In Which U of T is Really Pretty During Midterm Season

As the photoblogger on this team, meaning the person who blogs and also manages the Instagram, part of my job is to see the pretty cool things on or around campus. If you’ve been following along with my eyes and perspectives on the ‘Gram, you would notice that a huge portion of my photos are of landscapes and sometimes people. As midterm season rolls in with the dropping temperatures of autumn, I’ve decided to share my top four favourite places to visit on or around campus for destressing, procrastinating, fire Instagram photos, or sipping tea while you Snapchat.

ALT="The CN Tower framed by trees"

A very cool spot on campus where you can see the CN Tower framed perfectly by the trees.

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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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UofT Bookstore Haul

It’s that time of year again! With course selection times coming up, we are suddenly uprooted from the comforts of summer and thrown into fall semester preparation. One of the things that I have done in the past to calm my September nerves is to go crazy with Back to School shopping.

I know what you’re thinking: who even goes Back to School shopping after the 8th grade?

Answer: me :(


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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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Reading EEK!

Oh, Reading Week, that glorious, majestic, magical gift. It started off with such promise; you had such high hopes. Tasks would be accomplished, fun would be had, naps would be napped.

All of a sudden, it’s Thursday. If you’re anything like me, you’re starting to feel a bit anxious that you haven’t made enough progress. Many tasks on your To-Do list remain woefully unchecked. It turns out that Netflix was your one true Valentine. That wily temptress has sucked away your time and energy; you have nothing left for 18th Century Philosophy, or French pronouns, or even Lord Denning!

Pictured: Clipart Laptop with eyes playing Netflix and holding flowers

My funny Valentine [Image courtesy of:]

Time to panic? Not so fast. When I reassessed my Reading Week situation, I realized that I have accomplished quite a bit, even if I haven’t yet touched that reading and I’m only half finished that essay. Here are some of the ways that I’m now measuring my progress:

I cleaned!

I mentioned in a previous post that I recently got quite sick. Last week, I had to play catch-up in a major way. Unfortunately, that meant that plenty of other stuff fell by the wayside. My poor apartment definitely took a hit. I’m a pretty tidy person generally; mess makes me very upset. At the start of Reading Week, I took my time getting everything ship-shape once again. It was a huge weight off my shoulders. There’s nothing like blasting your music and tango-ing around the apartment with the vacuum, is there? No? Just me? Gotcha.

I socialized!

I love a good Robarts party—don’t get me wrong—but it’s nice to actually get out there from time to time. This week, I showed some friends around Toronto, I saw a few movies, and I attended a pizza party! It was nice to catch up with everyone before we all crawl back into our respective work cocoons in a few week’s time. Reading Week is kind of the calm before the storm, isn’t it?

I planned!

My mission, as always, is to find a CV-boosting summer job. I have been doing lots of research and preparing applications. It’s really comforting to know that I already have some irons in the fire. Reading Week is a great time to get on top of that sort of thing.

I rested!

So. Much. Napping.

Pictured: my adorable dog

I mean, how could you say no to this cuddle buddy?

I explored!

I have been exploring Netflix, yes, but I have also finished a couple of books that I have wanted to read for ages! It was a bit too cold for much outdoor exploring this weekend, but I did discover a cute new coffee shop and I went on a walk by the lake today. Often, I tend to write these sorts of things off as non-essential, but I’m realizing more and more that taking some “me time” gives me a much more positive outlook. I end up being more productive as a result.

If you did anything that made you smile, feel more relaxed, or just feel better generally, then you haven’t wasted your Reading Week! Also, guess what? It’s only Thursday! There is still plenty of time to do some more schoolwork, catch up with a few more friends, watch a movie or two, or explore somewhere new. If you go back to class next Monday feeling at all recharged and ready to get back to work, then Reading Week will have worked its magic after all!

Be sure to check out how Emaan has been rocking her Reading Week and let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments below!

Sick in the 6ix

My alarm goes off. I sit up and my head is spinning. I reach for my alarm and miss it the first two times. I finally get it to switch off, lie back down, and assess the situation. I’m drenched in sweat. My head is pounding. My throat is really sore; it hurts to swallow. I feel too cold and too hot at the same time. Memories of my dreams start to trickle back: flying donuts, green skies, canoeing on a chocolate river. I start to put the pieces together.

Pictured: The chocolate river from the good film version of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"

This fever dream is brought to you by Wonka’s Chocolate Factory™ and Pure Imagination™ Picture courtesy of

Yep. I’m sick. Now what?  Continue reading

Winter is leaching me of my creative juices

Foil lit under a blue light.

Winter got me seeing all shades of blue

If ever we had to designate a time of the year that made people feel the most “BLAH,” it would be around now. The dreary weather and post-holiday lull make for a very uninspiring landscape that certainly do not help to foster creativity. I too fall prey to the monotony that is the mid-winter blues. (Is it even mid-winter? Realistically, has it even been a true winter this year? Are we feeling the ramifications of global warming? All good questions). Feeling like a sad, deflated, grey-tinged marshmallow, I can get really unmotivated to deal with work and school – which can be quite problematic at the start of a new semester. However, I have a few tricks to try and inspire creativity and productivity: 

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New Year, New Me!

“Woke up this morning I was laid out flat on the dark side
With the moon and the room on the wrong side
I took a needle, sewed myself right back at the seams

I saw my universal gleam” – ‘Flick of the Finger, by Beady Eye

Liam Gallagher might not have the same vocals he did back in Oasis’ heyday, but his last effort to bring back the glory days with his (now disbanded) Beady Eye did bring back some of the open lyrical interpretation the band was known for instigating – but I digress. Nevertheless, it makes for a great quote that can relate to the idea of starting the new year with resolutions. It’s a time of year when – for whatever reason – you can see your errors more clearly, and when you decide to pick up the metaphorical needle and attempt to sew yourself back together again. I’m not typically one to fall into the societal norm of setting resolutions specifically to ring in the new year – but given that this will be my first full year as a university student, I decided to give it a shot.

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That Forgetting Feeling

You know that thing that sometimes happens when you’re about to fall asleep but then all of a sudden you feel like you’re falling, you jerk violently, and you’re wide awake again? That’s how I feel when I realize I have forgotten something.

I don’t usually forget things; I’m a reasonably organized person and I have systems that I use to keep on top of things.

Pictured: string tied around my finger

An oldie but a goodie

Every now and then, though, the occasional task slips through the cracks. One such occasion was just a little while ago. I’m taking this really interesting Legal Workshops course; I get to attend a few workshops at the Faculty of Law throughout the year. At the beginning of September, I chose the workshops I was interested in and signed up. I marked the workshops I signed up to attend in my calendar. I put them on my phone. You may have guessed, however, that I recently missed one. Continue reading

First Years – Unplugging on Campus

The start of the ’gap’ between midterms and finals is definitely a good time to find more opportunities to de-stress where possible. As I’ve been emphasizing the importance I’ve placed on striking a balance between work and play, I’ve decided to find out where my fellow first-years have been going to relax on campus. Specifically, I’ve been looking for places to ‘unplug’ and unwind without keeping a constant eye on my phone.

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