Recap #3: The Good Good and the Could’ve Been Better!

I’m currently writing this blog post to put off the final assignments I have due this last week.

Some things never change, huh?

But, we did it!!!!! We survived our first year of university all!!!!! The last time I caught up with you, winter break just finished and we were getting back in the grind. Now, I’m grinding my teeth in stress trying to make it through this last week.

So let’s recap. What’s happened this semester?

The “Good Good”

Exploring St. George

When the sun dared to grace us this winter, I headed downtown to go walk around.

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I had more free time this term since I reduced  my courseload by one class. I was able to roam downtown, which was strangely therapeutic. I strolled through Queen’s Park, ambled about around Robarts, and went exploring through the other libraries.

More Medium goings-on

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Goodbye Honolulu at the Smiling Buddha, January 27, 2017

Um, my friend Mrinalini and I got to interview Toronto band Goodbye Honolulu for the Medium newspaper????? NBD.

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Literature Matters lecture series, with Karen Solie and Esi Edugyan

I also attended an awesome talk at the Isabel Bader Theatre downtown for the Literature Matters series, covered the UTM Film Fest, and interviewed UTM50’s photographer laureate.

 

L’Enfant Terrible of Hollywood: Stanley Kubrick

CIN290: The Films of Stanley Kubrick may or may not be my favourite uni class this year. It’s probably because in an ideal universe, I would be getting paid to watch and write about movies. But that’s beside the point.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this class because the lectures were engaging and the readings were never too dense or boring. Formally analyzing the films I spent my high school years watching was enlightening; it made me question Kubrick’s choices in making these technical and visual masterpieces. 10/10, highly recommend.

The “Could Have Been Better”

Campus Involvement

I was lacking in my campus involvement this semester! I can make the excuse that first term burnt me out… but I won’t! I was just too busy (read: lazy) this semester with my writing-intensive courses. I did write a few pieces for the newspaper, but I didn’t do much else on campus.

Work Ethic

I’m all about transparency here (I live to serve you!!!!!), so I will confess my work ethic has been abysmal this semester. I wasn’t as on top on my readings this term, and I skipped more than I care to admit.

But, on the bright side, I learned my limits when it comes to workload and my capabilities with time management. I can learn from the obstacles of this term and avoid them in coming years.

The gym??? What’s that??

Self-explanatory? Self-explanatory.

How was your winter term?

Good luck with exams and thank-you to all who took some time out of their life to indulge in my blogs!!!!

Final Chapter: Getting of Wisdom

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Time’s passing, its constancy, is something I haven’t learned to reconcile.

After my last tutorial on Friday, I’ll be done with my first year of university. But, really, I swear, I still feel September’s sun on my bare shoulders.

Or the cold breeze whipping my face when I got off the plane at the Pearson airport in January two years ago. Or the oil in my greasy hair the day I said goodbye to my childhood friends in California three Decembers ago.

Or the feel of strangers’ bodies against mine the first time I plunged into a mosh pit in eighth grade. Or the green shirt I wore to school the first day of seventh grade. Or the coolness on the back of my neck when I cut off all my hair in sixth grade.

Memories have a polarity akin to water. They glide on the surface, tension preventing them from dripping away. When they slide close, they plop together, uniting. Memories start to flood, with a current that grows faster and fiercer with every moment you recall.

And, as this year comes to a close, a torrent floods my mind. I have made incredible friends, with whom I made incredible memories, memories that will keep me from thirst. So I’d like to thank those who have shaped this year into something eternally valuable to me: my new friends, mentors (You’re the best Laura!!), and study buddies.

And, of course, you, you tenacious reader who has somehow made it through to this paragraph, this sentence. Thank you for indulging me in my tendency to give unsolicited recommendations, reveal too much about myself, and get introspective.

While I am grateful for all the good things I am not likely to forget anytime soon, I can’t help but feel terrified of what is to come. Time unsettles me because of the constant unknowns. We rush forward without stopping for a breath above the current. It’s exhausting. What will the future hold? What are my priorities? Will I ever find a stable job, a cool downtown apartment, and a dog who loves me unconditionally????

But that’s par for course, isn’t it? Unknowns practically define the nature of life. But according to Albert Einstein, in a letter to the Queen of Belgium, he believes:

“There is, after all, something eternal that lies beyond the hand of fate and of all human delusions, and such eternals lie closer to an older person than to a younger one oscillating between fear and hope. For us, there remains the privilege of experiencing beauty and truth in their purest forms.”

