A whorl of chaotic colours, blacks and indigos, fluorescent yellows and oranges, pulsating at the edges of your eyes. A cacophony of shouts and honks drowning out the sound of your own breathing. The smell of greasy hotdogs, sunscreen, and cologne suffocating you. Arms and elbows and hands tangled with others as people nudge past you to get to one of the many fast food restaurants, shops, or stores stretching along either side.
Times Square, a force with which to be reckoned in all its sights, scents, sounds, and touch. While some people can handle the hustle and bustle of this chaotic mass, others are overwhelmed by the amount of people, scents, and sounds crushing them and have to leave the vicinity from time to time to catch their breath.
Similarly, after socializing with other people for a period of time, introverts need some “alone time” to recharge because they get drained from the activity. Some get drained after a couple of hours, others after several hours.
I am in my final year of undergrad and scheduled to graduate this June (by some terrible twist of fate, I graduate on the date of my birthday thereby having to spend my 22nd year of life in CON HALL). These past four years have been spent strolling around King’s College Circle, cramming at Robarts during unspeakable hours, and attending every puppy therapy event U of T has to offer. The fact that I may not be coming back next year has only recently hit me. As much as I tried to prepare for (see also: dread) the future, it actually did not occur to me that I’d soon be done my Bachelor’s. It’s a bittersweet feeling.
I embarked on a HONY-esque quest across campus to hunt down fellow fourth-years and ask them about their plans. Are you graduating? Taking a fifth year? Taking some time off? What have you learned here? What’s been a memorable U of T experience? Please share intimate details of your life with this random, unnaturally peppy stranger!
From my mini adventure I have concluded that 1) Apparently no upper years go to school because it proved quite difficult trying to find fourth years on campus and 2) Apparently all upper years are in the same boat of worry, anticipation, and excitement for their futures. So fear not, fourth year friends! Here are just some of the lovely students that attend our school, starting with the loveliest of all (me):
I’m graduating this year! I want to do an MSc in neuroscience research. I’m also looking into professional programs in public policy and global health. The biggest takeaways from my time here is to go after what you want, enjoy yourself, and that the best person to compete with is yourself. I’m super grateful for all the people I’ve met and friends I’ve made!
Sometimes, it can feel as if being a student is a barrier to living a healthy lifestyle. It’s easy to get caught up in a mindset that eating instant ramen daily, experiencing irregular sleep patterns, and becoming caffeine-dependent are inevitable consequences of being a proper university student (sometimes I think these things myself). But, really, with all the resources we have at the St. George campus to better our health, is it possible that this mentality is simply an illusion? I have a sneaking suspicion that the student gig does not necessarily need to include attending random clubs’ AGMs for the free pizza.
In preparation for this week’s Design For Change conference, I decided to brainstorm a list of ways that UofT is a Healthy Campus in line with some of the themes of the roundtable discussions at the event. On Thursday, student and staff will get together at Hart House to discuss designing a shared vision for a healthier University at the first annual Design for Change conference, and we (students) are all invited! That sounds pretty super to me.
The Video Crew paid a visit to the Literary Fair hosted by the
Hart House Literary and Library Committee on January 21st and conducted interviews with various clubs and organizations. Check out the video to find out more about the clubs and how to get involved!
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.
If you grew up in an Ontarian elementary school, you probably remember the Daily Physical Activity (DPA) program, which required teachers to facilitate a minimum of half an hour of physical activity per school day. It was a commendable initiative, but it fell short for me as my school’s idea of physical activity was to get us to run around the neighbourhood boulevard right after we arrived at school. For me, this was not ideal as I was the kind of kid who more-so preferred long, slow, chatty walks in the morning, and not running in my low-rise Garage jeans being chased around by my homeroom teacher.
It wasn’t until my intermediate grades that I got into running, and stuck with it on the high school cross country team. Now as a full-time university student, I recognize that it can be challenging to find the same time and energy resources to be active. That said, I am able to achieve my prescribed half an hour of physical activity on most days.
A fun fact about me: I am a fitness instructor on campus.
No, but seriously. I love being a fitness instructor:
I find group fitness motivating. It keeps me active, because I know that at least once a week I have to smile while I’m working out. That takes training. In our industry, we are often reminded that when we are instructing, our focus is on the participants getting a great workout. So I try to attend multiple group fitness classes a week to get a good workout myself.
There’s no doubt, this time of year can be full of emotions. We are reminded of all the things we witnessed and experienced over the past twelve months. Google is reminding us of what we Googled. Facebook is sharing our top moments. We count down 2015’s top songs, movies, sports moments, inventions, new stories, and of course, funny memes.
This time of year also calls on each of us to consider our personal Year in Review. I love counting down to the New Year, and feeling all the hope that comes with a fresh start. Looking forward with a vision for the next year can be daunting, however, I believe it’s important to reflect on our accomplishments and milestones from the past year.
On New Year’s Eve, I normally find myself lounging on a couch, babysitting, and reflecting the past year with these familiar faces. Photo courtesy of www.adweek.com
Once exams are over, I often take some time to check in on how things are working in my life. I encourage you to try doing this too – patiently, thoughtfully, and truthfully. I like recording my thoughts down on paper so I can get a visual se. What were my ambitions for 2015? Did I achieve them?
The Community Crew has been sharing some great tips recently for de-stressing during exam season. Annette wrote about staying active when we are busy; Tiffany provided some very helpful study tips in her post; Madeline (our Arts & Science Blogger) wrote about remembering to eat healthfully; and Emma recently discussed the importance of taking breaks.
Now imagine taking all these tips and tricks, and showcasing them all in one lobby. That’s exactly what happened this past Thursday, as part of UofT’s annual Exam Jam – 2015 edition!
Brought to us in the spring and winter exam season by the ASSU and the Faculty of Arts & Science and friends
Somewhere in the building students reviewed with their profs, and elsewhere there were open study rooms to hang out in. The lobby was alive with activities!
I recently chose to attend the safeTALK: Suicide Alertness for Everyone training for the same reason I decide to take First Aid and CPR training every year: I want to know what to do if someone needs my help. In other words, if ever I encounter someone who is thinking or talking about harming themselves, I want to make sure I can respond appropriately and feel confident in doing so. The safeTALK training helped me in many of these aspects, and incorporated a variety of helpful resources including a take-home manual, video modules, wallet cards, as well as opportunities to engage in role play.
The safeTALK Resource Book contains the course information, plus additional readings about suicide prevention policies, healing after a suicide has happened, and mental health.
I’ve included my thoughts and notes about how the training went here!