Loving Doing Nothing

I have a secret hobby.

This is a hobby that is the opposite of brag-worthy and my personal definition of “indulgence.” It’s a little counter-productive, but on my busiest days it’s the one activity I want the most. It’s more of an anti-activity and yet it’s one that may be a universal favourite among all U of T’s tired library dwellers.

This (now not-so-secret) hobby of mine, is doing absolutely nothing at all.

I used to feel guilty about loving doing nothing. As my post-secondary education has progressed, I’ve become busier and busier and as a result of this, my idea of a “fun” time has changed too. Of course, I still enjoy a night out on the town every once and awhile (YAASSS, shoutouts to the 6ix) but for the most part, my perfect evening involves a homemade dinner, a good movie and pajamas.

I know what you’re thinking. Only nineteen, and I’ve reached my full grandma potential already.

A snapchat of Madeline with the old/wrinkly filter over her face. She looks displeased.
A little crazy how fast U of T can age the average nineteen year old…

Snapchat filter wrinkles and all, I’ve come to accept that with a crazy personal schedule of work, school, assignments and this month, upcoming exams sometimes doing nothing for fun is okay.

Game of Groans: an exam themed parody

Winter Exam season is coming.

A photo of Ned Stark overlooking, with the words "brace yourselves, exam season is coming"

As April quickly approaches, the average seasoned student will be preparing themselves for the onset of the most stressful time of year: final exams.

Similar to the fabled “winter” from the popular HBO series Game of Thrones, exams are dreaded by most and require rigorous preparation of student-friendly rations like caffeine, extra sleep and good study snacks.

It’s difficult to say when exams will truly come, as it is not unlikely that the exam schedule will be released later than expected. Like the Wildlings, the masterminds behind our seasonal exam schedules are unpredictable creatures and some of us prefer to leave it up to the U of T Gods to decide whether or not we will have consecutive exams (which sadly rob even the most battle-worthy students of their mental perseverance).

Students On The Hunt: Off-Campus Housing

“Beautiful 1 bedroom, perfect for a tidy, respectful young couple”  

This was the title of the Craigslist ad I responded to last April with high hopes.

Two weeks later I was out of $1300, apartment-less and feeling like the world’s biggest idiot. I had become a victim of the “I’m a [insert very respectful job that only a wonderful person does here] and I am out of the country with my family to work in Europe for the next five years and I need someone really great who will take over my second apartment” scam.

The thing with people who scam for a living is that like most people who are career crime-sters, they are really good at it. If you are unsuspecting (which I completely was) or even worse, a Toronto newbie who has never rented before (hey, I was both) your scammer comes off as a really nice person who is willing to phone you at 3am “England time” to explain to you in great detail about how to money transfer your first and last month of rent. Your scammer will do almost anything to make it easier for you to hand over your money but once that money has been removed from your bank account, your really nice doctor/engineer/teacher family-man landlord gives you literally nothing but radio silence. When I say nothing I am definitely implying that yes; you for sure are not getting that “Beautiful 1 bedroom, perfect for a tidy, respectful young couple”.

Que the tears and the calls to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

The best way to avoid being scammed is to be realistic about the rental places  you find on the internet. Websites like Craigslist, Kijiji, Apartmint, Padmapper, etc can be great resources for a student on the hunt BUT it’s so important to keep in mind the old adage: “if it’s seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Absolutely no one is going to rent out their 1000 square foot, fully furnished King West loft for seven hundred dollars a month. If you do decide to use these websites, here are some things to keep in mind:

Madeline – Work (blog version) ft. U of T


A GIF from Rihanna's newest music video with Drake "Work"
Sing it, Riri.

Like Rihanna, I also work (work, work, work, work). 

I find a simple pleasure in putting in my time, effort and creativity into a job and in turn seeing real results. You can take a wild guess at what those results are, but I will save you the time and confirm that they come on a bi-weekly basis into my bank account.

I have had many jobs over my years of working. Some of which include:

  • “Expert” pizza-maker extraordinaire
  • Marketing Assistant/person who designs a plethora of advertising
  • Bakery “Counter-person” (who also does all the other bakery jobs)
  • Barista who makes the best cappuccinos @ about 4 different cafes
  • Server (who, to be honest, really hated serving)
  • Front Desk Porter, A.K.A that person in residence who talks to you enough to know your entire class schedule but still has to ask to see your keycard upon entering the building

This year I have managed to hold down two part-time jobs while also being a full time student. Both of my jobs are on campus, and are positions that are directly affiliated with the university. One of them, (surprise, surprise) is to write entertaining and relevant material for the Life at U of T student blog. The other, is a relatively new job which involves doing admissions for a residence on campus.

Thinking About My Future (Briefcase)

This week I stepped out of my comfort zone.

After receiving an invitation to an Arts & Science Backpack to Briefcase (b2B) event, I found myself shimmying into business casual work attire after a seven-hour school day. Having plans on a Thursday night is pretty unusual for me, considering my average Thursday night routine consists of pajamas, a couple hours of reading, tea and probably frozen pizza. 

The Backpacks to Briefcase event I attended was for students interested in fields relating to the Health Sciences. If you have been following the blog for a while, you may know that I am constantly waiting to have that *Eureka!* moment where I suddenly know what I want to do with my life. I figured that maybe the b2B might show me some job opportunities I could create for myself using my degree.

