Speckles of Stars: A Reflection

Every personality starts off as an open midnight blue sky with a single star. However, with each newfound lesson or realization learned throughout life comes the emergence of a new star. Eventually, the stars become a complex constellation—richer, more intricate, and brighter than ever.

Speckles of blue stars making up the Pleiades constellation.

Anyone else aspire to look like the Pleiades?

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We’re (Almost) Halfway There

Bon Jovi is my current studybreak JAM.

Bon Jovi is my current studybreak JAM.

Now that we’re almost into April and spring, I’m also almost into the end of my second year here at U of T.

And I can’t help but think about the fact that I am indeed, Halfway There. 

Halfway through my undergraduate degree and a mere two years from graduation.

Time doesn’t just fly- it soars.

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Soul on Ice Film Screening: Past, Present and Future of Black Hockey Players

Was anyone at the Soul on Ice screening last week? The Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE) partnered with Hart House to put together a free screening open to students and community members of Soul on Ice, a unique documentary about the past, present and future of black hockey players.

Source: athletics.utoronto.ca

Source: physical.utoronto.ca

I was a little hesitant because I’ve never been a hockey fan, nor do I know much at all about hockey. The screening took place at the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport in the Kimel Family Fieldhouse – it was my first time standing in this stunning space, and now I’m eager to check out a Varsity game there in the future.

Your MoveU team was there, directing people prior to the start of the film.


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The power of student-run conferences and how they’re like mini UN assemblies

Student-run conferences have become a big part of my involvement in campus activities. By “conference,” I refer not to a United Nations-like assembly of prominent politicians in suits but to a much less intimidating form that has really enriched my learning experience.

The UN General Assembly Hall filled with world leaders and national delegates.

Student conferences may not be on such a large-scale level as a UN General Assembly… but a Con Hall psych class may give it a run for its money.

I’ve participated in a few and have had great experiences with them. Smaller events will often be free while larger events may require a fee that covers food, speakers, or renting out the space. In January, I attended the UTGB Student Leadership Conference where we discussed the impact of international short-term volunteering and the importance of understanding the underlying social and political context of the countries we serve. Just last month, I registered for the Fraser Institute seminar on public policy, which touched upon a range of diverse topics such as Aboriginal title in Canada and free market trade.

A lecture hall filled with students listening to a guest speaker.

Listening to Dr. Lawrence Loh’s talk on how to optimize long-term outcomes with short-term volunteering during the UTGB Conference.

There are some cool advantages to attending student conferences – here are some features I personally enjoy:

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Meaningful Mindfulness

Hi there!

Last week I wrote about being ill, and I speculated that (in addition to cold weather and a nasty cough virus circulating in the air) my sickness was due to being out of touch with my body. It happens every once in a while when we get so busy that it can be a challenge to keep tabs on how we are (really) feeling and what our body (really) needs.

I mentioned to a friend in passing this week that I sometimes attend Mindful Moments sessions on campus to get better connected with my body. He giggled, and said that he imagines me sitting cross-legged with my eyes closed, deeply concentrating on foretelling the future. I think at some point my friend was misinformed—mindfulness, meditation, tai chi, or yoga are not activities done to prophesize about the future. Quite oppositely, the goal is to bring more awareness to the present moment, to the body, and the breath.


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Feature: MoveU Crew!

This week I thought I’d shed some light on how to get involved with physical activity on campus in an administrative role. I met with the MoveU team to talk about what they do, how they got involved and what they love about being a part of the team.

But first: What is MoveU and what does the team do? Well, in their words they “do so much!”

“The breadth of what we do is so broad because we promote health on campus and being physically active,” says Alcina Wey. Fellow work-study student, Naomi Maldonado, adds, “We try to promote physical activity in alternative ways. A lot of people assume that if you’re not working out you’re not active, but we try to make physical activity accessible.”

As volunteers, the MoveU Crew supports and leads events. They interact with students, make them feel comfortable and get them involved at events. Continue reading

Finding my Flow and my #JoyAtUofT

Hi team!

“Happiness is not for the faint of heart”. These are words I remember from a life-altering lecture I attended this past August.

Over the summer I had the opportunity to attend the Canadian Fitness Professionals conference, a multi-day event with the biggest names and faces in the fitness and health industries. With hundreds of educational sessions, workshops, and classes to attend, it was a wonderful opportunity to be immersed in new ways of thinking, moving, and being healthy.

My favourite speaker of the day, Petra Kolber, spoke at a panel discussion titled “Mind Before Muscle” and again in her own lecture called “The Happiness Epidemic: Catch It If You Can.” As a fitness professional and positive psychology guru, Petra introduced me to a concept called FLOW. This term describes the moment in time when time disappears, when we are challenged in a way that matches our skills – when we are in what we often call “the zone”.

She explained that being in a state of FLOW is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves to contribute to being happy. Happiness, she said, is not a steady state, but something that we have to train ourselves to achieve. She recommends a minimum of two hours of FLOW a week as our basic training exercise.

Finding FLOW, or recognizing the activities that bring me peace and joy, is something I have been trying to identify ever since. Whether or not I appreciate them as FLOW-inducing exercises, there are tasks that I complete in my daily life that make me feel whole.

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My Visit to the Sexual Education Centre

Happy February!

In my last post, I wrote about all the super resources we have on campus that can help you lead a healthy student life. This week, I decided to investigate another great resource on campus – the Sexual Education Centre (SEC)!  The SEC is located at the Sussex Clubhouse and if you didn’t already know, is famous for its nearly infinite supply of free condoms.


The door to the SEC office is open to all students on campus, undergrad and graduate!

This was essentially the sole fact I knew about SEC before I visited. What I found was that while the office did indeed boast of an incredible quantity and variety of condoms (see the “menu”), it also contained a wide array of resources and supports for all things related to sex, sexuality, and relationships.


I quote directly one of the centre’s volunteers: “For 50cents of your annual student fees you can get an infinite amount of condoms.”

My welcome to the centre was quite positive. I was greeted by a number of smiling faces when I walked in, supplied with a wealth of information during my visit, and seen off with a “grab bag” filled with safer-sex products. The centre is open Monday – Friday, 10 am – 7pm, during the Fall/Winter semesters, and everyone is welcome.

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Braving Times Square: The Introvert Gets Involved

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.

But, what is an introvert?

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UofT Snapshots: Fourth Year and the Future

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):

Nancy, Neuroscience:


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!

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