A Night at the (UofT) Theatre

I can’t count the amount of times that I’ve walked by a poster advertising a new play on campus, and said “oh, I’m going to go to that!”  If you’ve followed my blog posts for a while now, this won’t come as much of a surprise to you; I am the queen of  wanting to get involved in something, and then never actually doing it. 

So this week when my friend invited me to come and see her in the Trinity College Dramatic Society’s performance of the Twelve Angry Jurors – I knew I had to stick to my promise. 

I decided to take this as an excuse to have a night out, a “night at the theatre” so to say.  It’s only three weeks into the semester and I already feel as if I’m clocking more hours at Robarts than in my own bedroom.  I figured this was the perfect excuse to take a well deserved break. 

A picture of me at a table at Gabbie's bar with a plate of delicious food in front of me

We started our night up on Bloor at Gabby’s Bar & Girl to grab a quick bite before the performance, which started at 8pm.  Pulled pork and fries may not be the classiest of pre-theatre meals, but hey – I’m on a student budget here (and it was delicious).

a picture of my delicious food - a pulled pork sandwich and fries

We got to the theatre early to purchase tickets from the door and get our seats in the George Ignatieff Theatre. The stage itself was small, but the theatre filled up quickly with family members and friends of the performers, and a couple campus reporters as well. 

a picture of my theatre program and ticket. The program reads "TCDS presents the twelve angry jurors, with a picture of a screaming head in which the eyes are covered by the numbers 1-12

When the play began I was immediately captivated. I hadn’t done much research about the play before hand, but the general synopsis involves a group of Jurors arguing over the innocence of a man accused of killing his father. 

The entire play takes place on the same set, with no more than 13 characters on stage at one time.  It was intense and dramatic, with the perfect amount of comic relief.  The characters delve into topics such as immigration, racism, prejudice, and the idea of “reasonable doubt”.  Although you never see the accused man, or any characters other than the jurors and a security guard, through the discussion you feel as if you have an clear picture of the entire trial. 

a picture of the performance happening on stage. The 12 characters are sitting in chairs around a large table - on character is standing up addressing the group.

The actors themselves portrayed their characters skillfully, shedding tears at some points and genuine smiles at others. Although the play itself was only an hour, when it was over I felt as if I had known these characters all my life. 

the actors in the play lined up for the final curtain call

When the play was over we waited in the lobby to see our friend, then walked home discussing everything we had just seen.  The best part of seeing a play, movie, or any theatre production, is the ability it has to take you away.  For a given amount of time it transports you into another storyline where the problems of your world don’t seem to matter anymore. 

So I’ve ticked something off my campus bucket list, and managed to find a new favourite past-time in the process.  I would love to hear your experiences with campus productions, including any plays that I have to see. Leave them in the comments below, or send them to me on twitter at @Rachael_UofT. 

If you’ve never seen a play on campus, I would highly recommend it! With numerous on-campus productions happening every year, there’s sure to be a play that interests everyone, and a ticket price to match your budget.  

A Beginners Guide to (almost, kind of) Surviving Statistics

Throughout all the trials and tribulations of university, whether it be cramming for 5 midterms in one week, or starting a 3000 word essay the night before, there is only one thing that actually, genuinely terrifies me:

Statistics. 

picture of Api with a face palm

Stats = eternal face palm :(

Unfortunately, the introductory statistics courses are required for my major. Of all my courses, it’s the one lecture that I don’t find interesting and engaging. To me, it’s like statistics has become the lone MySpace page in a sea of artfully crafted Facebook profiles.

I’m not sure why, but I’ve always found understanding statistics difficult. Maybe it all the “analysis” or whatever that’s involved, but my brain does not work that way. In the summer, I managed to get through the first introductory statistics course here at U of T (STA220, PSY201 or their equivalents) but I had a very specific system that made getting through the course a little bit easier.

I thought I would be done with statistics, but my best friend the Course Calendar kindly informed me that I still needed another half credit.

