Why I love U of T

With Valentine’s Day on our collective consciousness I thought that now would be an ideal time to share with all of you the things I love about the institution I have dedicated the past five years of my life to. While the University of Toronto receives a lot of negativity from students for a plethora of reasons I won’t get into here, I am ultimately happy I chose to pursue my undergraduate education at the U of T and with the onset of graduation in a few short months I know that I wouldn’t have wanted to attain my degree anywhere else! Here’s why:

The history

Did you know that the University of Toronto (which was founded in 1827 as King’s College) is older than Canada? I bet you also didn’t know that University College and Victoria University’s Annesley Hall are considered National Historic Sites by the Canadian government! Throughout the university’s long lifespan, many prominent Canadians have called it home, a short list including: William Lyon Mackenzie King, Lester B. Pearson, Adrienne Clarkson, Malcolm Gladwell, Naomi Klein, Margaret Atwood, Donald Sutherland, Harold Innis, Northrop Frye, Marshall McLuhan, C. B. Macpherson, etc. et. al. You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate university’s long legacy as one of Canada’s premier academic institutions!

The campus

The University of Toronto is an oasis of learning and self-discovery amid the hustle and bustle of Canada’s most prominent urban environment. The campus itself is beautiful, an appropriate mixture of centuries-old buildings and urban planning mixed with modern innovations and cutting edge architectural design. It is easy to forget the sheer beauty that defines the U of T campus as you simply keep your head down in a rush to class in the mid-February cold. Due to its location in Toronto’s downtown, the university offers its students exposure to unique social, economic, and cultural experiences that can only be found in highly developed metropolitan centers.While I can only speak to my experiences with the St. George campus, I hear that the Mississauga and Scarborough locations are nice as well for reasons unique to them!

The Faculty

While not everyone will agree with this assessment, I can honestly say that I have generally had a positive experience with most of my Professors and instructors during my 5 years as an undergraduate student. Faculty are, on the whole, passionate about what they teach and are excited to share their knowledge with you. Some of the most prominent intellectuals and academics today can be found on the Faculty lists of U of T’s various departments and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to study under them.

The students

Perhaps the most important category on this list, the University of Toronto student body is all at once intelligent, sophisticated, socially engaged, and welcoming. While I can only speak to my own experience, some of the most intelligent people I have ever met and some of the best friends I ever hope to meet are University of Toronto students. Canada’s future leaders, intellectuals, and innovators can be found sitting next to you in any given lecture and I am often awestruck at the caliber of student found at the U of T.

The libraries

An appreciation of the wide variety of libraries and the vast collection of academic materials within them is something we as students tend to neglect when thinking about our time at the U of T. Very rarely have I sought to take out a book from one of campuses libraries and found it unlisted. The University of Toronto Libraries is the fourth-largest academic library system in North America — we should not take it for granted.

The prestige 

Call me pretentious, but I enjoy my association with one of North America’s (if not the world’s) premiere institutions of higher learning. There’s a reason students from all around the globe flock to the U of T for study.

Let me know why you love U of T in the comments!

Love At U of T

Lately, with everything going on in my life, I’ve been thinking a lot about love and how it is the only reason why we’re here at all. I don’t mean just romantic love; I mean all kinds of love (familial, platonic, eros, self etc). I’m talking about the genuine care to preserve and take care of our existence. We all want to love and we all want to be loved. Mumford and Sons put it best with: in these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die, where you invest your love, you invest your life. How we show others we love them, how we actualize our feelings into the concrete and how we make others feel transcends our immediate existence—it transcends even the moment itself. You touch another person’s soul in a way that remains as an imprint on humanity. You play a role in facilitating the recognition and self-realization of an Other—which is Hegel-speak for we need an other person through which we can further our own development. Soo romantic. I didn’t really know or understand what love was until I read section 158 of Hegel’s Outline of Philosophy of Right in POL320. Hegel was my first love. To count for something in the other and having an other count for something in me is just all kinds of wicked. I’m starting to think that political theory is my sexuality. It’s not normal how much conversations about the good life excite me. And I am attracted to minds more than I am to people. And U of T is littered with a lot of brilliant minds. So the mindblowing conversations I have had make up for my lack of a “love life.”

For the first three years of my undergrad, I refused to let myself be loved because I understood love as defeat or surrender. I hate how vulnerable you have to be and I could not allow someone to make me feel more powerless. All of first year, I felt so gross; my self esteem was blah and I refused to believe that someone out there would want to love me. I spent all of second year getting out of that darkness because I knew that it would not be healthy to start a relationship with so much internal chaos. And then spent all of third year as a coward, afraid of rejection who felt even more unworthy of love. There were nice guys here and there but I blocked out a lot of love because I just wasn’t ready and hated being weak. Throughout my time at U of T, most crushes used me for lecture notes or to edit their papers etc., then there were those who just never had the guts to be honest with me, there was one who ended up liking a friend, and there was one who had no idea I existed. But those were all little crushes I didn’t really care about.

