...On a school year spent blogging.

When I was first presented with the opportunity to blog for Upbeat I was very excited, yet a little daunted by being required to come up with a new topic each week.  I mean - would I be able to meet their expectations? Would my posts be interesting to Upbeat's readers? Regardless, I jumped right in, and I'm so glad that I did. During this year, my posts have taken me on a tour of the St. George campus; taught me that Robarts is a peacock; introduced you to my wayward dog, Thelonious; mourned the demise of my evil laptop, Lappy; gotten me free tax prep help; and gotten run over by the Frosh Fit train. As the winter semester draws to a close, balancing blog posts and schoolwork has been a little more challenging. But I thoroughly enjoy doing it; it provides a much-needed respite from the constant requirement to write academically. My background in writing has been as a poet, and it is something that I've missed dearly since beginning school. The Upbeat blog has provided me a great outlet for non-academic writing, while the expectation that I upload a post each week has provided me with the structure and discipline needed to ensure that I get it done. Blogging has been an exercise in discipline; in challenging myself; but it has also been a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Coming up with weekly blog post has been a great way to get to know more about all that the University of Toronto has to offer. I looked forward to the weekly blog meetings with Chris, Cynthia, Danielle, Lori, and Shannon. Chris is kind of like our blogging Yoda, offering lots of advice and feedback 🙂 . The comaraderie that developed among the five of us as bloggers has been really cool, too. If anyone is stumped in coming up with a post idea for the following week, someone is always there with a brilliant topic suggestion. I'm thankful to Andrea Graham, a learning strategist with Accessibility Services who has served as the editor for my posts. Her feedback and encouragement have been invaluable! I remain especially grateful to Victoria Littman, who offered me the opportunity to blog for Upbeat. Victoria was a learning strategist with Accessibility Services, and I met her while attending her weekly writing sessions. Aimed at unblocking the writer's block that students deal with from time to time, Victoria's workshops helped me and many others to unlock the writer that resides within.  During one of the sessions, I mentioned that I was trying to jump-start a blog that I had started a long while ago. She asked to see it, and after reading it, immediately offered me the opportunity to blog with Upbeat! Unfortunately Victoria passed away unexpectedly last October; but her legacy remains in the effect that she had on the students whose lives she touched. Her smile and enthusiasm for creativity were infectious, and I consider myself lucky to have crossed paths with her. All in all, this year spent blogging has been beautifully challenging, and provided me with the opportunity to meet a lot of cool folks, and take part in many of the things that this campus has to offer us as students. Thank you, Dear Reader, for indulging in my writing jones on a weekly basis, commenting on each post. Good luck with your final exams, turning in those final papers - and have a fabulous summer!!! Dara

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