider, or begin to prepare, to take part in this incredible competition, I urge you to mark the following key dates on your calendar!

  •  Registration for 3MT Opens
    • February 25th, 2019
  • Preliminary Heats
    • March 18th to 28th, 2019
  •  University-Wide Semi-Finals Competition  
    • April 2nd  and April 3rd, 2019
  • University-Wide Competition (University of Toronto 3MT Finals Competition)
    • April 4th, 2019
    • The competition will be held at the Isabel Bader Theatre!
    • Winners of each division will present in the university-wide competition
    • Winners of the final will compete at the provincial competition.

UTM & UTSC Students

If you are a student from UTM or UTSC and curious about where to go to participate in the 3MT heats, you can find the exact locations posted on the SGS website soon. For now, it’s worth noting that all 3MT Heat competitions for graduate students will be held at the St. George Campus.

I Dare You to Challenge Yourself!

The most significant growth in my life has often come when I have been pushed outside of my comfort zone in pursuit of a new challenge. As graduate students, it is so important for us to be able to communicate our research clearly. Graduate school is an excellent environment for us all to develop our professional skills, regardless of our desired career path. I challenge you to take a step in that direction and register for 3MT!

If you require further information about the competition, check out the SGS website or contact Liam O’Leary at liam.oleary@utoronto.ca 

Final Thoughts

When I learned about this competition, the part of it that I was most excited about was the opportunity to engage the broader community. I believe that as students and researchers, it is so important for us to be a part of the communities that we are in, on and off campus. Thinking about ways to make research more accessible and available to the general public has always been an issue that has resonated with me. I hope that you will also keep that in mind, as you make your decision about whether you will decide to participate. You never know who will be encouraged, helped, influenced, or inspired by what you share.

Will you accept the challenge?

 

Samara

Source: www.pexels.com

 

January 16th, 2019

Welcome New Students!

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By: Samara Moore, Gradlife Ambassador

If you are one of the over 300 new graduate students joining our community this term -welcome! My name is Samara. I am a first year Masters student studying at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. I am pleased to be your Grad Life Ambassador!

At Gradlife, we are here to support you through your journey at UofT! We want you to get the most out of your grad school experience! I encourage you to come out to the programs and events that we organize throughout the year.

I also encourage you to check out the School of Graduate Studies Essential Guide for Graduate Students. This booklet will provide you with key information about important dates and campus resources. You can also check out our website for more information about Grad Life programs and other graduate specific resources on campus.

We have a number of events coming up that you will not want to miss!

Once again, welcome to the University of Toronto!

I hope that these resources have been helpful! I look forward to meeting you on campus! I highly encourage you to register for our games night later this month. I will be facilitating it!

Until next time,

Samara

December 20th, 2018

5 Tips To Help You With Your Goals in 2019!

Source: www.pexels.com

By: Samara Moore, Gradlife Ambassador

Do you make it a practice to set goals for the new year? Are you someone who has an idea about what you want to achieve this year, but do not find it necessary to write it down? Do you intentionally avoid new years resolutions, and prefer to set goals for yourself throughout the year instead?

Whatever your approach is to goal setting, I am sure that we can all relate to wanting to make changes in our lives. Change is a difficult process. It is not uncommon to experience challenges, as we attempt to try new things and make adjustments. At different points in my own life, I have experienced:

  • Setting a goal for myself and not following through to achieve it
  • Struggling to stay motivated and accountable to achieve a goal that I have set
  • Feeling defeated when I have not met a goal, despite my best efforts to achieve it

I have included five tips that I have learned and implemented in my own life. I hope that they are helpful to you, as you work on your own goals this year.

1) Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Setting S.M.A.R.T goals is an incredibly useful way to set yourself up to achieve your targets. It provides a practical method to structure and evaluate your goals. S.M.A.R.T. goals are:

  • Specific
    • Well defined
    • Example
      • Not specific: To participate more often in class, to run more
      • Specific: To speak at least twice during each class discussion, to run for 30 minutes daily
  • Measurable
    • To be able to accurately measure your progress
    • To be able to measure that you have successfully completed your goal
    • Example:
      • Counting how often you speak in each class
      • timing the length of your runs, and the number of days that you run during the week
  • Attainable and Actionable 
    • Setting goals that are realistic and attainable
    • Develop a plan or outline for how you will achieve your goal
    • If needed, breaking down your goal into smaller, attainable steps (smaller goals)
    • Example:
      • Create notes about salient points from course readings, to help better organize your thoughts and build confidence to speak in class
      •  Developing endurance to run for 30 minutes, by setting subgoals. Start with a small goal to take 10 minute runs. Then, set a goal to increase your running time by 5 minutes each week.
      • Subgoals could also be applied to the frequency of your runs. For instance, a smaller goal could be to run for 30 minutes, two days a week. This could increase over time to 30 minute runs everyday.
  • Relevant and Realistic
    • Setting goals that are:
      • Important to you
      • Worth the time and effort needed to achieve them
      • Realistic, given the resources and time available to you
  • Time-based
    • Have a clear timeline for when the goal should be achieved
    • Example:
      • To be able to speak at least twice during each class discussion, by the 4th week of the semester.
      •  To be running for 30 minutes everyday, in 3 months.

Source: www.pexels.com

2) Get an accountability partner

Sharing your goals with a supportive person who can periodically check-in with you on your progress, is a great way to stay accountable to following through on your goals. I have found having accountability partners incredibly helpful, in terms of helping me to stay on track. I have also found the process of supporting each other to be mutually beneficial.

3) Check-in on your progress quarterly

When I set goals for the year, I have found it very helpful to check-in on my progress every three months. It has given me the opportunity to pause and evaluate whether I am working toward my targets. I am able to consider if any adjustments need to be made, or new action steps implemented. This can be done individually and/or with your accountability partner. I find it useful to review and reflect on my progress on my own, and then meet with my accountability partner. If you have a more short term goal, you may want to check-in on your progress halfway through.

4) Leverage Campus Resources

As students at the largest university in the country, we have many resources available to help us meet our goals! I have included links to some campus resources that may be helpful to you, including our Gradlife website.

5) Be Self-Compassionate

Self-compassion is a critical and often neglected component of working toward any goal. I will admit that it is something that I struggle with at times. It is important to remember that change is not a linear process. There may be mistakes and setbacks along the way, but try to show yourself kindness as you forge ahead. Terry and Leary (2011) found that self-compassionate people were actually better able to meet their goals, partially because:

  1. They tend to set realistic goals for themselves
  2. They tend to persevere when they backslide

While the tips provided here are certainly useful for goal setting, they do not guarantee that we will achieve every goal all of the time. Sometimes despite our best efforts, we are not able to meet our goals. I think that it’s important  to remember that our success in life is not just measured by whether we succeed in meeting all of our targets. Our success is also measured by what we learn from failure, and how we respond to it. I came across a quote about setbacks that really resonated with me. I have included it below, in hopes that it may encourage you.

“What do you first do when you learn to swim? You make mistakes, do you not? And what happens? You make other mistakes, and when you have made all the mistakes you possibly can without drowning – and some of them many times over – what do you find? That you can swim? Well – life is just the same as learning to swim! Do not be afraid of making mistakes” -Alfred Adler

It has been a pleasure to be your Gradlife Ambassador this term! I hope that you will join us at our upcoming Grad Talk on Staying Motivated as a Graduate Student.

I wish you a happy and safe holiday season! See you in the new year.

Samara

 

Work Cited

Terry, M. L., & Leary, M. R. (2011). Self-compassion, self-regulation, and health. Self and Identity, 10(3), 352-362. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15298868.2011.

