UBC Cards: The best way to say “put it on the plastic

Well well well. Here we are. In 3 weeks, most of us will be back on the UBC campus getting ready for our first week of school. And when I say most, I truly mean most. Some people will still be at home, spending every last minute with their families. Some people will be on vacation still and rushing back to Vancouver. And some people won’t even be thinking about school, they’ll just be partying until the moment school starts. Now, whatever you’re doing, I’m sure money is on your mind. School is expensive, books are unnecessary, blah blah blah. But to all you worriers out there – you’re saved! Because here comes a fantastically educational blog post about all the free things you can do with your UBC Card.

From the moment you get on campus, your UBC Card will become one of the most important cards in your wallet. First of all, it has that awful picture of you (you know, the one where you thought you couldn’t smile so it’s like a mugshot but a particularly bad one at that) which you use for ID purposes. However, the UBC Card is a lot more helpful than that. To make this easy for you, I’ll put this in list form so you can see all the items on the list in a nice orderly fashion.

Free things to do with a UBC Card

1. Go to the Nitobe Gardens. Have you ever heard of the Nitobe Gardens? If not, then you’re missing out. The Nitobe Garden is a gorgeous Japanese garden hidden away by Place Vanier and the Asian Library. It is absolutely free as long as you show the attendant your UBC card, and its beautiful scenery, especially in the fog or in the autumn, will relax you instantly.

2. Visit the Museum of Anthropology. This fascinating museum is a great way to learn about different cultures, and it’s free with your UBC card! You can check out the totem poles around the building, or visit the other exhibits inside. Either way, it’s an awesome experience that’s entirely FREE!

3. Check out the Belkin Art Gallery. I haven’t been here yet, but checking out art for free? Hell yeah.

4. Ride the bus! Okay, so technically it isn’t free, but you get your incredibly useful and easily-losable U-Pass with your UBC Card. You put your card into the machine once every month and VOILA, your U-Pass comes sliding out the bottom of the machine. I guess it isn’t really free, but it feels like it is when you pay everything at the beginning of the year.

5. Hang out at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. Have you ever wanted to see a huge blue whale skeleton? If so, you’re in luck! The Beaty Biodiversity Museum has one, and a lot of other cool science-y things. It’s also located right off Main Mall, so it’s easy to get to and fun to check out!

6. Drop-in sports at the SRC. If you’re a more athletic than museum-going person, then you can check out the drop-in sports at the SRC. Why? Because they’re free!

7. Check out library books. Yeah, books! When you’re at any of the UBC libraries, you can use your UBC Card to check out books.These include research books, casual reading books, and scores and CD’s. But make sure you return the books on time, otherwise they know it was you who checked them out and they will track you down. I promise.

8. Swim like a fish! You can go swimming for free at the UBC Aquatic Centre. They have lane swimming and everything, which is always a fantastic workout. I’ve also heard that there is a small gym downstairs that you can use for working out if you don’t feel like paying a Birdcoop membership.

9. Party hard. When you’re so busy checking things out of the library with your UBC Card and learning things in museums for free with your UBC Card, it’s good to unwind. So you can also use your UBC Card to get into parties on campus! Frat parties, Arts Week parties, you name it. Many of these events are exclusive to UBC students, so you can’t buy tickets without your ID. Or, if it isn’t ticketed, then you can’t get in without showing a frat brother your ID (or a picture of it on your phone. I’ve done that, and it’s easier than carrying ID around and possibly losing it.)

10. See the doctor. With a UBC Card, you can book appointments to see the doctor at UBC Student Health Services. When you pay your mandatory fees, you also pay a little for a certain type of student health insurance. Therefore, going to the doctor is paid for by that insurance! And free for you!

11. Break into buildings. You can’t actually break into buildings with your UBC Card, but if you’re authorized, you can get into certain buildings with it after hours. For example, I can get into the Architecture buildings when the doors are locked to access the practice rooms. Free building entry! Yay!

12. Book study rooms. I’ve only heard this from friends, but apparently you can book study rooms and tables for free with your UBC Card. Hurrah.

So that’s really all I can think of right now, and this was supposed to be a short blog post so I screwed that up already. The point is, you can do all kinds of fun things with your UBC Card! For free! There’s a lot of discounts you can get with it too, like a discounted yearly pass as the Capilano Suspension Bridge, and 5% discounts on all UBC Food Services things.

