Category Archives: Residence Life

Butter chicken therapy and other lessons from first year

Since coming back to Ontario, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how much I’ve learned, grown, and changed over the past eight months. The high school senior who sat at this very desk last year, stressing about whether she was making the right decision in moving to Vancouver, seems like a complete stranger to me. I wish I could go back and tell myself that everything is going to work out, and that going to UBC will be the best decision I ever made. Here are some other things I wish I’d known going into first year:

  • Leave the books behind sometimes. As important as schoolwork is, no good stories ever begin with, “So this one night, I was studying in the library…”
  • You’re never going to get up for that 8 am class on Thursday mornings. If you’re me, even 9 am is pushing it.
  • Explore Vancouver. You are about to live in one of the best and most beautiful cities in the world. Don’t waste it by sitting around in your dorm room.
  • Never leave your door unlocked unless you want your friends throwing your mattress off the top of the commonsblock (yes, this really happened)
  • Let people surprise you. First impressions can be very, very wrong, and you never know who might end up becoming your lifelong friends once you give them a chance.
  • Every bad day can be remedied by butter chicken night in the Vanier dining hall. Or a Blue Chip cookie. Either one should be effective.
  • Get involved. Cannot stress this one enough. Find something you love and go for it. It’ll take your first year to a whole new level of amazing.
  • Everything will be okay. At least once (and probably much, much more than once), you will feel like a complete and utter failure, but just grit your teeth and remember that everything works out in the end.
  • Make friends with the dining hall staff. They will give you free food, especially in the last few days once your meal plan balance has run out.
  • Don’t wear your housing lanyard around your neck. You basically have a neon sign over your head screaming “I AM A FIRST YEAR”. Probably not the look you’re going for.
  • Embrace the rain. It’s the reason this place is so green and beautiful year-round. Plus, jumping in puddles in your rainboots helps combat exam stress.
  • Go to class, regardless of whether the lecture slides are posted online. This is a big one. There was a direct correlation between my final marks in courses and how often I attended the class. Coincidence? I think not.
  • Deactivate your Facebook during exam time. You’ll thank me later.
  • And last, but certainly not least: remember that you’re only in first year once (YOFYO? Drake ain’t got nothin’ on me) and believe me when I say it’s over way too soon. Enjoy every second.

The end of an era

Missing this place with all of my being

Warning: the following will be incredibly sappy and emotional, and I might have to stop a couple times to prevent myself from openly crying in the airport.

It’s over. This morning I emptied my room, turned in my keys, and had my last breakfast in the dining hall (during which, funnily enough, “The Freshmen” by the Verve Pipe was playing on the radio. Weird.) My two Ontario boys and I piled our ridiculous amounts of luggage into the back of a cab and, after being attacked with bear hugs from our friends, headed off to YVR, where I’m now waiting to board my flight home.

There’s a Vanier-sized hole in my heart, and I’m this-close to bursting into tears thinking about all the things I’m going to miss over the summer. No more body slamming my friends’ doors when I want a study break. No more impromptu trips to the beach on sunny days. No more meeting for dinner at 6 o’clock sharp every night (plus ten minutes of waiting for Alison). No more sitting out on the field, showering with flip flops on, ham and swiss sandwiches from Stackables, or living just a few steps away from the most amazing people in the world. It’s ridiculous how much I’m going to miss that place.

Of course, there’s still so much to look forward to. This summer is going to be amazing, with concerts, beach-going, and not taking the bus everywhere for a change. I’m also super stoked to be an advisor in Totem Park next year (my friends are already plotting elaborate ways to prank my floor), although I have a feeling I’m always going to be a Vanier girl at heart. And I now have friends all over Ontario and the rest of the country to visit. It’s just, as Emilie kept saying, “the end of an era”. And what an awesome era it was.

So I guess this is goodbye for now, UBC. Thanks for an incredible, hilarious and unforgettable year. You stay beautiful for me, and I’ll see you in four months.

