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.


Downtown Toronto Tourism Spotlight: Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)!


The Royal Ontario Museum is definitely a sight to see, and one that you likely pass by frequently walking across campus to different classes. It is located between St. George and Museum subway stations and is one of the most convenient tourist spots location-wise for University Of Toronto students in particular. Even Museum station itself is beautifully designed as a nod to the institution’s collections. Not to mention the fact that General admission to the Museum is free to full-time students attending a Canadian post-secondary institution on Tuesdays when valid school ID is presented. Talk about a sweet deal!

The ROM originally had one major gallery for archaeology, geology, mineralogy, palaeontology, and zoology. Nowadays, there are frequent new limited-edition exhibits that are not covered by our student general admission, such as the tattoo exhibit recently launched.

You can view that entire museum at an comfortable pace in one afternoon. I really enjoy a visual representation of history rather than how school introduces students to history via mandatory boring history classes in high school. The first thing to notice about ROM is the beautiful architectural design from the outside that has a modern asymmetrical vibe. Inside is very easy to navigate with a map pamphlet, although I would encourage you to view the museum at your own pace and not necessarily stick to a single planned route. The fun part of the museum is discovering the exhibits on different floors and taking as much time as needed to enjoy the full experience.

I hope this blog article gave you an honest student perspective on this tourism spotlight of the ROM. Happy exploring!

UofT Science Rendezvous is BACK!


Are you ready for another year of FUN science activities? We’re back with more fun, more experiments, and more science!

Never heard of Science Rendezvous? You sure are missing out! Science Rendezvous is a FREE, Canada-wide science street festival aimed at highlighting and promoting science in all its aspects. Meet with world-class researchers, participate in hands-on experiments and activities, watch amazing demonstrations of the integration of science, architecture, and human ingenuity, and most of all, have fun while experiencing science in a whole new way! Want to learn more about us? Head to our newly designed webpage by our talented graphic designer, Science Rendezvous!

Our exec team has been working very hard since December to put this event together. Want to know the most updated information about our event? Like our Facebook Page! You’ll be the first to know what we have in line for you this year (and maybe we’ll post some teasers just for you).

We are also on Twitter and Instagram! Definitely follow/like us, because you never know, we might post some cool stuff that’s exclusively for our fans. You don’t want to miss out!

I hope you are as excited for this event as we are! Hope to see you on May 7th! Join us and RSVP NOW!

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:

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


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”