But for real, take advantage of your card. It’s a fantastic thing to have, and you can do so many free things with it! So next time you’re at UBC and someone asks how you’re paying (assuming you’re at MOA or Nitobe or something) you can say “put it on the plastic” and flash them your UBC card. And just like that, you’re in.

popular gay wicked with bubbles

Midsummer nights and dreaming

Well well well! Somehow, the first two months of summer vacation have sped by without me even noticing. It’s been pretty busy back at home in St. Albert, what with refereeing soccer and working for the city. I usually spend my entire day working, then I just go straight to sleep afterwards. I have summer band practices once a week, and I usually have commitments with friends as well, but most of my time is spent working and wishing that I wasn’t working. At this point, I almost feel like it would be a relief to go back to school. Writing essays and doing theory homework seems like nothing compared to the monotony of doing the same thing every day at work, which involves slaving under the hot sun and becoming like a tomato instead of tanning like regular human beings. However, I know that once I get back to school in the fall, I’ll be wishing for the hot summer days and the feeling of working outside and getting my hands dirty and making a visible difference.

I seem to be having mixed feelings about school and summer.

Tomorrow morning is when I’m supposed to register for my classes for next year. I’ve been creating a worklist for months, and still there are some courses that don’t quite fit in to my schedule. For no apparent reason, the administrators of UBC Arts have made it quite impossible to take a film minor while enrolled in music. All of my required film courses coincide with required music courses, and now it’s just a matter of hoping I won’t have any lessons or studio classes scheduled when I have film classes. Registering for classes is quite a picky system, especially when every class you’re trying to take is only offered once a year and you need ALL OF THEM TO COMPLETE SECOND YEAR. And somehow, the SINGLE advisor for the music program is magically on holiday for the entire month of July. Right when every single student in the WHOLE PROGRAM is trying to register. Because, you know, it’s not like anyone runs into problems while registering!

I really hate registration.

But now everything is starting to feel real again. Registering for my courses will finally make this crazy dream of school feel real. Right now, going back to school feels like it’s ages away. It’s the beginning of July and I have the whole rest of the summer to go camping with friends, go on road trips, and watch absurd amounts of movies. Of course, once I start thinking about this, I start thinking about how I’ve already had two whole months to do those things, and that I’ve only really gone out with friends 3 or 4 times, went to my family cabin for a miserable week filled with rain and flooding, and binge watched the last few seasons of The Mentalist on my computer. I haven’t accomplished anything, and my summer is already halfway over.

That’s a depressing thought.

So right now I’m caught between two worlds; one is the world where I live at home and deal with my annoying little brothers and work all day erryday and watch movies and occasionally go out but mostly do nothing, and the other is the world where I’m back at school doing music-related homework and practicing all day erryday and having Saturday brunches with my best friends and doing a lot of complaining about crazy professors and theory homework. And right now, I want to be back in BC so much it hurts. But I know that, after a certain amount of time in BC, I’ll want to be back at home with my family and other friends.

It’s really quite confusing.

For now, though, I’ll try to enjoy the rest of the summer and not think about school too much, because I know I’ll regret it in the end.

Ta ta for now! See you in September!


Course Review Numero Dos

I’ve been putting this off for a while now, so I guess that I should write another course review! I know it won’t be super helpful, since not all that many of you incoming students will be going into music, but as long as it helps one person I’ll be happy!

MUSC 205 – Musicianship III, Professor Grant Sawatzky

I’m still not really a fan of musicianship as a course, but it’s pretty bearable as long as you have a good professor. This term I had Grant, and he was really great. He helped us learn what we needed to learn in class, and he was always available outside of class if we needed extra help. He was honest about the helpfulness of musicianship, which was much appreciated, and he coached our entire class so well that I’m almost positive all of us passed. I even skipped less musicianship classes this term than last term! Overall, the course itself was quite useless, but the professor made it bearable, and almost fun.

MUSC 121 – History of Music II, Professor Hedy Law

I am a huge fan of the history of music, since it’s so fascinating, but I spent this term dreading going to history. We focused on Baroque and Classical music. The subject matter was quite a bit more boring than it was in MUSC 120, and Dr. Law was not a very effective teacher. You could tell that she knew her stuff, but she didn’t communicate well and seemed to think that we were all deaf, so she spent the whole lecture screaming at us. Lectures themselves were really useless, since you could just read the textbook and do perfectly fine in the course. It was split up into a lot of little portions that made up our final mark, including 2 midterms, 3 midterm papers, a group project, a final paper, 10 weekly quizzes, and a final exam. None of these things were worth a huge amount, so you couldn’t rely on doing well on a final exam or paper. Overall, I really disliked this course.

MUSC 119 – Introduction to Music Technology, Professor Robert Pritchard

This was one of my favourite courses this term, and easily my favourite music course. We had lectures twice a week, and an additional tutorial once a week. In this course, we covered a plethora of aspects of music technology, including biology of the ear, types of speakers and their setups, and MIDI technology. Dr. Pritchard was a great professor. At first, I didn’t think I would like him because of how he treated his class slightly childishly, but by the end of the term he was my favourite professor. We had two worksheets due each week, 3 midterms, a final website project, and a final exam. The workload was reasonable, and it was very helpful and accompanied the lectures very well. This was my highest marking course of the term, and it was the only reason why I didn’t hate 8:30AM classes.

