Connections, General, Student Life

The Squirrels of U of T

My first blog post! On a blog that I know people actually read!

Hello everyone,

My name is Ishita and I’m going to be a blogger for Life @ U of T this year (like you couldn’t figure that out for yourself). I look forward to sharing the goings-on in my life at U of T!  My blog topics aim to be broad and inclusive and also mindful of equity and diversity elements in life at U of T.

Picture of a squirrel

The other day as I was walking home from class, I noticed a squirrel scurry down a tree trunk to grab a nut from the ground. Have
you ever watched a squirrel nibble on food? It’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. As I stared, another squirrel peeked through the bushes, eyeing the nut in my squirrel’s paws. Both of them stood motionless for a moment. And then my squirrel bounced over and offered the nut to his friend. I wish I’d taken a picture.

Sharing is caring, isn’t it? The concept is drilled into our heads over and over again by the adults around us in a well-intentioned attempt to engrain it into our lifestyles. And eventually, it becomes as natural to us as breathing, doesn’t it?

But sometimes, we forget the importance of sharing. The cutthroat environment of U of T has unconsciously forced some of us (myself included!) to adopt an “all-for-one-and-none-for-all” philosophy. Perhaps we need to take a minute to relearn an important life lesson from the squirrels of U of T and remind ourselves that there is value in sharing.

1) Share your umbrella.

Back in first year after I attended one of my optional tutorials (I know, don’t laugh), a small group of students herded out of the classroom. It was pouring cats and dogs and I prepared for the speed walk of my life. It took me a minute to realize that the rain wasn’t feeling very wet. Turns out a girl in my class had noticed I was umbrella-less and had rushed to catch up so she could share hers. Her casual gesture has become the yard stick by which I measure almost every act of kindness. Although I haven’t spoken to her since, I hope she continues to offer her umbrella to the umbrella-less. And I hope you consider starting.

2) Share your ideas.

We go to the University of Toronto, an institution that recently cracked Top 20 in world rankings (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/university-of-toronto-cracks-top-20-in-global-rankings/article556094/). Bragging rights FTW! UofT is the birthplace of insulin, stem cell research, and multi-touch technology (without which our smartphones wouldn’t be as smart as they are). Breakthroughs at this university have been the result of one person thinking “what if.” Don’t hesitate to be that person. Sharing your idea could spark a revolution.

3) Share your problems.

We’re supposed to be super smart, super focused UofT students. But if we did all the things we were supposed to do, we wouldn’t be human. You will run into roadblocks. Sharing your problems with friends, family, or trained professionals on campus will help you realize that you’re not alone. Exploit the services that the university offers (http://life.utoronto.ca/get-info/a-z-list-of-student-services/) and you’ll feel better in no time.

4) Share your passion.

School is important. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be spending bucket loads of money on our education. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to let it consume your life. UofT has over 400 clubs and student organizations. After graduation, you probably won’t remember the lectures you sat in or the all-nighters you pulled but you will remember the friends you made doing the things you loved (https://ulife.utoronto.ca/organizations).

We all get stressed. It comes with the territory. But I hope the next time you see a squirrel on campus, you remember to share.

Till next week,

Ishita