Category Archives: AMS

It was a cold 20 degrees

The weather forecast said it would be 20°C, so naturally, I went running out to work in a short-sleeved top and open-toe sandals, only to be greeted by a sharp, biting chill in the air I haven’t felt for months. Autumn is definitely here and our last day of summer was probably on Saturday, when the skies were blue and the air still held caresses of warmth.

Fortunately for me, I had the best ending to my summer spending it at Lonsdale Market, eating a beavertail and watching people dancing on the quayside. My friend and I ended the day with delicious Afghan food at The Afghan Horsemen by Granville Island and just having a good heart-to-heart. One of those perfect days (marred only when my sunglasses dropped into a toilet bowl that luckily had nothing else in it).

Goodbye summer, hello autumn.

Despite the fact that I’m moving stuff into res in a couple of days, it still came as a shock to me when someone said, ‘So, do you want to meet up this week or when school starts next week?’

Ohemgee. What do you mean, when school starts — ohemgee, school starts next week!

And suddenly there is a lot more to be done in a lot less time. Things must be moved, my home must be cleaned, training retreat must be attended, books acquired and read, work to be done (x2), a steady job to be found, and the list goes on.

But there are also a dozen things to look forward to on Imagine Day:

  • A free pancake breakfast.
  • Free highlighter pens and lip balm (SPF 15!).
  • A free barbeque lunch.
  • Apparently also free cacti plants, if last year is any clue to go by.
  • Free things, in general.
  • The fact that we don’t have to go to school until Wednesday. (Although apparently University of Toronto gives their students the whole first week off. Boo to us not having the same.)

If you don’t know what’s going on that day, check out the UBC Events page. One of my favourite resources, it’s the most comprehensive site of events going on at UBC at any time of the year. Currently it’s exhibiting a fantastic makeover courtesy of UBC Orientations. I am really proud of them for doing such a brilliant job last year — although I had no interest in Imagine Day besides the fact that we didn’t have to start school straight away, I loved the atmosphere far more than I expected. Result? I have every intention of signing up for as few shifts at the Speakeasy booth as possible this year, and do other equally important things, like getting cotton candy. Free cotton candy!

Also worth checking out is AMS First Week’s calendar of events. While I never get the wristband because I never have the time to go to enough events to make it worthwhile, I definitely recommend going to watch at least one UBC Improv show! Those guys are fantastic.

If you’ve got any other suggestions for things to check out and/or do during next week, let me know! Especially if there’s food involved. Free food. ♥

Initial Impressions of a Returning Student

  • Got back from Hong Kong yesterday. Very tired.
  • Went to buy books today. Surprisingly few people. Also sold out of a bunch of my books.
  • Got mistaken for a first-year, just like last year. Prediction: will be mistaken for a first-year for all five years I am here.
  • White Spot is replacing 99 Chairs. Are they targeting students or professors?!
  • Buchanan B block doesn’t look any different from the outside than it did before it got renovated.
  • I gave a lot of Speakeasy fliers out today. For those who don’t know, AMS Speakeasy is a student peer support and information service. If ever you want anyone to talk about a problem you’re having (exam stress, relationship issues, LGBTT questions, etc.), you can drop by the Information Desk in the SUB and a trained volunteer will be available to provide help and resources. This is a one-off, drop-in service, so there’s no need to make an appointment, and it’s all confidential. The desk is open 9 AM to 5 PM on weekdays. If you’re interested in applying, applications are due this Friday.

Pinkeye Blues

I’ve been quiet for the last couple of weeks because — dum dum dum! — I picked up a case of conjunctivitus, better known to the general public as pinkeye. Without going into details about it here, you are welcome to look it up on Wikipedia if you don’t know what it is. My situation was not as bad as some on there, but it was gross enough.

The first week was pretty awful. I went to three doctors and my optometrist before it finally started improving. Dr. Zia at West 4th Optometry Clinic is wonderful and did for me what the other three general doctors did not: stop my swelling and my pain. I faithfully recommend her for anything to do with your eyes.

Anyway, my pinkeye is finally gone and I am just left with a little bit of red in my eye where it haemorraged. This sounds and looks a lot scarier than it really is, but it really isn’t very much for me as I didn’t even feel when it happened. This, too, is finally clearing up and I am so glad. I’m sure my supervisor and coworkers are also delighted not to have to see a red-eyed girl working next to them all the time. I brought a tub of Lysol Clorox wipes to work and was constantly disinfecting all areas I’d touched, particularly common ones, in a fear of spreading pinkeye to others.

A lesson I did learn from this experience is to constantly ask pharmacists if they accept the AMS/GSS extended medical plan. Now, I’ve never really paid much attention to this particular coverage; I’m used to being asked for my CareCard, but not anything else. So it was with a pleasant surprise that the third time I visited the pharmacy, they asked me if I had any extended coverage. I was about to say no when I remembered one of those things I pay fees for — and voila, they accepted it and the plan paid for a portion of my prescription! Judging by previous prescriptions that I had to collect, I’d say I saved about $10 or so. I am now a lot more interested in what the AMS/GSS plan covers and will be sure to look it up the next time I need anything remotely related to it.

I also have plans to look up Fair PharmaCare and see if I can get help from that. Prescription drugs can cost a nice load.

Stressed Out? Come to Speakeasy.

Three cheers for the end of school today! Not that I had a bad term or anything (it was very decent, actually), but it feels so good to finally see the light at the end of a long tunnel. I don’t just speak for myself when I say that I look forward to a break from school.

Unfortunately, we have finals.

I know that this is a very stressful time of year for students, and so I’d just like to mention that the AMS Speakeasy Peer Support service is operating at this time. For those of you who aren’t sure what Speakeasy is or where we are located, we are a confidential peer support service* that offers a safe space in which you can talk about your problems — no matter what they are: academic stress, relationship problems, sexuality, or anything else — with one of our trained volunteers. If you just need someone to listen to you for a while, or if you need assistance with something and don’t know where to turn to, please come and we will try our best to help you.

You can find us at the Information Desk in the SUB’s Main Concourse. We are running from Thursday, April 9th (tomorrow) until Tuesday, April 28th. Our hours are usually from 9 am to 5 pm, Mondays through to Fridays. I say “usually” because, being a volunteer service, volunteers are also doing exams and there may not be anyone on shift at the time. If there isn’t anyone to help you, please come again in a couple of hours — sooner or later there will be someone!

And finally: good luck with exams!

* We are not a professionally accredited counselling service, therefore the name of peer support (students supporting other students).

Inflating Fees

As you probably know, the latest UBC email reminds us that there is going to be a 2% fee increase in domestic and international tuition, among other things. Somehow, I never think it’s quite fair for international students to have to pay the “same” increase: 2% of $19,334 is not the same as 2% of $4343 — and that’s just if you’re an Arts student; most other faculties hit or surpass the $20,000 mark. It’s asking people who are already paying an arm and a leg to give up yet another limb; I wonder if there will be many more international students coming at the rate tuition fees skyrocket, and then where will we be, aspiring international university that we are?

My first reaction to the email was: “Again?” And then: “Inflation? What inflation?” Though when I think about it, I suppose there is inflation… in food prices, among other life necessities. No, I can’t see this announcement being very welcome, particularly in this current climate of everyone feeling poorer than before.

Although this may be rather irrational, I begin to wish for a re-vote of the SUB Renewal Project…