It’s only a month into school and midterms are hitting us already. In my agenda, there is this backlog of assignments and all the due dates happen to fall within the same week. It happens every year and I’m always looking for more tips on how to stay positive during this time.
A long time ago, back in grade 12 when I was young, impressionable and unburdened by readings on readings, I was deliberating between which university offers to accept. The websites, while useful in terms of information, were not very much help when I was trying to decide which university I would be happy at. Naturally, I decided to visit the campuses of the universities that had accepted me. While the story obviously ends with me choosing U of T, there were so many factors why I ultimately went with it. Sure, I loved the history and architecture and how U of T is both isolated from downtown Toronto yet just a quick 10 minute walk away from the core. However, what cinched it for me was something I’d like to call the ‘atmosphere of learning’ that was prevalent everywhere I visited – from the lecture halls to the greenspace to the lineup at Tim Hortons – there was an infectious hum in the air.
And every year after summer vacation ends and the first month flies by, I am always still in awe of that atmosphere.
It’s that time of year again! With course selection times coming up, we are suddenly uprooted from the comforts of summer and thrown into fall semester preparation. One of the things that I have done in the past to calm my September nerves is to go crazy with Back to School shopping.
I know what you’re thinking: who even goes Back to School shopping after the 8th grade?
Answer: me 🙁
It was a fine Tuesday morning when I woke up after a splendid night out with friends, my hollow stomach rumbling for some greasy, filling food to fuel it. Leaving the house, I headed to the closest diner in Kensington Market (Our Spot), ordered myself a plate of food, and upon checkout, handed the cashier my debit card.
And then it happened. In one of the most dreadful moments of my life, I held the card machine in my hand staring at one word, in big block letters: DECLINED.
Hi I’m Sargam, and I’ve got something to share with you.
“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.
Some classes are like meringues: light and simple. Some are more like chocolate cake: dense and rich, but very satisfying. Some are like sweet and refreshing ice cream that goes down oh-so-smoothly. Like custard, some classes are heavy and decadent. Others are like chocolate chip cookies, appreciated for their classic appeal. Classes that are like toffee are a lot to chew on, but still very pleasant.
Some classes, however, are like the bran muffin. The bran muffin is an affront to delicious things everywhere; it is utterly dull and a waste of time and calories. To make matters worse, it sometimes has nasty little shrivelled-up raisins lurking inside. No one likes a bran muffin.
Sometimes, you have to eat bran muffins though, don’t you? Perhaps when your sweet old Granny makes them for you, or when your local Timmies runs out of everything else, or when you feel like inflicting pain on those nasty little raisins. Sometimes, you just don’t have a choice when it comes to bran muffins.
The same goes for bran muffin classes. You will have at least one over the course of your university career; everybody does. Maybe you’ll need it as a breadth requirement, it will be a prerequisite for something else you want to take, or it will be the only thing that fits into your schedule. There will be no escaping it. That’s how you’ll end up in a bran muffin class, in spite of its snooze-worthy subject matter, never-ending readings, miserable locale—OISE auditorium anyone?—and its professor’s annoying goat-like voice. March 13th is the last day to drop an S section course, so it’s high time to decide if you want to stick it out or not. If you want or need to persevere, stick with me! I’ll try to show you how to turn a yucky bran muffin into a beautiful cupcake.
Okay, maybe not a cupcake, but at least a slightly-less-terrible bran muffin:
Emma’s Slightly-Less-Terrible Bran Muffin Recipe
I think it was on that satirical Stats Canada Twitter account that I read: “90% of Canadians watch the Oscars just so they can point out who is Canadian.” Funny? Yes. True? Most likely. We’ve got that patriotism thing down pat here in Canada, and why not? There are some mega talented people rising from far and wide out of the True North strong and free. We, with glowing hearts, claim them as our patriots.
When I watched the Oscars this weekend, you can bet I was on Canada watch… And Toronto watch… And UofT watch. No, I don’t think there were any UofT alumni accepting awards that night, but UofT itself is connected to the night’s big winner. That’s right! Parts of Spotlight were filmed right here on our stomping ground! Specifically, Liev Schreiber’s character attended a meeting in the beautiful Oak Room at the Newman Centre and Mark Ruffalo’s character hung out at St. Basil’s during one of the film’s most poignant moments.
Over the years, UofT has played host to a ton of great films. David Fleischer wrote an article for UofT Magazine listing some of the most popular, including Mean Girls, Good Will Hunting, Cocktail, Pacific Rim, Resident Evil: Afterlife, and Total Recall, among others. Do you recall a car getting flipped over during the filming of Total Recall?
I decided, in honour of UofT being put in the spotlight by Spotlight, I would list some more of our lovely university’s star turns.