Api looking disconcerted

Statistics. Honestly.

There I was, once again terrified of numbers, so I knew it was time to refer back to my statistics game plan. I’ve also met many classmates who share the same anxious feelings towards to statistics, so hopefully this helps not just me, but everyone who’s tackling the course this semester (and in semesters to come)!

API’S POSSIBLY FOOLPROOF STATS GAME PLAN

1. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE

I remember on the first day of my first statistics my professor telling the class that we had to constantly do practice questions to keep up, and I’m not going to lie: I scoffed. DO THEY UNDERESTIMATE MY ABILITY TO SUCCESSFULLY CRAM INFORMATION INTO MY HEAD THE NIGHT BEFORE? No. No they did not. It took me a full three-day library session at Robart’s to actually catch up with the small amount of material I nonchalantly didn’t do.

2. There’s a Statistics Aid Center!!! 

It didn’t know about the Statistics Aid Centre until after I took statistics, dropped the course and then finally buckled down and took it the second time. They have people on hand to help you and it’s an amazing resource to make use of!

3. Finding statistics software 

My stats course included assignments and homework that were done on statistical software, and I found out that Robart’s Library has computers with statistical software installed on them! There’s also a computer lab at Sidney Smith with computers as well! I designated a weekly time to use the computer labs, so not only was I saving money on purchasing the software, I was also making myself have at least a few hours of stats practice each week.

Api giving a thumbs up

GOD SPEED, MY FRIENDS

So there you have it folks. That was my statistics game plan, and I’m hoping it’s going to work again this semester. Good luck everyone!

If you have any other tips, let me know down in the comments or on Twitter at @Api_UofT!

Winter Life Hacks (UofT Style) 

I would have loved to start this post with the over-used yet always relevant Game of Thrones reference “winter is coming”. Unfortunately however, winter is already here – it’s icing up the sidewalks, freezing the streetcar tracks, and hurting your face when you walk. 

Cartoon of a frowning boy with the words "The air hurts my face. Why am I living where the air hurts my face"

Luckily however, I’ve discovered a few hacks that can help you survive this winter a little warmer and hopefully a lot happier. So check out these U of T Winter Life Hacks: 

1. Know which buildings connect 

Connecting buildings are officially your new best friend! Did you know that the Koffler Student Centre connects to Bahen? That there’s a tunnel from Old Vic to Northrop Frye? Or that there’s an underground entrance to OISE directly from the St. George subway station? Doing anything and everything you can to stay inside is the easiest, and warmest, way to beat winter. 

2. Bring an Extra Glove for your Phone 

The other day I took my phone out to complain/casually discuss the winter weather, only to see this message. 

Screenshot of an iphone screen that reads "iphone needs to cool down before you can use it"

Clearly my phone had not overheated, but was instead frozen from being in my jacket pocket! Bring an extra glove or mitt (great to use one that has lost it’s partner) to keep your phone from freezing up in your pocket. 

3. Winter-proof your Bike Tires with Zip-ties 

Image Via: http://www.bikeforums.net/winter-cycling/703674-zip-tie-snow-tires-cheapest-way-blizzard-proof-your-bike.html

Image Via: http://www.bikeforums.net/winter-cycling/703674-zip-tie-snow-tires-cheapest-way-blizzard-proof-your-bike.htm

I’m not going to lie, this isn’t exactly a life hack of my own discovery – but that doesn’t mean it’s not brilliant! For all of the winter commuters who rely on their bike to get to campus; don’t invest in new tires – do your own winter-proofing! Attaching zip-ties at equal intervals around your tires gives them more traction, and are easy to remove come the spring. 

4. Layer Up

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Okay so this isn’t really a life hack, but more recycled advice from your mom… But layering really does work! There’s nothing worse than wearing your favourite wool sweater only to find out that Sid Smith is a million degrees that day. Layering up keeps you warm on the walk to class, and cool in lecture. 

