The Start of a Great Journey!

Picture of yours truly with my archaeological finding!

Oh, the excitement of our first discovery at the Drawsko site in Poland! Credit: Danielle Donnelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey there! My name is Meimei and I’m excited to join this AWESOME group of Life @ U of T bloggers for the upcoming school year. I am SUPER EXCITED to blog about our awesome university and events that take place on-campus! And of course share my experiences at U of T with you!  Yay! As this is my first blog post of the year, a brief introduction is in order! You can learn more about me and my fellow bloggers if you click on the Crew tab – go ahead, you won’t regret it!

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‘So Long, Winter!’ (or, ‘Later, Midterms!’)

“English summer eating up the atmosphere
Day-time bathers sleep in the shade
Clouds crawl over dampening our attitudes
People run for shelter from the pouring rain”

– ‘English Summer’, by The Moons

Well, we did it. Mild or not, our first winter here in Toronto has come to pass, and we’re in one piece! With one final flurry of tests, I’ve wrapped up midterm season, too. It’s a peculiar feeling – one on hand, having so many evaluations has made time pass by awfully slowly. On the flip side, it feels like freshman year has passed me by entirely too quickly.

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Students On The Hunt: Off-Campus Housing

“Beautiful 1 bedroom, perfect for a tidy, respectful young couple”  

This was the title of the Craigslist ad I responded to last April with high hopes.

Two weeks later I was out of $1300, apartment-less and feeling like the world’s biggest idiot. I had become a victim of the “I’m a [insert very respectful job that only a wonderful person does here] and I am out of the country with my family to work in Europe for the next five years and I need someone really great who will take over my second apartment” scam.

The thing with people who scam for a living is that like most people who are career crime-sters, they are really good at it. If you are unsuspecting (which I completely was) or even worse, a Toronto newbie who has never rented before (hey, I was both) your scammer comes off as a really nice person who is willing to phone you at 3am “England time” to explain to you in great detail about how to money transfer your first and last month of rent. Your scammer will do almost anything to make it easier for you to hand over your money but once that money has been removed from your bank account, your really nice doctor/engineer/teacher family-man landlord gives you literally nothing but radio silence. When I say nothing I am definitely implying that yes; you for sure are not getting that “Beautiful 1 bedroom, perfect for a tidy, respectful young couple”.

Que the tears and the calls to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

The best way to avoid being scammed is to be realistic about the rental places  you find on the internet. Websites like Craigslist, Kijiji, Apartmint, Padmapper, etc can be great resources for a student on the hunt BUT it’s so important to keep in mind the old adage: “if it’s seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Absolutely no one is going to rent out their 1000 square foot, fully furnished King West loft for seven hundred dollars a month. If you do decide to use these websites, here are some things to keep in mind: Continue reading

It’s Still Reading Week…Right?

With the passing of reading week, somewhat begrudgingly, this past Monday marked the restart of classes. While the break definitely provided a much-needed period of rest, trying to get back into a school mindset the past couple of days has been quite the challenge. When we were in high school, spring break was the closest equivalent, but the difficulty levels of the courses puts the re-adjustment period on a level of its own.

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Tackling My First Reading Week

Reading week is a great time to take a breather after a flurry of midterms in the weeks prior. I’ve heard from friends who joined one of the multiple organized trips to Montréal, and even those who flew back home for the week. For the laz — er, I mean, studious members of the community, staying around may have been the more appealing choice. At the end of the day, for whatever reasons may have come about, we’re still in downtown Toronto, so we might as well make the most of it…right?

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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!

Showroom: A Trip to the New Exhibition at the Newly Re-named U of T Art Museum

Ever since my trip to the University of Toronto Art Centre last semester, I’ve fallen in love with the space. I don’t find many things more relaxing than a trip to an art gallery, and having one on campus, and a beautifully curated one as well, has been wonderful.

a blue neon sign reading "skyline"

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My #TryItUofT Experience

Last week I wrote about some personal strides I’ve been hoping to make academically. Another thing I want to do this semester, though, is to become more involved in the U of T community. Seeing as how it is still #TryItUofT month, I thought now would be a perfect time to change things up.

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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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