December 11th, 2018

Learning to Write Freely and Other Life Lessons From a Writing Workshop

Source: www.pexels.com

By: Samara Moore, Gradlife Ambassador

Do you long to reconnect with interests and activities that used to bring you joy? Has the process of academic writing stifled your love for the craft? At times, do you feel divided in the multiple spaces, or worlds, that you occupy? These were some of the themes that emerged at a recent Grad Connection event that I attended. The event was led by Ronna Bloom, U of T’s very own Poet in Community.

Grad Connections are bi-weekly informal meet-ups for graduate students. It is a space where we can engage in an honest dialogue with other graduate students about our experiences. We discuss our struggles, celebrate our triumphs, and support each other in a nonjudgmental environment.

While I learned tips at this Grad Connect that have been invaluable, in terms of supporting me with my writing, my key takeaways from the experience were about life. I am pleased to share three life lessons from the workshop that resonated with me.

Lesson 1: Perfectionism is a Trap 

One key barrier that I identified in my writing process, is the desire for what I write to be perfect right away. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed with wanting to have my thoughts communicated ‘just right’ the first time, that it can make it incredibly difficult to start writing anything. I have now decided that I will give myself permission to write as freely and terribly as I can, the first time around. I will try to take comfort in knowing that the first draft is only for me. It is not for my professor, supervisor, literary critics, or the grammar police.

While this lesson is certainly applicable to the writing process, it is also useful in life. If you have struggled with perfectionism at any point in your life, you may know what I mean. Just like with writing, sometimes our concerns about not being good at something, or things not going “perfectly,” can hold us back from taking opportunities or trying new things. Just like with writing, we have to give ourselves the space to try things and the grace to make mistakes. It is only when we make that space, that we can learn, improve and grow. We cannot do any of those things if we do not give ourselves the freedom to try, fail, and try again.

Lesson 2: The Importance of Keeping Expressive Space

Ronna really emphasized the importance of having our own space to express ourselves. She recommended that we keep notebooks for this purpose. I have always kept journals. I have found that writing in them has helped me to process my thoughts and emotions over the years. I also recognize that some people process non-verbally. If non-verbal processing works better for you, perhaps keeping expressive space means carving out a time and place to make something. It could also involve engaging in self-reflective processing through dance and movement, or by going on a thoughtful nature walk.

Source: www.pexels.com

Lesson 3: Showing up whole

One point that Ronna made that I deeply connected with, had to do with the importance of bringing our whole selves to our academic writing and work. Oftentimes in life when we inhabit particular spaces, we may be made to feel like we have to fragment ourselves. Have you ever felt like there was a disconnect between your academic and artistic self, or your professional and spiritual self? While there are certainly reasonable boundaries in school and work, this workshop reminded me that it is important to be intentional about bringing all of who we are to the places that we occupy. For me personally, as a social work student, a part of showing up whole involves exploring new ways to integrate my love for photography and creative writing into my social work practice. For others, it may involve allowing the issues that you are genuinely passionate about to guide your research interests. It could also involve being more open with people in your academic or professional circles, about some of your interests outside of the academy that you may not freely share.

I hope that these takeaways have been helpful! I would love to learn more about your experiences with writing, and your journeys as graduate students. Feel free to leave your comments on either this post, Facebook or Twitter.

Until next time,

Samara

December 3rd, 2018

Getting The Most Out Of The Winter Break: 8 Things To Do In Toronto This December!

Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-blue-zip-up-hooded-jacket-standing-on-snow-879415/

By: Samara Moore, Gradlife Ambassador

December is finally here and the semester is winding down! If you are anything like me, you are eagerly awaiting that moment when you submit your final assignment, write your last exam, or finish grading that last paper for the term.

We will all have a bit of extra time on our hands very soon. If you are staying in the city and looking for things to do, I have got you covered! I have compiled a list of 8 free and affordable things to do in Toronto this December! I hope that it is helpful to you, as you plan out your own winter break.