But then life happened, and I realized I really need to be more open and brave. So I tried out the whole dating thing in January and it was, well, whatever. Some dates were great and some were disastrous. I learned that it is a very alienating feeling to be stared at like you’re an alien – every time I tried to explain my situation or talk about Hegel, I was met with blank stares. I once quoted Nietzsche on a date…..never again…so awkward. I don’t think there is someone for me at this time and maybe in this location. So I am going to put off my quest for now. I think right now I’m at stage one and have realized that a life completely independent would be incomplete and defective – which is a huge step considering I used to be very dismissive on all matters of love. My understanding of love has definitely flourished while at U of T but I’m still a cynic. However, I assure you there is progress!

Every time I come THIS close to losing someone I love forever I ask myself, “this time, did you show him or her how much you care? Was it enough that if they were to leave the world or your life in the next few seconds, you would be content with the way you showed them how special they are?”  No, I don’t think I have shown the people in my life how much I love them—especially in terms of romantic love. At least I didn’t before, I am trying to now.

My goal for my last semester at U of T is not to find Mr. Right and read Hegel with him all day errday. My goal is to try to be honest with myself and with others and try to care for the existence of others as well as my own. I can love and be loved without a romantic interest in my life. I’m also going to give up on dating; it’s too robotic. Some things are meant to be not orchestrated by humans. However, if I do find myself crushing I am going to make the first move! Honestly, I’ve experienced much heavier things than rejection. I think I can handle a boy turning me down. ON TO THE NEXT. Clarity is a beautiful thing.

I just have to show people how much I care about them NOW because we can’t control when people leave our life. Sometimes they move to another country, sometimes they leave this world, sometimes they let you go, sometimes they just disappear.  People come and leave; you can’t make homes out of human beings. All we can do is to show them what they mean to us in all of the moments between point A and B. Whenever you are in presence of someone you admire, treat them in a way that is in harmony with all that you feel in the Here and Now. Leave it all on the table. Be authentic. Or bear the risk of point B screwing you over and condemning you to living life in the space of What Ifs. A growing dissonance between how you feel on the inside and how you choose to represent yourself in the space of appearances can really inflict damage to your sense of self. Note to self: DONT BE SO CRYPTIC.

I think that maintaining a relationship at U of T is totally possible. I just can’t give you any advice on how to do so because well I suck at this whole dating and relationship thing. So I asked my friends from social media land for help and here’s what they had to say:

http://storify.com/sarahuoft/love-at-uoft

And many people have found LEGIT love at UofT! So there is hope !!! Have you found love at U of T? What are your thoughts on maintaining a relationship and dating in university?

-Sarah

oh, and Happy Valentines Day!!! Go be brave and tell someone you love them!

Watch out for flying arrows…it’s Valentine’s Day Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is Valentine’s day and I have to ask, what do you do if cupid’s arrow misses your hind quarters and you are left alone and jaded on this most commercial of holidays. Well why not call on U of T’s very own Valentine’s Day Experts!! Yes, that’s right we have experts in this too!

Let me explain…I happened across an interesting page on the U of T site. It lists the university’s foremost experts on all things Valentine’s. I found the page under breaking news…this is funny, right? I’m still not sure if this is a joke or if there are actually students out there frantically scrolling the U of T homepage for scholarly help for their Valentine’s Day woes.

Let me display what this might look like:

For instance, if you are just plain confused about what romantic love is or how to express said love then contact Keith Oatley, he’s an expert on romantic  love and emotions in the Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology.

Perhaps you’ve given up on the whole idea of romantic love in the real world and instead have decided to immerse yourself in fictional romance literature. If so you might want to contact Angela Miles who is an expert in popular romance literature ie. Harlequin Romances…yes, we have an expert on Harlequin Romance!

Maybe you haven’t completely given up on love and would like to woo a potential soul mate with a love poem. Do you possess the skill to write a verse that would steal a heart? If your poetry skills do not exceed the traditional template of “roses are red, violets are blue”, then you should contact Ian Lancashire in the Department of English. His specialty is English Poetry and Valentine’s Poems!

What if you already have a Valentine’s Date…perhaps a quiet dinner and some music. Yet, you are panicked…what is the proper musical score for such an occasion. Worry not, we have an expert for that too! Just call on Lee Bartel at the faculty of Music. His speciality is choosing romantic music and the response of the body and brain to music.

