In Which Sargam Seeks Help!

For Self-Care week, I want to share an experience that literally changed the course of my entire university career and perhaps, changed how I will live my life from now on.

Okay, yeah, I’m overly dramatic usually but I’m not exaggerating here, promise. Brace yourselves.

a box of assorted cookies

PS. A lot of my self-care tips include food, in one way or another.

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Self-Care Queen at U of T

It’s only a month into school and midterms are hitting us already. In my agenda, there is this backlog of assignments and all the due dates happen to fall within the same week. It happens every year and I’m always looking for more tips on how to stay positive during this time.

this is me at 2 years old and ice-cream is still the only thing that makes me completely stress-free!

this is me at 2 years old and ice-cream is still the only thing that makes me completely stress-free!

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How to Approach Professors like a Pro

Confession time: I used to be deathly afraid of my professors (and teachers). What?

I also used to be one of those kids that thought teachers lived at school all the time and didn’t do anything else. What a shock it was when 6-year-old me saw a teacher outside of school for the first time and realized that teachers are human beings just like me.

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Exam Season Special: Secluded Study Spots

This is me, a week before my first exam on Monday. 

photo of me pulling a horrendous face because I am oh-so-freaked out about exam season

Slightly frantic, considering there are hundreds of pages of extremely dense readings to  review and only seven days in which to accomplish this.

Did some light reading, copied down some old lecture notes, went over two problem sets. (with periodic Facebook breaks in between, of course. A girl’s gotta stay updated, right?) 

Now, this is me, three days before my first final on Monday:



No, that’s not actually me, but in case it helps, let me paint a picture for you…with words.

It is 6PM.

I have my hair scraped up high into a no-nonsense bun complete with hideous scrunchie (#90sthrowback)

My backpack is crammed with notebooks, heaps of papers and a pack of felt-tips in obnoxiously bright colours.

I’ve got a massive textbook in one hand and Gatorade in the other.

It’s showtime. 

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Drop-In Skating and Exam Prep (Already?!)

I’ve been feeling a little-more-than-a-little subpar recently. I’m not sure if it’s the weather or a change in routine due to injury or just everyday stressors, but I don’t like to hang out in ruts like that. Last Friday served as a nice little pick me up, thankfully. I finally made it out to drop-in skating at the Varsity Centre!

I regret that I didn’t take pictures, I was consumed by how good it felt to be using my legs after making my arms so terribly sore at aerial silks. I’ve been less active recently and I think that might be contributing to my lousy mood. Skating with a good friend helped! I went on Friday from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon and it served as a nice study break. Skate rentals are available for only $3.39 (debit/credit only) and entry is free with your T-Card of course! It wasn’t very populated, which I really appreciated. I definitely recommend checking it out, especially if you’re looking for some space to make some mistakes (I sure am!).



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Discover #JoyAtUofT in the Little Things

“It’s such a cold, cold world (hello cold world)
And it’s got me down, but I’ll get right back up, as long as its spins around
Hello cold world” – ‘Hello Cold World’, by Paramore

The winter blahs are still in full swing, and we don’t even have snow this year to brighten things up. On top of that, midterms are here to keep us preoccupied. Thankfully, February also happens to be #JoyAtUofT month, to help us get some inspiration from each other as we attempt to stay positive in a time of year when it’s all too easy to be down.

On one hand, El Niño took care of the heaps of snow I was warned about. On the other, the lack of snow is kinda depressing, too...

On one hand, El Niño took care of the heaps of snow I was warned about. On the other, the lack of snow is kinda depressing, too…

I can definitely relate. Granted, I don’t have any full-year courses this year, so I didn’t have any assignments/essays due at the start of the semester. Midterms have come along equally brutally, though. I know I complained about them last time around, but the added blasé of the season seems to amplify their effect on my mood. Grey skies, wet concrete, and barely a hint of snow on the ground have characterized many of the days I’ve had to make the walk from Chestnut to campus.

It’s times like this that finding some joy in life can really make or break my productivity levels. I’m way more likely to get things done when I don’t feel like Eeyore all the time. Amidst all the chaos, squeezing in time to do the little things that put a smile on my face is definitely worthwhile. Frantic as I should be studying, spending time relaxing in the common room among friends can lighten the load on my shoulders, even if it’s just for that brief period of the day. It could even be as simple as making a food run to Med Sci with the gang. Getting out and pursuing hobbies such as photography have a similar effect, letting my heartbeat and stress levels fall to healthy rates.