MUSC 111 – Intensive Tonal Theory and Form II, Professor William Benjamin

This course was much the same as the theory course from last term. A few people dropped out of the class, so the few of us who still remained became pretty close since we spent so much time together. Dr. Benjamin didn’t change at all from last term, and still rambled often and went off on tangents in the middle of lectures. He was very lenient with his homework expectations, and was always available to help if you had a problem. I did fairly mediocre in this course, but I learned quite a bit. This probably won’t be relevant, since they’re cancelling the intensive theory stream due to Dr. Benjamin retiring, but here’s the review anyways! Also, I always fell asleep in class, which was 4 times a week.

MUSC 150C – Concert Winds, Professor Christopher Unger

This was for the concert winds course. We had rehearsals twice a week, and they were two hours each. I really enjoyed going to rehearsal; I could relax since I knew that there was nowhere else I could be at that time. Concert Winds was only about making beautiful music, and Dr. Unger really contributed to that. He was really invested in the ensemble, and did not have unrealistic expectations for anyone. Overall, I really enjoyed this course, even though the level of music was slightly rudimentary for me.

MUSC 182 – Tuba Lessons, Professor Peder MacLellan

I did not like this course. Although I love playing my tuba, there’s a limit to how much time I can spend playing it daily. When I was working on homework for 7 other courses, my tuba time drastically decreased. My teacher couldn’t accept that tuba wasn’t the most important thing for me, so he penalized me for all the time I spent away from the tuba. The quality of the lessons was great, but it was too intense for me, since my focus here in the School of Music is not on tuba, but on composition. Unfortunately, that excuse didn’t fly with my teacher, and he would tell me how I should spend more time with my tuba than I should spend composing.

MUSC 107C – Composition, Professor Stephen Chatman

Dr. Chatman was a phenomenal professor. This term, we had free reign with our pieces, and could write pretty much whichever type of music we wanted to. The only restrictions we had were on number of players. Dr. Chatman was incredibly reasonable with requests for help, and we received a few private lessons from him during the course of the course itself, which was very helpful. I really took a lot away from this course, but as a general warning, I would like to mention that it is a lot of work and definitely is not for everyone.

FIST 100 – Introduction to Film Studies, Professor Christine Evans

This film course was fascinating. The lectures were very helpful, and each class we would watch a different type of film. We went through technical aspects of film, wrote a midterm, then switched to learning about different types of films. I learned a lot in this course, and it was great to watch a movie each class. However, the papers and exams were marked very hard, and it wasn’t easy to achieve a good mark. At least that’s what I thought. However, I was focusing more on my music courses, since those are required for my degree, than I was on the film course. I couldn’t give it my full attention. Professor Evans was also really awesome. She knew lots about films, and was incredibly passionate about them as well. Overall, I thought that this course was awesome!

So here’s my course review! Hopefully it will help some of you guys understand what university music courses are like! At the moment, though, this summarizes my feelings toward school.

fuck you school


I’ll see you all in September (hopefully) and have a great summer!



Holy moly. I’m done my first year of university! After dragging myself through 8 stressful months of homework, papers, exams, and learning, I’M FINALLY DONE.


This is pretty much me right now. I’ve been home for a week, and I’m still trying to recuperate. I’m slowly remembering what it’s like to just wake up late every day and make a really delicious and healthy breakfast, and most importantly, how to play my favourite video games. I have one more week off until I start work, so I’m making the most of it.

But anyways! Part of this blog post was to be a course evaluation, but I’m feeling super lazy right now, so I’ll do that some other time. But really I’m just here to say how happy I am that I’m done first year uni, and how I’m super happy that I didn’t fail any of my courses and that I kept a fairly reasonable GPA throughout the year. And how I already miss all of my friends from UBC even though it’s only been a week, which is pretty unfortunate because I only have another FOUR FREAKING MONTHS without them.

It’s also pretty cold here in Edmonton. Which sucks.

I’m not sure when I’ll get these course evaluations up, but until then, sayonara! I probably won’t blog too much during the summer, but I’m sure I’ll get right back into it in September. So have a good summer everyone, and if you’re a prospective student, then I hope to see you this fall!



Hello good people of the world.

I would like to inform you right now that you are indeed very special; you are the reason why I wake up in the morning, why I gag down the incredibly sketchy globs of “food” the caf serves me every morning, why I spend my days studying and reviewing, and why I tell myself that I can keep going.

