Words of Wisdom Every UTSG Student Should Know

Having these bits and pieces of advice rattling around in my addled brain is driving me crazy. So I thought I’d make a list. No order, no rhyme or reason, just a straight dope talk on all the things I think every UTSG student should know.

On Condoms

University students are broke enough as it is. There’s no need to waste money on condoms when they’re being thrown at you from every which way. Have a couple of minutes between lectures? Stop into SEC for an inconspicuous brown paper bag of the goods. Heck, while you’re at it, ask them to throw in some lube! You can never have too big a stash of it.

If you live in residence, ask your Don for some if it’s an ‘emergency’ (whatever that means). I mean, come on. My residence offers mint-flavoured condoms ‘for emergency use only’. WHAT EMERGENCY WOULD REQUIRE A MINT-FLAVOURED CONDOM ONLY?

I’ve also found free condoms offered at Health Services at the Koffler Centre and at the Shoppers Drug Mart on Bedford. By the way, Thursdays are U of T Student Days at this location, so bring your TCard for 20% off!

On Student Protests

While surfing the Internet to find things to put on this list, I found that this one came up again and again. It seems like a lot of people see university as a good time to channel one’s inner activist.

Find an issue you’re passionate about and go for it. You’re going to school in (or near) the biggest city in Canada – chances are there’s some sort of organization working on a protest for your chosen cause.

And I assure you, you don’t have to walk the streets naked or hack your way into government servers to have your voice heard. Heck, you don’t have to leave your room. While, yes, my suggestion is for you to get out there and attend a traditional in-the-street protest, there are ways to protest online. Remember the SOPA protests that sites like Wikipedia and Reddit took part in? That being said, online protesting isn’t just about changing your Facebook cover photo. I mean, remember Kony? What did that ever accomplish?

On Studying at Campus Libraries

There are so many libraries at U of T, so how the heck does one choose which library to study at?

I’ll tell you the quick and dirty answer.

You don’t have to choose just one. Study at all of them! While you’re at it, why don’t you look into actually learning how the cataloguing system works?

What I find incredible is that each library on campus has a distinct vibe and, depending on what and with whom you’re studying, some libraries offer more suitable atmospheres than others. For example, if I’m organizing a group study session, I’ll make sure it’s either at Robarts (second floor, where all the food is) or Kelly (in the comfy chairs on the first floor). Plus, it’s exciting to explore new libraries.

Maybe others don’t share my excitement for exploring these havens for bibliographical inquiry but, nonetheless, I think it’s important to try new things.

In short… don’t stick to just one library. Robarts 24/7 can be soul-sucking.

On Voting in UTSU Elections

We all complain about the UTSU, for whatever reason. However, voting stats show that hardly any U of T students vote UTSU elections. Your UTSU can’t adequately represent you unless you vote.

Contrary to what some people may say, the UTSU is important. Its decisions directly affect your academic and social lives. Vote so that you can get the most of what you want from your university experience.

On Pulling All-Nighters Studying at Robarts

While I mentioned before that Robarts can at times be soul sucking, it can also be a great place to get some overnight cramming done. Plus, you can rest assured that you won’t be the only one sleeping over at reliable John P’s. I kid you not when I say that I’ve known people to spend days at Robarts without leaving. Heck, you’ve got your coffee and food, your schoolwork, and, if you’re resourceful, a pillow and some comfy pajamas. You don’t really need anything else.

On Pulling All-Nighters Partying

Let it be known that Leah Henrickson does not ‘party’ in the traditional sense. She just doesn’t. Instead, she does to Snakes & Lattes (always accompanied by Smoke’s) and indie shows and the ROM, and she has more fun that she could ever have at a party.

So when I say ‘party’, I don’t necessarily mean getting smashed and crumping. Whatever crumping is. I mean going out and having a great time doing something that isn’t school-related.

Get out there and find something magical and bring your friends so they can experience the magic too. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go spend my night experiencing the magical world of Dungeons & Dragons with the Dungeons & Dragons club. My kind of party.

Other Advice Gleaned from Our Twitter Feed:

From Me to You: Be Skeptical of News Outlet Credibility


Back in high school, our English classes gave particular attention to credibility: how to be a credible writer and how to find credible sources. I never really thought much of it. It’s a lesson, it’s homework, it’s an assignment. Once done, it’s over. I probably won’t look back on it again. But here I am, with the sudden ringing of my high school teacher’s voice telling me to be skeptical of what I hear, see, and read.

