A casual anime observer’s review on Attack on Titans

Watching anime and reading manga is a casual hobby of mine that I indulge in on occasion when I’m bored. I’m probably really late on this topic, but I’ve recently watched the most recent episodes on an extremely popular anime called Attack on Titans.

The plot is a post apocalyptic time period in which all races of men live together in a fortified wall city with several layers to defend against giant man eating monsters called the Titans. The main character, Eren Jeager, lives in the outermost layer of the city and witnesses Titans attacking his city after 100 years of peace. His mother is killed in the process, driven by his thirst for revenge, he joins the “Survey Corps”. soldiers who venture outside the wall city and fight to protect the citizens directly with Titans,

The story reminded me at first, a bit like Naruto. Let’s list the similarities shall we?
-Main character has no blood related relatives throughout most of the series, his mom definitely died for sure
-Main character has two dynamic friends who prove to be talented in their own ways and are loyal to him
-Main character has some extremely rare gift that is a totally unfair advantage (but also a personal curse). This curse was given to him by his own father (thanks dad).
-Main character is extremely eager to die, but doesn’t, which is awfully brave, but also slightly stupid in the beginning
-Main character is moral, his values and character are unwavering
-Main character will save everyone (inevitably)

Nonetheless, I really enjoyed it. The story has a lot of violence in it, and the society’s lack of technology (but amazing invention of gas tubes that let you fly) is somewhat silly as it is a time period ahead of current modern age, but I’ll take it for what it is.

The anime’s “Titans” are not the kind you would expect from watching that childhood show “Teen Titans” on Cartoon Network, or the weird monster/God like creatures from Greek mythology. These monsters are pure horror, allowing you to witness gruesome scenes of humans getting eaten and basic human like cruelty from them. Which, I must say, is epic.

Learning how to kill these monsters is really cool, apparently they can only die from slices off the back of its neck, so watching humans kill them with their 3D flying gear maneuver thing is freaking bad ass.

I actually liked Eren Jeager’s plot twist, where he could become a Titan and regenerate his body all the time. It would have been a little more satisfying, however, if he had enough skills to just take down a bunch of Titans like Levi Ackerman. But then we would never understand the Colossal or Armored Titan’s true nature.

Long story short, it is absolutely amazing. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested but hesitant to watch it. I would recommend watching anime as an extremely efficient study break indulgence as most episodes are only 20 minutes (not an extreme investment of time) and it is much more satisfying than watching you tube (which can be addicting and quickly add up to much more time you had originally planned on spending on it).

First Year’s Advice Through A Third Year’s Eyes

The beginning of my September this year has been markedly different than ones past. In first year, I was an anxiety-ridden frosh, trembling as enthused, well-meaning, bandana-wearing leaders thronged my car and carried my luggage to my residence room in Whitney Hall, and wondering without a clue what the upcoming year had in store. In second year, my parents dropped me off at my new apartment, with my father carrying up masses of my furniture in a Herculean feat and, again, I wondered, what this new step of living truly on my own would be like.

This year was different. This year, I crushed my roommate in a hug, brought just a few bags up the stairs, and then jumped happily on my bed, home again in my little apartment in the big city. This year, I ambled along St. George St., passing a confused, smiling mass of frosh with a smile to match. This year, I’m settled at the University of Toronto, no longer foreign to me, but familiar, warm, and my own. Continue reading “First Year’s Advice Through A Third Year’s Eyes”

3 Things a Keener Wish She Knew In First-Year

Before I begin my post, I would like to clarify two things:

First, I was identified by others as a keener. Prior to coming to Canada, I thought there were only nerds. Apparently there were also over-achievers who were “fondly” nicknamed “keeners” by the general populace. Thus I am one of those. Second, please do not judge the keener community. To me personally, I enjoy slaving and overstudying. So before you think about how “life-less” or “weird” I am, I’d like to say for myself that going to Gernstein and reading my textbook on a Tuesday afternoon is pleasant. So it’s like vacationing in the Maldives, only in Toronto (saving money and time).

Most comments on online forums and websites are about how hard U of T is. So to keeners, I’d just like to say, if you worked your butt off in high school, then UT is not that bad. In fact, for me, it was easier. I actually get 8 hours of sleep per night, as opposed to the six in high school.