Edit: Shoutout to Logan for making my move out possible. Thanks for driving me around Kits in the Jetta to find boxes. I’ll think of you every time I find residual sand in my TOMS from Jericho.

How to Procrastinate in University

The coffee is flowing, the highlighters are highlighting, and I haven’t worn jeans in over a week. This can only mean one thing: finals. Studying for finals can get intense, with long library cram sessions and very little sunlight. Every once in a while, you need to give yourself a little break. So here’s a list of ways to successfully procrastinate your studious butt off:

  1. Clean your room. How are you supposed to study in a cluttered workspace, after all? If possible, wash every item of clothing you own, organize your shoes according to fanciness and heel height, and go on a hunt for the vacuum around your building.
  2. Run around in your underwear. But only if it’s as a part of the 3rd Annual Undie Run. Otherwise you’ll attract some weird looks, and probably be escorted out of Irving by security.
  3. Watch cute videos. Cat videos, baby videos, whatever. I recommend this, this, and this.
  4. Make up a parody song. This one’s my favourite. Just yesterday I made up one about eclipsed conformers to the tune of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (if you can come up with anything that rhymes with carbon, let me know). This one can kind of have educational value too. Emphasis on the “kind of”.
  5. Go on 9gag. Try to make yourself look like the memes. I’m really, really good at making myself look like this guy.
  6. Learn about something, anything, other than what you need to be studying. This can be accomplished by reading a book, watching a documentary, (I’m a fan of watching Planet Earth, myself), or learning world history the fun way by watching Crash Course on Youtube.
  7. Go to the beach. First-year residences at UBC are right next to the beach. I assume they designed this so we could have awesome study breaks, complete with tanning and ocean spray. Going back up the stairs can even count as your exercise for the day. Double win.
  8. Read this.
  9. Distract your friends. Because if you’re not getting any studying done, why should they? I recommend bringing treats so they are less inclined to kick you out. That could also mean making a Hubbard’s/Magda’s run, which is even better. Fuzzy Peaches seem to do the trick quite nicely.
  10. Start a new TV show. I watch way too many TV shows for my own good, so if you’re in need of a recommendation, I’ll be more than happy to oblige. Happy Endings is my most recent addiction.
  11. Write a blog post about procrastination. Yup, seems to be getting the job done for me.

Very important side note: Procrastination is a dangerous game, kids. Please remember that this blog post is mainly for entertainment purposes, and I in no way recommend avoiding studying for finals by doing everything on this list in a day. Although if you did and still managed to pass, you’d be kind of awesome.

Other side note: I get real studying done, I swear. Just ask the guy at the Education Library front desk, who’s seen me every day for the past week. He comes to work to see me sitting outside Scarfe waiting for the building to open, and then clangs a bell in my face to force me to leave at the end of the day. That’s dedication.

Days like this are the reason I moved to Vancouver

Yep. We study hard.

There is no place better than sunny UBC campus. This morning, I woke up and had a delicious breakfast of tater tots and eggs with the KU 2nd family in the dining hall (and was told some interesting bird facts courtesy of Nic). Afterwards, most of them went off to Stanley Park to do some ivy removal as a part of KU Kares (a community service initiative started by a good friend of mine on my floor), while I stayed behind since I had work to do. But instead of going to the library, Erin and I grabbed a couple blankets, our Macbooks and our calculus textbooks and headed outside to study in the sunshine.

Throughout the day, we recruited several more people to join our study picnic, watched the Vanier advisors play a hilarious game of “Strolltimate” (think Ultimate, but with speedwalking), and somehow finished our math assignment. There was even singing and guitar playing involved. At one point, someone noted that we looked like we were straight out of a cliche student life shot in a university viewbook. All we were missing was a guy with long hair and a hackey sack.

All in all, this was one of the best days I’ve had at UBC so far. And I didn’t even leave my residence.

Side note: Six people told me I looked like a hippie today in my crazy printed maxi dress and my Katniss-inspired side braid, complete with a real flower. I’d say that my transition to a true West coast girl is complete.

