This is why we can’t have nice things

So today, the Vanier caf hosted a Jamaican themed night. It was pretty exciting! There were all these people in green and yellow plastic necklaces who walked around asking everyone how it was going. Instead of the usual grub, we got fed Jamaican grub, which was significantly better than the normal food. I mean, really. They sold deep fried bananas with ice cream. I don’t even like bananas and I bought them because they looked so good. I wasn’t disappointed. And while I ate said bananas, there was really catchy Jamaican music being blasted from the speakers.

I had a lovely dinner.

While I was filling out this survey that they gave us (it asked how the food was, what we thought of it etc), I was approached by this random girl who asked to use my pencil to fill out her survey. Being the nice person that I am, I lent it to her. I was then subjected to her thoughts as she filled out the whole survey, which is what this post is about.

This unnamed caucasian girl told me how she HATED Jamaican night. She thought that it was completely offensive. As a white female, she thought that hosting a night dedicated to Jamaican food and music was despicable. She believed that the people involved in the running of it were horrible racist people who only used the Jamaican culture as a way to make extra money while selling food. She thought the green and yellow decorations were so tacky, and she thought the fact that they played reggae music to enhance the mood in the dining hall was horrendous, due to the fact that classifying a certain type of music as “Jamaican” was very constricting. This was my reaction:

This type of behaviour is EXACTLY why we can’t have fun things in res. Now, I see where she’s coming from. Maybe some Jamaican people here thought that it was completely racist to create a Jamaican-themed night! And maybe last month, the Germans thought it was racist to hold a German-themed night, and maybe the French thought it was racist to hold a France-themed night. Maybe I just don’t see all the facts about this as I should. However, when I saw the posters advertising “Jamaican Night in the Vanier Caf!”, I thought that its purpose was to enhance our understanding of other peoples cultures. Isn’t that what part of this University’s goal is? To learn about different cultures from around the world and learn to embrace them?! I know that I wasn’t sure what Jamaican people ate until today, and I’m glad I found out! Sure, the decorations were a bit tacky since they were from the dollar store, but they did try to represent the colours of the Jamaican flag as well as they could. And the reggae music? HELLO! Bob Marley is from Jamaica, and they pretty much just played his music. That’s not racist, that’s a symbol of national pride.

So maybe I’m all wrong on this, but I feel like instead of being so sensitive about someone’s fair effort to put on a nice evening we should learn to embrace the fact that people are trying to educate us about different cultures. Maybe we can’t have a Christmas tree here in residence because not everyone believes in the cultural traditions surrounding Christmas, but I know I wouldn’t be offended if someone put a menorah on the kitchen counter. Instead, I would be open to learning about their cultural traditions. We should be accepting all cultures and learning about them instead of just burying them all.

This could just be my tired brain talking, so if I’ve offended anyone, I’m really sorry. But good luck on the final stretch of the semester, and DON’T PUT THINGS OFF UNTIL THE VERY LAST MINUTE LIKE I DID OKAY?! Okay. Pce out erryone

And 3…2…1… RELAX!

Hey everyone,

So I know it has been crazy busy lately. Trust me. I really do know. Over the last few weeks of midterms and the gradual realizations that TERM ENDS IN LESS THAN 3 WEEKS OH MY GOD I have noticed many peoples’ moods changing. And not usually for the better. Most of the people on my floor have started hermiting in their rooms for most of the days and evenings. They barely eat anything, and study 24/7. They sleep really late and wake up really early to finish papers they have been putting off because they’re just too tired to work on them when they should. Now, let me tell you something. THIS TYPE OF LIFESTYLE IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU. Sure, study a lot for your midterms. Heck, those study habits could be really good for you! But neglecting everything else to study, including your health? That’s not good. You need to take a few moments each day to relax and just have some time to yourself. So since I’m in this list-making mood, I’ve decided to make a list for you of potential ways to de-stress yourself during this final stretch of school!

1. Listen to some music. Whenever I’m feeling too stressed out, I put on some of my favourite music and just lay on my bed, close my eyes, and listen to it. It really helps to relax me. Lately, I’ve been really into 8tracks (I know, I know, I’m sooooo behind the trend) and I’ve found it’s a great way to relax. Just search a keyword in the search bar (search relax, for example), find a playlist that sounds good, and listen to it! It introduces you to new music and… yeah. It’s just super awesome. And to help you guys out, I’ve included a link to the playlist I’m listening to right now! It’s fabulous!

