Picture of open notebook and textbook

Catching Up on Readings

Now that the storm of mid-term season is done for me and the Fall Break is upon us, my mind turns to my neglected readings and upcoming essays. This year, I had the unfortunate luck of having a bunch of mid-terms one after another. By the end, I felt completely drained and ready for relaxation. But after a bit of relaxation time, I realized that I was two weeks behind on readings in all of my classes. Oops. In my majors of English and Book & Media Studies, I have a lot of readings that range from novels to textbooks. When I looked at everything I had missed out on over two weeks, I noticed that I was behind on over 500 pages of readings total (granted, that total included a 250 page novel). I’ve started the process of catching up on those readings and trust me, it’s important to do so. Every year, my profs have emphasized two key aspects to success: attending class and doing the readings. They know what they’re talking about, so take their advice! So far, I’ve learned a few things about this process.

Halloween, Harry Potter, and Me

Right off the bat, let me just say that I’ve never been a huge fan of Halloween. I’m not particularly fond of dressing up or anything of the spooky and scary variety, but I will tell you: I LOVE candy and all things magical/fantastical. That’s why, for the past couple years, including this year I’ve been professing my love for Harry Potter on Halloween. I’ve been a fan of the Harry Potter series for a very long time and it doesn’t hurt that U of T is basically an architectural twin of the magical universe.

For Halloween, I recommend watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets because it is one of the most classic, spooky films in the series (before the darker and scarier themes are set in the later films). In celebration of Halloween and all things spooky (including those remaining midterms), here’s the rundown on the two most Hogwarts-like buildings on campus. Whether you choose to visit for studying or dreaming about Hogwarts is your choice, but personally, I usually choose the latter. Also, because I mentioned that I love candy (love it, I really do), these buildings are rated on a scale of being most like Hogwarts to least like Hogwarts:

Picture of chocolate frog, wizard trading card, and box
(Source: shop.wbstudiotour.co.uk)

1 Chocolate Frog=not like Hogwarts at all and just reminds you of doing school work (bleh)

5 Chocolate Frogs=just like being at Hogwarts so much so that you’ve wondered where your wand has gone (yay)





Tutorials 101 or How I Went From a Skeptic to a Believer

I didn’t know if I was going to like tutorials when I came to U of T. I’ve been notoriously known for not participating in class and it was never for any reason except for the fact that I preferred to listen rather than input my thoughts. When I received those syllabi for the first time, my heart dropped. How could participation in tutorials be worth 15% of my final grade? I dreaded going to that first tutorial because I had so many questions. What was a tutorial? What was a TA? How would I participate? What if I said something ridiculous? Never fear, I have the answers here (Ha, I rhymed).

Picture of University College
I once had a tutorial in the basement of UC, which was difficult to find. Can anyone relate? (Source: uc.utoronto.ca)

De-stressing Through TV Shows and Movies

October is HealthyU month at U of T, an entire month dedicated to celebrating physical and mental health! October 17-21 (starting today!) is Self-Care week, which promotes ways to take care of yourself physically and mentally as well as how to de-stress. Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that when I initially thought about self-care, I wondered, “Why do I have to be concerned with how I’m doing?” Well, after some careful consideration, I realized that if I don’t care for myself, I get burnt out…easily. I can’t always be on the go, go, go (although I do enjoy that) because otherwise all aspects of my life: social, academic, and personal would suffer.

My not-so-secret way (according my friends and family) to de-stress from the enormous amount of midterms I have coming up all in the same week (scary) is to watch some good TV shows and movies. But first, let me explain the source of my stress. I prefer to study in 2 to 3 hour blocks, even though concentrating for that long can sometimes be difficult. Finding time to study for that long can also be difficult, especially with my other commitments. Sometimes I feel stressed out because I feel like I haven’t studied enough. However, at the end of my long studying sessions, I mostly feel like I’ve just come out of a deep slumber, blinking rapidly and looking around wondering “Where am I?” 

Picture of Robarts Library
Robarts in the Winter: a building that pulls me in for many hours of studying