Seeing the Art Centre With a Different Eye

The red glow of the wall outside beckons you in. In huge sans serif letters, you can read “UTAC” – University of Toronto Art Centre, housed within University College. Curiosity at a new exhibit was what had me enter, and spectacular art was what kept me hooked.
Upon entering, my first thought was hey, this feels and smells like art museum – you know, the wide open airy spaces and clean fragrance of nothing. There is a wooden counter with a receptionist sitting behind it, who smiles at me. I’m filled with intrigue.

“This is a new exhibit?” I ask stupidly. She smiles, obviously used to this question, and replies,

“Yes! This is the new photography exhibit we have featured until July 30th.” Continue reading

Sixteen Candles: U of T’s Pride Pub Coming of Age

a picture of a lit candle being held during a vigil

candles at the Toronto vigil for Orlando victims

June is Pride Month and regardless of how each one of us identify, it is a month that we all should be proud of. A month where we can rally together and celebrate diversity, equality, inclusivity, and freedom from discrimination. This year is an especially important one. Just a week ago, the LGBTQ+ community was shaken to the core due to a mass shooting in Orlando at Pulse Night Club, which claimed the lives of 49 people and left 53 others injured. The scale of this hate crime is the largest of its kind and one that has sent ripples across the world and throughout the LGBTQ+ community. In response to such a tragedy, LGBTQ+ communities in solidarity have stood defiantly, reclaiming the original intent of Pride Month: to fearlessly push back against violent discrimination by loudly celebrating diversity and being more visible, because everyone has the right to love and be loved without being afraid.

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Making my way downtown…

Summer is fun; the sun is shining, birds are singing and people on bicycles are ruling the streets in all of their shiny-helmeted glory. I remember looking at the bicyclists of Toronto with envy, noting the wind in their hair, the flushness of their face and their wonderfully sculpted legs. Every time a car-driver cut off a bicyclist in front of me, I would scoff and shrug my shoulders, giving the bicyclist an understanding shake of the head in solidarity (as if I knew all the struggles).

I adored them and I wanted to be them!

Unfortunately, as you all well understand the struggle of being a broke student, I never ended up saving enough money to actually buy a bike. It just never happened. My dream of being one of the cool biker kids never came true.

Until recently. ENTER BIKECHAIN.

The front entrance of Bike Chain

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An Ode to Lee’s Palace

This past school year, I lived in a creaky, vintage (old) house comprised of both students and young professionals. Inside, examples of some common occurrences were: uncomfortable heating spikes, cleaning up other peoples’ messes so I could cook dinner, and, my personal favourite, forgetting to bring some toilet paper rolls from my room to the bathroom only to realize the terrible mistake I made later on in the day.

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Beating the Summer School Blues

Picture of a house and white picket fence in the summer

Steinbach, Manitoba from my road trip across Canada.

Summer. What a gloriously wonderful season! A season full of sunshine, street festivals, and memorable travel adventures. For students it is the season of rejuvenation after diligently working through two semesters of intense learning, a much deserved break. But there are a handful of brave souls, myself included, who venture into the summer season with no break in mind. Instead, these souls forge forward with dreams of triumph, fearlessly taking on the dreaded summer course (or courses)! These brave souls are known as the summer students.

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The Start of a Great Journey!

Picture of yours truly with my archaeological finding!

Oh, the excitement of our first discovery at the Drawsko site in Poland! Credit: Danielle Donnelly








Hey there! My name is Meimei and I’m excited to join this AWESOME group of Life @ U of T bloggers for the upcoming school year. I am SUPER EXCITED to blog about our awesome university and events that take place on-campus! And of course share my experiences at U of T with you!  Yay! As this is my first blog post of the year, a brief introduction is in order! You can learn more about me and my fellow bloggers if you click on the Crew tab – go ahead, you won’t regret it!

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Introductory posts are the hardest ones to write, a monologue

Hey there! My name’s Albert. As the summer season sets in (also known as the season of sunny sweat) and more time is spent with air conditioning indoors, icy drinks by the water, and reading updates on the Life @ UofT blog, I’ll be one of your bloggers this year. In addition, I’ll also be the main curator of the @lifeatuoft Instagram, so check that out!

Who am I? I’m a student at University College going into my third year doing a double major in Cinema Studies and Political Science as well as a minor in History. Some of my friends joke that my mind functions like a movie; colours are brighter and mundane things appear photogenic, music runs in the background as I walk, and there is always a plot to my day. Most of this is accurate – with the exception of background music playing as I walk. Actually, background music plays as I eat, sit, sleep, and read, too. Characteristic of my program choice, I love watching films and analyzing them to no end. Personally, my all-time favourite film is 500 Days of Summer, and it has held that rank for five years now.

