Looking Ahead, and Choosing a Path

Dealing with your program can be stressful. Choosing your degree can be hardest. This question can be easy for some people, but asking yourself what degree you want can force you to ask bigger questions as well.  For me, choosing my degree was a long process and was transformational as well.

Looking our from a small ridge towards the dense foliage of Philosopher's Walk, with a gleaming tower in behind

In the forest of life, there are limitless numbers of pathways you can choose from (Photo by Zachary Biech)

At the beginning of my second year, I declared my Public Policy major after much deliberation with minors in Political Science and Philosophy. I also took a Russian Language credit and loved it. Long story short, philosophy wasn’t right for me and the Political Science minor was redundant. So what do you do when you realize you want to switch POSts?

Looking west towards Trinity College, with the foliage of Philosopher's walk in front and the stone citadels of the college poking through in behind under a bright blue sunny sky

U of T is a big place, with many different opportunities; finding the one best suited to you is a whole other story (Photo by Zachary Biech)

Don’t worry, it’s easy. For me, the Russian Language minor was a no-brainer and I had always known in my heart I should be in Aboriginal Studies once I had the courage. So I changed my minor POSts the summer after second year, took an ABS summer credit to catch up and voila! A personalized degree path suited to my interests.  You have to do what interests you or you’ll never get the most of your program. So think hard and ask those tough questions: Are you really doing what you love?

A single great tree on a large green lawn with red flowers at it's base, and sunlight shining through it's leaves

Sometimes in the forest of opportunity, one small piece can shine itself on you, and make your pathway clear (Photo by Zachary Biech)

So what about grad school? Wow, tough question. The earlier you start asking yourself, the better. And whatever you do, don’t lose hope. There are many reasons not to enter grad school but even more reasons to go for it.

A pathway of green grass winding through a partially lit, partially shadowed greenspace of shrubs and trees

What happens along this pathway? Well, there’s only one way to find out… (Photo by Zachary Biech)

Disclaimer: I am still undecided on where, when and what my further education will be. The how is always a tough question with no real answer. But the why? Well, here’s how I think of it: why not?

looking through an open iron gate, down a shaded cobblestone path with grand overhanging trees and bushes, towards the bright sunlight beyond

We may not know what’s at the end of the path, but the door is open, and it’s worth every step (Photo by Zachary Biech)

I have a few findings to share. ULife has a career mentorship program to get you connected with someone who can answer your questions. First Nations House has Aboriginal Law Mentorship services for undergrads interested in law school. The FNH staff can offer excellent guidance.

http://www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/Mentorship-Resource-Centre.htm/

Law Mentorship Program: Are you considering law school? Join the Law Mentorship Program and get connected with a current Aboriginal U of T Law student mentor. You will learn about the law school experience and better understand the application process. Undergraduate contact: shannon.simpson@utoronto.ca Law student contact: promise.holmesskinner@utoronto.ca fnh.utoronto.ca

FNH Law Mentorship Program

Unfortunately, U of T has no graduate Aboriginal Studies program so if ABS is your direction, you may wish to look at other schools like Trent or York. However, Indigenous students in grad school at U of T still have the support of SAGE to keep connected.  Also, The Aboriginal Studies Department has a unique Collaborative Program in Aboriginal Health which is definitely worth exploring.

http://aboriginalstudies.utoronto.ca/propective-students/graduate-opportunities/

http://aboriginalstudies.utoronto.ca/centre-for-aboriginal-initiatives/supporting-aboriginal-graduate-enhancement-sage/about-sage/

Now back to law. U of T’s law program is very interesting. There’s a welcoming pathway for Indigenous students, status or non-status, through the Aboriginal Law Program which can include a Certificate in Aboriginal Legal Studies. There’s a huge array of scholarships, bursaries, and grants, and the faculty began offering a free LSAT course for students with financial need in recent years.