It’s natural, in our youth, to fear and to hope. It’s the lack of worldly life experience. Experiencing “beauty and truth in their purest forms” only awaits us, so we must get out of bed every morning, surely. It’s a part of growing, as a person, and growing older, as a human being walking this earth for a finite time.

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I started off this school year, and this blog, with the idea of growing.

Growing up, growing more, growing better and kinder and smarter. I’d like to think I’ve done a fair bit of that this year.

[Photos from film Into the Wild]

What kind of procrastinator are you? Take this quiz and find out!

What kind of procrastinator are you? 

You’ve got a paper due tomorrow, at the beginning of your 2 PM tutorial. What’s the sitch looking like?

A) 2 PM? I’ve got time, don’t worry about it. I’ve got like, what? Two hours? Plenty of time.What paper?

B) It’s fine, it’s fine. I’ve got, like, so much time. Now shut up, I gotta finish this episode of The Get Down.

C) Well, let me just clean my desk a  bit. And then let me just put away these clothes. I’ve still got to do the dishes too. Where’s the vacuum…

D) What paper?

 

What does your desk look like on an average day?

A) Four mugs, some empty energy drink cans have toppled over, and loose leaf notes scattered about

B) Food. Just…a bunch of food. Mostly bags of chips and valentine’s day candy (weirdly, they’re already on sale)

C) Spotless. Go on, smell it. Yeah, that’s lemon-scented cleaner.

D) What table?

 

What tabs have you got open on your browser?

A) Netflix (Gilmore Girls, Season 4), YouTube (Stephen Colbert monologues), Reddit (Overwatch subreddit)

B) Buzzfeed quizzes. Just all of the Buzzfeed Quizzes.

C) A bunch of Wiki-How how-to’s: “How to make your own detergent,” “How to repierce your ears once they’ve closed up,” How to make your dog love you”

D) *is asleep*

 

If you got mostly A’s:

You’re one of the ones who delude themselves into thinking that a paper due at midnight can be done and executed well if they start two hours before the deadline because they’ve “got this” and have a case of red bull.

If you got mostly B’s:

You’re one of the ones who get so stressed out and anxious about school and impending deadlines that they veg out, doing absolutely nothing, paralyzed by stress. You’ve been lulled into a false kind of calm because you’re so stressed out.

If you got mostly C’s:

You’re one of the ones who does everything else just to avoid doing school work. You do all your chores in three hours. You do all those things your mom asked you to do, like, three months ago. You learn a new craft, like Python coding or basket weaving.

If you got mostly D’s:

Um…are you sure you even go here?

Or maybe you’re a mix of these types. Nevertheless, here are some tips from fellow-first years to help you avoid procrastinating.

One thing I do to feel like I’m being productive is make lists. I make to-do checklists with things I have to achieve that day, and that day only. I try not to overwhelm myself with the rest of the week, unless they’re important deadlines I should be pacing myself for. After I’ve made those, I feel more inclined to start doing my work, which is one of the most difficult things to overcome–the struggle of getting started.

Yasmeen says that her phone is an ultimate distraction: “Putting the phone away could be a major focus changer. It’s extremely tempting to constantly check it so putting it faaaaaar away and on silent is the way to go.”

Natalia agrees. She says that she needs to put any distractions out of the way. Once she’s achieved a task, she rewards herself with a small break.

Lorena organizes: “I try to make a pretty schedule with pretty colours and cool designs to help me feel as though my life is somewhat organized.” To stay focused while studying, she listens to instrumental music. She says that she likes listening to “really intense music that makes it sound as though if I finish this essay, I will save the world.”

How do you deal with procrastination? Any tips?

Celebrate Women’s History Month with These Films!

Curating a short list of films directed by women was honestly so much more difficult than I thought it would be. There are just waaaay too many good movies and women filmmakers to choose from.

So instead of compiling a short list of some of the smartest, most captivating cinema, I’ve broken these recommendations down by mood/genre. Enjoy Women’s History Month with these picks!

In the mood for…

…coming of age films?

The Edge of SeventeenThis movie perfectly captures the ~*teenage angst*~ we’ve all felt (or are still enduring) without mocking teenage girls’ plights. Nadine, played by Hailee Steinfeld, is so awkward and so real that I felt transported back to high school.

MustangThis film by Deniz Gamze Erguven earned the Turkish director a Cesar for best debut, and rightly so. It takes place in Northern Turkey and follows five sisters whose conservative grandmother, one by one, arranges their marriages. It’s reminiscent of Sofia Coppola’s Virgin Suicides, but with less…death and dreamy filters. Ultimately, it’s about the power of sisterhood.