On Campus/University of Toronto Related 

  • Robert Library Holiday Market
    • Date: Tuesday, December 4th
    • Time: 11am to 2pm
    • Location: Robarts Library, 2nd Floor
    • Click here for more information
    • Free Admission
  • Grad Escape: Gingerbread Houses at Loblaws Cooking School
    • Date: Wednesday, December 5th
    • Time: 6-7:30pm
    • Location: the Loblaws Cooking School
    • Click here to register and for more information

Christmas/Holiday Markets

  • Holiday Fair in the Square
    • Date: December 1-23rd
    • Time: See website for details
    • Location: Nathan Phillips Square
    • Click here for more information
    • Free Admission
  • Toronto Christmas Market
    • Date: November 15- December 23rd
    • Time: See website for details
    • Location: The Distillery Historic District
    • Click here for more information
    • Free on weekdays until 5pm on Friday, $6.00 weekend admission

Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/white-ice-glacier-86730/

Nature Lovers

  • Allan Garden’s Winter Flower Show
    • Date: December 2nd 2018- January 9th 2019
    • Time: 10am to 5pm
    • Location: Allan Gardens
    • Click here for more information
    • Free Admission
  • Ontario Ice Caves
    • Visiting an ice cave will require you to venture outside of the GTA
    • Popular locations

Art & Culture Lovers

  • Sun Life Financial MAP Pass
    • Visit 11 museums and attractions for free with a Sun Life Financial MAP Pass. You can sign out this pass with an adult Toronto Public Library card
    • Click here for more information
    • A MAP Pass provides free admission to the following attractions:
      •  The Aga Khan Museum
      • AGO- Art Gallery of Ontario
      • The Bata Show Museum
      • Black Creek Pioneer Village
      • Gardiner Museum
      • Museum of Contemporary Art
      • Ontario Science Centre
      • ROM- Royal Ontario Museum
      • Textile Museum of Canada
      • Toronto History Museums
      • The Toronto Zoo
  • Sun Life Financial MAP Performing Arts Pass
    • Visit film, music, and theatre events for free. You can sign out this pass with an adult Toronto Public Library card.
    • Click here for more information
    • A MAP Performing Arts Pass provides free admission to the following art events:
      • CanStage
      • Factory Theatre
      • Harbourfront Centre
      • HotDocs Ted Rogers Cinema
      • The Royal Conservatory of Music
      • Tafelmusik

I hope that this list has been helpful to you, as you plan your winter break! Please let me know if you check out one of these events. I would love to hear about your experience.

I wish you well as you finish out the semester!

Until next time,

Samara

November 13th, 2018

Grad Escapes: Why you should go!

By: Samara Moore, Gradlife Ambassador

Since I started grad school this fall, I have participated in a riveting game of The Resistance over unicorn inspired tea. I have held a medieval manuscript and rubbed my fingers against its ancient parchment pages. I have taken a courageous leap into improv, and have enjoyed the peaceful calm of jewelry making. I also attended my first cooking class, where I helped prepare a meal that I am proud of. I have engaged in a number of relaxing, joy filled and exhilarating experiences, over the past few months, because of my participation in Grad Escapes!

Grad Escapes are an excellent way to take a break from the demands of Graduate School and connect with other students, while having fun! I have had the privilege of meeting a number of my peers from different disciplines through Grad Escapes. Attending these events have helped me to feel more connected with students beyond my faculty. Grad Escapes have also given me the opportunity to explore places in the city and on campus, that I would have never thought to visit otherwise.

We have 3 more Grad Escapes scheduled for this semester! I strongly encourage you to come out to them!

  • Trivia Night
    • Thursday, November 15th, 7-8pm
    • There will be prizes, fun, and refreshments!
  • Escape Room Game at Robarts Library 
    • Tuesday, November 20th, 5-7pm
    • Game Description: “When Robarts Library comes under a ransomware attack, UofT grad students will have 60 minutes to fight for the survival of one of the world’s great library collections.  Join UofT Libraries for this fun and challenging escape room game. Dive into the dark corners of our brutalist maze and be sure not to lose your way. Time is running out. Presented in partnership with U of T Libraries.”
  • Gingerbread Houses at the Loblaws Cooking School
    • Wednesday, December 5th, 6-7:30pm
    • We will be decorating tasty gingerbread houses! Bring a friend or join us with your family! Did I mention that there will be an informal contest for the best gingerbread house?

