Mission for 2015

My missions for this year sound deceptively simple. I call them missions because the word ‘resolution’ comes with a whole lot of baggage and an air of something-I-would-like-to-accomplish-but-probably-won’t. These are more like ways I want to live my life. So without further ado:

  1. Be humble
  2. Take action

That’s it.

In Christianity, pride is a sin and one that I think forms the foundation for many other sins. But there’s good pride and bad pride. The way I see it manifested in my life is a focus on my appearance. I love clothes and style is the first way I introduce and express myself to the world. But in the new year, I want to focus less on my outward appearance and more on the beauty surrounding me. This mission extends to other aspects of my life. You ever do a spontaneous good deed and then feel the need to tell the first person you see? And I don’t think I’m the only one who knows part of the reason we volunteer is for the good feeling it gives us. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but it’s time for me to acknowledge my pride and work towards humility. It’s time for me to put more of the attention on the communities I serve and less on me, which can be difficult in our individualistic culture. Though I’m pretty lazy when it comes to updating Instagram and other social media, I still feel the need to update and share while experience a #moment. I just put it off 😛

Which brings me to my next mission. Taking action. Procrastination was a huge struggle for me in first year. It’s less of a problem now, but I’ve found it creeping into non-academic areas of my life. The other day I had the realization that I am a thinker not a doer. An ideas-woman. I have aha-moments, then crowd-source opinions about them, maybe even make preliminary plans and then promptly forget about them. Actually, that’s not quite right. I almost never forget them but  I’m better at coming up with excuses not to rather than reasons to go ahead. Ideas for start-ups, writing ventures, journeys – all lapse in dusty obscurity in my mind’s corners.

I’ve been wondering a lot about my direction in life and I don’t know what the plan is for me. But I don’t want to be the one holding me back. Being scared of the outcome or the effort required to pursue something is no longer a valid excuse. It never was. Take action doesn’t necessarily mean do something drastic. It means no more putting things off. Following ideas through to fruition. Shrugging off a slacker reputation. Becoming an ideas-woman AND  a woman of action.


*lol clearly we’re off to a good start since this was supposed to be a New Year’s post


Put in Work: Love on Your Homies this Valentine’s Day

As the semester gathers speed and midterms make their unwelcome approach, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirl of things. I’m guilty of getting into my school routine and focusing on just one thing at a time in an attempt to get a handle on #unilyfe. And what often suffers is my relationships with others. Now that everyone I know doesn’t conveniently live in res with me, I’ve realized how much work maintaining a friendship is. Friendships are built on shared time, experiences and memories and trying to make time for all that AND a full course load plus whatever else you have going on can be difficult.

As Valentine’s Day rolls around, now is a particularly apt time to think about how much care you put into all your relationships, not just the romantic ones. How do you show your friends and fam you love them?

My top love language is quality time, so for me communicating with my brother means watching the same basketball game while we’re on the phone together.


Loving my sister means answering her many Instagram DMs about “should i wear this one?” “…or this one?”

With some friends, it means staying on the phone till 2AM even though we both gotta get up early. With others, it means keeping regular study dates.

I once read something (yeah, ok, it was on Tumblr) that said “after high school, you realize that you were only friends with some people because you saw them five times a week.” You no longer have automatic, pre-packaged friendships. Adulthood is work. And that includes working to maintain healthy, supportive relationships. Having a ride-or-die squad surrounding me is more important than any grade could ever be.

Today, Pastor Matt Menzel from Westside Church talked about how much our culture is focused on self – our needs, wants and desires. Instead of making the fourteenth about how much someone does or doesn’t love you, look outside of yourself for those who could stand to receive.

Errbody need love.


Pulling Your Insides Out

A couple weeks ago, something kinda scary happened to me.