A view of the front of Falconer Hall, with a trimmed lawn, large garden, and leafy vines covering the Victorian-style brick building

Falconer Hall, Faculty of Law (Photo by Zachary Biech)

The four large white pillars of the main entrance to Flavelle House

Flavelle House, Faculty of Law (Photo by Zachary Biech)

http://www.uoftaboriginallaw.com/

http://www.law.utoronto.ca/student-life/student-clubs-and-events/aboriginal-law-students-association

http://www.law.utoronto.ca/student-life/student-clubs-and-events/aboriginal-law-club

http://www.law.utoronto.ca/admissions/jd-admissions/aboriginal-applicants

http://www.uoftaboriginallaw.com/FinancialAid.aspx

http://www.law.utoronto.ca/academic-programs/jd-program/financial-aid-and-fees/bursaries-and-scholarships/complete-list

It may seem overwhelming early on but that’s all part of the process. All you need to know is there are many good options out there and many supports to help you achieve your goals.

A doorway into Falconer Hall, with aged stone facade with leafy vines draped on the top

The door is open; all’s you have to do is walk through it (Photo by Zachary Biech)

What different degrees have you considered?

Does the path you are on allow you to do what you love?

 

An Ode to the Work-Study Program

As the summer unwinds, we get closer and closer to that time of year! No, I’m not talking about course selection, or frosh week or even Ribfest (although I should be, I mean have you tried those ribs?!). As the end of the summer draws closer, it means it’s time for…WORK-STUDY POSTINGS! Do you want to have a cool, fun job, where you can pretend to ‘adult’ (whatever that means), while still getting the most out of university? Then fear not my friends, for you have come to the right place!

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Nothing quite says ‘adult’ like taking selfies at your desk during work

A quick background on the work-study program: The work-study program is offered to help students develop their professional skills through various jobs on campus. The jobs run for the majority of the term (either summer or fall/winter). To be eligible, you need to be taking a minimum of a 40% course load. The best part is that you only have to work a maximum of 12 hours per week, so you have plenty of time to study, participate in student groups, or pursue other things you love!

In my first two years here, I didn’t think I would really benefit from a work-study position, since I already had a part time job. I finally decided to apply during my summer school term. and trust me, it was no easy task, but definitely worth it. The first day the positions opened on the Career Learning Network (CLN), there were over 500 postings. Thankfully, the CLN has some pretty nifty filters that you can use to find jobs that suit you. Cover letters and tailored resumes tend to feel like the bane of my existence, so I ended up using some of the online resources from the CLN and U of T’s career centre website. Tucked away in Koffler Student Services Centre is the Career Centre, where you can even get one-on-one help with a career educator!

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Actual early version of my cover letter.

After polishing up my resume and cover letter, and applying to about 12 different positions, I landed a few interviews. Finally, I got an amazing research assistant position at the the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evalution (AKA my dream job as an undergraduate in health studies).

This is why I love the work-study program so much, and I regret not applying to it earlier. You get the same experience without the time commitment of a full-time job. Although some people take to balancing school, work and life really well, for me, it’s not the easiest thing to accomplish. The work-study allows you to have more time. I used my time this summer for another job, summer courses and some relaxing!

Screen shot 2014-06-12 at 2.47.55 PM

#TBT to that time I relaxed a little too much

So mark your calendars, U of T! Postings go up on Monday, July 28th. Don’t miss out! If you have and questions or concerns about how to apply or how it works, let me know in the comments, or on Twitter at @Api_UofT!

Face The Music (and Mid-Terms)

On the school calendar, the first semester might as well highlight the months of October and November as not the months that belong to fall, but to midterms instead. Like I have mentioned before, midterms are notorious energy-drainers. It’s easy to lose momentum and plateau when the majority of your day-to-day schedule revolves around doing school work. So I like to keep an ever-growing playlist of songs to help keep me determined to not only survive, but ace mid-term season, and to remind me that yes, it is possible to slip in a little exercise in between working.  I like to match the music that I listen to according to how I feel, I also like to listen to songs that will help me to find the energy to exercise.

Here are three songs that keep me on track in between my sleep, eat, work, eat, exercise, work, sleep (well, not all in that order) schedule:

TV on The Radio – Wolf Like Me
The colder the weather, the sleepier I get, and the more I envision myself becoming best friends with the heater in my room. Lately, my body is trying to retreat into a three-month hibernation, so just waking up has been struggle —my brain is like an overheated computer that needs to take time to load. So while it’s in the “buffering” mode, I like to play an upbeat song such as Wolf Like Me as an alarm clock to help me wake up. Listening to a song about being an unstoppable force of energy inspires me to get out of bed and prepare myself to start the day in a not-so-sluggish manner.