ALT="Me visiting Vancouver! I'm striking a movie pose."

This is me when I visited Vancouver this past reading week! More often than not, this is my default *movie* pose for photos.

I’m the kind of person who laughs at their own jokes, usually cracking up before delivering the punchline. My favourite ones to tell are dad jokes – which are, in my opinion, the coolest (or most cringe-worthy) – and so I’ll apologize in advance for any facepalms or second hand embarrassed groans I’ll inspire. When I’m not making great (bad) jokes, I’m working on my own photography, performing at Open Mics, staying active at Hart House gym, or seeing live concerts of my favourite bands and artists. I’m a lover of the arts here on campus (specifically music and photography), as well as an amateur connoisseur of local Toronto restaurants nearby campus and around the city.

I’m excited to share my perspectives and student life experiences with you all. First and second year involved a lot of soul searching and understanding who I am, what I enjoy, and trying new things. I’ve learned a lot so far, from what my favourite libraries are, to my preferred definition of the word “aesthetic”, to finding the best student-budget friendly meals around town. I’ve gotten highly involved with the University College Literary and Athletic Society serving as the lower-year editor for the fantastic UC Review and, more recently, as a Mid Year Rep and Literary and Creative Arts deputy on the Lit.

ALT="At the University College Awards Ceremony, posing with the Lit."

At the University College Awards Ceremony, posing with the Lit. It was a great night. Photo courtesy of the University College Literary and Athletic Society

And finally, I have the honour of affectionately (not with disdain!) being called a hipster, so I figure I’m doing something relatively right. That’s me! I will be posting about all kinds of student life things, so stay tuned. Also, I’ve spared you a joke this time, but I’ll show no mercy come my next post.

ALT="Looking profoundly off into the distance, as usual, but really thinking about food."

My friend took this photo of me on my birthday looking profoundly off into the distance. In reality, I was thinking about the food we were about to go get.

It’d be awesome learning about y’all too! Who are your favourite bands? You can send me a comment below or ask me questions via the Instagram @lifeatuoft. Until next time!

Hello, My Name Is…

My return to the University of Toronto was always part of the plan. I never had the desire to leave this chapter of my life incomplete. Last year, I took the leap and here I am, back in the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto basking in the scholastic glow of student life, dreaming of finally being able to hear and experience the sweet melody of Pomp and Circumstance with all of you, my colleagues in academia.IMG_6982Perhaps I should start at the beginning. Hello, my name is Jasper, I am technically a fourth year Victoria College student studying Philosophy, English, and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations; however, this past year I have been in the process of reconfiguring my POSt to include Public Policy and Sociology.  More important than that, I am one of the 2016-2017 Life @ U of T bloggers, and I am here today to proudly present myself to you as I begin my voyage of putting all the fine details of my experiences as a U of T student on display hopefully for everyone’s benefit and perhaps entertainment.

As you may have gleaned from the beginning of this post, last year I returned from an academic hiatus to complete my undergrad degree. How long was this hiatus you ask? Why seven years, my soon to be friends, and yes your math is correct, I am a mature student complete with sage wisdom of the world beyond our campus borders. Many are probably wondering why I decided to come back after tasting the sweet nectar of freedom from lectures and exams. There are many reasons that I can think of to answer this question but the core reason I returned was because, like I said, it was always part of the plan.

Picture of Alberta highwayWhat I hope is implied by what I’m getting at is this: I could have chosen to transfer and complete my undergrad degree at any university, but ever since my hiatus there was never any question in my mind about whether or not I would come back to U of T. I mean, transferring to UBC, UVic or any western university would have been a much simpler transition back into student life, as opposed to traversing a large chunk of our majestic country (by tent and car) to return where I originally began my undergrad journey. But I was drawn back here by how amazing my experiences were at U of T before I left.

This university and the community that it fosters shaped my world perspective and allowed me to thrive in the real world even before I was in receipt of that valuable parchment acknowledging my capability to do so. To me that is a huge testament of the quality of education and experience I am receiving at U of T. That being said, I’m extremely excited to be able to share with you my present and future experiences, and hopefully I’ll effectively do so from a useful perspective of someone who’s already braved the world outside of university, the world that we are all preparing to enter (in my case, re-enter).