Top 3 Places to Visit on the TTC!

U of T students have a multitude of attractions surrounding them. So why not be a tourist in your own city for a day? Vania and Ben will be your tour guides in this new video from the videographer crew.

Year one of my Masters degree: a year of firsts

With the year wrapped up, a lot of my friends at the iSchool, U of T’s Faculty of Information, have been joking that we’re now “half masters.” We’ve got one more year to go in the Master’s of Information (MI) program, and at the risk of sounding totally cliched, it really feels like time flew by this past year. The concept that I’ll be walking on stage at Convocation Hall a second time just a year from now seems wild and way too soon! But for now, I’ve still got summer classes, an internship, and a whole year of courses standing between my graduation gown and I.

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At the risk of sounding too “Eat, Pray, Love”…

Long time, no see, U of T! I’ve been caught up in exams and the culmination of my undergraduate career, and as life goes, the time has just flown by way too quickly. (Exams went well overall, so I am quite pleased). 

Me sitting on the grass on Hart House Lawn

Me at the start of this school year (me now below)

And somehow I landed here at this moment, writing my last post for Life @ UofT and bidding you all a warm farewell. I’m hoping it won’t be too lame or cliché or sentimental, but since I am all of those things it probably will be.

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Yours in Pharmacy.

It’s hard to believe that this is my last post as your Professional Faculties Blogger. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the many experiences that I had within the Faculty of Pharmacy as well as showcasing the other professional faculties here at U of T. I hope, as a reader, you gained valuable insight into the many opportunities that exist beyond your undergraduate studies.

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Neighbourhood spotlight: the west end

I’ve moved around quite a bit over the course of my life at U of T. Last year, I lived east of campus in Cabbagetown (which I blogged about at the time – see my post here). Prior to that, I lived closer to campus in Harbord Village (which I also wrote a blog post about back in the day). These days, I find myself a bit far west of campus, and I love my new neighbourhood which seems to border on several diverse, vibrant communities in Little Italy, Little Portugal, and Queen West.

So if you feel like venturing west of campus, and in this sunny weather you really ought to, here are some of my favourite things to do.

Soak up the sun in Trinity Bellwoods Park. On the weekend, I like to go to the park with a book and read, people-watch, and picnic with friends. There’s always something to see in Bellwoods, whether it’s an art sale or a music festival or just lots of cute dogs. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon and there’s tons of options for an iced coffee on either side of the park on Queen St. W and Dundas St. W.

People sit in the dog bowl at Bellwoods watching a band at the music festival.

One of my favourite annual Trinity Bellwoods events – the free music festival that takes place every summer.

Get gelato in Little Italy. On a summer evening, grabbing a gelato with friends is the perfect hang. Little Italy has tons of gelato and ice cream places with amazing flavours and tables spilling out onto the sidewalk so you can enjoy the fresh air while you indulge. My personal flavour of choice? I usually can’t decide between pistachio and chocolate, so I get both.

Stop by the farmer’s market in Dufferin Grove Park. A quick walk west leads to Dufferin Grove Park where every Thursday from 3-7 you can get fresh, local produce at the weekly farmer’s market! There are also vendors selling ready-made food if you want to grab some dinner and hang out in the park.

Baked goods for sale in baskets on a table including buns, flatbreads, and cookies.

Baked goods at the Dufferin Grove Farmers Market. Image by Gabriel Li via Flickr.

Coffee and stationery. These are a few of my favourite things, and there are lots of shops that offer them around my neighbourhood. Some of my favourite spots to peruse pretty paper are Hanji and the Paper Place, and some of my favourite spots to grab a cappuccino for the walk there are the Tampered Press and Full of Beans.

What’s your favourite part about your neighbourhood? Share in the comments below or on Twitter or Instagram with the #KeysToHousing. Follow #KeyToHousing to see more of our neighbourhood profiles and resources related to housing, and check out the new Off Campus Housing website if you’re thinking about living off campus!

April Musings

In true Emaan fashion, I’m going to start off by talking about the weather today.

I know I’ve taken my fair share of jabs at old Mother Nature and her troupe (Wind, Snow, Rain and the foster child Hail) but when the entire fam has taken it upon themselves to behave throughout my entire exam period, it’s time to give thanks.