2. Go for a walk. I know, this seems pretty cliche, but it honestly helps me out every time. Whenever you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, just go outside and take a nice walk. All by yourself. And hey, if you’re feeling it, you can play some 8tracks at the same time! Just don’t go walking around campus late at night by yourself. That’s just a recipe for disaster. But check out Wreck Beach around 3:45 and you’ll usually find a lovely sunset to watch!

3. That brings me to my next item on the list! Watch the sunset (or the sunrise, depends on your sleep habits.) Sometimes, all you need to do to get yourself out of a downward spiral is just to watch the sun rise or set. I know when I watch the sunset from Wreck Beach, I just feel like my problems are so far away. The giant star that is sinking out of view helps to remind me that most of my problems are so insignificant, and it just makes me feel so peaceful. A sunset has the power to erase problems.

4. Watch a TV show. I can personally attest to the fact that watching TV helps to make you forget your problems. However, this one is best in moderation. Don’t take a break from studying for the midterm you have in 4 hours by watching 3 hours of TV then running to the midterm. Trust me, this is NOT a good idea. But if you’re feeling particularly stressed any time of the week, Modern Family or The Big Bang Theory are always good options to watch for a quick laugh to help take your mind off the next big paper that’s due.

5. Watch a movie. This one is only if you have quite a bit of time. Movies are a commitment, and you don’t want to pick a really long movie when you don’t have a lot of time, since you’ll probably end up getting caught up in the movie and just not going back to studying (trust me, I know this one from experience). But if you have a night off, or even a few hours in the middle of the day, just pick a funny movie and go for it! Sometimes all you need to do is have a good laugh.

6. Write something. I know, I know. You’re in paper-writing mode, and when you take a break from writing, why the hell would you start writing again?! Well, sometimes your brain just needs a break from that rigid essay structure. So take a break, and write about anything! Write about your feelings, about the cute guy/girl you saw at Blue Chip at lunch, a crazy dream you had, or maybe just about a random event that occurred. Anything is possible, and by not giving yourself any restrictions on what you’re writing you help to relax yourself!

7. Light a candle. Now, this one takes some common sense. Don’t light a candle, then leave it burning in your room alone for two hours because I doubt anyone would like it if you burned down the building. But if you just light a candle (my personal faves are from Bath and Body Works) and leave it burning on your desk while you work, they usually have this incredible power to soothe you immediately. Also, they usually make your room smell really good, which is always a good thing.

8. Just lay in your bed and think about things. If you don’t have the time or motivation for a nap, just lying in your bed and thinking can be a great relaxer. It gives you the inherent feeling of comfort that you usually associate with your bed while not putting pressure on you to sleep (unless it’s really late at night, in which case you should probably sleep anyways). And here’s the trick – DON’T FOCUS ON YOUR HOMEWORK. It will probably still be lurking in the back of your mind, but try to focus on other things instead. Invent a fantasy in your head, or maybe just think about all the little things that made your day so awesome!

9. Make a list of all the things you have to do and when they’re due by. Yes, this one sounds a bit like a trick, but it will definitely help. Once you outline everything that you need to do and categorize it in order of importance and due date, it seems more doable. Thinking about the massive amounts of homework that you have can be really detrimental and you usually just end up procrastinating. So instead of procrastinating badly (this is productive procrastination!), create a list of all your tasks. That way you can gauge where you are in the amount of workload and adjust your time accordingly!

10. Make a cup of tea. Not black tea, not green tea. Make a nice soothing cup of herbal tea (try David’s Tea for some flavours!) and just sit there sipping it. It helps to calm you down. Also it’s delicious.

11. Go do anything else that relaxes you! I know that these are only a few of the relaxation techniques that I use myself, and I’m positive that there are many more out there. Do what makes you feel good!

So there you go, a large list of what you can do to relax. I hope that this inspires some of you guys to relax, because cramming and studying at all hours of the day isn’t really healthy. Take 30 mins to 1 hour of “me-time” every day, and use that to your advantage. Block homework out of it completely, and hopefully when your “me-time” is over, you’ll be refreshed and ready to get back at it! Remember, university isn’t supposed to be all about schoolwork (that sounded really stupid). You need to remember to have fun and get the best university experience you possibly can! Good luck on the rest of those midterms! 🙂 Don’t try to juggle too many things at once (although most of the time it’s necessary) or you’ll end up like this.


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