The Camp UBC Experience

Back in September, life at UBC felt like one long stint at summer camp. The weather was amazing. The sun was always shining. You were living with a bunch of people your own age. The advisors were your counselors. Everyone ate together in the dining hall. We even had Vanier Olympics, which was similar to the camp-wide games we used to play during my one and only camp experience the summer after grade eight.

But then, the reality sunk in. The weather got rainier, the schoolwork got harder, and we all remembered that, Frisbee and nature aside, we’re all really here to get an education.

Over this past weekend, though, I got another taste of the summer camp vibe that made me fall in love with this place. The camp experience kicked off on Thursday night with Mr. Vanier, an annual all-male “talent competition” in which eight lovely Vanier men danced and strutted their stuff to win the judges’ and the audiences’ hearts. Hilarious innuendoes from the hosts and ridiculous interview questions were just a couple of the things that gave me a laughter-induced ab workout. Continue reading

It’s a good week to be a UBC student

In spite of second-round midterms being in full swing and the intense, freezing wind causing me to nail someone in the face with my umbrella yesterday (isn’t it supposed to be spring?), this week is looking pretty amazing for UBC. Exciting things happening on campus this week:

5 Days for the Homeless: If you’ve walked by the Bookstore sometime in the last two days, you’ve probably seen the “homeless” students asking for spare change. This campaign, designed to raise money and awareness for the homeless, involves 10 students abandoning their wallets, beds, and showers to live on the street for 5 days. Two friends of mine, Aaron and Michelle, are participating in the campaign. You can read their blogs and find out more about the initiative here, and if you’re passing by the corner of University and East Mall, hand over some spare change.

Undergraduate society elections: Elections for AUS, SUS, EUS, LFSUS, FUS, and KUS are underway! (side note: as a UBC student, gaining a thorough acronym vocabulary is a graduation requirement) Log on to WebVote through the SSC by Friday and get yo’ vote on. Also, if you’re awesome and a science student, you should check out the SUS candidate profiles here.

Strombo: George Stroumboulopoulos, known as the host of CBC’s The Hour and proud owner of the world’s most challenging last name (I obviously had to Google the spelling for this blog post), is coming to UBC. He’s going to be talking about his work in Pakistan at the Arts Last Lecture on Friday in the Old Auditorium. Limited tickets are still available through the Arts Undergrad Society, here.

Mulch Madness: The 12-foot walls for Storm have been assembled and the mulch has been brought in. Being in first year, I’ve only heard about the awesomeness that is Storm the Wall, but I’m beyond pumped to scale the wall in a couple weeks. Register by March 21st if you want to be a part of one of UBC’s most beloved traditions!

Other fun things happening in my life this week (aside from the lab exam I have later today…yikes): KU and Tec house councils have organized a KU-Tec social dinner tonight. Mas tacos por favor! (That’s pretty much the extent of my grade 9 Spanish knowledge) I also have a super exciting interview on Thursday for a position next year. Cross your fingers and toes for me, please. I’m going to need all the luck I can muster.

The truth about residence life

The most memorable nights don’t always involve partying at the frats. Sometimes, your best nights in residence can have you making a fort out of blankets and a propped up air mattress with your floormies and refusing to talk in anything but British accents for the rest of the night. True story.

Guess who’s back?

I know, I know. I’m the worst blogger ever. My life has been consumed by integrals, reaction kinetics, ecosystems, and basically every other sciencey-sounding thing you can think of over these past couple weeks. If any of you are thinking about taking six courses next year: don’t do it. Unless you’re some sort of superhuman who only needs three hours of sleep per night.