I passed out twice while in the shower but thankfully I am a-ok. The most surprising thing about this whole incident was how mad my friends were that I didn’t tell them until a couple days later. Right after it happened I called my parents and the  nurse hotline* to figure out what I should do. When the nurse advised me, after hearing about my symptoms to call 911, I said that seemed a little extreme; I was perfectly capable of walking to the hospital. She advised me against it, but I didn’t feel like paying for a 5-min cab ride, or getting on the bus when the hospital was less than 10 mins away. My friends later asked why I didn’t call them – they could’ve walked or drove me to the emerg. It actually did not occur to me. I’ve realized that I often operate as if I’m an island. I don’t tell people when I’m struggling and I don’t ask for help because I don’t want to be/appear weak / I don’t think I need help / I’m not very good at being vulnerable.

Case in point: this summer I went from working as a host to a server. Serving is all about multi-tasking and great timing. Like anything, it takes awhile to be good at it. The number one piece of advice I got from the experienced servers was “ask for help when you need it”. But I didn’t. And I saw the consequences one Friday night when the owner of the restaurant had to take a drink order for me because I never even saw that table since I was so busy running around trying to be superwoman.

I’m trying to be better. Logically, I know that asking for help doesn’t make you weak but I think I’ve always felt like I need to prove to myself that I can accomplish whatever I set out to do, by myself. I know from experience that that isn’t the best way to operate, but until recently I never thought about how that makes those around you feel. I love to help and so do other people. It honestly makes me so excited when one of my Imagine Day kids hits me up with a question. There are tons of people on this campus and in this world who want to help you with whatever you’re struggling with. (Like TA’s, God bless em.) My goal this year is to actually go to office hours, because I didn’t last year and I still regret it.

I think the root of my problem is an unwillingness to be vulnerable. To put my insides out there and let them speak for themselves. I’m not very good at feelings and sometimes I feel like I’m being dramatic or attention-seeking by telling people intimate details. But trust me when I say that not only are there people willing to help, but there are people willing to listen. Who will unflinchingly watch you unwrap yourself detail by detail; who will clothe themselves in your secrets and you in theirs; who won’t hang up when you call too late; who won’t accuse you of being dramatic when you unburden yourself.

Find em. Keep em.


*604-215-4700. Save that. They’re good if you’re ever unsure what to do in a non-emergency medical situation.


Some Positive Suggestions

A post about music wouldn’t be complete without some actual music (but that post was getting too long) so here goes…

Number 18 on My 18 Before 19 was promoting and listening to positive hip hop which includes Christian music. It’s only through the start of a friendship with someone who has admittedly “better” taste than I do (this is the one and only time I’ll admit that) that I’ve realized it’s time to check myself before I wreck myself, figuratively speaking. I’ve really enjoyed some of the “conscious” artists and albums that he’s sent my way, so of course the polite thing to do would be to share a couple.


SHAD – WHEN THIS IS OVER. What I like about Shad: his flow appeals to the poetry-loving side of me, which makes “I’ll Never Understand” an easy choice for my favorite track on this album. It’s a spoken-word/rap mash-up collab with his mom on the topic of the Rwandan Genocide. Just as deep as it sounds. The musical aspect of this album stays pretty simple, giving the listener time to focus on the rhymes. Also, this makes for great napping music and I mean that in the best way possible.


ANDY MINEO – NEVERLAND, HEROES FOR SALE. I stopped listening to Christian hip hop for a long time because I was so disappointed with the quality of work being produced. Sure, the message is something I obviously believe in but holy hip hop (for me) was sorely missing fine-tuned production and the sound of high-quality producers and emcees heard in secular music. I was guilty of thinking they were all “kumbaya-singing corny Christians” as Andy raps in “Saints“.  I haven’t delved very deeply into Mineo’s discography but I’ve already been given the impression that he is an artist who doesn’t take himself too seriously (listen to the end of “Paisano’s Wylin”). Though he hails from NYC, I think his sound will still win over fans such as myself of heavy-hitting Southern-style beats. See “Uno Uno Seis” for a collab with Christian hip hop’s poster boy, Lecrae.


Side note: I am very much in like with Angel Haze. (Warning, NSFW and trigger warning for graphic details of sexual abuse.)



We Are Not A Monolith

Music is something that I’ve always found comfort in. I find it the easiest way to swing my emotions and uplift my mood. Almost always am I listening to something; even in the shower or while I’m sleeping. My tastes used to vary more, and I’ll still give most things a listen at least once but I’m pretty much all about the hip hop.

