ALT="A photo of a Thirsty Buddha coconut water can"

In Which I Literally Just Drink Coconut Water for a Week

ALT="A photo of a Thirsty Buddha coconut water can"
The Thirsty Buddha brand of coconut water.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend of mine who was extensively explaining to me the benefits of drinking coconut water. “It’s changed my life,” she exclaimed. “I drink it more than I drink regular water. I’m on my feet for longer and I hardly get tired during the day anymore, especially during workouts.” When I got home, I googled it and found that there were a lot of benefits, such as good carbs, electrolytes, and a heaping lot of potassium. Since the Community Crew was running a self care campaign that week, I decided to try switching out regular water for coconut water entirely for the week to see where the hype was. I compiled my thoughts from the journal I kept during the week into this blog post for you all to see my experience.

In Which I Harness Procrastination For Good

I think it’s safe to say I was at the point in midterm season, or huge-influx-of-essays-due-in-one-week season where my mind was frayed.

It was the kind of fraying where I just comfortably threw my clothes on my chair when I got home. I comfortably began ‘forgetting’ to put away the snacks I had on my nightstand. I comfortably hadn’t made my bed in who knows how long. I comfortably stopped using my table as a study space and instead used it as a storage for all the books and articles I had to read.

It was like when Frank Ocean sang “a tornado flew around my room before you came”, only my situation was a lot less poetic and probably wouldn’t win any awards. I’m just going to come out and say it – my room was a mess.

ALT="A photo of my nightstand and corner of the room cluttered with clothes."
An example of how my room looked at the time

Who knew procrastination would not only be the reason for it but also the resolution of it?

In Which U of T is Really Pretty During Midterm Season

As the photoblogger on this team, meaning the person who blogs and also manages the Instagram, part of my job is to see the pretty cool things on or around campus. If you’ve been following along with my eyes and perspectives on the ‘Gram, you would notice that a huge portion of my photos are of landscapes and sometimes people. As midterm season rolls in with the dropping temperatures of autumn, I’ve decided to share my top four favourite places to visit on or around campus for destressing, procrastinating, fire Instagram photos, or sipping tea while you Snapchat.

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A very cool spot on campus where you can see the CN Tower framed perfectly by the trees.

In Which I Miss Warm Drinks and Warmer People

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My brother, mom, sister and I together at my mom’s mandolin orchestra performance.

When I was younger, my parents used to make me a special Vietnamese warm drink any time in the winter. They would spoon sweetened condensed milk into a big mug, then pour hot water into it, stirring all the while. And after adding enough condensed milk as necessary to my preferred taste, they would finish it off by giving me bread to dip as I sipped my drink. While this was definitely before my university years, I still find myself unknowingly craving the drink then ultimately making it any time life (at U of T, especially) gets crazy, gets chaotic, gets stormy, gets sad.

And, well, I also crave the drink when I miss my family.

In which learning is great

ALT="The 11th floor of Robarts and the study view"
One of the places where I learn

A long time ago, back in grade 12 when I was young, impressionable and unburdened by readings on readings, I was deliberating between which university offers to accept. The websites, while useful in terms of information, were not very much help when I was trying to decide which university I would be happy at. Naturally, I decided to visit the campuses of the universities that had accepted me. While the story obviously ends with me choosing U of T, there were so many factors why I ultimately went with it. Sure, I loved the history and architecture and how U of T is both isolated from downtown Toronto yet just a quick 10 minute walk away from the core. However, what cinched it for me was something I’d like to call the ‘atmosphere of learning’ that was prevalent everywhere I visited – from the lecture halls to the greenspace to the lineup at Tim Hortons – there was an infectious hum in the air.

And every year after summer vacation ends and the first month flies by, I am always still in awe of that atmosphere.

In which I find myself a little overwhelmed by extracurriculars

ALT="University College's red couches in the JCR"
Look at how comfy those red couches in the University College Junior Common Room look… Photo courtesy of the University College Literary and Athletic Society

I’ll be honest: initially, my blog post this week was going to be on my favourite places to nap on campus. With the first week done, I’ve already found myself drowsy at 2PM and in need of comfy couches, admirable armchairs, or soft sofas. But while I was sprawling myself out on one of the luxurious red couches in the University College Junior Common Room (preparing myself to write the blogpost), instead of thinking about reaching a level of Zen to start snoozing away, I began thinking of my school-extracurricular balance and how nervous I was about it. I was thinking about the wave of events and commitments and academic craziness smothering me for the school year, and suddenly, I couldn’t fall asleep.

Definitely not nap inducing.

In which I’ve got the pre-Orientation Leader Jitters

The year when I was a frosh! Photo courtesy of University College Literary and Athletic Society
The year when I was a frosh! Photo courtesy of University College Literary and Athletic Society

It’s been one heck of a summer. I feel like I’ve really grown as a person, whether it growing comfortable with my faults and recognizing insecurities as insecurities, or whether it being more confident in who I want to be. As September rolls in and new students start planning their move-ins or their commuting schedules, I find myself comparing freshman me to now; freshman me being not too confident, a little unsure, and a whole lot of nervous. One thing though that helped me get on the right foot was Orientation, which I did with University College. And particularly, my orientation leaders who helped me stumble out of my shell and transition to a new chapter in my life. Fast forward a couple years, and I’m now a frosh head leader for this upcoming University College Orientation, but one feeling from the past still holds strong.

Once again, I’m super nervous – though the reason has changed. I’ve got the pre-Orientation leader jitters.

In which I go camping and take a much needed break from the city

I am a firm believer in taking breaks from the hustle and bustle of the city. As someone who works downtown and is already following a packed schedule for school, the hustle becomes routine. Sometimes city life becomes too repetitive: the buzz of peoples’ conversations become deafening, the frustrated chorus of honks and road rage from drivers become tiring, and even the scampering of U of T squirrels lose their cute charm and become annoying. Particularly with the latter: when the squirrels start losing their fear of people and boldly walk alongside you as you try to cross through a quad, those squirrels might as well be paying taxes, too.

A foggy view of the beach by Cape Croker Park
A foggy view of the beach by Cape Croker Park

Luckily, I had an opportunity to take a break from Toronto a couple weeks ago when my friends invited me camping for a weekend. Though, there was one tiny issue: I am not the greatest camper, meaning not that I’m bad at setting up tents or starting fires (though the latter is definitely not one of my strong suits), but that it takes a while for me to get used to the idea of “roughing it”.

In which commuting isn’t as terrible as it seems

A view from a subway corridor. This is probably the only thing spooky about commuting.
A view from a subway corridor. This is probably the only thing spooky about commuting.

The other day, I was talking with my future roommates in our Facebook group chat about when we would move into the apartment for September. The chat was a mix of finalizing plans and cracking jokes, but it also signalled to me that my summertime commuting for work, volunteer commitments, and social plans was coming to an end. You would think that this realization would immediately bring relief (I mean, commuting wastes so many hours in a day), but strangely, I have mixed feelings about living downtown again.