5. Buy Hot Water, Bring Your Own Tea Bag 

This is for all you economic life-hackers out there! All the Starbucks on campus, as well as most campus-run cafes, will charge you under $2 for a large hot water that you can easily add your own tea bag to. (If you bring your own reusable cup – some will even give it to you for free!) This way you can always have a warm drink for class, without dropping $10 a day! 

So there you go U of T! Hopefully these tips and tricks can help you get through this winter a little happier and a whole lot warmer. If you have any other suggestions – send them to me on twitter at @Rachael_UofT 

One Long To-Do: The Importance of Finding the Right Balance

Hello dear blog readers! Welcome back to school for our winter semester. For me, I am incredibly excited to get things going.

Yet this week was probably not what I had in mind. Alongside my course readings, I have twelve hours of work, three deferred essays (yes, I am still living with the consequences of having mono last semester), preliminary plans for a leadership series, too many meetings, getting a undergraduate journal printed in the next couple days, and of course, planning a history conference on Saturday. If you are wondering, “Haley, how do you do it?” trust me, I ask myself the exact same thing every day.

In all honesty, I find that when I am busy, I am more productive. Maybe it is my experience of balancing work, school, and extra-curricular activities since I was twelve (yes, that was legal in Alberta), or maybe it is just my personality. Either way, I hate being bored.

Of course, this productivity can only last for so long. I found that in my first and second years, I would just add more responsibilities until my mental health was in shambles. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have insomnia, but I wanted to share a couple things with you that keep me going.

First is my new apartment. I recently moved out of residence, mainly because I needed a space that was separate from all my university involvement. It was kind of taxing all the time to be just be “two minutes away” from everything, which induced a perpetual “go, go, go” mentality. So, to actually have my own place that is away from “it all” has been invaluable to my sense of wellbeing.

My lovely coffee machine.

This is my dinner. #coffeeaddict.

 

A table with all my books, computer, and notebook...right next to the microwave.

My kitchen table turned desk!

Now, I am not necessarily advising that you drop everything and move to a new place! I find that simply designating spaces for certain tasks (room is for sleeping, library is for studying, the JCR is for socializing) can really help you feel more aware about how you interact with and use your physical surroundings. Also, designating your bed solely for sleeping can help with insomnia. (http://www.webmd.com/women/guide/insomnia-tips)

Selfie at the Library.

Graham Library Lifestyle .

Second is my calendar. I need to schedule not because I forget my plans otherwise, but so I avoid stressing over “what’s next.”

Also, like every fun person, I love colours. By establishing certain colours for certain tasks (teal for student government, purple for work, red for class, light blue for events) my calendar helps me to balance out everything.

My calendar with all my events neatly coloured.

So many colours, so many things to do!

So in short, finding a method that allowed me to focus solely on what I need to do has been a great source of relief. Although it took me basically until my third year to figure out my optimal workload, it is quite reassuring now to know I can do it, even at the busiest of times. Why? Well, because I know that this week is not exemplar of what is to come. By Sunday, I will be done most of work and will be able to recharge for the week ahead.

What do you do keep track of everything?

New Year, New Me (Hopefully)

Welcome Back U of T!  The turkey has all been eaten, the sidewalks are icy, and the bookstore is busy again. It’s the beginning of a new semester which means it’s a fresh start – a clean slate to leave the procrastination and bad habits of first semester behind! 

A collection of images from the first semester. Photos vary from images of restaurant dinners to social occasions.

While first semester was very fun, you’ll notice there’s no pictures of studying…

It’s funny how, as students, we get the chance to make “New Years Resolutions” twice a year – once in September, and once again in January. We’re driven by the belief that a new semester will actually change something – that it will actually be different. 

When in reality, it rarely is. 

Image of man drinking beer looking directly at the camera with a meme overlay reading "New seamster starts Monday... great, nothing to do until Exams

I’m really really REALLY trying to not let this be my mindset this semester

This year however, I’m determined to break the trend. I’m saying goodbye to Wednesday night movie marathons and Canton Chilli VISA debt, and hello to setting morning alarms and using an agenda. 