#1 It’s not that hard

Trust me. Having to not take courses I disliked such as the sciences, everything in university is much easier. With a wide array of classes and a lot of time to study for it (which, as keeners, I’m sure you will), then getting a 3.7+ should not be a problem.

#2 Don’t trust the ASSU

That was my biggest regret. I wanted to have a relaxing course in my first semester, so I took a super duper easy seminar course. It was super duper easy, except there was one problem: the teacher curved all our grades down since it was THAT easy. Being a naive first-year, I did not know this could happen, so I was super sad when my grade was lower by two grades. It turned out to be my lowest grade and a source of some mourning.

For all the courses that people warned me about, I did swimmingly because I put a lot of effort into them. ASSU is good to gauge the difficulty of the course, but somehow, I managed liking the courses that people gave the lowest rankings to just because I was willing to put in the extra effort.

#3 Take more courses in your first year

There are so many second-year classes you could take that don’t have any prerequisites, so do it when you have time and when university hasn’t fatigued you. I only wish I explored more elective options, such as religion courses with really fun names (Death and the Afterlife? You got me!).

To the keeners out there reading this, you’ll enjoy UT. Even though Urban Dictionary and eons of people bash it, you will be able to manage both your grades and a social life. There are so many opportunities that are just waiting for you to explore, so be excited. If you worked hard in high school, continue. If you didn’t, start now. If you still don’t find the motivation…party hard.

Eat, Sleep, Study: Sage Advice from a First-Year Student

Where I come from, a little town called Ottawa, we have this novel concept called snow. It arrives with a few flurries in late November, followed by a massive downpour in early December which kindly provide your shivering street with a thick coat of snow. This snow, a common phenomenon throughout Canada, does not appear with such grandeur in Toronto. In fact, it is now December, and I have yet to have felt the need to break out my snow pants and go to class via my toboggan. Snow, in downtown Toronto, has thus far been little more than a mere spitting of snowflakes and a few piles of snow here and there.

In Ottawa, the first sign of snow sent a clear message that first semester was almost complete and exams were just around the corner. In Toronto, the indication that exams are coming is not seen in a change in the physical environment but rather in a noticeable shift in the collective mentality of the student body. Slowly but surely, as November crawled to an end, I noticed more and more students with a glazed look in their eyes. Everybody seemed to be walking a bit slower, wearing sweatpants a few more times a week, letting their hair be a little more dishevelled than usual. Even the hipsters seemed to put less care into their usually calculated looks, many opting to replace their styled coifs with slouchy chapeaus, and their skinny jeans with, well, slightly less skinny jeans.

Exams at University of Toronto are, indeed, not merely an event: they are a lifestyle change. Students who party frequently skip out on thirsty Thursdays at bars to study at libraries, and students who are mildly stressed year-round literally go insane before your eyes. I myself am mentally deteriorating in the midst of exam stress, but nonetheless, I hope this blog serves to provide some first-year students with a picture of exam time, and how to make it as least painful as it can possibly be. Continue reading “Eat, Sleep, Study: Sage Advice from a First-Year Student”

Going Abroad: Part II

So, you’ve read Going Abroad: Part I, you’ve thought about it and you’ve decided that you want to go abroad. So, how do you go about doing it?

First of all, do research. Think about what kind of courses you want to take abroad. Do the Woodsworth College Summer Abroad program suit your credit needs (you don’t need to be a Woodsworth College student to do their programs)? If so, please take a look at their application process on their website. The advantage of a Woodsworth program is that you travel with a group and there’s little paperwork to be done to get your transfer credits.

None of the courses at the Woodsworth program interest me. Does that mean I can’t go on an exchange?

No, you just have to do a little more research and paperwork but it’s all worth it.

How to proceed:

Step 1: Find a U of T exchange partner institution with programs and courses that interest you. You can do this through the ISXO website. If you’re unsure, try contacting your professors and see if they can suggest a few universities where you could study.

Step 2: Join the StudyAbroad portal group so you can get regular updates on deadlines, funding opportunities and other information.

Step 3: Get a nomination from the ISXO to study abroad. This is absolutely mandatory. You will NOT get credits from the institution if you are not nominated by the ISXO. To get a nomination, you will need 2 letters of reference (1 if you’re doing a summer exchange), a statement of interest, a resume and you will need to fill in a checklist and an online application on the ISXO website.