Not actually. Y’all are pretty cool people, but frankly, I do all that stuff for ME. Yeah, ME. And that’s the point of this blog post. You should be doing all of this stuff for yourself. Not anyone else! Not your mother, your father, your grandparents, your siblings, your third cousin twice removed, no one! University is a pretty difficult time. You spend it working on homework, meeting new people, becoming incredibly stressed, forgetting learning things, and growing as a person. University is a time for pursuing your passions, branching out, and becoming the person you always wanted to be. And if you aren’t doing that for yourself, then why are you doing it?! Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t take other people’s opinions into account. You should definitely let them tell you their opinion. But you should be here to follow YOUR passion. Don’t take a math major because your parents loved calculus when they were younger; don’t be an english major because your dad is an author and wants you to follow in his footsteps. Do your own thang because really, this is YOUR life that you’re working towards. If you don’t enjoy what you’re learning (other than the mandatory math courses that some poor arts kids have to take, those don’t count) then stop learning it. Find a different passion and pursue it. Follow your heart and do what you want to do. After all, you’re paying enough money for it, so why not make it enjoyable?

There’s your helpful little piece of Megan advice there. And I know in my last blog post, I said that I probably wouldn’t blog until the end of finals season. And here I am, a week and a half later, blogging again. That is why, friends, the title of this post is called “Procrastination”. It is because I’m a slightly weak-minded individual who enjoys writing random stuff which will reach an unknown amount of readers (hopefully TONS of readers!) instead of studying for my film final, which I know will completely destroy me.

On the bright side, my gauntlet of finals is over! I had 4 finals and a tuba jury and a final paper and a website due all in the span of 5 days, and I freakin’ nailed it. Like so much. Like so much I nailed straight through the wood and into my foot which was right underneath the wood. Meaning I majorly screwed up a little bit. But only on one of my exams. And my tuba jury. In hindsight, the jury wasn’t a good thing to screw up, but it’s over and there’s no point dwelling on the past. Or crying about it.

So really, I only have 2 finals left! Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Double header. Double whammy. Double death. And after that? Well I head home! Which seems pretty unreal right now, since I get to have 4 whole months where I don’t have to think about anything remotely musical. Other than practicing of course.

The only way I’m getting through this finals period is by reassuring myself that each final down is a step closer to summer. And being with my family. And being able to cook my own food instead of eating the cafeteria gruel. And to finally play video games again. And to see all my friends. And that helps me get through these finals. These little reassurances help me remember why I’m here, and why I’m fighting to get to the end of these exams so I can remember how to be myself.

This post totally didn’t go where I meant for it to go. I was just going to complain a bit about finals and put in a gif of Jared Leto because HOLY JAYZUS THAT MAN IS AWESOME and I was going to brag a bit about how I met Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter for all you noobs) today and took an incredibly badass picture with him at Vancouver Fan Expo. So, to appease my inner self, I’ll post the Jared Leto gif. Now good luck to all you people doing their finals, and to all you new kids deciding about UBC (or if you’ve already accepted your offer) YOU ARE AWESOME AND UNIVERSITY DOES NOT DEFINE YOU BUT OURS IS THE BEST SO CONGRATS FOR GETTING THIS FAR.

Okay. I’m done now.

(these gifs were stolen from whatweshouldcallubc, and they’re pretty much the best. If you want incredible relatable UBC gifs, check out their tumblr page!)


Finals season is upon us!

Well, it’s that time of year again! Finals season! Because it was so long and painful that someone decided to call it a season. I guess if we attributed it to any other specific season it would be winter. So it’s pretty much like winter happening for like 3 weeks even though it should be summer.

That wasn’t a very good description. I’m really tired, so just don’t mind my ramblings. I also had like 4 cups of coffee because I’m doing a paper that’s due pretty soon and I decided to stay up as late as I need to to get it done.

thor and coffee

BAM. Finishing things well before they’re due! (Like seriously, it isn’t due for a whole week. I’m nailing it!)

So I guess I have learned things since the last finals season! Which was conveniently located in the winter. First of all, I’ve decided to not procrastinate as much. This is a very good decision, since all I have to do is actually study for my finals and not write all the papers that are due (as long as I finish them tonight). And I actually made this schedule on my calendar (colour coded!) as to when I have to start studying for all of my respective finals. And even though it’s kinda a sucky finals schedule – between now and next Thursday, I have 4 finals and a tuba jury and a paper and a website due – it can be dealt with in a timely and only slightly stressful manner! Because I PLANNED.

Okay. Who am I kidding. It’s still going to be hell, but hopefully an easier hell to get through (maybe like the fifth level of hell as Dante described it? I am pretty lazy, but it’s better than the seventh level, that’s some pretty terrifying stuff). And at least it should be easier/better/less horrifying than my midterm season (remember? 5 midterms in 2 days).

But yeah. I guess life is pretty good. I’m feeling less existential crisis-y lately, which is good, even though all those pieces which I submitted to composition still weren’t enough to get me in. There’s always next year though! But after that I’m pretty much screwed, since I can’t get accepted past 3rd year. Oh well! It’s not really the title on your degree, it’s what you learn while you’re on the path to getting the degree that counts.

Too bad studying is one of the worst things pretty much ever.