Here’s how I’m planning to do it; 

1. Using an Agenda

Picture of a student agenda with colour-coded events and lists

I was an avid agenda user in high school and first year, so I don’t know why I dropped this habit. For me, writing everything out makes me retain it more and makes it seem more urgent than typing it into an app. 

Tip: I still love my to-do apps though! Wunderlist is my favourite for school, grocery lists, blog post ideas, and everything in between. 

2. Getting A Job

When I say first semester took everything out of me, my bank account is included. I’m hoping that by getting a job in January, and easing into the hours, I’ll have some time to adjust and potentially something I can keep through the summer!

Tip: If you’re also looking for a job, check out the Summer Job fair on Tuesday in Varsity Dome from 11am-3pm

3. Making a Routine 

Photos of pre-set alarms starting at 7am and ending at 10:30am

Don’t let this be you

My schedule is pretty inconsistent: some days I have to be up at 7:30, while others I can sleep in until noon. This semester I’m determined to make a routine of getting up and going to bed at the same time every day. Obviously exceptions will be made, but a regular sleep schedule dramatically increases the quality of your rest!

Tip: If your problem is getting out of bed in the morning – try this app which makes you get out of bed to turn it off! 

4. Attending More Events

Being a Community Crew member, and just a student at U of T, I see about a hundred cool event listings every day. Rarely however do I actually make the time to attend one of these events! Using the agenda tip above, and some wrought iron determination, I am making it my goal to do one new thing a week! 

Tip: If this sounds like something you’re interested in, join in on social media and use the hashtag #TryitUofT when you do something new on campus! 

Photo of a live band performing

I’ve already started to work on this resolution by attending most of the Winterfest events last week!

So this is what I’m going to try to keep up this semester! I’m already one week in and feeling pretty good about it – but I would love if you could all help keep me on track by tweeting me @Rachael_UofT. Share your “New Semester Resolutions” with me and maybe we can help each other achieve our goals! 

For now U of T enjoy the beginning of a new semester, and stay warm! 

To Credit or Not to Credit?

As I write this post I have officially finished 4 out of my 5 exams! (Promptly after I have submitted it I plan on passing out for a nap and then spending the rest of my day watching Christmas movies) However today I also wrote my first exam for a credit-no-credit course. 

At the University of Toronto, Arts & Science students have a unique opportunity to use the credit-no-credit option on up to 2 full credits in their undergrad. This option allows you to take a course in your undergrad without having the final mark appear on, or effect, your transcript. It can’t be used for any courses that are a program requirement, however you can use it to fulfill your breadth requirements! There are a lot of other conditions to take into consideration before you CR/NCR a course, so make sure to visit this page, or talk to your registrar first. 

a computer, notebook, and cup of coffee all placed on a fluffy white duvet in a studying setting

See, maybe if I could make studying as cute as Amie, I wouldn’t have these problems!

Now unfortunately, it’s too late to CR/NCR a course at this point in the semester (at least for 1/2 year courses) – but I wanted to share my experience CR/NCR-ing a course, in case it could help you make a decision next semester! 

This year I decided to take an “elective” of sorts – basically a course that wasn’t in my department but that seemed really interesting to me. Come the first test I was loving the course! I felt that I really understood the content and it was actually interesting to me. So I was not very impressed with myself when I got back my first test with a very discouraging mark. 

I was loving the course, but I knew that a mark like this one would bring my GPA way down. (Especially since the test was worth 30% of my final mark!)  

IMG_1008

All this studying, and nothing seemed to be paying off

I had heard of people credit-no-credit-ing a course, but I didn’t know exactly what it entailed, or if it was really a viable option for me. So I did some research, and on the day before the deadline, I chose to CR/NCR on ROSI. 

The next week in class, I immediately noticed a difference. I wasn’t spending every minute trying to write down everything the professor was saying and I didn’t feel the need to scour through my readings for all exam-worthy information. I was actually enjoying the course content.

