Monthly Archives: November 2012

“I am in charge of how I feel and today I am choosing happiness.”

Happy song du jour: Love Love Love by Avalanche City

This is it: the home stretch. Deadlines are coming up. Finals are approaching. Sleep is starting to dwindle. Libraries are getting crowded. Everyone is stressed out. But exams are going to come whether you like it or not. So instead of letting this time of the year send you into an emotional tailspin, you might as well just put on a smile, do the best you can, and decide to be happy instead.

Besides, it’s sunny today.

The “bird course” fallacy

This is my current study jam for my EOSC 114: Natural Disasters midterm. It’s my very last midterm (holla!), and I have been submerging myself (get it?) in tsunamis and storms over the past couple of days on a mission to get a good mark.

The biggest lesson this course has taught me (aside from the fact that Vancouver is a very, very treacherous place to live) is that at UBC there is no such thing as a “bird course”– -you know, those courses that will send your GPA as high as a pyroclastic cloud from a Plinian volcanic eruption (see, I’m totally learning things in this class!).

After hearing multiple stories of my friends acing EOSC 114 with minimal effort, I went into this course looking for an easy A. I did super well on the first midterm,  gained false confidence, and decided to start slacking off. I fell behind on readings, missed a couple of lectures, and put it at the very bottom of my priority list. By the time the second midterm rolled around, I found myself cramming frantically the night before. Needless to say, it didn’t end very well: my mark was about 30% lower than my first one. So much for my GPA booster.

The moral of the story is that you should be careful about expectations going into classes. UBC is a challenging university, and every class is going to require a considerable amount of effort. Some courses are going to require a more considerable effort than others, but this is going to depend on the person, not on the class itself. So if you’re struggling in a “easy” course, don’t let it get you down (you’re in good company, after all!). On the flip side, if you’re working your butt off and rocking a notoriously difficult course, kudos to you. Keep doing what you’re doing.

Saving the planet, one shower at a time

I feel like I’m in the 1800s, writing a letter with quill by candlelight. That’s how little light I am using to read my EOSC 114 textbook right now.

Why am I putting myself and my poor, squinting eyes through this?

The answer: Do It In The Dark.

No, this isn’t the punchline to a dirty joke (although if you can turn it into one, more power to you). Every year, all the houses in Totem Park and Place Vanier participate in a residence-wide energy-saving competition. We compete against other residence areas in UBC as well as over 39 other universities and colleges to reduce your electricity and water consumption as much as possible. In return, you get cool stuff and the bragging rights of being the most sustainable residence building.

Kwak has been slacking a little on the DIITD front so far, but today I badgered everyone to take the stairs, turn off the lights in the bathrooms, and air dry their laundry (I followed my own advice – every surface in my room is currently covered in drying clothes). I also put up these super cool 5-minute mini hourglass timers to help people reduce their shower times. One Salish RA has gotten his shower down to 30 seconds, so try and beat his record y’all.

Why go to all this trouble? In case you haven’t heard, UBC is huge on sustainability. Not only did it coin the phrase “ecological footprint” and build the greenest building in North America–UBC offers 30 degree programs related to sustainability and tons of classes with a sustainable focus. Plus, frequent events like DIITD are especially great because they help students to become more conscious of their energy usage and think about the global impact their actions can have. Which is pretty cool, if you ask me (and you obviously do, since you’re reading my blog right now).

Want to learn more about sustainability initiatives at UBC? Check out the Sustainability website. Also, if you’re a current student interested in sustainability issues, you should think about getting involved with Common Energy or the Sustainability Ambassadors Peer Program. And if not, at the very least turn off the light when you’re done in the bathroom (I’m looking at you, Kwak 6th ladies!).

Early mornings are hard…

…but early morning dance parties make them easier.

Pro tip for keeping yourself from sleeping in on Sunday mornings: make your current favourite song your alarm clock. It’s nicer to listen to than a bunch of blaring beeps, and you might avoid the snooze button in favour of waiting for the best part to come on. Having a coffeemaker next to your bed helps, too. Not to mention gaining an extra hour thanks to Daylight Savings Time.

Now I’m off for brunch at the University Golf Club, crafting for Kwak’s one-week vegetarian challenge, and studying my tush off for ochem and genetics in the Law Library. Productivity, here I come. Hope you do something great with your extra hour, too!