What if you’ve talked to Keith and now have a firm grasp of the concept of romantic love. You’ve also talked to Ian and have composed a Lyrical and lasting valentine’s poem that wins the heart of your beloved. You’ve made the date, you’ve even talked to Lee and chosen music that will have the desired physical and mental effect of your date. What if you’ve done all this and your date stands you up and it was all for naught?

Might I suggest that you start eating the giant box of chocolates you purchased for your date. If you’d like to understand the nature of your chocolate craving and how it fills the now gaping void in your heart? Then you should talk to Janet Polivy of the department of Psychology – she’s an expert on chocolate cravings.

Okay, so obviously I’m poking fun at this “breaking news” love list, but I would love to have someone explain to me why this list exists and what purpose it serves…other than comical fodder for my post.

I’d like to think of this list a resource for all the love scorned and lonely students who are searching for academic advice on how to find love, because when my heart is breaking the first thing I usually think is “when are office hours…I need some love advice”.

Happy Valentines and I hope cupid’s arrow finds you all!

-Lori

 

 

Valentine’s Day or not, try a skate date!

Trinity Rink

February 14th, the annual day of love, is almost here. This means that tons of my friends are talking about their upcoming Valentine’s Day plans. Most of them envision a romantic evening of candlelight dinners and sappy movies. I’m sure they’ll have a great time, but I’d rather do something a little more active and much less expensive: like a skate date!

Earlier this year, I went skating at Varsity Arena, and found it was a great way to get some exercise and meet new people. I went on my own, but met a bunch of other students who regularly go skating for a good work-out, some stress relief, a chance to catch up with friends, and most importantly, to have some fun.

Since then, I’ve gone skating a few times on some of Toronto’s outdoor public rinks, like Dufferin Rink, Harbourfront, Christie Pits, and Trinity Rink, which are all a quick TTC trip from campus. Check out the City of Toronto outdoor rinks map to see which of the city’s 51 rinks are in your area. The “Unofficial Website of Toronto’s Outdoor Skating Rinks” is also a good resource for information on skate times, rentals, facilities and special events.

one for shinny and one for pleasure skating!

Dufferin Rink has two sections: one for shinny and one for pleasure skating!

So far, the rink at Dufferin Park is my favorite. It has two sections of ice. One is always devoted to recreational skating, while the other has times set aside for shinny and other ice activities. Also, the changing hut has a wood stove and a snack bar which sells hot chocolate and fresh baked bread: great for a quick warm-up before getting back on the ice!

If all this talk about hot chocolate, skating and socializing sound like fun, there’s a great opportunity to do all three this Friday, February 12.  “Skate Date” is happening at Varsity Arena right after the Blues men’s hockey game. You and your friends (or boyfriend, girlfriend, classmate, partner, parent, or child) can forgo the expensive, cliche Valentines Day activities and watch a hockey game and then stay to skate, listen to music, sip hot chocolate and mingle until midnight.

Both the game and the skate afterward are free for U of T students (a lot less pricey than that candlelight dinner or night at the movies my friends had suggested). Maybe for some of you this is a perfect chance to go out on a limb and invite your crush…really, what’s more romantic than a little skate date, followed by hot chocolate? If you have skates, bring them. But, there will be some loaner skates available. This means, your crush has no excuse not to accept your romantic offer!! Oh, and a few of the Blues will be sticking around after the game to give some tips!!

Whether it’s at Varsity Arena tomorrow, or at one of Toronto’s public outdoor rinks, skating’s a fun way to make the most of the winter season. Readers, if you’re looking for a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, or just want to get active with friends, grab those skates and get to the rink! Regardless of your ability: beginner, pro, or “so-so”, I hope to see you Friday!

- Shannon

Love at U of T

In a little less than a week, the international day of love otherwise known as Valentine’s Day will be celebrated. Do you find yourself overwhelmed by midterms, assignments, essays and studying to even be bothered by this Hallmark holiday? I know I do – I personally have two assignments due on and around that day. So while I am hibernating in the library, snacking on candy hearts, I can’t help but notice that it can get a little lonely and isolating – and not only because of Valentine’s Day. U of T is a huge campus with so many students, yet sometimes it can be so difficult to meet someone or find any form of companionship.

That’s exactly what the creators of LoveUT developed their website for. LoveUT was developed to foster interaction and connect with other students.