Who would have known, but as soon as the pressure of getting a good grade in the course was gone, I actually started to do better. My mark on my next assignment improved and walking out of my exam today I couldn’t help but smile thinking I had done pretty well. 

Life was so much easier when it was just me, my bib, and a cat

Life was so much easier when it was just me, my bib, and a cat

I know that a lot of people utilize the credit-no-credit program for courses they’re worried they might not pass, but for me it was just a great opportunity to take a subject I was interested in without all the pressure of marks. 

It encouraged me to branch out into more subjects that aren’t in my program and re-ignited my love of learning. It’s even made me look into options such as auditing a course, which Life@UofT blogger Elena wrote about in the summer.

So this was my first experience credit-no-crediting a course, and I really couldn’t be happier with the results. But how about you U of T? Have you ever CR/NCR a course? Do you prefer to save these for emergency cases, or utilize them for new learning experiences? Let me know in the comments below or on twitter at @Rachael_UofT

Another Year Wiser

December has finally arrived! I always love this time of year. December is a special time when we welcome winter into our lives and focus on getting away from the cold crazy world out there and curl up inside where it’s warm. Winter is also a time of reflection.

Looking out from a dark tunnel in a St. Michaels residence into an open courtyard with a large fountain

Almost through the passage, into bright newness (Photo by Zachary Biech)

This post is my last of 2014! Can you believe it? This semester has flown by so fast! I’ve learned so many new things, met many new people and had many new experiences.  I can honestly say this has been one of the most exciting half-years in my life.

The tangled wilderness and fallen leaves strewn around a secret garden behind the Victoria College library

I’ve done so much exploring, and yet I finally just stumbled into this park at Victoria College (Photo by Zachary Biech)

So much has changed and I have changed as well. I’m still the same old Zach but university life changes everything. I finally embraced that change and even caused some of it on my own.

A notebook page with "thanks" written in Anishnaabemowin, Russian, and English

These are all thank-you’s to my friends and family for their birthday wishes, in the three languages I use these days (I recently turned twenty, just to add more change into the mix!) On my birthday, I wrote a syllabics test for Anishnaabemowin, studied Russian, and submitted an essay which had Russian Politics AND Indigenous studies… (Photo by Zachary Biech)

To cap off the year, I’ll share some key points of my success this semester.

Key #1: Balance.

Balance balance balance! In my first blog, I shared my journey towards balance and how that journey has shaped my university experience. In short, all you need to do is recognize the four areas of your life, (body, emotion, mind, spirit) and give them each equal attention. Trust me, it works.

Key #2: Do what you love.

You are the only person who knows best what you are interested in and how you want to live and work. Celebrate those interests; they are what make you so special! It’s tremendously hard work to be a university student between classes and everything outside of class so it’s important to choose things you are comfortable pouring your heart and soul into (I think you’ll find the hard work feels much easier this way!)

Key #3: Change is as good as rest.

It’s amazing how big an impact you can have on yourself by changing things up. Try getting away from campus for a while, explore new areas and even rearrange some furniture if you have to. Change it up, it really helps!

Key #4: Get involved.

There are so many different groups you can engage with at U of T and in downtown Toronto, there’s bound to be something you’d love. So try going to a couple of meetings and choose groups that you feel you can connect with. The networks and projects you can build are limitless and the skills and energy you develop in those groups is invaluable.

Looking out into a large gymnasium, with many tables of Indigenous artworks and handmade crafts

As promised, here’s a view of the NCCT craft sale I volunteered at! (Photo by Zachary Biech)

A table with huge baskets of colourful candies and crafts, which were the prizes for the raffle

Here’s the raffle table from the NCCT craft sale, where I was stationed (Photo by Zachary Biech)

For instance, being a part of the Student Life Blog has been hugely helpful in my life. I get a lot more writing and editing practice which helps me with essays and assignments.  I get to expand and share my experiences, all while connecting with my Blogger peers, who are all amazing friends I am thankful to have!