Anyways, for the two people who still read my blog after my hiatus (again, sorry guys), here’s a quick life update:

  1. I am officially homeless as of September 2012. The UBC Housing lottery results came out over the weekend, and I was obviously not a winner. 647th on the wait list, but I’m still pretty optimistic. I know other people who have it way worse; I have one friend who’s around the 3100 mark. Yikes. Side note: every time I hear someone say “the lottery”, I’m reminded of this creepy short story we read in high school about people getting stoned to death, which has given the last few days kind of a creepy vibe.
  2. KU Week was awesome. In second term, every house in Vanier gets their own “week” where they plan events, decorate the dining hall, and show off their house spirit. This past week was KU week, so we turned the dining hall into a jungle and planned a bunch of events. Aside from our capture the flag game getting postponed due to rain (welcome to Vancouver!), I’d say it was a great success. Go tigers!
  3. “May the odds be ever in your favour.” I borrowed The Hunger Games from a friend back in January, and thanks to my crazy schedule I never had the time to read it. But since my first round of midterms ended last Tuesday, I decided to give it a try… and I’m officially obsessed. I stayed up until 3 am reading it on Wednesday night, which turned out to be a terrible decision since it caused me to miss my 9 am physics lecture the next day. Whoops. Well, at least I was reading, right?

That’s about all I can come up with right now. For those of you who still have midterms to write (like my engineering friends who have two physics exams in a row), you can do it! When all else fails, just remember that reading week is only four days away.

First term scrapbook

Just finished decluttering my hard drive and stumbled upon a bunch of pictures from last term. Thought I’d share a few of them with you, my lovely blog readers, to give you a look at some of the highlights of my first few months at UBC:

That time we played Ultimate. It’s unreal how awake I look…

That time we went to homecoming! I promise Emma’s face doesn’t always look like that.
That time we made chocolate chip pancakes…sort of.
That time we went to the frats. Still have no idea who these guys are, or why Emma is holding a wetsuit.
That time I climbed in a dumpster behind War Memorial Gym. One of the more difficult tasks on the KU scavenger hunt.

That time we got classy. Vanier’s annual formal dinner in the dining hall…

…and that time we danced the night away. Post-dinner Vanier Gets Classy dance in the ballroom

See you soon, Vancouver

Currently sitting in my room with a packed suitcase next to me. This is weird.

I just got back from Wreck Beach, where I said goodbye to the Pacific for the next three weeks (and got my workout for the day. I always seem to forget just how many stairs there really are). I also ate my last Chef’s soup and ham and Swiss sandwich of 2011 this afternoon. I seriously have no idea how I’m going to survive the Christmas break without Stackables.

Even more importantly, though, I said goodbye to my floormates, all of whom still have exams to write. Note: being the first one of your friends to be done with exams is awesome, but it’ll cause them to resent you. A lot. However, they took a little bit of time off from hating me for being so happy to say goodbye (some of them multiple times, and Nic even wrote me a super sweet goodbye message on my door). I’m gonna miss you, KU floor two.

Anyways, I did it. I made it through my first term of university. It definitely wasn’t easy, and I don’t think I quite got the marks that I wanted, but I’m still so proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished so far. Goal for next term: do better in math, which will mostly be accomplished by going to class on a regular basis. (I already have a solution for this, though: my friend and I have made a bet to see who will attend more 9 AM calculus classes. As comfy as my memory foam mattress topper is in the morning, I’m still pretty confident he’s going down.)

But now that the semester is over, I’m looking so forward to the holidays. In case you couldn’t tell by my room, I’m kind of a Christmas junkie. I live for giving (and receiving) presents, decorating the tree, going tobogganing, warming up by the fire, singing carols and drinking eggnog. I can’t wait to spend Christmas in Toronto, to go skating in Nathan Phillips Square, to see the giant Swarovski crystal Christmas tree in the Eaton Centre, and to spend time with my mom and my sister. Most of all, I can’t wait to relax and have a little time off from the insanity that is university life. I’ve never had a winter break where I haven’t had some sort of schoolwork to do, and it’s going to be a welcome change. (I don’t know how successful I’ll be at relaxing, though. I was so bored earlier today that I seriously considered reading my psychology textbook for fun…)

On that note, I’ve gotta run–I have a plane to catch. I hope everyone’s remaining exams go well and that you all have an amazing break! As for you, UBC, please don’t go changing on me. I love you just the way you are.