University doesn’t have to be just about going to class and studying. It’s also a great place to meet and hang out with other students who have the same interests as you. -LoveUT

That’s absolutely right. Although the word ‘love’ is connected to their name, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use their website to spark any kind of romance. Love @ U of T was launched early this year and has already gained popularity. In November, they hosted a successful speed dating event with UFashion.

The great thing about LoveUT is that it is a service for students on campus, by students on campus. The website was designed and developed entirely by U of T students and all students signed up for the website are more likely bound to be the real deal since they only accept utoronto web-mail addresses.

This means your information is only visible to other students, whether they are on the St. George, UTSC, or UTM campus. Students are searchable by several details such as: program, campus, age, religion, orientation, physical appearance and can even upload a profile picture. Security is very important and you can choose which details and information you would like to display. In addition, several features such as messaging and favouriting profiles are included on the website. Lastly – it is completely free to use, so why not give it a shot? A lot is still in the works and if you are interested, development and advertising opportunities are available. The folks at LoveUT would ideally like to expand to other campuses and spread the love.

If you’re a shy guy and find anonymity to be more up your alley, then there is another site for you!  It’s like Craigslist’s Missed Connections meets online dating  - LikeALittle has spread like wildfire and is among several campuses in Canada and the States. It’s more of an online anonymous flirting message board of sorts where students can profess their love online. I would never take this too seriously, but it definitely is worth a look and a chuckle when boredom strikes. Plus, you never know who you may recognize from the descriptions. Check out their testimonials, where apparently people have found each other through this website. Can you imagine meeting through LikeALittle and having to answer the… “so how did you meet?” question?

I’m sure the answer would have to involve awkward glances and interesting explanations. We live in a day and age where it is becoming more and more common for people to meet each other online. With the online world creeping its way into the every day real world, the merge of the two only enhances our means of connection and interaction. However, it is important to note that security is always important. I strongly encourage you if you ever decide to meet someone in person that you have met online, to meet in a public place and always keep in mind that sometimes people aren’t always who they seem.

Anyhow, I am no Valentine’s Day expert.. but I did happen to find a great number of people who are. And they are right here on campus! That’s right, your very own professors from ranges of disciplines such as Psychology, French, Film and even Engineering have something to say about the annual celebration of love. Check out this link here for a full list and you can contact Media.relations@utoronto.ca for more information.

Other than that, if you find yourself without any solid Valentine’s Day plans – why not make some? There are several going on right here on campus. At a glance, here are a few upcoming events to celebrate the love.

SMCSU Presents: Bachelor/Bachelorette Auction and Valentine’s Pub Night. The auction is on Thursday at Brennan Hall and the pub night follows on Friday at the Brunny.

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My Only Hope: One day Someone will Realize my Mediocrity is Actually a Super Human Feat

UTormail: Inbox

Email # 339 of 340

Date :Tues, 10 Feb 2009 00:09:10 -0600 [010/02/09 01:09:10 EST]

From: Heather

To: Phil

Subject: AUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey Phil,

Ya, you’re right, I really haven’t gotten back to you in a while. This is for several reasons. They are as follows:

a.) My correspondence skills suck

b.) I know your girlfriend and you are planning a super special Valentines Day good time. Because I’m cranky, stressed, single, and moving a few days after said day, I shan’t be doing anything of the sort this year! I know if I reply to you, I’ll get all the sweet details on your love. You’re my buddie, and I luv ya, but frankly I can only deal with this sort of message if it comes with cinnamon hearts. As you have not figured out how to attach comforting candy with your e-mails, my response time has been sloppy

c.) It takes me ages to log into my utormail account. AGES. I often feel this is a sign from God to give up on e-mail and write my essays instead.

THAT’S IT!!!!! NO MORE ABC’S!!!! I’M THROUGH WITH TRY’N TO DO ‘ORDER’!! IT A’INT WORK’N!!!!

PHIL PHIL PHIL PHIL!
AUGHHHH!
ok…so….how do I explain? I’m feeling another anxiety attack coming on, but I know if I put things in perspective it aint so bad… that’s what people say…so I’ll try…maybe after I get it all out everything will look tiny!
The dealie as it is follows as such: I have two essays to do. They both must be brilliant, but frankly I just can’t find it in my soul to care enough about Tristram Shandy, Locke’s theory of how people think and communication to make this thing earth shattering.

THERE IS NO TIME to write it and be calm enough to make it decent because the only real day I have to write is Wed. and I need to still read over some of the book to pick out quotes and organize myself.

Wait wait wait….BUT SUBTRACT COMMUTING TIME!!!! AUCK! THERE IS NO HOPE FOR WED! NO HOPE FOR WED! MAY DAY! MAY DAY!