Looking south over all of the awesome buildings of campus, towards all the huge towers down by Toronto's waterfront (including the CN Tower)

An awesome view of campus from the OISE Nexus Lounge, during the Indigenous Winter Social (Photo by Zachary Biech)

Keep these 4 keys in mind in your life at university and your path will become much clearer.

That’s all from me for now! Wait for my next blog in 2015!

Accommodations for Exchange Students

Depending on how familiar you are with your host country and its language(s), finding accommodations abroad might seem like a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be. The University of Tokyo, for instance, offers three categories of housing to its international students: university-funded dorms, private (for-profit) dorms, and private apartments. All of these categories can be explored in both Japanese and English. I applied for housing while I was still in Canada. Hence, I didn’t have the luxury of being able to explore each option in person. I entered a university-funded dorm mainly because they received a significant amount of positive reviews online. The other options weren’t reviewed as extensively.

This image shows trees featuring yellow leaves lining a walkway. More trees can be seen in the background. It is an image of one of the university of Tokyo's dormitories.

The entrance to my dormitory.

Dorm life at the University of Tokyo is dramatically different from that of the University of Toronto. Unlike many of U of T’s collegiate residences, rooms here feature individual kitchenettes and washrooms. There is no dining hall. This sort of self-sufficiency makes the rooms feel more like miniature apartments (13m2)— by Japanese real estate standards, they are apartments.

This image shows my room at the University of Tokyo's dorm. There is a desk and desk chair in the left side of the image. A laptop and plant can be seen on the desk. A window can be seen beyond the desk. There is a bed in the right side of the image. The walls are white.

My room.

This image shows a kitchenette featuring a burner, a sink, and a pantry.

My dorm is significantly less social than what I am accustomed to at Trinity College. The absence of communal spaces, like dining halls and washrooms, makes interaction with other students unnecessary. There are no parties either. Student interaction is rare. But it’s not as bad as it might sound. In a way it enriches my exchange experience, as a social person, by encouraging exploration. Social students have to travel outside the confines of the dorm, in order to find places where they can hang out. My time in Tokyo is limited; I would like to see as much as I can.

This image shows Tokyo's Roppongi neighbourhood at night from an aerial view. Neon-lit skyscrapers fill the image. A river intersected the clusters of buildings.

There is a lot to see. [source]

There is another way in which the University of Tokyo’s undergraduate dorms differ from those of U of T: they are all off-campus. At the University of Toronto, I was used to waking up an hour before class, and making it to lecture with plenty of time. Living here has made me appreciate the convenience of living on campus. But, on the bright side, living away from campus allows me to see two different parts of the city every day, the areas surrounding campus and my dorm, both of which are exciting neighbourhoods. Moreover, my train pass allows me to get on and off at any of the stops on the route to and from campus, which is great for checking out new locations. Thus, similar to its relatively anti-social attitude, the dorm’s distance from campus encourages me to explore different areas of Tokyo.

Students interested in studying abroad at the University of Tokyo can check out its dormitory offerings here.

If you have any questions about dorms at the University of Tokyo, please comment below! I’ll conclude with a brief preview of what I’ll be writing about in the coming weeks. My Winter Break starts on December 24, at which time I’ll be taking a trip to a few cities in West Japan: Kyoto, Kobe, and, my second home, Hiroshima. I look forward to sharing my travel experiences here. In the meantime, good luck on finals! 期末試験頑張ろう!

Exam Survival Guide!

It’s that time of the year again! Your favourite library starts to get a lot busier, your notice everyone you pass has bags under their eyes, and the line at your favourite coffee shop on campus is suddenly three times longer than normal. Welcome to Exam Season!

Whether you’re an Art-Sci in full-year courses writing mid-terms, or an Engineer trying to comprehend how you’ll be able to finish all these final assignments, exams are stressful for everyone.  While I don’t have any secret tips to help you guarantee a hundred in all your courses, I do have some vital tools to making surviving exams a little bit easier!