If you like these you might also like Girlhood, dir. Celine Sciamma.

…LGBTQ+ movies?

But I’m a Cheerleader – RU PAUL!!!!!! But if that’s not enough to convince you, there’s also Natasha Lyonne playing a high school cheerleader Megan who is sent to a conversion therapy camp when her parents suspect her of being a lesbian (because she’s vegetarian and likes Melissa Etheridge). This satire is hilariously camp and the costume/set design is reminiscent of John Waters.

Boys Don’t Cry – This film is a romantic drama about Brandon Teena, a trans man trying to maneuver through a small town and his own identity. Though I have reservations about Hilary Swank’s casting as a trans character, this film is heart-wrenching and worth a watch.

…a quiet period-piece?

BRIGHT STAR

Bright Star – Jane Campion’s most recent feature film is about the relationship between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne. It follows the couple’s courtship all the way to the poet’s premature death (Keats died when he was only 25 years old). Campion’s biographical feature is quiet, soft, and understated and yet still thoroughly engaging.

…dysfunctional family drama?

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La Cienaga – I’m always up for dysfunctional family dramas (that’s probably why I latched onto Wes Anderson’s filmography in middle school). This film, by Lucrecia Martel, is a prime example of this type of drama. It follows a family in Argentina; it involves drinking and humid summer days and listlessness and the feeling that contentment will always be out of reach. This movie is slow-paced, which only adds to the building tension of the feuding family.

…an empowering story about a girl in Saudi Arabia who dreams of riding a bike despite all the cultural norms that stop her from achieving her dreams?

WADJDA

Wadjda – WELL YOU’RE IN LUCK! Your weirdly specific mood can be satisfied by Wadjda, the first Saudi Arabian feature-length film made by a woman.

…a historical drama?

SELMA

Selma – If you haven’t seen Ava Duvernay’s gripping MLK film, DO IT!!! And keep a look out for her adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s novel A Wrinkle In Time next year. (If you enjoyed this, check out Duvernay’s documentary, 13th, on Netflix. It deals with the timely topic of mass incarceration of African-Americans in the US.)

Honourable mentions from other first-year students:

Andriana  recommends anything from Claire Denis, a French filmmaker. Check out her critically acclaimed debut, Chocolat.

Mrinalini recommends some awesome 90s gems: Clueless, Wayne’s Worldand Little Women.

But if you don’t check any of these amazing feats of cinema movies, at least watch the cinematic masterpiece all three of us recommend:

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Shrek (2001) dir. Vicky Jenson and Andrew Adamson.

(It’s directed by a man and woman duo, but it obviously counts. You can’t ignore true cinema.)

What are your favourite women-directed/-written/-produced films? Have any recommendations?

Happy Women’s History Month!

 

Boogie Down to These Groovy Tunes for Women’s History Month!

(I think that’s my best blog post title yet.)

2016 was a fantastic year in music made by women.

So, to continue our Women’s History Month festivities, here are some groovy records made by groovy women from the past year.

SOLANGE

A Seat at the Table | Solange

I’m trying really hard not to use too many exclamation marks, so just visualize a hundred of them littering this page and you’ll understand how I feel about Solange’s 2016 release.

I’m probably not the first person to order you to listen to A Seat at the Table; in fact, you’ve probably already been blasting this masterpiece since it dropped in September.

This album oozes feeling and soul. It deals with hope and depression, with family and culture. It’s perfectly melancholy and optimistic.

Highlights: Cranes in the SkyRise, F.U.B.U

PUBERTY

Puberty 2 | Mitski

If you’ve been following Mitski for a while, you know she’s unapologetically herself. Now take that, and amplify it by… a lot. That’s what Puberty 2 is for me.

It’s simultaneously vulnerable and guarded, carefree and melancholy, so so dreamy. Her wistful voice in particular is what made me fall in love with her music. Pair that with gritty guitar, and it’s golden.

Highlights: Your Best American Girl (her performance on Colbert was killer), A Burning Hill

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You Know What It’s Like | Carla dal Forno

According to the title track’s YouTube video, dal Forno’s album is “an album for inbetween days, and occupies inbetween states: plain-speaking pop, disorientated by dub… Drifting in space while still tethered to the ground… Longing for adventure and an unquiet life. Struggling to get out of bed.”

Haunting vocals, ominous percussion, another kind of electronic. This album is great for spooky, witchy study nights.

Highlights: honestly, just listen to the whole thing.