Getting out with my camera is a great stress-reliever, and definitely brings me some happiness during this seasonal lull.

Getting out with my camera is a great stress-reliever, and definitely brings me some happiness during this seasonal lull.

Joy for me also comes from extracurriculars. Being a member of this awesome Student Life Community Crew has been an experience I wouldn’t trade for any other; I get to see some of the most creative people I know, every week. From hearing their ideas in the meetings, to reading the final product each day, it’s easy to see why Student Life chose them to represent the student body in this way, and I feel privileged to be a part of it. The Blue Sky Solar team that I signed up for just a couple of weeks ago, has already proven to be a source of escapism from the world of academia, if only for a little bit at a time. Researching alternative designs for software, with the promise of soon getting the chance to actually write the code to match, has been a great ride so far.

The weather might be uninspiring, but there’s still plenty of things that manage to lighten up the atmosphere. Be sure to share what brings you #JoyAtUofT on Twitter and Instagram – I’ll be keeping an eye on the hashtag to get some ideas!

Hopping Into the Holiday Spirit: A Trip to the Toronto Christmas Market

December is my favourite time of the year. Well, it usually is. Since starting university, the stress of December exams has sapped up any and all of the holiday spirit in me. After realizing the fact that the most spirited thing I did last December was house a slowly dying 15 inch evergreen tree in my dorm room, and reading Emma’s reflection on her relationship with exams and holiday traditions, I decided I was going to stop myself from spending my favourite time of year locked up in the library eating all of the chocolate out of a discount advent calendar.

illuminated letters reading "naughty or nice"   Continue reading

One Down, One to Go

Crazy as it may seem, this semester’s almost over! Classes ended this week, and finals season has finally arrived. If it weren’t for my impending doom, I wouldn’t have been able to tell that it’d already been four months since I first touched down in Toronto. Amidst all the hapless cramm — I mean, conscientious studying, in a bout of productive procrastination I thought I’d take a look back at my first semester here at U of T.

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A Drake-themed guide to Robarts during exam season

Exams are upon us, U of T. Time to buckle down, catch up with readings, and hit up the nearest campus library for some serious studying. Robarts is the natural go-to choice for many students. Exams may make you miserable, but at least being around other people who are stressing out as much as you are is somewhat comforting. Also comforting is knowing that you’re making Drake proud by acing that calc exam. And always remember that if Aubrey Graham could go from a teeny-bopper D-list actor on Degrassi to a bonafide rap legend, then you can certainly power through these final weeks of the first semester.

Drake leaning against a large storage container and a stereo, using the stereo as a desk to write lyrics on a piece of paper.

Even Drake’s gotta constantly put in werk (Source: Instagram @champagnepapi)

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It’s the most arduous time of the year

At about this time every year, I despair. I start to wonder how I am going to finish what seems to be a never-ending list of assignments and tasks. I start to wonder why I even came to this school; I must have a masochistic streak. The stress gets to me and I find myself resisting the urge to RSVP to a number of preposterous Facebook events (Dropping out of school to become a potato is a viable life decision, right? RIGHT??)

To make matters worse, the rest of the world does not seem to have gotten my memo. Don’t they know that I, along with all of UofT, am a big puddle of exam nerves? All I do is wake up, go to Robarts, go to class, return to Robarts, go home, and sleep! I am not feeling the Holiday cheer. Yet, everywhere I go, I hear sickeningly joyous holiday tunes, everything is pretty and sparkly and lit up, and there are tons of amazing events going on. Why is all of Toronto rubbing its holiday cheer in my face? I feel personally victimized by all this hollying and jollying and carrying on.

Pictured: My Christmas tree and some Christmas records

The cheer is even invading my own apartment!

I know what you’re thinking; this girl is a classic Scrooge. You may be right. I’ll have you know, however, that I have been trying to embrace the spirit of the season. Last night, I went to Christmas High Table at Trinity College. Despite my best protestations—”I have too much work to do,” “I hate carolling,” “I don’t like cranberry sauce”—my roommates would not take no for an answer and they dragged me along. Continue reading