Sky Ferreira – You’re Not The One
For those who know me personally, my favourite type of cardio is the “dancing like crazy in my bedroom”-type of cardio. Dancing (in my room) is cathartic, because I can jump up and down, do a twirl here and there, all while no one is watching me. Whenever I put on this song, I forget the fact that I’m exercising because I’m so immersed in moving along with the tempo.

One day I’ll make my dancing debut. VIA MICSGIFS.TUMBLR.COM

I’ve also been using this song as a motivating tool to complete my assignments, or readings, by creating “dance” breaks whenever I feel like I am running out of energy or losing focus. Most recently, I came across this song (via the recommendations of many music review blogs), and have used it as my go-to track when starting my ten-minute breaks to do cardio. I like to say that I don’t like pop, but I secretly do—and I must admit, this song does glam pop very well. It’s lively, and is also about moving on and not dwelling on the past, and I take heed by dancing away my worries. I’ve come to realize that I need to open up my options when creating a song list in order to get me on my feet and moving. And since I used this song during my break in between writing this post, I can tell you that opening up my options has been working so far.

King Krule – Out Getting Ribs
During mid-terms, I’ve still managed to go to my Pilates classes at the Athletic Centre, but I’ve fallen behind on going to the gym more than once a week this month. However, I’m still determined to not spiral back into my past sedentary lifestyle, so I’ve kept active when dancing in my room, or practicing my Pilates moves. One of the main motivators for me right now is that I can do a killer plank without slouching, and that I’ve moved on to practicing other positions and exercises, such as butterfly crunches, (I lie down on my back and lift my legs in a slanted positions, all while doing quick breaths and waving my arms just above and below my abdominal muscles).

Sometimes, when writing papers, I hit a roadblock and worry about whether the words that I have written on the page make sense. This kind of anxiety makes it easy to lose focus. So I use what I’ve learned in my Pilates class, take a break to do a few moves and refresh my mind—but not without the help of music playing in the background.

I like to stick to dreamy and calming music that sometimes have a rising tempo—and the beginning guitar riffs in Out Getting Ribs do just the thing. Also, the song isn’t’t too slow so that when I do pick up my pace in doing moves like butterfly crunches, I can at least keep my body in sync with the beats. As well, I like to end my night feeling relaxed, and this song helps to soothe me into resting mode.

Sleep, eat, work, eat, exercise, work, sleep schedule still intact.

What songs do you listen to when you feel like you need to calm down, or get up and going?

in which we talk about how to focus

Wandering around clubs fair during Orientation Week often produces an overwhelming adrenaline rush; we grab brochures, freebies and put our names down on a lot of mailing lists.

New year. New start.
September is the month to try new things.
Then October comes and hits you where it hurts with its large selection of assignments, midterms and other anxiety-inducing products.

We’ve survived one midterm season and are steadily making our way toward the next maelstrom of due dates.

The university experience offers so much besides an academic education: events, resources, clubs, fitness drop-ins, and interest classes…the list goes on and on.There are too many good things out there, we just don’t have enough time.

What are we to do? How do we ensure we get the best experience possible? How do we maximize our time here on campus to enjoy and try what is offered?

I spend a lot of my time writing poetry. A particular interest of mine is blackout poetry, where you take a piece of text from somewhere, usually a newspaper, and create poems by eliminating words – literally blacking them out.

photosimple.

In many ways, I think the university process is similar to blackout poetry.

There are plenty of well established aspects of university life laid out before us, clamouring for our attention at clubs fair, on posters, in emails, or by peers and professors.

All of these are like the words on a page I’m about to start blacking out.
It isn’t possible to say, “I will do all of this” just as Blackout poetry can’t just present the page as it is, and say, “There. Good.”

In my poem writing process, I usually begin by taking a pencil and boxing the words I am going to use. This allows me to get a tentative idea of where the poem is going and what my final message will be.

So take a pencil and box what you want to do, identify:

  • Activities where you can find community and belonging.
  • Involvement that allows you to comfortably and confidently be who you want to be.
  • Participation in causes you find worthwhile, or for skill sets you desire to attain.