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Until the Hunter | Hope Sandoval and the Warm Intentions

I have loved Hope Sandoval since my timely discovery of Mazzy Star early in high school. She blew me away with her stretching, drawling vocals. She had this stage persona that was honestly ~*goals*~.

So when I rediscovered her last year, I was happy to find Until the Hunter. She’s still as dreamy, witchy, and haunting as ever on this album, which is filled with understated acoustic tracks and some chill, the-sun-is-setting-so-I’ll-just-lie-down songs.

Highlights: Let Me Get There (ft. Kurt Vile), The Peasant

Who are your fave women in music?

Happy listening!

No Ban! No Wall! Justice For All!

February 4, 2017.

It’s 9 PM and I’m exhausted.

My ears are ringing, fingers stiff from the cold.

I just got home ten minutes ago from today’s march.

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shout out to that person with the Bernie hoodie

It was a National Day of Action across Canada today. In Toronto this afternoon, hordes of passionate protestors gathered for the March Against Islamophobia and White Supremacy, myself included. The event began in the middle of University Avenue, rather than on the steps of the US Consulate after authorities moved the congregation away.

After multiple speakers, prayers, and poetry, the march began in the very heart of Toronto. People marched on the pavement of University Avenue, to Dundas, down Yonge, then around to Queen. Chants drowned out the traffic and noise; signs and banners competed with the clear blue sky.

No ban! No wall! Justice! For all!

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Muslim lives! They matter here!

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Black lives! They matter here!

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I feel at once fatigued and invigorated by today’s supportive rally.

I’m tired because of the fact that this protest had to happen in the first place. When Trump rolled in his executive order, euphemistically titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” last week, I was speechless. The chaos that has then ensued after the implementation of the travel (read: Muslim) ban was not a shock, however. When basic civil rights are done away with, what does a person have left but their anger and frustration?

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This was the undercurrent of today’s march in Toronto.

Fury.

But it also mingled with a fervor only unification can bring. People brought their children and pets to the march, despite the freezing temperature. Friends brought friends, who brought signs and banners and enthusiasm unmatched. Everyone brought their voices.

And now, as I type this, I’ve realized I lost mine.

By the end of the march, the cold had gotten to my throat, but the crowd kept going. And that was a sight to see. Hundreds of people marched in front of me with their witty, angry, and hopeful signs; hundreds more followed on my heels.

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The news is on now, and I’m seeing footage from protests around the world:

London, with people protesting against PM Theresa May’s visit with Trump.

New York, at the Stonewall National Monument.

San Francisco, Washington D.C., Denver, Austin, Philadelphia.

For the third week, masses of people flooded the streets, the consulates, the embassies. And it’s all for the people who have been separated from their families, detained and mistreated at airports, and have suffered attacks in their holy sanctuaries.

So yes, while there is fury, there is also solidarity.

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But honestly, all I’m thinking is: what will happen next? I am a woman of colour who lived in the US for thirteen years of her life before moving to Canada two years ago. Minority identities intersect through me. I cannot separate myself from the fear I was conditioned to grow up with, to live through. I cannot detach from myself the fear I feel for my friends and family at risk, back in California.

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Two weeks in, and the world is in flames.

What will the next four years bring? For Americans? For Canadians? For us as University students? What do you all think?

Want to make your study breaks more fun? Try Le Cinema Club

Got twenty minutes?

After a couple hours of studying, I know I certainly need a break. Instead of getting distracted by all the memes on my Facebook feed, though, I’ve decided to make my small study breaks more productive.

Enter Le Cinema Club.

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Le Cinema Club is a site that hosts one film per week, premiering every Sunday. These free films include works from up-and-coming filmmakers, rare finds, and documentaries; they are also accompanied by brief descriptions and even interviews with the director.

Le Cinema Club is a gem that I discovered in 2015 during my “What short films can I find online and watch for free?” phase. There are quite a few on Vimeo that are beautifully made, so I watched those for a while. Under one of the videos was a comment that suggested the site Le Cinema Club. Huh. I wondered what that was.

So I googled the site and found it. It’s a minimalist site: black background, white sans serif font, two columns. The title was large on the left column, and the play button just below. The right column boasted stills from the week’s selection, followed by the description.

It was just what I was looking for. Most selections are usually under twenty minutes: enough to be engaging, short enough that I wouldn’t feel guilty watching it. (The site has hosted longer films before, but not as often.)  The genres encompass a wide variety, from avant-garde art cinema to documentary portraits.