A photo of Soldier's Tower near Hart House at dusk.
The event took place at Hart House, and as I was walking I couldn’t help but notice and appreciate the beauty of Soldier’s Tower. #JoyAtUofT

The event itself was extremely educational, and it was really nice to have a reason to connect with students who, like me, were also concerned that they wouldn’t find a “dream” job with the degree they had chosen. Being a second year student, I was one of the youngest attendees however, I think my youth might have improved the event for me because I wasn’t just learning from the alumni but also my fellow upper years.

Toronto To-Do List

Reading week is debatably the best part of February.

Some students ditch the books and jet-set off on worldly adventures (hopefully to warmer climates) and others end up spending their week relaxing at home, visiting parents or *gasp*, catching up on readings.

This year, my reading week was spent in Toronto at my apartment, which was a first for me because last year I spent my week off at home home (AKA: my childhood home) with my family. It was nice to have an entire week to be in Toronto with a much less hectic work/school schedule to enjoy the wonderful city I am lucky to live in. I may have not spent seven days lazing it up in tropical paradise but I did cross some sweet activites off my “Toronto To Do List”.

An open letter to a younger me

Two nights ago I called my mother on the phone. This is relatively normal thing for me to do, as I try to call/Skype my mum at least once a week. Since moving away from home, I miss her companionship, her wisdom and sometimes (although I hate admitting it) – her telling me what to do and when to do it. It was during this phone call where I found myself expressing how silly I had been to believe I had my whole life planned out at the beginning of university. I was seventeen and to be perfectly honest, a little too self-righteous for my own good.

I spent the next fifteen woefully confessing to my mother all the visions of my future I had imagined through my rose-coloured glasses – and how nothing was like I thought it to be.

Get Down to Boogie

My Thursday night started out like any other. I was studying at my favourite spot on campus: the Hart House reading room, pouring over a week worth of lecture notes. I was feeling a little drowsy which was most likely a consequence of the warm and cozy atmosphere of the library combined with what was admittedly the driest psychological theory I have been subjected to since starting my degree.

Suddenly, as if the U of T gods had answered my prayers for a distraction worth ditching 150+ pages of reading, I heard the thum thum of an electric bass from where I was sitting. I had been studying for over three hours (as one does on a Thursday night) and so I decided to give myself a break from my reading and explore. Following the music, I was led into the basement of Hart House into the Arbour Room where I was greeted with the sweet sounds of the 50’s. This my friends, is where I meet The Dreamboats.

A photo of the Dreamboats (4 young men) in suits posing for a picture.
Hello Dreamboats!

  I was delighted to find out that the concert was a free event organized by the student run Hart House group called Stages. So delighted in fact, that I sat my butt down and decided to treat myself to an evening of great music.

The Dreamboats had attracted a fairly large crowd at their pre Valentine’s Day show, with most tables in the Arbour Room full. The genre of music seemed to entice music lovers of all ages; I saw first years and couples that must’ve been in their fifty-first year of marriage. It was nice to dance alongside people who loved to get down and boogie.

(Comic)ally Good Notes

Computer. Tablet. Notebook. Photographic memory.

Regardless of how you do it, we all take notes in some way or another. Some of us may take notes a little less frequently than we should, while others take notes with the frantic detail of a court stenographer. Personal note-taking preferences seem to depend on a couple things: how much of the course is based upon lecture material, how much sleep you got the night before, how neat your handwriting is and if you charged your laptop today.

Taking notes are a huge part of attending lecture and the quality of your notes can sometimes determine how well you will do in a course. The goal is finding that perfect balance between understanding most of the course material as it’s taught and jotting the most pertinent information down before your brain moves onto the next genius thing your prof says. Unfortunately, not all of us are lucky enough to have found that balance. Here are some of the types of note-takers you might know.

The Doodler

This sort of note-taker is miraculously talented enough to somehow ‘doodle’ penciled creations you couldn’t dream of and write down all of the prof’s main points. Which, now that you think about it, are really all you needed anyways. You squint to see what you thought was a doodle of a dog, only to realize this guy has done his own rendition of the Mona Lisa. Inspired, you attempt to make a doodle of your own.

No. Scratch that. Handwritten notes in cursive are about as creative as your margins are going to get.

Pros: The Doodler’s notes are one of two things: Heartbreakingly hipster or total pinterest aesthetic.

Cons: In the time they spent doodling, you applied to four summer jobs. #$$$

Graduation Inspiration: Meet Juliette

I work for my College’s residence building, and through this job I have the pleasure of meeting some really wonderful people. This week I decided to write about a coworker and fellow U of T student who inspires me to work harder and prioritize my long term goals.

Juliette is a third-year student, studying Employment Relations at U of T. Amazingly, this is her final year at university, as she has managed to graduate in three years by following a strict regimen of self-discipline, wonderful study habits, healthy lifestyle choices and a six-course workload. Born in Edmonton, Juliette spent her childhood Vancouver eventually moving to Hong Kong with her family at the age of seven to go to French school. Juliette eventually made the transition to a British International School, where she attended until Grade 11. In Grade 12, Juliette moved again; this time travelling across the world to finish her high school diploma in Toronto, where she would eventually make the decision to pursue post-secondary studies at U of T.