Category Archives: Desperation

Prep Courses


November sucks. The professors and course coordinators have all ganged up and decided to just bleep us all over for a whole month. It doesn’t get better. There will be the illusion of a break before the December exams hit, but it is only that: an illusion. Want to party for the last time? Exams are going to sneak up on your when you’re hung over. Need a break? You’ll be dreaming about your notes. If you’re lucky, you will relive a lecture in a dream, except your professor will be speaking in a dialect of Mongolian. Imagine learning about fly embryos in Mongolian.

If you are anything like me, you’re seriously considering all those multicoloured pamphlets about prep sessions that have been handed out to you around your classes, especially if you’re a first year life science student. I’ve had experience with a couple different prep courses and centres, and I’ve decided to break them down for you and maybe give some advice on studying I’ve gathered over the past two years. Continue reading Prep Courses

My Kingdom for a Course

At some point in the famous Shakespeare play “Richard III” the title character gets knocked off his horse and starts foolishly yelling that he’ll gladly give up his entire kingdom for another horse. Clearly, King Richard doesn’t know the first thing about haggling.

A key lesson in Haggling 101 is that you never, ever start out with your highest bid. You can’t just throw all your chips on the table at the start. That’s just bad bartering. Opening negotiations by offering up your entire kingdom for a horse robs you of all your leverage.

Instead of the whole kingdom, Richard should have kicked things off by coughing up a couple of manors and maybe a few towns. After intense discussion, he could  have sweetened the deal by throwing in a royal title like “duke” or “baron”.  The fact that someone was trying to stab Richard at the time not withstanding, you gotta play hardball!

I’m not a Literature student, and I haven’t studied Shakespeare since highschool, but right now I’d gladly give up ol’ Richard’s entire kingdom for a course in Shakespeare. As a matter of fact, I’d accept a course in a lot of things right now. In my final year before graduation, I need one more full credit to hit 20, and with all my degree requirements completed it can be in just about anything. Sadly, as of right now I remain a credit short.

I admit, I could have started my search for a course sooner. I could also have just stuck it out and taken a hard course no one else wanted to take that still had room. Ideally, I’d like to take an interesting course that isn’t the hardest course I’ve ever taken, but a rewarding learning experience. Something I find interesting, but haven’t had the chance to learn about while completing my major. It seems like all the good classes like that are full.

So yeah, this is mostly my fault, but I find it a little frustrating the insane number of people on waitlists for so small a selection of courses. For a guy in my situation, looking for a course in just about anything hasn’t been as easy as you’d think. Don’t make my mistake.

The Most Important Lessons You’ll Learn at University

It’s October, and for us fourth years that means it’s time to apply for graduation. Oh my. For many of us, we joke about our degrees and how we’re going to starve once we graduate and how we’ve spent so much time, money and sanity just to get this stupid piece of paper that says we’re smart. Or something like that. In any case, before you despair about the fact that you didn’t feel as if all that time, money and sanity was worth it, here are a few things you should think about and keep in mind before you graduate.

  • You’ve grown and developed as a person more than you might think.
  • The truth is, you’ll continue to grow and develop whether you’re at university or at work.
  • You are your own harshest critic.
  • You know yourself better than anyone else. Follow your gut.
  • Life isn’t all about the little numbers in your bank account.
  • It’s okay to be wrong sometimes.
  • Your educators are people too.

Regretting UofT? Don’t.

Let’s start off by saying UofT is an amazing institution to begin with, but it’s no secret university can be somewhat soul sucking. I know there are some of you who have regrets about choosing UofT, or feel as though university is not for you. Perhaps some of you want to transfer to a smaller city, or a more social university. Yes UofT can be very daunting and secluded, even with all the efforts the university makes to get you involved. I’m sure there are hundreds of student feeling the same weight and loneliness at UofT as you. Living in a huge city like Toronto certainly has it’s ups and downs.

Ups: Opportunities are everywhere and it’s calling your name. Any interests/passions you may have (music, clubbing, life-drawing, thrift-shopping) or not sure what your passions are, it’s out there. And last but not least, absorbing culture and diversity. Toronto prides itself on its diversity and it makes you a more humble person without you even knowing it. For example, if you are in the LGBT community there are hundreds of organizations/events that you can partake in. Not every place in the world would have that. Now the trick is finding where all these amazing things are.

Downs: Having a million things to do but not knowing where to go or what to do. Being invisible in a sea of people. Nobody caring who you are or what you do. Highschool for me sucked simply because it was not what I expected and I felt out of place and alone. There were no such thing as cliques or rumours at my high-school because nobody cared or knew you well enough to play the stereotypes. A lot of people from my residence who came from small towns, amazed me with their stories of how Americanized their schools were. You know that whole party, jocks, nerds, mean girls, scandalous gossips thing. And a part of me has always wanted that since that is what I am conditioned to expect through Americanized programming. But it was mostly community that I wanted, and I came into university expecting to meet people like myself, get connected, and feel a sense of community.

However that has not been the case yet, since UofT is quite isolating. The hardest thing at UofT besides the overbearing amount of work, is the lack of social-life. Funny thing is we knew coming to UofT would mean forfeiting our social-life. Even moving into residence was not that helpful since everyone is busy with their own lives and not everyone makes the effort. It’s difficult to network and build connections in such a vast city of over 5 million people and even harder if you were a commuter. All I have to say to you guys is don’t worry. Truth of the matter is, you are getting one of the best educations in the world, and though it’s challenging and it’s a lot of hard work, it makes you a stronger, more well-crafted person. The key is to find balance between work and play.

I know everyone says this, but seriously, it doesn’t matter if you graduate with a 4.0 GPA if you’re lacking the communication skills you need to nail an interview to land the job.

A Note to First-Years, from a Fourth-Year Student


Howdy, first-years. Channelling my inner psychiatrist, how do you feel? Are you nervous to begin your however-long (you have 25 years from the time you begin your degree to finish it) foray into the U of T community? Or were you like me, anxious to start studying what I loved and none of what I didn’t (re: math) while surrounded by like-minded people whom you were determined to make your friends?

You know that this is a time of change, of self-exploration, of finding your purpose in life, etc. This is true- in the end we are all here to be educated to enter the workforce in some productive capacity upon graduation. This may occur after having completed a Master’s or Doctorate degree, an internship, a post-graduate certificate, or simply your newly-minted bachelor’s degree. But this reality is still years away. For now, I digress. Continue reading A Note to First-Years, from a Fourth-Year Student

The Ten People You Will Sit Next to on the Greyhound

Let’s face it, the Greyhound is gross.  But it’s cheap, and when you’re in a long distance relationship, or within driving distance from your home, it’s usually the better option than flying or the train.  But each time you step foot onto that confining, sticky cesspool, you play a dangerous game: who will be your seat companion for the duration of your trip?  Whether it be a an hour-long cinch or a half-day doozy, the person sitting next to you can make all the difference in your Greyhound experience.  So, with no further ado, I give you the ten people you will sit next to on the Greyhound.

Continue reading The Ten People You Will Sit Next to on the Greyhound