ALSO people you should use productive procrastination if you feel like procrastinating. Because that sure works for me. Take my paper for example! I REALLY don’t want to write a history paper. So, whenever I get sick and tired of working on it, I do something fun instead. And this fun thing is creating my website for music tech, which is pretty much my favourite class of the term. And when I do that, I’m still working on a thing that needs to be done, and I’m also procrastinating on writing my paper! It’s a win-win! Or lose-win turning into a last minute writing frenzy of a win. Either way.

ALSO ALSO for all you HIMYM fans out there, did you see the series finale? Because I’m pretty sure it made it to the top of the list for worst series finales OF ALL TIME. So now I will use this sassy gif of Lily Aldrin to call out the writers of the entire final episode for their complete and total failure.


That’s all for now, I’ll try to blog again at some point, but I honestly don’t think it’s going to happen until after exam season. “Season” being the unfortunate winter that gets stuck in summer. In case you missed my first point. Okay. Bye

University acceptance season!

Hello everyone! Recently, I’ve been noticing a bunch of facebook friends who are still in high school posting stuff like:


“OMG I GOT IN TO _______ AND I’LL BE GOING THERE TO STUDY ________ NEXT YEAR! I’m so excited and thankful to all the people who’ve helped me to get where I am today…”


and all the rest of that sappy nonsense. And that’s when I realized – it’s university acceptance letter time! I remember that time with many fond memories… And by fond memories I mean anxiously checking my email like 500000 times a day to see if I was accepted. And thanks to the lovely music faculty, I didn’t find out until mid-April, which was terrifying. And then I had like three days to pick which university to go to (it was mostly just between Memorial University in Newfoundland and UBC, U of A was the backup school that I reeeeeally didn’t want to go to) and I was on band tour that whole time so I didn’t have the easily accessable reassurances of my parents and it was quite frightening and all that jazz. So after days of deliberation and calling the universities and questioning everything about their music programs, I decided that I liked the West Coast more than the East Coast and I came to UBC! Obviously it was a fantastic choice! So, to help out all you new kids who are deciding whether or not to come to UBC and stalking all the blog squad members (I totally did that, not gonna lie), I decided to make a list of things that should help you make your decision! And then I’ll totally try to sell UBC to you because frankly, it’s the best school out there.




1. Follow your heart (and your instincts). When I was trying to decide on a school, I had narrowed it down to my two choices. My high school band teacher was pushing me towards Memorial since it was where he went. The East Coast is a gorgeous, rugged place, and the school was quite lovely as well. However, when we had visited it the previous summer during a family vacation, it just didn’t feel right to me. The people were lovely, the dining hall looked like the great hall from Harry Potter (that was a huge plus) and the music building was newly renovated and beautiful. There was no reason why I shouldn’t have gone to Memorial – everything was incredible! And UBC? I had never visited UBC. I went to a presentation about UBC in high school and I immediately knew that was where I wanted to go. It was the most prestigious school on my list, and I knew it would involve the most work, but in spite of that, I wanted to come here anyways. So I spent ages determining pros and cons for both schools, but in the end, whenever someone said “just go to Memorial!” I found myself shirking from the idea. So I turned down Memorial and accepted a place here at UBC, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! I followed my heart (cliche, I know) and I ended up right where I belong.



2. Don’t rule out cost as a factor. Let’s face it, university is hella expensive. Between tuition, housing (if you’re out-of-province or international), and food, university will separate you from all of your money in a heartbeat. UBC was the most expensive choice on my list. In fact, it was about $9000 more per year than Memorial (including housing and food), and that’s definitely not a number to lightly throw around. However, I weighed the benefits. UBC was more expensive, but it was on the West Coast, which meant that it would be an ideal setting for the arts scene that I wanted to get into. Although Memorial was cheaper, it was much further away (5 provinces away as opposed to 1) so plane rides would cost significantly more. After graduating from UBC, I could try to stay in Vancouver and start working on building a career, one which would not be possible out in Newfoundland. As well, UBC would give me an education that would cater to my specific needs, whereas it was too general at Memorial. In the end, I decided that if I was going to get a quality education, it might as well be the best one I could get, even if it were more expensive.

3. Think about the distance. University is a trying time for everyone, no matter how you look at it. For a freshman, you have to deal with adapting to heavier workloads than high school, meeting new people, dealing with all the people (campuses are so crowded!), navigating the whole campus, trying to stay fit, eat healthy, get enough sleep, and still have time to relax and get out to some parties or other social gatherings. And for the first time, many people have to do it without their parents standing one step behind them, ready to catch them if they fall. Before I came here, I was really close with my parents. They were my moral support and I loved spending time with my family (or most of my family anyways). Then I moved here and all of a sudden, I didn’t get to hug my parents every morning and watch Star Trek with my grandma every day after school (nerdy, I know). The first few months were pretty tough. You never really know how heavily you rely on your family until you have to be away from them for extended periods of time. I eventually adapted, but it took quite a while and was a really tough transition to make. I know some people who never speak to their parents. They live an entirely autonomous life, living completely separately from their family and only speaking with them when they go home. I also know a bunch of people who live in res, but are from Surrey or Burnaby or White Rock. They have the opportunity to live away from their parents, but they usually go home on the weekends. UBC is an incredibly inclusive community, but you definitely want to think about distance before you make your choice.

