Spring Reflections Part II: Seeking Caring Villages in Urban Settings

Written by: Yusur Al-Salman, Redefining Traditional Project Lead The proverbial phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” has been resonating with me recently whenever I encounter the challenging experiences of parents in higher education. The proverb’s origins trace…

Spring Reflections I – Healthcare Access for International Student-Parents

By Yusur Al-Salman, Redefining Traditional Project Lead Redefining Traditional aims to unsettle the meaning of traditional student experiences to including non-mainstream experiences postsecondary student experience, specifically that of student-caregivers and student-parents. Throughout our journey, the small insights and anecdotes that…

In conversation with Kyla Everall: Supporting Student Caregivers at University of Toronto’s Libraries

By Yusur Al-Salman, Redefining Traditional Project Lead Between the rising costs of childcare and the COVID-19 pandemic, entering parenthood as students seems more challenging than ever. And yet, there is growing effort to accommodate the practical needs of student-parents and…

Wrapping Up the Fall term of 2021 at Redefining Traditional

Through our blog posts and weekly Facebook posts, Redefining Traditional sought to amplify marginalized voices within both the student-parent communities and the parenting community at large. We aimed to expand the definition of Redefining Traditional parenting experiences beyond the academic…

Pathways to (Redefining Traditional) Parenthood

By Yusur Al-Salman, Redefining Traditional Project Member 

Hello everyone! My name is Yusur Al-Salman. I’m a graduate student at OISE, in the Adult Education and Community Development program. I’m the newest member joining Redefining Traditional Initiative, and I wanted to share how my journey led me to it. 

Yusur sitting in front of a colourful, textured backdrop, smiling to the camera.

Uncertainty has followed most of us diligently into this academic year. I only recently started remembering what it’s like to plan for the coming month, instead of the coming week. In addition to that, I don’t know what pre-pandemic Canada looks like. I landed in one of the evacuation flights in spring of 2020 and it [still] doesn’t make sense that I was seeing snow in April. But the slowness of life at that period allowed many feelings and plans to simmer, between half-thoughts and half-actions. And as life picked up pace now, I find myself carefully opening a tightly shut Pandora’s box. I now allow fears and more distant plans to come up once again, to be acknowledged and discussed. One such plan is motherhood.  

Finding Academic Success and Balance as a Postsecondary Student Parent

Written by J. Sparks – Redefining Traditional Team Member

“How do you do it?”  As a postsecondary student parent, other parents have asked me this question.  When you are a parent, the idea of taking on more responsibility by going back to school can feel discouraging.  “How can I do it?  Can I be academically successful and take care of my family?”  I had asked myself these questions and deliberated before enrolling in graduate studies as a student parent. 

Orange Shirt Day 2021 & National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Please note that this post speaks about residential schools and the meaning behind Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. At Redefining Traditional, we acknowledge that the land in which we work from at the The University of Toronto has been, for thousands of years, the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land. Learn more about which lands you may reside on at and their histories, visit: https://native-land.ca/   or https://www.whose.land/en/ 

Here in Canada, September 30th, we commemorate Orange Shirt Day, a day intended to raise awareness on the centuries long impact Canada’s Residential School System has had on Indigenous communities, knowledge, traditions, and beyond. Orange Shirt day comes from the experience of Phyllis Webstad (Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation), who was six-years-old when she first arrived to a residential school. On her first day of arriving at the school she was stripped of her new orange shirt. You can learn more about Phyllis’s story and the importance of the orange shirt here:  https://www.orangeshirtday.org/phyllis-story.html