Thursday I work 9-5 and have class 6-9 Thursday is DEAD to me. I can accomplish nothing on that day. My panic goes up…I’m calculating all this…it’s unjust. It’s all unjust. Plus there are two hart house literary review submissions that no one knew about until TODAY! MUST READ MORE UNDERGRAD POETRY!

Friday I have two meetings, then more work, there’s a chance I can do things between them at school, but if I go home that night, I’ll probably have to make dinner or something because my mom is away this week.
Which reminds me, I have to clean the bathroom, hang up my ironing, dust and vacuum…
and did I mention I have writers block? I have to come up with ideas for writers for my section in the paper, and come up with possible Toike Oike ideas for Friday (actually….maybe I’ll just do nothing…I’ve pretty much done nothing all year. Am I even part of the Toike  any more? Probably not.)… and write for this blog dealie…and I have nothing. NOTHING.

Except for Crap.

Yay for another piece of writing I’m going to churn out and yet never be able to refer to on my resume or submit as a writing sample in the future because of the CRAPTACULARITY OF IT’S CONTENT!
Right…and that other essay…Project Ryan…Russians…Intelligence services…I have to get books! I need to do research! It has to be good…
And I need to find time to get cardboard boxes to put my stuff in when I move out, which is next week, meaning reading week will not (I repeat will NOT) be a time of rest.
I’m starting to feel dizzy and panicky.
Reading week will fly by and I will accomplish nothing worth noting.
I am average
I am bland
I create nothing that is original intelligent or insightful
It’s also really hot in this office and I’m wearing a sweater…I feel like having a higher body temperature helps make my feelings of panic more intense.
AUGFHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

-Heather

p.s-oh! oh! and I’m MAD because I could have had a chance to go on Vinyl from the Crypt tonight at CIUT, but I CAN’T because I have to work 6-9:30 tonight after working 9-5 today at the office.

WOE IS ME!

P.P.S- If there is a moral in any of this, I’m not sure what it is, except that the only cure for stress is having the time to do things. This leads into the almighty paradox: paying for school and completing tasks for school–both are full time jobs. The only comfort comes from me hoping that someday someone will realize that my mediocre job at both is actually a super human feat.

p.p.s- Don’t write me back quickly…it just makes me feel bad about having to write back to you again. But don’t not write back either. I don’t want to feel cut off from the social world

A Deliciously Lethal Combination: Chocolate and Everything Else

Alrighty Valentiners…

Here’s my next post – Short, but sweet :)

With the impending Valentine’s Day, authors and bloggers alike attempt to entice the public with stories ranging from how to get a date, how to keep your date, how to look good on your date, and so on and so on. The news publishes romantic love stories, magazines give ideas to not gain weight while satisfying your sweet tooth.

Generally, the majority of the articles fail to impress one category of individuals – the single, the dating, the dieters and more. So rather thank risk my neck, I’d like to share some interesting ways to enjoy your Valentine’s Day chocolate.

Valentine’s Day, along with Halloween, is the a good excuse to enjoy fantastic chocolate. Below are some ideas about what you can add to your chocolate. Some options are safe, others are daring, some have a cultural twist and others are just plain crazy. Give them a shot and tell me how they taste!

1. Chocolate and Fruit: A real fantastic combination – give chocolate covered strawberries, apples, even blueberries a try, and combine the healthy side of eating with a sinfully good treat. Even if you don’t have any fruit that has been properly dipped into melted chocolate and then cooled, you can grab an Aero Bar and an apple and take turns biting out of each…trust me, it works :)

2. Chocolate and Pop: Another inexpensive way to add some fizz and zing to your chocolately fling – drink something safe, like Sprite, or mix it up with a Dr. Pepper and eat chocolate at the same time – it’s always a cool combination.

3. Chocolate and Tea: its actually becoming a rather popular combination – try out earl grey, green tea, or if you are looking for something more subtle, you can try rose tea. Did you know there is actually something called Earl Grey Tea Truffles?

4. Chocolate and Chilli: rumour has it that in Mexico, the addition of chilli to chocolate provides the perfect kick off into a festive mood… it’s an old Aztec tradition, and it’s hot enough to get anyone’s knickers in a twist!

5. Chocolate and Wasabi: while this may be a foreign to the North American taste buds, in Japan, Wasabi (like horseradish) provides a balance to counteract the sweetness of chocolate…if you are daring, give it a try!

Amazing how, around the world, chocolate has been adjusted to incorporate a cultural twist. Have any ideas to spice up chocolate? Leave a comment :)

Happy Valentine’s Day, my dear Readers…make it a day to love yourself :D

Until next week!

Fariya