4. Think about the weather. If you hate rain, don’t come to UBC. Simple as that. If you hate snow, don’t go pretty much anywhere else in Canada. Constant rain is pretty depressing, and it can lead to SAD (seasonal affective disorder, very aptly named). If you must have your sunshine, I would suggest staying away from here.

5. Look at how the universities can cater specifically to your needs. Like I already stated, UBC had the better program for what I was pursuing, but that isn’t always the case. If you want to study something incredibly specific, it would be well worth your time to find a school where that is really prevalent and think about going there. Although UBC is amazing, it doesn’t always have the programs you want or need, and that can pose a serious problem.

Okay! There are some things to think about. Now ponder!!

Alright. Done pondering? Good! Time for my incredibly convincing arguments on why you should come to UBC!




1. We have an ocean. Yeah, we have an ocean. Who else really has an ocean? It’s really freaking awesome. Living in Vanier, you can just run across the road and take the obscene amount of stairs down to Wreck Beach just for funsies! And the ocean is right there.

2. We also have Wreck Beach. It’s a nude beach. That’s some pretty cool hippie shit right there, let me tell you. All year long, there are old naked dudes just wandering the beach, sunbathing, and swimming. It’s not really fun to go down when the weather is really warm and the beach is FULL of naked people, but it’s gorgeous in the winter when the wind is blowing off the water and the sun sets behind the mountains.

3. We also have a forest. Sorry, this landscape thing is getting pretty extensive, but it’s just so cool! We’re kinda on a little triangle jutting out from the mainland. On two sides of the triangle, there is water. Then, on the last side, there’s a huge forest. Said forest contains multitudes of running trails, biking trails, and sketchy paths through the undergrowth. Great for pondering, picture taking, or getting exercise while pretending to be chased by a serial killer who’s following you in the darkening twilight (this last option is scary, do not recommend).

4. We have super cool events like Day of the Longboat and Storm the Wall. How many other schools have you heard of that have a huge longboat race in the ocean right beside their school? Oh right, that would be NO ONE. Day of the Longboat is a huge longboat race at Jericho Beach. It happens at the beginning of the year every year, and it gets tons of people out. I was supposed to do it in the fall, but I wimped out due to the rain (I know, I know, shame on me). However, I did do Storm the Wall yesterday! It’s pretty much like a better version of a triathlon with a sprinting portion added. And at the end you have to climb over a 12 ft wall with 4 friends (or strangers). It’s super exciting and pretty exhausting and my arms are a little bruised, but it’s incredibly rewarding to use the powers of TEAMWORK to get people over a wall.

5. We had a giant campus-wide snowball fight a few weeks ago. Yeah, you heard me right. When it snowed here, everyone got super excited and some very ornate and impressive snowmen were built (see here). Then TheCalender planned a super cool snowball fight, and made a big video about it. You see me about 44 seconds in looking super badass and throwing snowballs at people (I accidentally hit some girl in the face. It was awesome). Here’s a link to it in case you don’t believe how epic it was! (here)

6. We have TheCalender. TheCalender is the UBC Party Calender. They do quite a bit on campus, from organizing really awesome parties and taking really sick photos, to planning events like the snowball fight and the UBC Polar Bear swim. Which is equally as awesome.

7. Place Vanier and Totem Park are super awesome. The first year residences are a blast. Although the food is pretty sub-par, the general feeling of community is incredible and your floor (or parts of it) become your best friends, your moral support system, and just people who are easy to hang out with in general.

8. UBC is one of the top-ranked schools in Canada. If you’re looking for a quality education, UBC is the place to go!

9. Vancouver is one of the most culturally diverse places in Canada. If you’re afraid that you won’t fit in because of race or ethnicity, guess again. Vancouver is extremely tolerant, and there are many student associations on campus that are dedicated to a race or ethnicity. So far, I’ve found that most people here are extremely tolerant, and that they are more eager to learn about your culture or religion than to put it down simply because they don’t believe in it.

10. Marijuana runs wild and free. Okay, so this point is NOT FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, but I have friends who smoke pot and apparently the cops are super chill about it. Again, I can’t vouch for that, so you can’t blame me for anything, but if that’s your scene then apparently Vancouver is the place to be.

I think I’ll stop here, since it’s really late and I wrote way too many words (seriously, this post is at like 2000 words. I could have written an entire term paper with this many words). So take some or none of these points into consideration when choosing whether or not to come to UBC, but I really hope you do! It’s an amazing community and I love it so much! Hope to see you next year!