JUST LOOK AT THOSE BEAUTIFUL TWO DIGITS! spring is finally, finally here!

JUST LOOK AT THOSE BEAUTIFUL TWO DIGITS! spring is finally, finally here!

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Exam Season Special: Secluded Study Spots

This is me, a week before my first exam on Monday. 

photo of me pulling a horrendous face because I am oh-so-freaked out about exam season

Slightly frantic, considering there are hundreds of pages of extremely dense readings to  review and only seven days in which to accomplish this.

Did some light reading, copied down some old lecture notes, went over two problem sets. (with periodic Facebook breaks in between, of course. A girl’s gotta stay updated, right?) 

Now, this is me, three days before my first final on Monday:



No, that’s not actually me, but in case it helps, let me paint a picture for you…with words.

It is 6PM.

I have my hair scraped up high into a no-nonsense bun complete with hideous scrunchie (#90sthrowback)

My backpack is crammed with notebooks, heaps of papers and a pack of felt-tips in obnoxiously bright colours.

I’ve got a massive textbook in one hand and Gatorade in the other.

It’s showtime. 

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Spotlight on Medicine!

A career as a doctor is one of the most sought-after profession among undergraduates. As such, I figured many of you would like to hear some valuable insight about the program and advice about getting in! Please meet Hasanen who is a second year med student. He completed both his Bachelors of Science and Masters of Science at the University of Ottawa. I hope you find his advice valuable!

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Study tips from an exam-averse grad

When I was in undergrad, April was a month of conflicting emotions. On the one hand, the promise of spring and summer was in the air; on the other, exams were looming, and I was not keen on exams. Even now, in my master’s program, I deliberately took courses without exams so as not to have to battle text anxiety this month.

But next year, I won’t be able to avoid at least a few finals for some required courses I just can’t avoid anymore. With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about what helps me study best, and these are some of my tips.

Study with friends. This is definitely a personal preference, but for me, I find studying with friends to be really important. My preference is to study with friends who are studying for different things than I am. So we’re not working together; we’re just working with one another, giving each other granola bars, or taking a break together to watch a Youtube video or grab a coffee. I find it really comforting to have a friend to look up at for a smile when I start to feel stressed, and I also find I work harder around people I know because I want the study session to be productive for all of us.

Me and my friend Alex studying in the Junior Common Room.

Another good reason to study with friends: study selfies! This one taken with my friend Alex in the Junior Common Room in University College.

Study where your exams are (or near to them). If you have an exam in a building where there are study spaces or classrooms, I find it helpful to study in that space and to try to get confident with the exam material in that space to jog my memory when writing the test. If you are a spatial learner like me, you can use visual cues to remind you of what you’re studying, regardless of whether you’re in the building where your exam is.

Use visual cues. Wherever you’re studying, you can look at the space around you and associate the content you’re studying with objects or peculiarities. When you’re writing the exam, take a deep breath and imagine yourself back in that space, and gathering all the knowledge you’ve mentally placed around it.

Reach out for help. This is key! Remember that your community at U of T wants you to succeed. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your professors and TAs and your peers to ask questions or talk about course material. You can also turn to Student Life for help, like going to the Academic Success Centre to get help from a Learning Strategist (learn more about appointments at the ASC here). If you’re feeling sick or overwhelmed, consider going to the Health and Wellness Centre. Most importantly: if you feel like you need help, reach out for it. There are lots of people at the university who care and want to give you the tools you need to succeed.

Prioritize self-care. Don’t compromise when it comes to sleep, eating well, going to the gym – all the parts of your routine that make you happy and healthy. Going into an exam exhausted after a pizza-filled all-nighter may seem like a good idea at the time, but your brain won’t be operating at its strongest if you haven’t slept. Take care of yourself. It will make your studying more productive and you’ll do better for it!

These are my study tips – but your study habits are personal. There’s some general wisdom, but you should study the way that works best for you and don’t compare yourself to others. The finish line is near – you’ve got this! And your summer is just around the corner.

Get more study tips on the Academic Success Centre site. Share your tips and ask questions in the comments or on Twitter with @UofTStudentLife.