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 1.17.05 PM

1. Trail Mix – nothing is worse than mid-studying munchies. Don’t let your blood sugar drop, and keep this protein-packed snack in your bag! Eating something like trail mix can also help your concentration and focus by occupying your tactile senses.

2. Noisli App. – sometimes you just need to listen to something while studying – but Beyonce can be a bit too distracting. Try noisli.com, it lets you create the perfect custom ambient noise, or offers pre-made mixes for relaxation and productivity.

3. Backup Pens & Highlighters – this is a basic. Don’t let the convenient excuse of having a highlighter run-out justify your 3 hour study break. Pack some backups.

4. T-Card – you’ll need this to get into the stacks at Robarts, or to stay in a library after hours. It also has the double bonus of being able to be loaded up with flex dollars for those emergency Starbucks runs.

5. Earphones – this goes along with the ambient noise player. Earphones are the perfect way to shut out the world around you, or let you enjoy a study break by watching some youtube videos.

6. Water Bottle – hydration is key! All that extra caffeine and the dry library air can really dehydrate you and your skin. Drinking water keeps you stay hydrated, and more alert and awake.

7. Flashcard App. – this app is a gift to University students everywhere! You can create your flashcards online, then transfer them onto your smartphone and take them with you everywhere you go! It’s convenient and environmentally friendly!

8. Extra Chargers – finally, don’t forget your device chargers – after all, thats what all the outlets built into the tables are for!

Well U of T, did I miss anything? What are YOUR go-to exam essentials? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @Rachael_UofT – and happy studying! 

Don’t worry, be app-y

I often find that I have the need to be on the grid to be able to keep up with the fast paced student lifestyle. Getting a smartphone was a complete game-changer because it allowed me to be productive while on the go. Over the last few years, I’ve grown attached to a few applications, which make my life as a student SO. MUCH. EASIER.

Some of these do use Internet, so they might not be as accessible for an authentic “on-the-go” experience. But they’ve still been really useful to have because I can complete some of the tasks I need to do, without actually having to physically be at a computer!

So without further ado, here are some of my favourite student-friendly smartphone apps:

1) TTC Bus Map (And other related TTC Apps)

Screenshot of phone screen showing map with red indicator of 510 Spadina streetcar

For commuters who take buses or streetcars on the TTC, this app is a godsend. It has a real time map of where all the buses or streetcars on any given route are located. This app specifically is for iOS devices, but there are dozen of other TTC apps with similar functions that are available for both Android and iOS.

2) Adobe Reader

Phone screenshot of Adobe Reader App "add note" function. Note reads "I can add notes!"I love this app for those days when I forget to print out my lecture slides and I’m too lazy to bring my computer to school. If you go to your phone browser and open .pdf files with the app, then you can highlight, add text, underline, draw and even add notes to the file!

3) Google Drive

Phone screenshot of Google Drive App "add to my drive" page.

I only recently found out about the Google Drive app but it’s been so helpful, especially for some of the student groups I’ve been involved in! It’s great to be able to pull up files while on the go, and if you download the corresponding Google Docs/Sheets apps, then you can even edit files!

4) Any Calendar App

Phone screenshot of iOS calendar app. Reminder reading "Library time"

My calendar app of choice is the default one that’s on my phone and it is my number one organizational tool. My entire schedule is at my fingertips so I’m constantly aware of deadlines. I once thought it was a Wednesday (it was Thursday) and I didn’t finish my Thursday blog post, so yeah, calendars are my best friend.

5) Urbanspoon

Phone screenshot of Urbanspoon App homepage. It shows options for search, reserve table and hottest in Toronto.

You had to have known this was coming. I love food, and having Urbanspoon lets me look for different varieties of food at different price ranges in whatever area of the city I happen to be in. GOD BLESS.

Maybe one day, humanity is doomed because technology will turn on us and the robot uprising will wipe us out completely. But until that day, I will still trust my smartphone to be a fairly reliable companion in my life.  So remember all: be app-y.