I know the bad rap (pun totally intended 🙂 the genre gets. I hear the criticisms of the vulgarity, ostentatious displays of wealth, misogyny, homophobia and colourism perpetuated by mainstream rap music and hip hop culture. All deserved. But when people dismiss rap as a whole, they dismiss the work of those emcees quietly looking to change the game. And I’m not talking about Macklemore and “Same Love”. There are queer artists, female artists, straight black male artists who are picking up fans while spitting counter culture to the mantra of money, violence, women & drugs. Conscious rap exists and has existed for a while, yet every discussion of “what’s wrong with hip hop” seems to forget that. I think some young fans know about and sometimes choose to ignore any side of rap that isn’t as popular as the Rick Ross-style braggadocio or needless glorification of ganglife. Current reflection upon my musical tastes has revealed a slippery slope towards the likes of French Montana and Waka Flocka. But I think people outside of hip hop legitimately don’t realize that a whole other beautiful side to the culture and genre of music exists.

Music-makers and game-changers A$AP Rocky, Angel Haze and Childish Gambino

That isn’t to say that what’s dominating the airwaves right now has no value. The experiences of disenfranchised, urban, Black American youth is what hip hop was founded on. And some of those disenfranchised youth grew up on a culture of money, violence, women and drugs where hip hop has been and still is a much-needed outlet and reflection of that environment. However, that is no excuse for further oppression of transfolk, women and other minorities. So while I think that everyone’s voice should be heard, positive voices aren’t being heard enough in mainstream media. Black and hip hip hop culture are inextricably tied; it is inevitable then that we see the politically-charged and economically-motivated negative characterization of Black people seep into media portrayal of hip hop – a lucrative industry that refuses to play nice politically. There is nothing inherently wrong with people who happen to fit certain stereotypes of what “Black music” looks like but it is important that differing messages get out there. We, Black people, are not a monolith. Hip hop is not a monolith.


The Res Packing Guide

I am by nature an over-planner. When I wanted a pet hamster, I researched everything there was to know about the species for over a year before giving a  presentation complete with a contract to my parents. It took months of research before I got my first piercing, but by the time I got my second body mod it only took me a couple weeks to follow through. For all you equally neurotic overthinkers as well as you perpetually laid-back types, I want to share some information that’ll hopefully make moving into res that much easier.

First things first is lists. Lots and lots of lists. Last year, I found 3 “college packing lists” that I really liked and kinda combined them into the ultimate list. In order of helpfulness they are:

  1. http://www.gifts.com/ideas/dorm-essentials-checklist
  2.  http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/registry/CollegeChecklistPage
  3. http://www.collegepackinglist.com/

Each list has things that the others left out so you can pick and choose according to your needs. I know it’s fairly simple to Google some lists and figure out what you need so I figure it’d be more helpful if I also shared what I learned, especially what I learned not to bring.

The number one rule of packing for college is: YOU CAN ALWAYS BUY STUFF THERE. Logically, you think you know this but this is important to remember when your parents are hyperventilating at your purchase total in Bed, Bath and Beyond or when your luggage is bursting at the seams. So without further ado, here are: The Things I Wish I left at Home

  • Shampoo/Conditioner – basically any hairstyling related product. There are drugstores on/near campus. (No Walmart though, be warned)
  • Coffee/Creamer – My mom bought me a cute little coffeemaker as a going-away gift and included the same brand of nice coffee and whitener she uses at home but those things were really bulky
  • Hangers
  • Binders
  • Food Storage Containers – Didn’t use them once
  • Cutlery and Dishwashing Stuff/Dshes – You need 2 sets of cutlery max. Also, speaking from experience, dishes break while being flown across provinces.
  • Headphones – Surprisingly awkward to pack when trying to prevent damage. I’ll stick to earbuds. Even though every dorm list says bring earplugs, earbuds and great music work just fine.
  • So much clothing – I tried to pack clothes for every possible occasion. This was a bad idea. I didn’t need nearly as much formal clothing as I brought.
  • So much linen – A couple of cheap towels are great for cleaning up spills and drying dishes but that’s really all you need.
  • School Supplies – This one’s a bit tricky. Since class structure is so different than high school you’ll need to figure out your notetaking style after starting classes and whether you’ll just need a laptop, loose-leaf, binders or notebooks.

