Messy Makes It Happen

What do you do when you’ve been trying to work something out for a while but your efforts don’t seem to bear any fruit? When you’ve been working on that essay for hours, and you can tell before you’re even half-way through it won’t turn out as well as you want it to? Or when you have a club that hasn’t been as active as it should be despite your best efforts?

Faced with such a scenario myself and drawing from personal experience, I’ve found, there are two options to choose from moving forward:

  1. Scrap everything you’ve got so far, and start again from scratch.
  2. Work with what you’ve got and try to improve on it.

Sometimes it’s easier to scrap what you’ve got and start on a clean slate; this way, you don’t have to work through existing problems you’ve tried solving, and can start with a fresh page, a fresh mind, a fresh start. Other times, starting from scratch means having to rebuild your foundations which takes a lot of time and effort. I’ve recently had two separate experiences, both pointing to the same conclusion: messy makes it happen. Never give up on what you’ve got going just because it’s not going your way or makes you feel uncomfortable. Push through the discomfort because, quite often, after the initial stage of difficulty, incredible things can happen. A whole new approach to the problem can emerge—a solution completely unfamiliar and unexpected.

 

At the construction site of Union Station.

This first experience was in one of my Architectural studio classes. I was working on a drawing for weeks before I realised that I had made a mistake and that my drawings were inaccurate. Faced with this problem, I decided to clear my slate and start from scratch because I was stuck and couldn’t make my way out out of the situation. My solution was to completely step out of the maze and start again, rather than turn around and try to find another path out of my problem. Looking back, I wish I had chosen the second option because I realised I would have figured out a solution to my problem if I had only spent more time thinking about it. I got scared. I ran into a problem and, in a state of fear, saw no way out, so I chose to run away and start again. Here’s what I learned: when curious minds are given enough time, space, and freedom, the imagination has room to roam. So give yourself enough time, space and freedom to think through a problem and follow lines of inquiry down a new path.

My second experience was completely different from this first one.  As a student minoring in Italian, I recently joined the Italian Undergraduate Students’ Cultural Association (IUSCA) as a third year undergraduate representative. Upon joining the club, I learned the organisation had previously experienced a downfall and wasn’t actively running. Years later, a zealous undergraduate student, had a vision of creating an Italian club that would serve more as a family than a formal organisation. The club would conduct events ranging from study group sessions, to a talent show based on Italian culture for students of the Italian department and beyond. This student, like me, had been faced with two options: should she try to revive the extinct IUSCA group, or establish a new organisation from scratch? This student chose to work with the existing club, making it stronger than it ever was before.

Whether consciously or unconsciously, she understood that messy does not necessarily mean bad, and that we shouldn’t give up on something just because it doesn’t initially seem to be working out. Through my experience, I came to learn this too.

messy makes it happen.

 

Pulse 2016: All You Need to Know

“Mental health is tricky because its about really knowing who you are and being able to say that you need help in a surrounding where you think so many other people are stable.”-Sophia Shim

Needless to say, it takes a lot of courage to ask for help.

One of the most challenging parts of dealing with mental health is coming to terms with the fact that no one is invincible. On the outside, we may seem on top of everything, put together, ahead of the game and confident, but on the inside, no one knows how we truly are feeling. Coming to the realization that we must take care of our minds as much as we take care of our bodies is something that society has not come to terms with yet. We’ve seen the major changes that things like the introduction of the Health & Wellness centre at the University of Toronto, as well as the addition of Mental Health Awareness Month – and it’s about time. More and more students seem to catching on to the progress that the university has made. “On campus there are many options if you are in need of help, whether it be provided by your college or UofT as a whole”, says second year student, Sophia Shim.

One initiative, founded by Joanna Huang and Michael Bray of the University of Toronto aims to create a sense of community in the Toronto student population and encourage discussion about mental health in the GTA. Pulse, founded in 2013, has fundraised for three years to bring attention and create a positive space for discussing mental health in our community. “There is nothing I am more passionate about as I am mental health. It’s an issue that touches the lives of everybody, in one way or another.”, says Joanna, “The entire topic is muffled. It’s blanketed by a thick layer of societal stigma, and completely devalued. People don’t talk about it. I’ve struggled with my own mental health, and I find it very difficult to talk about. But I have no trouble talking about a sprained foot, so why should this be any different?”

