Category Archives: General

General posts

Why It’s Okay to Accept Change

lose copy
In Eden Robinson’s short story “Traplines” the main character, Will, goes on to say the famous quote “I’m losing a lot this week.”

We’ve all been there, letting our fellow peers, classmates, friends, and family tack a label onto us. “The Science Whiz”, “The Book Worm”, “The Businessman”, “The Jokester” “The next Da Vinci”. It’s fun and games at first, being able to relate to an archetype helping us to identify ourselves through our long, endeavouring lives. But these labels are also the cause of so much confusion and wasted time and effort.

Imagine you’re in your final year of high school and you’re racking up the 95s in all your courses, including the core sciences and mathematics. You’re pretty modest about it, but everyone says you’re hot stuff, even your relatives saying you’re set to hit the big leagues. Eventually, word gets out about your achievements and everyone starts calling you a future doctor or dentist. So you all decide to enrol in the highly-populated life sciences program at U of T St. George. Lectures seem like high school review and everyone is aiming towards an MD, PhD or both. Life’s going pretty well. Until the first midterm, and surprise- you end up with a 60%.

You’re shocked. You thought you were smart. You really believed it. Everyone said so. You brush it off though, and decide to keep going, trying harder, studying more. You cut off time with your friends and family. First semester ends and you’re left with a GPA that almost every average student has. Second semester rolls around, and it’s all the same. You start to think that science isn’t for you. But luckily summer rolls around and school is finally over. You decide to enjoy the holidays and make a striking comeback next fall. But unfortunately for you, things are just getting tougher. Fall arrives and all your friends have either done research at a lab, volunteered at a hospital, or travelled halfway across the world to save Dr. Dhillon’s ailing cousin in India. At this moment, you realize that you hate science. You don’t like the competitive field. You don’t like research. You don’t like the concept of sitting in lecture for a few hours, going home to study some more and then coming in to fill in a scantron sheet only to spit out a few numbers jabbing at your already overly-sensitive GPA. So you finally decide to sit down and really start to think about life, who you really are, what you really like and what you want to live for.

It took me two huge paragraphs to only touch the surface of a bigger issue. As a life science student, I might not hear these stories from everyone, but I have heard of them on multiple accounts and in many different forms. I can’t help but think of what could have been done to prevent these anxieties, to prevent students from wasting time of the wrong life paths, to prevent the waste of effort and money. To prevent these feelings of dismay and unworthiness. To prevent the imagined judgement of people saying of you “They couldn’t handle the life science program”, “Guess they weren’t smart enough”, “Hah, I remember when they wanted to be a doctor, what a joke”. It’s because of this stigma that many students are unable to open up about their ambitions of pursuing a career in science. Even the words “MCAT” are taboo. No one wants to be labelled a failure.

But it’s okay.

You’re not a failure and you’re not going to let their discouraging words manifest inside you. You’re going address your insecurities now. I understand that it isn’t easy to do so, but we have to do it now so that these worries don’t turn into a bigger problem, like mental illness, later. You could even turn into the person you didn’t want to be, someone who puts others down for not succeeding, if you’re not careful.

Before I log off, I just want to mention that I didn’t make up the preceding story off the top of my head. Most of it was inspiration* from a fellow classmate of mine. She’s a fourth year student and managed to find out that science wasn’t for her and that theatre was her real calling in her early undergrad years. She was happy for me, hearing that science was something I was and am still interested in. She was genuinely glad that I picked the right program for me despite external influences. I wish her all the best in her future endeavours, because if she hadn’t told me about her hardships I wouldn’t know to look out for them in myself. I wouldn’t understand what half the students in my class are going through. If she hadn’t expressed the kind of encouragement she did for me, I wouldn’t have gained the insight I know now.

*Although the bulk of the story was inspired by her, many bits and pieces were fragments I took from other people’s stories as well.

Printables: January 2016 Calendar

January 2016 Calendar available below!
January 2016 Calendar printables available below!

Happy new year!

With a new year comes a new semester and a fresh start. To set things off, I’ll be kicking it old school with a printed January 2016 calendar. I have calendar apps on my phone, tablet, and computer, but nothing beats paper and pen. With digital apps comes reminders, but I seem to always to swipe them away with a flick of a finger. With a printed calendar, I’ll have it taped on my desk, staring me smack in the face, a continuous reminder of things to finish and deadlines to meet.

The January 2016 calendar shown above is available for download and print right here at blogUT.ca. It was designed by yours truly. Two sizes are available: a full letter sized calendar and a smaller one as pictured. Personally, I prefer the smaller calendar since my desk is pretty small, but if you’re a busybody with more things to add, the full 8.5 ” x 11 ” is definitely the one for you.

Downloads (click for direct link to Dropbox): 

Small calendar

Full letter sized (8.5 ” x 11 “) calendar

If you’re interested in a February 2016 calendar as well, comment down below and I’ll definitely whip something up!

Cheers.

Welcome, 2016.

Happy New Year!

If you’re reading this, congrats! You’ve survived all 365 days of 2015. Whether last year was a great one, a bad one, or a mix of both, I hope you welcome 2016 with open arms and optimism for what’s to come in this new year. Feel free to leave some goals for 2016 down in the comments if you’d like.

Let’s make 2016 a great year, U of T!

Sadly, I don't have a picture of any fireworks from NYE. I hope this picture I took from this year's Cavalcade of Lights makes up for it!
Sadly, I don’t have a picture of any fireworks from NYE. I hope this picture I took from this year’s Cavalcade of Lights makes up for it!

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)

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!