Things I’m Glad I Brought:

  • A little tray from the dollar store to put wet shoes on near the door
  • An extension cord/power adapter/surge protector combo
  • An Ethernet cable
  • Twin XL bedding
  • Hanging shoe organizer
  • Food. You will miss home-cooking very much. Trust.

I wish I had bought a router early on because the Ethernet cable becomes really annoying. Also, I forgot thumb tacks and using them with the given corkboard is a good way to minimize desk clutter. This is all the advice I can think of right now but I’ll update as I think of stuff and do my own shopping for this year. I found out that I’ll be in an apartment-style residence this year which involves a whole ‘nother level of shopping for my inner over-planner.

I’ll try and do some follow-up posts about how I managed the logistics of moving out-of-province. If you have any questions about what to bring for your first year in residence, ask away!


I Do Nothing

Get ready for some whining y’all.

A part of me is sad that I feel the need to qualify a post about  feelings with that first line, but I want to look back in a couple years and know that I knew now that this is a straight up #middleclassproblemswhinefest. —

A few days ago, someone asked me what do you besides work? I am still unable to answer that question.

I totally identify with Megan in her post, because it feels like all I do is work and sleep. This summer I’ve been holding down two restaurant jobs and man, does that take up a lot of time. Having to deal with two managers means I’ve worked 7 days a week for the last three weeks. Today’s my first real day off, hence why I’m actually blogging. When I’m not at work, I’m generally being a vegetable in bed watching back episodes of Reign and eating all the breakfast I missed while at school. (Ain’t nobody got time for toast or fresh coffee with 9AM classes). I want to say this is a whole lot less depressing than it sounds. Summer’s made for relaxing, right?

But it’s really hard to relax when you’re looking at nine grand in tuition (I know int’l students have it much worse) and almost 700 bucks for rent every month plus groceries next year. Living the UBC dream is expensive. And I’m trying not to bury myself in student loans, thus the working constantly thing. The amount of money I already owe for last year is hard to picture. We students pay for everything online and you don’t actually know what that tuition, housing fees and meal plan look like till you’re sweating for it. And still, I’m lucky. I have 2 parents who work full-time and had the forethought to save up money for my siblings and I. I don’t regret choosing a school out-of-province but it is rough sometimes.

There are things that I’m passionate about and that I’d love to do more of. I want more time for soccer-playing, memory-making, poem-scribbling good times. I want to be a more interesting person and say that I’m having all these fun adventures over my summer break, but I’m not. I had the whole day off today and I didn’t even know what to do with myself. I went to the library, got a good book and spent some time reading it in a café. I started my 2014 student loan application and prepared to apply for a liquor-serving certification so I can serve tables and make more money for school. Sigh.

Even though school is more hectic, the closeness of residence and living on campus means your friends and favorite activities are more accessible. Nothing takes longer than a 30-minute walk or a bus ride. I miss that.

The question still bugs me because not-very-deep-down I know the answer is practically nothing.

Now that my pity party is over, maybe I should try and think of some things I love doing/want to try that are appropriate for the time-challenged. I can be interesting, I swear.



Getting What You Want on Registration Day

Now that I’ve successfully registered for my second year classes, I think now is a good time to check back in and let you know that I haven’t forgotten about y’all and this blog. I’m making a renewed commitment to be with you through the good times and the bad, to love and to hold, through energy drinks and all-nighters.

lady gaga I Do gif

I was a little worried about 2nd-year registration cuz I heard that we register last (which is true) and that it would be more difficult to get into classes (which turned out to be false). With a lot of careful preparation I was able to get into 10 out of the 11 classes I wanted.

To make sure I avoided the Second Year Jinx, I made multiple worklists a few weeks in advance so I’d have time to tinker with them and also so I’d have a back-up plan on registration day. For first year, I remember my chosen STT being full even though my time was first thing in the morning on the first day. Even with a backup plan I consequently spent an good hour scrambling for an alternative that was only interrupted by the fact that I was in the middle of a back-to-school hair appointment. Clearly I was not a pro at scheduling anything back then. Make time for registration and make sure you like your backup timetable(s) almost as much as your first choice.