IMG_8591

something a tad more profound

Then I go over the boxed outlines in marker, and begin the process of eliminating the rest of the text in between, careful to avoid accidentally erasing words that I need in my poem.
It is the same for our schedules.
Once we have all the words we want boxed in, it may be wise to black out the rest as it gives us a chance to focus on what we have decided is important for this particular time, whether it be a semester or a year.

By narrowing our vision and settling on key focuses, we streamline our efforts so we can more thoroughly invest in the activities we have chosen.

IMG_8592

 every person’s real essay writing process.

Part of the university experience is also simply the process of learning how to black out, to figure out how you learn, what you are interested in learning, and what you can contribute because of who you are.

Every year can be a new poem. You can change the message of the poem, and the words that are used. You can use a new source text. You can try new clubs, visit different libraries, or even pick two completely different minors. Experiment to your heart’s content.

Just don’t forget to

  • be willing to try new types of engagement.
  • stay dedicated to what gives you purpose.
  • remember that it is good to learn through experience.

IMG_8593

university summarized.

On that note, all blackout poetry in this post was done on campus newspapers.
Try it some time!

The Jolly Season of Midterms

Oh midterm season, that dreadful time of year when everyone hides in their rooms or at the library, with their heads buried in their textbooks, forgetting that they ever had a social life. As a second-year student, I know the drill now. But nonetheless, I’m still worried because each year, the work becomes harder. This time around I don’t have any exams, which I am glad about, but I have two papers and two presentations to complete. At U of T, no one escapes midterm season scot-free; there is always something to study for.

The thing is, I know that I won’t get anything done when I’m stressed out; I put things off until the eleventh hour. And even though I’m probably going to leave one of those assignments for the classic do-it-all-in-one-night style (hey, it’s a student tradition), I still want to be, and to feel, at the top of my game. So, at the start of the week, I made a list of goals to keep my head in check:

1. Go to the gym at least once alone and once with a friend (maybe this is how I can be social again).
2. Keep attending Pilates classes.
3. Between reading a chapter, or writing a paragraph, stop and stretch for relaxation.
4. Take time to do the much appreciated “treat yo’self.” Seriously.

Parks and Recreation had this right all along. –VIA SPIFFYPOP.TUMBLR.COM

When it came to actually completing my to-do list, I was running short on energy, but still managed to reach these goals.

1. Gym?
I was aiming to be one of those “I-wake-up-at-6:00AM-to-go-to-the-gym”-types of people, but this week was devoted to night time exercising. Also, it was easier to go with a friend at night since we both had an evening class together. Even though I wasn’t active during my planned time, I was still being active nonetheless. After all, the most important part was that after returning back to my room, I was calm enough to be able to sit down and focus on my readings.

2. + 3. Doing Pilates + Practicing my stretches
I attended my Pilates class, but it was a struggle. I fell behind on practicing my planking, which I’d made a pact to perfect since last week. The night before Pilates class, I stayed up until 4:00AM doing readings and editing a paper. I woke up early  all groggy and exhausted. In retrospect, staying up so late (or early, if you’re a grim thinker) wasn’t the best decision, but I didn’t want that mistake let me skip my Pilates class, and cause a chain reaction for the rest of the week. So I went!

And you know what? When I left the AC after class, I felt revived. I was still drained from the lack of sleep, but I was calmer, and had more patience to carry on with the rest of the day. Also, I did manage to slip in some time to practice the plank afterwards.

Don’t pull an all-nighter. Your eyes will punish you for it. —VIA GIFGARAGE.COM

4. Time off + Motivation
Also I did manage to take time to achieve number four on my list, that “treat yo’self” task that I promised I would do. After completing my first presentation, I decided to take a hike to a cute café in Kensington Market. There I lounged around while sipping some blueberry honey tea. It didn’t hurt that the café made a great place for me to study at the same time.

And another thing that’s helping me to get through midterms that didn’t make my list? Making plans to join in on fun events. I realized that I needed some extra motivation to push through my never-ending pile of assignments. Most of all, I need the balance that being social brings. There’s an upcoming MoveU event coming up, Scary Skate, on October 31st. Also, it’s free, as in free to attend, with free refreshments, and free skate rentals—as a university student, I am shameless to say that free is my favourite word. Although I guess in this case, free comes with a cost, since I have a fear of skating. But I’m curious to try it out. And if I can survive midterms, then I’m confident that I’ll survive giving ice-skating another chance.