I will be hosting all of our Grad Escapes this term. I would be thrilled to meet and welcome you, if you decide to join us at an upcoming event. I hope to see you soon!

Wishing you a fantastic week!

Best,

Samara

November 6th, 2018

A Foodie’s Guide: 10 Restaurants, 4 Parts of the City

Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-iphone-6-744780/

By: Samara Moore, Gradlife Ambassador

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I love to eat! What better way to spend the day, than to share a meal with friends? If you are a food lover like me, I have got you covered! I’ve compiled a list of my ten favourite restaurants in four parts of the city. Whether you are a commuter like me, or interested in exploring cuisine in different parts of Toronto, I hope that you find these suggestions helpful!

Downtown

  • If you love sushi and Korean barbeque, then Arisu is the restaurant for you! Nestled in the heart of the Annex, you can walk to this spot from campus or get off of the subway at Bathurst station. Whether you opt for takeout or decide to dine in, the service at this restaurant is exceptional! If you are not sure about what to order, the team at Arisu are always happy to make great recommendations!
    • Student discount: 15%
  • This restaurant caters to vegans, vegetarians, meat lovers, and people with gluten-sensitivity alike! Their vision is to have a restaurant where people with different diets can all have options when they dine together! When I think about Harvest Kitchen, I think about how welcomed I feel when I’m there. Fun fact about Harvest Kitchen: they use local and organic products as much as possible. Also, all of their meat is ethically sourced.
  • If you are craving soul food then look no further than the Harlem Underground! They serve delectable meals inspired by African-American and Caribbean cuisine. They also have great live music! Fun fact: I tried fried chicken and waffles for the first time at this restaurant! It was the absolute best!
  • Fresh is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant that I frequent. They have five locations in the city, including a restaurant next to Spadina station and a midtown location off of Yonge and Eglinton. I am a huge fan of their crispy cauliflower tacos, flying cashew burger, and quinoa onion rings. They also have a gluten allergy friendly menu. Tasty suggestion: for an energy boost, try one of their green smoothies or power shakes. They also have a great dessert menu!
    • Student discount: 10%
  •  I first discovered Insomnia when I was an undergraduate student at UofT. It has since become a go-to restaurant for me in the annex. Insomnia is a great place to visit for brunch! They also have a great selection of dinner items and a cozy atmosphere. Fun fact: they use the delivery App Ritual for pickup orders.
    • Student discount: 20% (not applicable on weekends or holidays)

Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/spinach-chicken-pomegranate-salad-5938/

Midtown

  • I have an unwavering love for Italian food! This love has led me to one of my all-time favourite restaurants in the city- Grazie! Whether you are craving pizza or pasta made from scratch, or are in the mood for some tasty salmon, you will not be disappointed at Grazie. Helpful tip: there can be a bit of a wait for a table at this restaurant at dinner time. If you go there between 3pm to 5:30pm, you can beat the dinner rush!
  • If you enjoy dining in an artistic atmosphere, then check out La Carnita! It is my favourite place to go, in the city, for some great tacos! Tasty suggestion: Try their Cod and Achiote Chicken tacos. They also have a great selection of vegetarian tacos!

Scarborough

  • Frederick Restaurant is one of Scarborough’s best kept secrets! It is, in my opinion, the best Hakka restaurant in the city. Not only is the food tasty, but the cost is affordable and the value unmatched. Tasty suggestion: My go-to order at this restaurant is their Cantonese chow mien, and Manchurian chicken with friend rice.
  • I have a special affinity for the Spice is Right. If you are craving authentic Jamaican Caribbean food and find yourself in Wexford Heights, give this restaurant a try! Fun fact: the walls of Spice is Right are filled with Caribbean art and photographs of influential Jamaicans. The owners of the restaurant have a good sense of humour, so it’s a great place to for a good laugh along with your food!

Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/white-and-brown-cooked-dish-on-white-ceramic-bowls-958545/

North York

  • If you are a sushi lover and have never tried torched pressed sushi, then I highly recommend this restaurant. You can dine in or order from 10 different online food delivery apps. A complete list of the delivery companies are included on the Torched Pressed Sushi website.

Have you tried any of these restaurants yourself? What do you think of them? I would love to hear from you! Let me know what your favourite restaurants are? What restaurant suggestions do you have for areas in the city that were not included on this list?

Have a great day & bon appetite!

Samara

 

October 30th, 2018

Surviving the Midterm Slump!

Photo Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/grayscale-photo-of-computer-laptop-near-white-notebook-and-ceramic-mug-on-table-169573/

By: Samara Moore, Gradlife Ambassador

It is one of the most dreaded periods on the calendar of a university student –midterms! Whether we welcome it or not, midterm season is upon us at the University of Toronto.

It is the time of year when we are tasked with working through an onslaught of assignments. Would it be presumptuous for me to assume that, if you are a Teaching Assistant, you find yourself spending your Friday nights, curled up on your couch, with endless assignments to mark? Is it safe to wonder if any of us have been operating on a sufficient amount of sleep, over the past few weeks? How are you managing the pressure and demands of midterms?

If I am honest, then I must admit that midterm season has been challenging for me. I have been feeling stressed and overwhelmed with assignments. I feel guilty when I am not able to spend time with friends, or fulfill all of my commitments because of school. I feel ashamed when I struggle to manage my time efficiently. I also hate to admit this, but I struggle with trying to release myself from my inclination to measure my success, as a graduate student, by my grades.

If you are struggling during this period –you are not alone. I don’t have solutions, as I am still trying to figure out how to navigate this process myself. I would like to share some points to keep in mind, as I am finding them helpful.

Yesterday I had a conversation with one of my classmates that really inspired me. She said that when she is feeling discouraged in grad school, she thinks back to that moment when she received her UofT acceptance letter. She remembers the hard work that brought her to this point, and her hopes for how she will use her education to make a difference in the future. Listening to her really lifted my spirits! It encouraged me to shift my focus from ruminating on my perceived shortcomings, to reflecting upon my strengths and the blessing of being a student!

Midterms are tough! We all have unique challenges. If you are experiencing the struggle of your own midterm slump, I encourage you to show yourself some compassion and grace. You will make it through!

Until next time,

Samara

October 19th, 2018

Imposter Syndrome -You are not alone!

Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-sitting-next-to-table-and-right-hand-on-ear-1326946/

By: Samara Moore, Gradlife Ambassador

Do you frequently dismiss your achievements? Find yourself feeling extremely uncomfortable when you are recognized for your work? Do you have an underlying belief that you are not as intelligent or capable as people think that you are? Fear that you will be exposed as a fraud, who does not really belong in graduate school?

The statements that I listed all describe imposter syndrome. If you are experiencing it –you are not alone. This way of thinking is actually quite common among graduate students.

If you are struggling with imposter syndrome, I strongly encourage you to come out to our upcoming Grad Connection event, Feeling like an Imposter. Grad Connections are a great way for students to share experiences and support each other. We have a staff member from the Academic Success Centre who will be facilitating the event.

Some other helpful resources on campus are:

I would like to leave you with a quote from Marianne Williamson, as it often comes to mind when I think about imposter syndrome.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure… We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

One thing that I know for sure is that we all have something of value to offer. As a dear friend gently reminded me once, we do not come into our academic programs, or anything in life, as perfect, all-knowing, experts who should never make mistakes. We come into our respective programs as ourselves -curious, imperfect, and worthy of this opportunity that we have to learn.

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