I think that in first year you’re competing with more students, depending on your faculty, and adding more elective options only increases that. With one elective in 2nd year, I only had to face the horde of Arts students once. Also, as an upper year trying to get into 100-level electives, it’s comforting to know that professors do reserve seats for non first-years. That’s how I got into SOCI 100. (A class I highly recommend!)

Registration took 10 minutes for me this year (on a second-day time, no less.). And that was only because I had to switch into a different section for a class. The 3 days prior, I made sure to check the “seats remaining” for every class that I wanted. If it looked unlikely that I’d get in, I’d choose an alternative.

Last year, I had to pick an elective at the last minute and I watched the one I wanted change to 0 seats left. I just kept refreshing the page until one opened up. The point is if you didn’t get everything you wanted this go around, keep checking. Timetables are in a constant flux right now as people change their minds or pick up other commitments. It’s likely that you’ll be able to switch into the sections you want right up until the first few weeks of school.


Looking Back

You don’t know who you are, until you know who you are when you’re alone.

This isn’t to say that you need to completely cut off your support network in order to “find yourself”. But it’s the little things about living away from home that have taught me so much about myself in this first year at UBC.  Nothing made me feel more adult or more alone than having to buy cough medicine for myself. Standing in a drugstore aisle, trying to figure out the difference between Tylenol Cold and Tylenol Flu (there is none), I realized a few things.

1. Medication is expensive. Avoid getting colds like they’re the plague.

2. I’ve come to the point in my journey where no one is going to hold my hand anymore. As bad as I am at making decisions and as much as I love second, third and fourth opinions, there are some decisions that I have to make on my own.

This year has revealed some truths about my character, some of which I really didn’t want to know. Unless I’ve got a good incentive, I’m often five minutes late to anything and I hate it. I’m also not nearly as tidy as I thought (who knew my mom snuck in my room and tidied up while I was at school?) and apparently the obscene amount of time I take to get ready in the mornings is not normal. Living with a roommate exposes these things.

Roommates also bring out the weird in you.

My roommate and friend, C has taught me all kinds of lessons. Since we’re from different ethno-cultural backgrounds, we both get to learn about countries across the globe. Our different faculties but overlapping classes means we’ve had some pretty heated discussions over the term. She, along with the other friends I’ve made this year have taught me what deep friendship can look like and what a great thing that is. Being at such a large university means you are bound to find people who share at least some of the same interests you do.

I am surrounded by learners, thinkers and doers, change-makers and innovators. I am often inspired by the people I get to call my friends and other students doing awesome things on this campus. You WILL find people who want to discuss foreign policy, feminism, Kanye West’s genius or whatever else you want to talk about.

 Truer words have never been spoken.

It won’t happen overnight. Like I  said in the beginning, this blog is titled In All Honesty for a reason. I won’t lie to you, the first little while is tough. That could mean a couple days to a couple months for you. Whether you’re a commuter or you’re living on campus, you’re still in a brand new place with thousands of people you’ve never met before. And even if you’re a returning student, everyone is still in the same boat during the first few weeks of school. New classes just mean new opportunities to meet people.

I underestimated just how lonely it would be to move to another province and have to start over again. I once heard that it takes two years for people to become fully acclimatized to a new situation. That sounds like a long time, but then I thought about how Grades 9 and 12 were the best years of my junior high and high school experiences, respectively. These things take time, so hang in there even if it sucks at the beginning.  This post is getting real long now, but I just wanted to stress that your experience at this school is what you make of it. I don’t regret choosing UBC. This year, I joined electives and applied for positions that made me realize how passionate I am about writing. My res experience wasn’t the best it could be and that was because I didn’t put the effort in. I made a snap decision to join a club that connected me to some of the best friends I’ve ever had.

I am so excited to come back in September because I know how much I’ve learned and grown in just eight months. To returning students: congrats on finishing exams and thanks for being part of what makes our community such an interesting place to learn. To new students: get hyped.