I also love this service because it includes understated international films I otherwise would never be able to access in Canada. There have been numerous French works, Greek films, and some Eastern European selections. I’m keen on seeing some more works from outside of Europe and North America, though, so my fingers are crossed.

Le Cinema Club is also a valuable resource in accessing earlier works of now-successful directors. Their impressive archive includes:

  • an early project of Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, the man behind the surreal Dogtooth and more recently, The Lobster
  • The Discipline of D.E. by Gus Van Sant, the director who would go on to create My Own Private Idaho and Good Will Hunting
  • Brothers, a short film by Robert Eggers that would win over studios’ backing in producing the haunting 2016 horror hit, The Witch

My favourites include:

 

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The only catch is that Le Cinema Club only screens the films for one week only. So set that alarm Saturday evening, or you’ll definitely miss out.

Any short films from Le Cinema Club (or short films in general!) you want to recommend?

New Year Series Part 3: Overcoming Failure

This is part 3 of my New Year series, a trilogy of posts about 2017. This final essay is about failure and how reorienting one’s attitude on making mistakes can lead to growth. This is about looking back in order to move forward. 

~~~

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Have you checked your grades on Blackboard yet?

I didn’t check them until the very last day before the second term started. I didn’t because I knew I had done poorly in one class, worse than I thought, and I didn’t want that confirmed.

All my life I’ve been terrified of making mistakes. I think it started when my old school district (LAUSD) implemented the Gifted Program, where they would single out high-achieving students as early as third grade and provide them with accelerated curricula and more time with teachers. As an eight year old, I wasn’t cognizant of this differentiation between “Gifted” and non-“Gifted” students, I just thought my teacher was giving a few of us more to read.

But then the language changed. In middle school, my school would call these advanced classes, “Honors” classes. Then in high school, they mixed that in with Advanced Placement courses, which had end-of-the-year exams that, if successful, one could earn college (university) credit.

Though I wasn’t righteous about my advanced placement in school, I was affected psychologically in a subtle way: I was afraid of making mistakes. I wasn’t comfortable with errors, because in such a competitive academic climate, there was no room for mistakes…

…And now we’re back to sweaty palms, sweaty everything, waiting for Blackboard to load. I have a pillow scrunched up in my middle. I’m rocking back and forth on my bed, legs crossed. The sun has set, but the vestiges of the orange and pink still linger west; the only source of light is my laptop screen’s full brightness, harsh in my frantic eyes and darkened room. And there it is. My not-so-good final mark.

I slam my laptop shut, just missing my fingers. I fall back into my pillow. I curl into a fragile ball. Happy new year.

~~~

I asked some fellow UTM first-years about their views on failure and how they deal with making mistakes.

Art and art history student, Vidhi, takes onus when it comes to shortcomings: “To me, it means that I did not put my best foot forward.” To her it means that the reason for failure starts with her and her actions first, an admirable starting point. She continues to say that there is all the opportunity to do well, but missteps happen when she only chooses to do something halfheartedly.

A History student Mrinalini, riffs off of the same vein of accountability: “It’s the inability to reach your full potential despite having all the resources…It is the result of not being realistic and overestimating your own abilities.” Sometimes failure can be because of a certain arrogance, what she says as “setting goals you know you won’t be able to meet”, which is something I am guilty of as well. I get too ambitious in my own abilities, too wrapped up in this idea of being the precocious youth.

To Andriana, a political science student, failure means that there is still much to learn. She also recognizes the privilege she has in being able to afford mistakes: “Whenever I make mistakes or I ‘fail’ at something, they [her parents] always tell me that I’m lucky to have been given this new learning experience.” 

In dealing with failures, both all three do their best to learn from past experiences. Vidhi says that she “lets these mistakes and failures fuel [her] to do better next time.” Mrinalini admits though that moving on can be difficult and finds that “the easiest way to deal with a mistake is by distracting yourself and then over time you will forget it and move on.” Andriana credits failures as the impetus to self-evaluation. In practice, I veer towards the Mrinalini’s outlook because of the fact that mistakes to me are monumental–I blow them out of proportion, an unhealthy mindset.

~

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Though it felt like it, after unfurling myself from my own pity party, I see that the world hasn’t ended. My grades were just numbers in some cloud, something to move on from now that new classes have begun. I feel reinvigorated with a new fervour to learn, not to wear myself thin at the thought of getting A’s. I’m not sure if I’m there yet, but in time, I believe I will see past mistakes not as failures, but steps that faltered and nonetheless brought me forward.