Since it’s founding, Pulse has been partnered with Oolagen, a Toronto based organization who’s mission is to “listen, engage, assist, and empower young people to recognize their own strength and values”. Located on 65 Wellesley Street East, Oolagen provides counselling services for all ages and provide residential homes for people aged 14-18. Oolagen also provides on site school support in for three different Toronto high schools, giving students access to mental health services when they cannot otherwise. “[Ooolagen is] also planning to expand their services to cover university-aged youth”, says University of Toronto Pre-Medical co-president Alissa Mirochnitchenko. The Pre-Medical Society is partnered with Pulse as one of their main supporters on campus.

www.pulsetoronto,com
Pulse is on the 18th – get your tickets at www.pulsetoronto.com

Both Oolagen and Pulse are promoting mental health and discussion to Toronto, and have been gaining momentum ever since their start. “Pulse 2015 has raised over $2000.00 for Oolagen… This year, we will strive to surpass our previous earnings and continue to further increase awareness for mental health!” says Pre-Medical Society Co-President Victoria Malysmiuk. On March 18, Pulse and Oolagen are partnering again to bring an amazing fundraiser to Orchid Nightclub. As the campaign’s slogan states, “Good music. Good company. Good cause”, it’s sure to be a fun evening for an important charity. “We hope that our annual fundraiser, Pulse, remains a reminder for individuals to critically think about their own mental health and seek help if they feel out of balance.” Says Victoria and Alissa.“I think that my biggest goal this year was to make the discourse around mental health positive- we are all students and we all understand that university can be physically, mentally and emotionally draining at times. In my eyes, events like PULSE are important because it brings students together to have positive, happy experiences.”

Additional information about Pulse, Oolagen, and this year’s charity fundraiser can be found at the following sites:

www.pulsetoronto.com

https://www.facebook.com/events/1537362533224023/

http://oolagen.org/

We hope to see you on the 18th!

Club Profile: University of Toronto Electronic Music Community (UTEMC)

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Image by UTEMC

Interested in electronic music? As per one commenter’s request, read on to learn more about U of T’s only electronic music community!

blogUT: How was the UTEMC created and what is its mission?

UTEMC: The UTEMC was created by two close friends who have been going to EDM events together forever. They decided to create a club where U of T electronic music fans could come together to meet other people and attend events together, as well as foster a culture of electronic music appreciation by fans from all over the three campuses. Our mission is to establish a group of like-minded individuals with an interest in electronic music and DJ events. Our goal to is set up a place for everybody to congregate and discuss events (both upcoming and past), new music, or just to meet somebody else with whom you might share a similar electronic music taste to. Throughout the year we’re going to be hosting events to bring people together, including in-house DJing events and workshops. Continue reading “Club Profile: University of Toronto Electronic Music Community (UTEMC)”

Club Profile: University of Toronto Public Speaking Club (UTPS)

Have you ever been afraid of public speaking? I know I have! Interested in improving? Then see what the University of Toronto Public Speaking Club (UTPS) is all about!

blogUT: How was the University of Toronto Public Speaking Club (UTPS) created and what is its mission?

UTPS: The University of Toronto Public Speaking Club (UTPS) is a student-led campus group, open to all three campuses at the University of Toronto. Established in 2013, it aims to give students an opportunity to overcome their public speaking fears and to improve their oral communication skills in a welcoming and supportive community. Continue reading “Club Profile: University of Toronto Public Speaking Club (UTPS)”

A How-To Guide for Getting Involved

1316AgesSeptember

Like most U of T students, I planned my high school career with the ultimate goal of achieving perfect grades so that I could have my choice of prestigious universities. When I got into that university (U of T, of course), I planned to be president of this and staff writer of that, and have time to go to the gym at least every other day, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. In short, I planned to have the perfect university experience.