Even this goat can skate better than me. –VIA 4GIFS.COM

So now, it’s your turn to tell me dear readers. What have you been doing to keep active (and survive) this midterm season?

Working Those Work-Study Positions

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Getting involved on campus can have you spending afternoons in ways you never thought you would. I have moved dozens of boxes of books at a college book sale, interviewed complete strangers in the Arbor Room for a blog, entered endless data for a psychology lab, and helped build a stone wall at Hart House Farm.

So if you’re looking for a way to earn some money, gain valuable experience or just have a good time, one great way to get involved (and paid!) is to apply for a work-study position at U of T. (Not all of my odd jobs were work-study positions but they certainly were interesting!)

Work-Study /wərk ˈstədē/: To you work where you study.

e.g., John is a student at U of T and also got a sweet gig working for one of the departments as a work-study student.

The ‘work-study’ positions are generally more flexible than other part-time jobs and designed for students. They offer a chance to work closely with a prof or department while getting paid.

This year, there are work-study positions for opportunities like helping a prof curate the collections at the Royal Ontario Museum, setting up the exhibits at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscaping and Design, and researching “Rainforest Livelihoods in the Amazon” through the Department of Geography.

Here’s how you too can get one of these work-study positions:

Finding Work-Study Positions

  • Log on to the Career Centre website with your UtorID to check out listings. Listings are generally only available in Sept./Oct. as that’s when hiring happens.
  • Ask your profs, program, department or college for leads on work-study positions they may know about. If you would like to get to know that prof/program/department/etc. better, a work-study is a solid way to do it.
Ask profs for tips on positions they know about. source: http://giphy.com/gifs/aVDK18R8ZWGgU

Ask profs for job leads
via: giphy.com

Applying

  • Write resume. Get help with said resume (and cover letter) at a Career Centre Resume Workshop or see the Academic Success Centre experts for help with writing, or have your resume proofread by family and friends. Typos or obvious errors are a sure-fire way to tank your application. Lots of resources are available online through U of T services as well.
Congrats on writing one resume... now write another! source: http://giphy.com/gifs/cJgkhpLgsuTkY

Congrats on writing one resume…
now write another!Via: giphy.com 

  • Actually, write resumes, plural. You’ll want to have a few different types of resumes on hand if you’ll be applying for everything from research assistant to food services attendant. Make sure you tailor your resumes to the positions’ descriptions.
  • Apply to (lots of) ones you’re interested in. It may not go well the first or second time you apply to a position — they can be competitive — so make sure you have some other options in mind.

The Actual Work Part

Remember to actually do work!
via: giphy.com

  • Be a good employee. You know, show up on time, do work, try to avoid posting relentlessly on Facebook, etc. Don’t forget that you may want to ask your supervisor to be a reference one day! (And/or maybe you’ll be colleagues at some point).
  • If it goes well, ask about advancement opportunities for next year. Many places have “research assistant – level 2″ or shift supervisor positions for which they are more likely to hire someone they already know.

Payday

Enjoy that hard earned cheque! source: http://giphy.com/gifs/CHxVEWDBOGpry

Enjoy that hard earned money!
via: giphy.com

  • The fine print. All the work-study positions pay minimum wage plus 4% vacation pay and you can only work up to 12 hours per week.
  • Go enjoy your hard-earned mulla! But also save it by visiting my Website of the Week: nourishmeforfree.com for free food tips on campus.

If nothing else, work-study positions are worth considering as they offer paid experience with a prof or department… and the chance to tell your grand-kids about how you once moved dozens of boxes of these heavy things called “books” with your bare hands.

- Kay

The Numbers Game

I often hear myself telling friends that university is a numbers game. Some weeks it is simply impossible to finish all the required readings and assignments. Often, we’re forced to choose one task over another.

The equations and ratios that are constantly swirling through my mind are migraine inducing. I am not a natural mathematician. I am always trying to figure out of which assignments will weigh more weigh more heavily towards my GPA, and which assignments I can afford to let fall below my normal standards.