Like a chipped cup, I would toss myself out, neglecting to see further use in something damaged. However, like the Japanese art of kintsugi, I will learn to rebuild myself this year. I will gather my jagged ceramic and piece them back together with gold optimism.

Because mistakes mean growth, wisdom.  Because perfection is impossible. The more you try to get closer to what can’t be touched, the more hatred and disappointment will lash back at you. So reorient yourself (that’s right, I’m talking to myself specifically here!!). Perfection should not be the aim; it’s too cruel, too boring, too utilitarian a goal.

As Neil Gaiman said in his now-classic commencement address at the University of the Arts in 2012:

Make new mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before.

And in them, you and I will find a way to live more mindfully, to grow more beautifully, and to act more kindly, especially to ourselves.

How do you deal with making mistakes? How would you like to change your attitude this year?

Why Taking a utmONE Course Was One of the Best Choices I’ve Made in University

Some of my most worthwhile choices fall term were to get involved with a few of the Office of Student Transition’s programs: this blogging gig (!!!), LAUNCH, and utmONE Scholars, all of which I highly recommend to incoming first years.

In terms of academics, though, I highly value my experience with OST’s utmONE Scholars program.

Last summer, I applied to UTM196, Building Global Justice; now, half a year later, I see that that was one of the best choices I’ve made regarding university.

UtmONE helped me in many ways: I discovered the resources available at UTM, I transitioned relatively smoothly into the academic climate of university, and most importantly, I gained valuable technical skills regarding academic discipline.

 

UTM196: Building Global Justice

The small size of my UTM196 Building Global Justice course was conducive to an engaging learning environment. Because the Scholars program requires an application, it allowed for equally involved students who were eager to learn and discuss global justice.

What was paramount to my development as a university student, however, was the academic structure of the class. Each week, our engaging, encouraging instructor, Professor Laliberte, required a synthesis response to an array of different materials relating to the week’s topic. Most weeks required three dense, theoretical readings; others had feature films or documentaries sprinkled in. Though incredibly difficult at times, I learned how to manage my time well, how to read through seemingly insurmountable jargon, and what to expect in my next years at UTM.

 

Time Management

Due to the heavy course load of my Justice course, I was forced to reconfigure my time. In high school, assignments and readings were manageable because my school operated on year-long courses. There was usually enough time to cover most units. However, come university, I didn’t know what to expect. This utmONE course helped me acclimate to the faster pace and denser information load.

I figured out when in my school week I could dedicate a few hours to these readings, in relation to my other course work. I soon grew accustomed to the amount of time it took me, on average, to get through a theoretical article efficiently and absorb the content. Consequently, I formed a routine, which helped in my success.

 

Scholarly Articles

Professor Laliberte and our TA Kelcey also helped us get accustomed to the articles’ theory-heavy nature. High school doesn’t always prepare its students for the complexity of university course material, so I definitely arrived last September out of sorts and a little too sleepy, too distracted when it came to readings.

Dense prose is often considered a non-habit forming sleep aid. To combat drowsiness, boredom, and distraction, we were taught a handy trick when approaching a new reading. We were advised to first read the abstract, then the introductory paragraph, and then the concluding paragraph. This allowed a familiarity going into a reading, as opposed to annotating every line, trying to manually sift through the concepts. In our weekly responses, we were also encouraged to draw upon previous weeks’ concepts. This helped immensely in my cumulative learning, and piecing together different perspectives on justice.

 

University Expectations

I didn’t expect university to be easy. I expected it to be enjoyable, considering I would be studying more specific concepts and fields, ones that actually interested me (goodbye calculus!). And so far, so good.

Another (unfortunate) prediction I made was the level of difficulty, and that has proved correct as well. This was especially true of Global Justice, which fulfilled its Scholars moniker—here was so much reading in this course. Ultimately, though, I’m pleased I took the challenge.

After taking this course, I know what I can handle. I know what is expected of me for the next four years. Even now, as the new term starts, I feel my muscles stretching, recalling the memory of fall term’s self-imposed discipline. This term’s amount of readings (a lottttt) doesn’t seem so daunting anymore considering Justice’s demands. I feel comfortable in my capacity, a self-assurance I find invaluable.

I cannot recommend utmONE Scholars enough to new to UTM students. The skills I learned and developed regarding academia and personal discipline helped with my overall academic success during fall term. Now, as winter term crawls out from under the snow, I feel myself getting back into the school groove more smoothly. I feel ready.

What were your favourite courses fall term? Which ones helped you develop as a university student?