Friday night was when word on Paris being attacked was plastered all over news outlets and social media. I immediately felt sorrow for Paris, and even shared a couple of grieving photos and statuses myself. The next morning, Facebook installed that new “Paris Profile Picture” update. I didn’t do it. Not because I had anything against Paris, but because I forgot about the other countries in the world experiencing the same hardships that were in many ways worse than Paris. A couple days later, there were some posts on my newsfeed about #PrayForTheWorld. It included Japan and their earthquake, Beirut and their suicide bombings. But what about Syria? What about Palestine?

I’m not one to delve myself into politics and world issues, but the pressing matter is the credibility of our journalists and news outlets. We’re clearly missing half the story, maybe even three quarters of it. What about the rest of the world? And even if they do report on it, chances are, what they say is skewered. I’ve seen the comments and even the petitions going on in an attempt to stop Syrian refugees from coming to Canada. Why haven’t they reported a positive light on Syrian Refugees? Does the world truly believe Syria is full of terrorists? What about Palestine? What about Palestine?

Many people (I’ll narrow it down to North Americans for the time being) are unaware of the real situation in Palestine. That has to do with our search engines, with Google. When I tried to Google what was going on in Palestine, I got a whole load of propaganda videos. It took me awhile to actually find the real stuff, with big help to my very educated peers of course. But the entire Google fiasco made me think to myself, why is the truth hidden in a bed of lies? Google isn’t as free as we think it is (we actually had a discussion about this in ENG287). It’s an American company you should be skeptical of. Extremely skeptical of, if I may reiterate. Unless you try really hard, you won’t be able to find the credible sources you’re looking for. Below is a video Banksy filmed on the situation in Palestine:

It’s crazy if you think about it. Banksy’s creation and video of Dismaland was covered by a variety of news outlets and social medias, so why hasn’t this video received the views it should be?

When I was riding on the subway this morning, I felt a surge of fear. I wondered, “what if this subway blows up? what if this subway gets hijacked? I’m underground. I can’t send any text messages. No one will know what happened to me.” And it was at that precise moment that I realized, I was succumbing to the war on terror. I let the news instill a fear in me that I was going to die by the hands of a terrorist. How could I let the news do this to me?

I’m not sure where I’m going with this post now. All I can do is ask you to be skeptical for the right reasons. Read the news, but be skeptical. We only see, hear and read what they want us to see, hear and read. Use the intelligence and knowledge you were given to make the right conclusions. Don’t let others make a conclusion for you. Don’t be a follower of social trends.

5 Quick (and Healthy!) Lunches for a Long Day on Campus


It can be a struggle to entice yourself to spend an entire day on campus. Sure, you may study better, or you may be obligated to stay considering your course load, but it can be gruelling to sit for an entire day in libraries or campus common spaces that are obnoxiously packed, with the lure of tantalizing fast food aromas all around. Continue reading 5 Quick (and Healthy!) Lunches for a Long Day on Campus

Dorm Room Décor


University is the prime time to experience new things and reinvent yourself. While this transformation could take the form of a new haircut, a new piercing, a new wardrobe, or a new-and-improved personality, one of the easiest and most fun reinventions is redecorating your home. Although we may not realize it, A LOT of our time as students is spent in our rooms. Why? Not for sleeping of course, but for studying! That’s why as a student I try my best to surround myself with motivation. One source of this motivation is based in Toronto and named Athaliah, a home-accessory online shopping site that focuses on brightening and inspiring individuals. This business provides unique and diverse pieces of decoration. Athaliah is a lifestyle boutique that was created specifically for those looking to find pieces that cannot be found anywhere else, and will certainly make any room pop. How, you ask? Simple. Each product is from a different place in the world, and handmade. Athaliah has a variety of pieces to suit every desired look. It has a range of Handmade and Exclusive pieces, Pre-loved and Vintage Re-designs, and charming and original Inspiration and Community house plants, accent pieces, and patterned projects. With all this in mind, now you can finally mismatch the artwork on your wall, throw a cute pillow on your studying chair and place an “oh-so kawaii” plant on your desk.

Competitiveness: How It Can Make or Break You


Ah, competitiveness. How we’ve all had those moments when we wanted to be better than your friend, your class, or maybe even the entire school. The spirit of competition and that lingering sense of superiority exists within all of us. It’s no surprise that in a place like a university, competition is in everyone. It’s really how we utilize that drive that ultimately forms the dividing line between pushing yourself to succeed and running yourself into the ground. Continue reading Competitiveness: How It Can Make or Break You