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

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Finding your way back after ‘failures’

Even though everyone experiences failure, nobody wants to broadcast them. And it’s definitely hard to talk about them at a competitive school such as U of T. When you’ve experienced academic setbacks at a high-achieving school it’s hard to convince yourself that you can bounce back from it. At least that was the case for me. I saw the ‘failures’ as now-permanent features of my character and less like ‘stumbles’ or ‘setbacks’ (which, in the grand scheme of things, they actually were).

So what’s important when you’re trying to bounce back from setbacks?

Robarts Library

Coming back from setbacks can all be rather intimidating, just like Robarts.
(c) University of Toronto

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My Dates with Myself

I’m think I am an introvert, I probably always have been. I try not to shy away from it anymore because I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. Also, I think a lot of people misunderstand what introversion means. It can mean “a shy person” but I like to think that the psychological definition of introversion is much more relevant: 

“a person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings

This makes a lot more sense to me; I’m not a quite person because I have nothing to say or I’m scared to say it but more so because I’m taking everyone’s inputs in and assessing my own thoughts first. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t need to have other people around in order to feel happy, energized or active. I’m perfectly content spending a weekend with myself, just going about daily life and reading a book or two (or 10). I like listening to my music and staring into space (or simply staring into space). 

View of Huron Street from Sid Smith Lounge

Chilling in the Sid Smith Lounge and “people-watching” (a fancy term for staring into space)

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(Unfortunate) Member of the Procrastination Nation

Hi, my name’s Liana and…I’m a member of the Procrastination Nation. It’s a magical nation where I go to avoid all of life’s responsibilities and PROCRASTINATE. I discovered the Procrastination Nation fatefully in the 9th grade when I said to a friend, “There’s a whole group of us that procrastinate. It’s like we’re in our own world,” and thus, the Procrastination Nation was born.

Picture of Liana covering her face with her hand

Me when I see that I have too many things to do…

In all seriousness, it was just a silly term that I used to describe moments when I was procrastinating school work and was off to the “Procrastination Nation”, meaning that I would do anything to avoid actually working. But the funny thing is…I’m a “planned” procrastinator. I know what you’re thinking, “Liana, please stop throwing all these random, weird terms you’ve come up with at me.” Okay, okay, I promise I’m done. But really, I’m a planned procrastinator which means I actually PLAN when and how I’m going to procrastinate, instead of doing what I actually need to do.

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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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Lessons in Objects

"Inside Out" plushies, notebooks, hard hat keychains, sunglasses, ballet shoes

It’s tough to feel confident when you’ve had setbacks. Very few of us can immediately bounce back after some kind of a failure without feeling burned for a little while.

For me, returning to school after a few years away proved to be a bigger challenge than I had thought it would be. I bit off more than I can chew in an attempt to make up for lost time and ended up paying the price for it—academically, mentally, physically.

But what good is it wallowing in past failures? Starting this school year as a full-time student again, I try to keep in mind the things that I learned from my disappointments and the mindset and new habits I want to try to stick to going forward. Here, I present some of the “tokens” of my learned lessons.

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(Barely) Imparting Senior Student Wisdom

Hello new semester! Don’t you just love the buzz around campus this time of year? You know, its that time in the semester where midterms haven’t taken over life yet, the weather is still amazing and you have a whole new batch of stationary to play with. Okay, that last one only applies to me and a handful of very cool people.

It’s also that time of year where I usually make tons of new goals and try extra hard to get this whole studying thing right.


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It’s “Back-to-School” Season, NOT “Back-to-Stress” Season

A picture of UC in the fall.

Hey everyone – welcome back to school!

Whether this is your first year at university or you are a returning UofT student, this year is bound to bring many wonderful changes. You’ll inevitably learn new information, meet new people, and experience new adventures you haven’t even thought about yet!

Before I continue, allow me to formally introduce myself – I am Slesha, your new Academic Success and Equity blogger. I’m currently in my third year of computer engineering studies. I love photography, naps, and drinking tea. Also puppies … I love puppies! But you know what I really don’t love? Stressing about school.

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