Just wondering, what do are they looking for in my statement of interest?

The statement of interest is just a way to find out what you want to study, why you want to study abroad and how that would complement your education. You should also show that you’re either a seasoned traveler and/or that you’re responsible and mature enough to go abroad alone. So any other experiences abroad should be mentioned here.

Step 4: Hand in your application to the ISXO. Please check the website to see which deadline applies to you.

Step 5: Wait for your application to process. You may or may not get called to do an interview.

If you’re accepted…

Step 6: You will have to register and participate in 2 mandatory meetings: a pre-departure meeting and a transfer credit info session. The ISXO will also inform you about the bit of paperwork you’re going to have to do to earn your credit during these sessions.

Enjoy studying abroad!

For more information, try going to the study abroad fair on Wednesday, November 10 from noon to 5PM at the Cumberland Room, 33 St. George St.

For people interested in going to East Asia, the East Asian Studies Student Union is holding an information session on studying in Asia on November 30th from 1PM to 4:30PM in the Cumberland Room in the Cumberland House at 33 St. George St. Drop in and out as you please. Light refreshments and snacks will be served.

Once Upon a Midterm: Sage Advice from a First Year Student

Once upon a time, you decided you were going to go to U of T. Maybe your parents took you to an information evening, and you briefly heard the speaker mention how your 90 average was probably going to plummet, but you were distracted uploading a picture to Facebook of you in your new, complimentary U of T baseball cap. Maybe your guidance counsellor warned you that U of T was a really tough school, and you really considered what they said, and decided you could handle it. You’re a good student. Sure, your marks might drop a bit. But you’ll get back up there.

So, you went to U of T. It was great. The classes were really stimulating, you made lots of friends. Or maybe you hated all your classes and completely overhauled your schedule. Either way, some time in late October or early November, it was time for your first set of midterms.

You were going to be fine. You studied for hours in Robarts. You could practically give the lectures for this course.

Fast forward to today, two weeks later. The midterm marks are up on Blackboard and you’re making a safe bet on an 80. But guess what foreign number greets you when you turn on your screen: 60.

Huh. Never seen that grade before. It’s kind of nice. Very… round.

First year students (with the exception of geniuses, which there are many of at U of T), it is my distinct honour and pleasure to welcome you to the First Midterm Reality Check Club! Yes, it’s true, your 90s have literally FLIPPED OVER into a fabulous new number!

As you embark on the new and exciting numeric journey that is your first midterm grades, I would like to offer you a few reasons why you should NOT panic:

Continue reading “Once Upon a Midterm: Sage Advice from a First Year Student”

The No-Fear-First-Year Mini Guide to Starting at UofT

When I was eight years old I loved everything about summer. That is, until those “back-to-school” commercials started popping up everywhere (why they air those commercials as soon as we have our first taste of summer, I’ll never know.) As soon as I saw those advertisements, I was reminded of the horrors of going back to school—but that was before my education included lectures about movies and playing beer pong.  So, for those of us lucky enough to go to UofT, seeing a “back-to-school” advertisement no longer needs to fill us with mortal dread. Instead, we can embrace this time;  September is reborn as a time for Toga parties, being reunited with old friends, and even making new ones.

While many readers will have already passed Freshman year, I’m sure there are those of you who are still a bit nervous about heading off into the direction of academia. For those lucky few, I have prepared the following crash-course on how to spend your first few weeks at UofT.

1. Don’t freak out.

You’ve signed up for your classes. You’ve paid your tuition (hopefully!). You know where you are going to live.  Beyond that,  don’t worry over anything just yet. Just because the anti-calendar says your class is going to suck, doesn’t mean it actually will.  Just because you don’t know anyone in your class, doesn’t mean you can’t make some new friends– or at least meet someone to share notes with.  Don’t listen to people when they tell you to just “turn back while you can!”. You obviously did well enough in High School to get into Uni, so there is no reason you can’t succeed once you get there.

2. Seriously, don’t freak out.

All of those things you are worried about—making friends, tests, term papers, parties, getting lost—they haven’t happened yet.

Continue reading “The No-Fear-First-Year Mini Guide to Starting at UofT”