During Clubs Day, I put my name down for about ten different clubs and committees. I can’t say there was any rhyme or reason to my choices, other than a vague sense that it “sounded cool” (that’s why Muy Thai kickboxing and beekeeping club were among them). During the first week of classes, I attended the informal open-house meetings for some of these groups. But my plans started dissolving by the end of September. As I tried to adjust to a new city, residence life, and the rapid pace of university classes, I found there was no space in my brain left for Muay Thai kickboxing or beekeeping or hitting the gym.

Now that I’ve navigated the first year of university life, I feel more confident in my ability to wrestle the proverbial monkey off my back and really experience the cool stuff that U of T offers outside the classroom (believe it or not, there is a lot of cool stuff). Lucky for you BlogUT readers, my first-year mistakes have become your Guide to Getting Involved For Real This Time: Continue reading “A How-To Guide for Getting Involved”

Club Profile: Treasure Map UofT

Treasure Map U of T

Image by Treasure Map UofT

Have you ever wanted to go on an adventure in the mystical land of U of T? Well, look no further! Here is the first part of our clubs series.

blogUT: How was Treasure Map UofT created and what is its mission?

Treasure Map UofT: Treasure Map UofT was created on the vision of bringing students into an inclusive environment to achieve something different and step out of their comfort zone. Be it as small as finding your new favourite spot in this campus jungle through Treasure Hunts or as fulfilling as developing confidence and event-planning skills through our various projects. It’s your treasure, find it!

blogUT: What does Treasure Map UofT do/how can students participate? Is there a set time commitment/is it flexible?

Treasure Map UofT: We welcome all individuals who would like to meet new friends and have fun! Students can be participants of TMapUT events such as Treasure Hunts (campus-wide scavenger hunts). To take the next step, we would like to invite all students to be part of our projects, where we impact a greater body of students by initiating interaction and spreading positivity. Currently, the Treasure Hunts happen on the third Thursday of each month. Planning and preparation of projects will come in the weeks without the Treasure Hunts. More information will be released soon.

blogUT: Why should students participate/join your club?

Treasure Map UofT: We encourage students to take 2 hours a month out of their hectic school life to engage in a pre-planned fun filled activity, since we understand how stressful university is. Not only will participants be able to relax and momentarily forget about their woes, they are provided with a great opportunity to build new friendships. Running around like a maniac, bonding over random mishaps, a chance of nibbling on some free food, what’s not to like?

blogUT: Would it be easy for commuters to get involved?

Treasure Map UofT: YES! Our schedules are flexible and not demanding of huge commitments. The Treasure Hunts especially benefit commuter students who often go between classes and home for the days at the university. Through the fun events, you can take your mind off from school work for an hour and explore the campus that you have never seen before.

blogUT: What is the most interesting or exciting thing that your club has done?

Treasure Map UofT: Although we didn’t “do” it, we are on the front page of the Ulife website!!! Other than that, who has ever volunteered into the maze that is the University College or had a sword fight in the quad of Trinity College?

blogUT: How can students contact Treasure Map UofT/find out more about the club?

Treasure Map UofT: If you ever feel compelled to join in on one of our events or help plan our projects, we would love for you to contact us! We have a fantabulous Facebook page and will be putting up a website soon. Feel free to also shoot us an email at treasuremapuoft@gmail.com for any burning questions or to simply subscribe to our list serve. Lastly, if you spot an executive Royal Court member, feel free to approach us; that’s what we’re here to facilitate!

blogUT: Is there anything else that you would like students to know about Treasure Map UofT?

Treasure Map UofT: Be bold and open to experiences and opportunities. Give yourself a chance to try everything out at least once. Academic related experiences are not the only way to grow.

Stay tuned for more club profiles!

Maddie’s Picks

My journey with blogUT started before I even came to U of T–  I found the site over three years ago while frantically researching the school and convincing myself further and further that this was where I was meant to be. When I got my acceptance email I couldn’t wait to learn as much as possible about my new city, school, and home– hence where blogUT comes in.

So in honour of university application season and the fresh crop of future U of T students that will soon be upon us, here are some of my favourite pieces that blogUT has ever published. Enjoy this (re)introduction to your school and city.

Continue reading “Maddie’s Picks”