Hopping Into the Holiday Spirit: A Trip to the Toronto Christmas Market

December is my favourite time of the year. Well, it usually is. Since starting university, the stress of December exams has sapped up any and all of the holiday spirit in me. After realizing the fact that the most spirited thing I did last December was house a slowly dying 15 inch evergreen tree in my dorm room, and reading Emma’s reflection on her relationship with exams and holiday traditions, I decided I was going to stop myself from spending my favourite time of year locked up in the library eating all of the chocolate out of a discount advent calendar.

illuminated letters reading "naughty or nice"  

One Down, One to Go

Crazy as it may seem, this semester’s almost over! Classes ended this week, and finals season has finally arrived. If it weren’t for my impending doom, I wouldn’t have been able to tell that it’d already been four months since I first touched down in Toronto. Amidst all the hapless cramm — I mean, conscientious studying, in a bout of productive procrastination I thought I’d take a look back at my first semester here at U of T.

A Drake-themed guide to Robarts during exam season

Exams are upon us, U of T. Time to buckle down, catch up with readings, and hit up the nearest campus library for some serious studying. Robarts is the natural go-to choice for many students. Exams may make you miserable, but at least being around other people who are stressing out as much as you are is somewhat comforting. Also comforting is knowing that you’re making Drake proud by acing that calc exam. And always remember that if Aubrey Graham could go from a teeny-bopper D-list actor on Degrassi to a bonafide rap legend, then you can certainly power through these final weeks of the first semester.

Drake leaning against a large storage container and a stereo, using the stereo as a desk to write lyrics on a piece of paper.
Even Drake’s gotta constantly put in werk (Source: Instagram @champagnepapi)

It’s the most arduous time of the year

At about this time every year, I despair. I start to wonder how I am going to finish what seems to be a never-ending list of assignments and tasks. I start to wonder why I even came to this school; I must have a masochistic streak. The stress gets to me and I find myself resisting the urge to RSVP to a number of preposterous Facebook events (Dropping out of school to become a potato is a viable life decision, right? RIGHT??)

To make matters worse, the rest of the world does not seem to have gotten my memo. Don’t they know that I, along with all of UofT, am a big puddle of exam nerves? All I do is wake up, go to Robarts, go to class, return to Robarts, go home, and sleep! I am not feeling the Holiday cheer. Yet, everywhere I go, I hear sickeningly joyous holiday tunes, everything is pretty and sparkly and lit up, and there are tons of amazing events going on. Why is all of Toronto rubbing its holiday cheer in my face? I feel personally victimized by all this hollying and jollying and carrying on.

Pictured: My Christmas tree and some Christmas records
The cheer is even invading my own apartment!

I know what you’re thinking; this girl is a classic Scrooge. You may be right. I’ll have you know, however, that I have been trying to embrace the spirit of the season. Last night, I went to Christmas High Table at Trinity College. Despite my best protestations—”I have too much work to do,” “I hate carolling,” “I don’t like cranberry sauce”—my roommates would not take no for an answer and they dragged me along.

Winter is Coming: Gearing up for Exam Season

In the wise words of Ned Stark: “Winter is coming.”

A glass bowl of candy canes.
Nothing screams winter like a bowl of mini candy canes.

However, with winter comes . . . exams. Did you feel a sudden shudder ripple through your body, too? Recently, I conversed with an Academic Success Centre learning strategist, Dr. Graham, and learned some tips to keep in mind as we transition into this season. Here are a few of her tips, as well as mine:

Adjusting to Time Management

One thing that’s become particularly evident to me this semester has been the drastic changes needed to my time management methods. I’ve heard from other first years that they too have had to adjust to new work habits, regardless of the discipline. Relating to my own experience, my time budgeting skills in high school were pretty sub-par, which led to me attempting some serious adjustments on the fly in first-year.