Disillusioned with the enchantment of education

I sit here at this very moment, desperately despondent. It seems like the endless parade of facts marching through my head is slowly blending into a writhing mass of irrelevancy. The large floats from the parade have all but disappeared, being overtaken by the small creatures that live underneath them. Everything is relevant and yet everything is irrelevant.

My life seems to be broken up into little pieces. There is the part of my life involving schoolwork and marks. It seems to be receding into the distance as my other priorities overtake it. There is the part of my life involving friends and family, and it has stayed the same over the past few months, although I seem to be needing more moral support as the time goes on. There is the part of my life involving relaxation and recreation, and this part of my life solely relies on when my favourite TV shows air and how quickly someone can link to them online. There is the part of my life involving healthy eating and exercise, and that part has disappeared behind the shadow of larger issues. I seem to be focusing more on myself than on school, which is unfortunate due to the fact that the singular reason I am at UBC is to get a quality education that I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else.

For the first time in my life, marks don’t bother me. I used to be a straight A student in high school, probably like many of my fellow UBC students. Any mark under an 85% was a disappointment, and the lowest mark I ever finished with in a course was a 78% in grade 12 calculus. Now I find that the steady stream of decaying marks blends into the background for me. I still average 70’s, which I guess is a good mark for university, but to be totally honest, I stopped caring. I still put effort into my papers and tests, but as to which extent those efforts are rewarded, I am indifferent.

My future is uncertain. It fluctuates all the time, and every little decision I make seems to affect it so completely it terrifies me. To have the future I want, I had to submit a portfolio of my heartfelt pieces in order for someone to judge. That seems a bit unfair, doesn’t it? To tear out your heart and put it to music and feel it so passionately it seems like you might explode, then to submit that piece of artwork to a panel of judges so they can determine if you have the ability to pursue your dreams or if you just won’t make the cut? To see your feelings in broad daylight and determine them unworthy for the highest honour of being one of their disciples? I understand that in order to weed out the best composers, they have to make some cuts in their program, but for the love of god, couldn’t they just let me in? I’ve seen other composers who are applying. Some apply just for the fun of it. They posses a certain amount of natural talent, and they decide that they should apply just for the fun of it, leaving people like me, who put their heart and soul into everything that they write, in the shadow of their unsuspecting brilliance. To have five pieces of music determine your entire future? Seems a bit weighty for a few flimsy pieces of paper which surely won’t last very long in the grand scheme of things.

It’s been raining a lot lately. The dull drizzle of cloud tears seems never ending, and it seems to fit the moods of the students with midterms perfectly. Sunshine is a rare commodity, and when it comes, it’s usually so unexpected that no one has time to enjoy it and savour the few moments in the light.

Wouldn’t it be nice if professors actually understood their students? that the menial and tedious time consuming work they think will help us understand a little bit of their subject is actually just detracting from the quality of our education? that being in university doesn’t mean having no life outside of schoolwork and practicing? that in order to become a successful musician you have to have the ability to form lasting relationships that they seem to warn you against using the powers of endless homework and papers?

And in the grand scheme of things, why does this even matter? Why should our futures be determined, to a certain extent, by a piece of paper with a signature from someone important and our names on it? What is it that makes us so important, and the tasks that we complete so paramount to our success? Who had the idea that in order to mean something in the world, we had to get a degree first? that we will not be equals because an education is something only the wealthier of society deserve? that status in society is determined solely by wealth and schooling? Shouldn’t we all be able to enjoy our time on earth doing what we love? Because in the end, we will all become small particles floating in the air, completely equal to each other, regardless of literacy or how we lived our life.

It feels like summer will never come.

Midterm season = week from hell

Wow. I guess I haven’t posted here in over a month. I guess I’m not really good at doing this regular blogging thang, even though I somehow manage to write in a journal every single night without fail. Well at least I tried!

So this midterm season has been quite difficult. I went into it fairly prepared and came out feeling like I failed everything. I thought that I would have the long weekend to study a lot and work hard, but instead I went out with my friends and enjoyed the sunshine which, in retrospect, was a bad idea. Then came the gauntlet of midterms. I had five – yes, you read that correctly, FIVE – midterms in two days, and I was so ready to be done with them. I went in on Wednesday morning feeling fairly confident. By Wednesday afternoon, after midterm #2, my confidence was completely shattered and left on the ground to be stepped on by everyone else leaving that midterm.

I spent Thursday morning writing tests that I wasn’t too confident about, frantically trying to answer tricky questions using the meagre brainpower that I had stored up from my grand total of 4 hours of sleep the night before. I finished my tests on Thursday and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in my friend’s room, playing Legend of Zelda on her 3DS, and napping. My midterms were over! All was well.