For example, last week I had a midterm for a H1F class that was worth 10% of my grade in the class. On the same day I had a twelve page paper due for a Y1Y course that was worth 30% of my grade. Simply mathematics  proved that I designate more time for the essay than studying for the midterm. The morning of the midterm, I was just finishing up my essay, so I never had the opportunity to study for the midterm.

As I was writing this midterm, that I didn’t study for, I was mildly panicked that I would earn a mark in the 20-30% range. However, I somehow pulled off a B+. I’m not sure if this was just dumb luck or if it was because I always attend the lectures and tutorials for the class. I was able to work my way through the test in a jigsaw pattern, starting with the dates and events that I remembered from lecture and then guessing my way through the rest of the test.

In a perfect world I would have had time to write the paper and study for the test, but as the end of March approaches and time starts speeding away I think we are all finding ourselves in these situations. Don’t even get me started on the cruel reality of daylight savings time and how it has robbed me of a needed hour of schoolwork!

If you need to pick and choose between assignments and studying then make sure you’re picking the right item to concentrate on. It is easier to recover from a loss of 10% than a loss of 30%. Don’t forget that Y classes count more heavily towards your GPA than half classes and try to spend the most time on the assignments that matter most.

It really is a numbers game and understanding how to spread your efforts in the most pragmatic manner possible will save you time and stress!

Lori

 

From Spectating to Participating: the time to get involved is now

With the first week of March now upon us, we students are entering that proverbial ‘crunch time’ of late nights, libraries, and fancy lattes to help us cope with it all.

And this year, more than most, seems to have a lot of stuff crammed into the final six to eight weeks of the semester.

In addition to the assignments, tests, and exams, this time of the year also features plenty of activity in the world of student life as many groups, clubs, and student organizations begin turnover processes, paving the way for next semester – starting September 2013. While you may feel that you don’t have much time to devote your awareness to anything other than your textbooks over the next few weeks, I implore you to keep an eye on the goings on in the student communities you are a part of, as the way in which these communities are shaping up at the end of this semester will have a very real impact on the way they look when classes resume six months from now — unless you’re a graduating student, of course. (If you’re in this boat you have plenty of bigger concerns to deal with………anyone looking to hire a Student Blogger, available for work immediately in early May?…Please?)

The elephant in the room being all this University of Toronto Students’ Union secession business that has been dominating student politics at the university as of late (for the seven of you interested in undergraduate student politics, that is). And while this issue is definitely an important one – especially as the consequences of all of this hullabaloo have yet to be borne out - this is not the only thing happening in student life right now that you should be concerned with.

Student communities take all shapes and sizes, from small college-based clubs to inter-campus wide student associations. What I hope to emphasize is that many of these organizations are holding elections/seeking membership for positions for the upcoming year and if you have ever thought about trying out for one of these positions, the time to do so is now. Don’t simply get caught up in being a spectator to everything going on around you. As cliche as it may sound, the four or five years you spend at the University of Toronto is short (trust me) and if you have ever considered the possibility of enhancing your undergraduate experience through some extra-curricular activity, now is the time to seek those position out.

I know first hand that this can be a daunting task for the uninitiated, but trust me: go for it. The first ‘major’ thing I did in the realm of student life involved running for an executive membership position on the Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council at the end of my second year. I had dabbled a bit in Vic’s student life before then, but I was a relatively unknown candidate and was up against someone who had already been on the council previously and was a somewhat of a known entity around the Vic community. Needless to say I lost the election and while it definitely sucked I gained invaluable insights into how student life functioned at the college as well as had the opportunity to meet a number of people I would not have otherwise met. The experience of running, despite losing, no doubt played a factor in my attaining an elected position on the council in the following Fall election at the beginning of the new term. Leaving my comfort zone was, you’ll be surprised to hear, uncomfortable but the experience was essential in my personal growth (overcoming social anxieties) as well as integrating myself in a community I now have grown to love and adore. There is not a doubt in my mind that if I hadn’t run in that Spring 2010 VUSAC election you would not be reading this post right now.

The moral of the story is, I’m sure, quite obvious. You’ve heard it before but it is worth stating again: your experience as an undergraduate student is what you make it and oftentimes the best experiences in life involve a little risk. Students at the U of T have been known to complain that they experience a lack in communal-feeling with their peers and while this may be true the opportunities to remedy this feeling are out there; you just have to be willing to look.

