Life @ U of T

Introduction

“I can’t, I’m busy” – Am I Really Though?

The issue is… a one-hour break quickly turns into two-hours or three. I call this the “black-hole-dining-hall” effect.

“I can’t, I’m busy” – Am I Really Though?

“Yeah! We should totally hang out!”

“Are you free June 6th… in 2021?”

girl looking disappointed at her friend
“Excuse me?”, says Yan’s eyebrows infuriatingly at the conversation above

Okay, that was a little exaggerated, but I think we can all agree that it’s hard to coordinate times that work for everyone. Everyone has classes, midterms and no two schedules are alike.

UC spiral stairwell
university feels like a never ending stairwell of things to do

Reading how a 73-year-old Assistant Professor in U of T’s Faculty of Dentistry makes it a point to run everyday (since 1978) prompted me to make my goal this year to make time for what matters to me. Saying no to friends who want to catch up when “I have too much work to do” or “I can’t, I have a quiz tomorrow”; when in reality, I usually end up wasting time on social media – time I could be spending in person, with them.

Last year I wrote about how I classify my hours in a day but what do I do when it still feels like there’s not enough time to do everything I need or want to do?

Plan Ahead

google calendars
i love colour coordinating!

If I want to do something big with my friends, I ask them early on so we all can block those chunks of time on our calendars. This way, we may treat our get-togethers as rewards and plan our work around it. I also colour coordinate on my calendar. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, I turn off tabs that aren’t a priority.

group photo
christmas get together before finals
nachos being eaten
nacho night with friends after Finals

 

Set limits

fb event screenshot
our festive get-together before the blizzard of exams hit

In first year, my friends and I would create messenger events to eat in the dining hall together. The issue is… a one-hour break quickly turns into two-hours or three.

I call this the “black-hole-dining-hall” effect. On days that I needed to refuel and get back to studying A.S.A.P, I would sit facing the window and put earphones in or bring my work with me and take periodic breaks to chat with friends over a cup of tea.

boy sitting facing window
Here we have Vansh demonstrating the “don’t talk to me” strategy
two friends laughing over coffee
Here we have Carlos disrupting Vansh because Vansh didn’t have earphones in for the full effect

DUE tomorrow? DO today

Being in a Chinese vernacular primary school, “Due tomorrow? do tomorrow” was not in my vocabulary. My parents told me that I would stay up til midnight because going to school the next day without my homework done was not an option.

Due dates are still a thing at university but everything else (unmarked problem sets and readings) feel optional. This year, I’m trying to start assignments when they’re assigned instead of whipping something up last minute.

girl working on homework using head lamp
my dad took this picture of me when our power went out at home but math still needed solving!!

I hope these tips help you stay afloat before you sink because I’ve been through that phase and I’ve hit rock bottom. I thought social isolation was the key to staying focus on my academic goals. In reality, it’s much easier to stay high-spirited in school if I find time to be with others in my community; not to mention, a whole lot more fun! 🙂

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