Sports and Recreation at UofT: A Second Look

Like most U of T students, I’m proud to be one. People like to call us pretentious and I like to argue there’s a big difference between being pretentious and being justifiably proud. We boast top 20 spots on lists of the world’s best universities and I’m “sorry I’m not sorry” that gives me the warm fuzzies.

While we excel as an institution overall, according to UniversityHub.ca (contributor to the Huffington Post), our sports and recreation programs are less well known.

Clearly something’s wrong here. We have a wealth of sport and recreational facilities, services, activities — there’s a lot going on here! We have FOUR athletic centres (if you count Varsity Centre), FOURTY-FOUR men’s and women’s varsity teams, the ONLY Olympic-sized pool in the city, a wide variety of registered and free classes, drop-in recreation, a FANTASTIC, SUPER-AFFORDABLE sports clinic open to students, more playing fields than I’m aware of and SO, SO MUCH MORE.

Life Sciences Undergraduate Research: How do I even?

As a Life Sciences student, I understand the pressure and trepidation you feel when someone in class goes “So in my research lab…” Meanwhile, you’re screaming internally about how you can barely fold laundry properly let alone have your life so put together as to be in a research lab.

Meme of shiba-inu and the caption
(Source: memegenerator.net)

Whether you plan on pursuing a career in healthcare or science research itself, having research experience on your CV and learning lab skills are a bonus when you apply to professional or graduate programs. But where does one even start? It’s daunting trying to maneuver the Interwebs to find viable and worthwhile positions. I’ve compiled a list of possible scientific/medical research opportunities by the year you might think of applying. But first, a few preliminary questions to ask yourself:

The Breaking Point

As I was walking down St. George the other day, I heard snippets from other peoples’ conversations. I promise, I wasn’t eavesdropping; I just forgot my headphones and I was bored. Anyways, these are the kinds of things I heard:

“Blah blah blah blah stressed blah blah blah failure blah blah forget blah tired blah blah I can’t blah blah blah…”

UofT, it seems we are in a sorry state of affairs at present. Of course, it’s to be expected at this time of year. We’re all just trying to put in that final hustle and make it to winter break.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m actively trying to face my final assignments with a more positive outlook; I’m trying to use my stress as a motivator. I want to appreciate every moment that I have as an undergrad student. However, I want to make something very clear:

None of that makes the work easy, and it certainly doesn’t make it go by any faster.

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)

Staying Active When You Really, Truly Don’t Have Time

You know what really grinds my gears? It’s the frequent mentioning in the media, on the Internet, social networks, etc. of the importance of making time to work out. They say there’s no such thing as not having enough time to do something active, get out and get moving. While I’m all for cute, inspirational, motivating messages, to me that isn’t one. On the contrary, I think it could be a detrimental message.

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Source: x3sports.com

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.

The Barbell Prescription: The What, Why and How of Weight Training

So much cool stuff happens on campus all day every day. It breaks my heart that I literally don’t have the time to go do and see and hear everything.

On Tuesday, I went to a free seminar that was held at Hart House called, “The Barbell Prescription”.

You know it’s going to be a good one when you’re already taking notes and salivating over the guest’s credentials.

Dr. J Sullivan joined us from Michigan. A former US marine, 3rd degree black belt in Karate, 3rd level Krav Maga practitioner, doctor, researcher… The guy received a $2 million research grant from the NIH… that’s the National Institutes of Health. It’s a big deal. On top of all that, he owns, manages and trains clients at a gym called Grey Steel, for aging adults.

Dr. Jonathon Sullivan
Dr. Jonathon Sullivan Source: greysteel.org

We started off talking about what we considered an “athlete”, how we’d define the word. I learned a little bit about Greek athletes (the word athlete comes from the Greek “athlos” which means contest or feat). Apparently there was an athletic event in the Greek games, “Hoplitodromos”, which was a race in full battle armour. Competitors in the games had to swear an oath to Zeus that they trained for a minimum of 10 months. Awfully specific for so many years ago!

The Perks of Being a Winterlover

Perhaps some of you have felt that shift in winds over the past week or so. Perhaps the chill running down your spine was due not just to the physical cold but also to an ominous feeling of wintery dread. That’s right – it’s officially getting colder in Toronto.

As someone who’s born and raised in Canada, I am no stranger to the blistering winters of the Great North. I would go so far as to say that I’m a cold-weather person. So call me biased, but I would argue that Canadian winters aren’t so bad (I have a feeling Emaan would beg to differ). Scratch that – I would argue that Toronto winters aren’t so bad. There’s those ridiculous ice pellet storms but then there’s also the fluffy good stuff that makes for excellent photos and really beautiful scenery. I love seeing the UC building during that perfect snowfall.

While we do get our fair share of snow and the occasional day (or week) where we are blessed with -30ºC + wind chill, winters in the city are pretty tame compared to what our friends at, say, McMaster would experience:

Three students paddling a canoe across a flooded over part of McMaster campus.
Queen’s Park can get pretty swampy but this scene of McMaster is a whole other monster. (Photo source: Huffington Post)