It’s Crunch Time!

It’s crunch time! I mean that literally because I have a twenty page paper due in a few days that is still in the midst of being born from my mind. I also mean that figuratively because during what has been a very painful three day essay writing marathon, I have been relieving my stress with crunchy food.

So I started on Friday night with carrots, a healthy option. These provided me with the crunch I was seeing and had the extra bonus of not messing up my writing space. This healthy option sustained my need for crunch for the night.

Saturday was required a snack with a crunch slightly more extreme crunch factor. This is why at 11pm on Saturday night instead of writing my essay I was searching through my storage room for my deep fryer. I found the fryer and proceeded to make these little wonders…

Beer battered onion rings my fellow students…mmmmmmmm! Admittedly not the healthiest of snack options, but with all that essay writing I deserved a treat. And also, onions are a vegetable…let’s justify it like that.

These are fast and easy to make…get an onion, slice it into ring and pop out the centre of the rings, in a bowl mix up some flour, salt, baking soda, and cornstarch and and then stir in a cup of your favorite beer. (If you don’t drink alcohol you can actually replace the beer with water.) Dip your onions in the batter and fry for 3 mins in oil warmed to 375 degrees.

So that was Saturday. On Sunday, i was feeling guilty for eating so many onion rings so I turned to another crunchy alternative that is a bot more healthy than onion rings. Toasted pita with eggplant dip.

The recipe for this is a bit more involved than the onion rings, so I’ll post the link here. This provided a low fat option that gave me the required saltiness and crunch that I was craving.

Three straight days of writing is exhausting. I don’t usually do this. I like to start my papers nice and early, but this term I simply ran out of time. Now I find myself scrambling to finish the list of assignments on my calendar that are all due next week.

I find taking a few minutes to eat something really good makes weekends like this not as bad. It’s a treat for every few pages I finish. It wards off sleep and lethargic writing.

If my tummy is happy then my brain usually works a lot better!

Happy writing people.

-Lori

 

Where did I put my dunce cap?

Have you ever been told something and in that exact moment you are wondering how it is possible that you ever lacked this information. You wonder if you really did in fact know this information. You convince yourself that you must have been aware of this nugget of knowledge, even though you know deep down that you really had no clue.

I’ve been a student here at U of T for nearly four years. In that time I have been enrolled in approximately sixteen classes. Each of these classes, except for one,  was accessible via Portal. Just put this in you back pocket for a moment while I explain what it is I’m writing about.

Last week in one of my classes my Prof. led us to the library for a research seminar with a librarian. This is at least the tenth time I’ve attended  one of these seminars. I always enter the experience a little suspicious that there is anything about the journal search engines that I have not already been told. Yet, every time I am pleased to leave the seminar with a new skill in researching.

Last week, I was perhaps a little more short-tempered than usual…bogged down with essays and fast approaching mid-terms I really didn’t feel like attending another research seminar. I can humbly say that I am so happy that I went.

Mid-way through this particular research seminar the librarian mentioned the library resources tab on Blackboard. Remember a few lines ago I mentioned how many courses I’ve had on Blackboard…take that out of your back pocket and now integrate it I know this little tale.

Okay so I was like, “ya, I know that tab. It’s useless. It’s empty or it just takes you to the Library homepage.”

Ya. No.

Unbeknownst to me this tab is actually useful. How did I not know this?

It is possible that at some point in my first year I clicked on the Library resources tab for one of my courses and it was empty. It might even be possible that this tab wasn’t active on all my courses. Whatever the case I had no clue how very amazing the contents of this tab are.

Apparently, when a Prof sets up their course they are able to request customized course specific library sources under the Library Tools Tab.

I’m four years in people. I’ve spent four years fumbling through journal databases for specific subject content. I could have been using this tab for four years!

I felt like a fool. I really felt like the kid in the corner with the dunce cap!

Well live and learn…right? I don’t know how many of you out there in the U of T universe are aware of this function on Blackboard. If you are then, stop judging me and if you aren’t then you’re welcome. I’m not a statistician, but I can confidently confirm that this little tab has cut the time I spend researching by at least 25%.

So I implore you…go to Blackboard and click on this tab. If you have a proactive instructor he will have customized this tab for you.

Happy Essay writing people.

-Lori