I was totally wrong. I thought that I was fine after midterms. I had spent a week stressing about everything, but I had unwound at the end of it and started getting enough sleep again. So, I figured it would be fun to go to a party on the Friday night. Now here is where the big meaningful life lesson comes in  –  DO NOT WORK YOURSELF TO DEATH. Because that might result in a small little thing that I like to call a panic attackYep, I had a panic attack later that evening at the frats. Apparently a mix of standing in the cold, overtiredness, extreme stress, and the catalyst, a small amount of alcohol, can cause a person to go pretty much insane for 20 or 30 minutes.Thankfully, my friends were there to help me out and get me back to my room so I could wallow in self-pity there. I googled panic attacks later and apparently, they’re not that uncommon in university students (approximately 30% of university students will have one during their university career) and there is nothing to worry about. That was a relief.

So yeah. This is my lesson to you. As hard as you think you have to work for school, don’t let it get to the point where you become mentally ill. I almost burned myself out in the span of 2 days of exhausting midterms, and let me tell you, it felt like crap. I’m still recovering from those few days now. My appetite came back, and I stopped having nightmares about showing up to class and having a midterm that I didn’t know about.

I’m not saying don’t try hard for school – far from it! Just make sure that you are keeping yourself healthy and sane. Sleep as much as you can, because studying all night won’t help you if you’re too tired the next day to answer the questions. It’s proven that your brain needs sleep to function well, so don’t deprive it! Drink lots of tea and anything else that helps you to relax. Eat healthy and don’t tell yourself that you can have unhealthy food because you deserve it (you’ll regret it later, trust me).

Anyways, this is the end of my second season of midterms and it couldn’t be any more different from the first! Up next: FINALS!!! We are almost exactly halfway through the semester, and I’m practically counting down the days until I can go home and have a whole four months off from school! Until then, I’ll try to post more often! Maybe my schedule will let up and be a bit easier for a while? 

Probably not, but a girl can hope! So, until next time! I will now leave you with an gif of a cat falling into a bathtub. Freaking hilarious.

Nose to the grindstone, mind in the stars

Be infinite

“infinite: to be unbounded or unlimited; boundless; endless; immeasurably great”

That was the theme of this years Student Leadership Conference, which I attended yesterday. And, after spending a day listening to featured presenters speak about dreams and teaching us how to become who we want to be, I can easily say that I am so incredibly inspired by the presenters and everyone else who attended the conference. The day started off unnaturally early for a Saturday (9:00am, early bird gets the worm I guess? and we did spend most of the day talking about how to achieve the worm…) However, when we got to the Chan Centre and entered the main theatre, the excitement started building and I almost forgot how tired I was. The room was packed with students who all shared the same mindset as me – they wanted to become leaders, and they wanted to learn how to follow their dreams.

The first speaker was Peter van Stolk, the founder of Jones Soda, and the current CEO of SPUD (Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery). He was a pretty cool guy, and helped show us how powerful social media can be in terms of marketing. Next, I went to see Alia Dharmasi, who is a 4th year medical student here at UBC. Her main message was that we should all take risks and step out of our comfort zone, because who knows where that one decision could take us. She was a very interesting woman, and she was really easy to relate to. Next, I went to a workshop about self-care that was run by two RA’s. It was pretty interesting, and I found out that, compared to other university students, I actually do a pretty good job of taking care of myself! Those three events took until about noon, when I headed over to Irving K. Barber to pick up my sandwich and drink for lunch. After eating my locally sourced sustainable lunch, I headed to a zumba class. That was thoroughly exhausting, and after it was over they gave us cards for $5 classes at their studio! I went to a workshop about how to travel on a budget, which was actually super useful and I learned a lot. I went to the next featured presentation which was run by Lydia Hol, a UBC graduate turned musician. She told us the importance of following your dreams, and how to overcome the negative thoughts about failure or disappointment. Last but definitely not least, I headed back to the Chan Centre to watch Waneek Horn-Miller, an inspirational Mohawk woman, present. She was the captain of the women’s Olympic water polo team in 2000, but to get there she had to overcome many obstacles, including mental and physical recovery from a wound she received from a Canadian soldier’s bayonet during the Oka Crisis. Waneek is an incredible woman, and I could have listened to her all evening.

All in all, the SLC was an amazing and empowering experience, and I highly recommend it to absolutely ANYONE who wants to go to something super awesome and feel good about LIFE.

So this was after a hellish first week of classes which involved too many early mornings, late nights, and an absurd amount of courses (just so you now, it is NOT a good idea to take 8 courses at once *hints*). But all my courses are looking good so far, the profs are interesting (possibly not in a good way) and life is exhausting but I’m loving it.

The moral of this blog post is that yes, you should go to the SLC because it’s fabulous, and that no, you should not take 8 courses at once because it’s hell. Aight.

Be infinite

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