Category Archives: Residence Life

Don’t study in your room

Especially with your door open. Unless you want 5+ people coming in and distracting you for 3 hours, that is. Yeah, thanks for that, friends. To be fair, my room has become extremely appealing since I decided to Christmasify it. I’d want to hang out in here, too.

Whuddup, Christmas room?
I don’t even have time to study now, since I’m heading off to the SLC Christmas social with my “recycled” gift wrapping (aka old issues of the Ubyssey). Then, I’m rushing back to Vanier to get my ticket for Saturday’s Vanier Gets Classy winter formal. Everything’s happening so fast! I predict a mental breakdown within the next couple of days. Just a heads up.

Keep your head up

I have a lot of reasons to be happy right now. My midterms are done, I finished my lab test with minimal mistakes today (shout out to Bret from my chem lab, who never laughs at me when I screw up), and my floor now has a Christmas tree. Life is good. Even the semi-constant rain and scary wind we’ve been experiencing for the last couple of days can’t get me down.

Another thing that makes me happy is that KU house council had our first big event of the year tonight: the Concrete Jungle Mocktail Party. I was held up and only got there near the end, but it was a really good time, with jazz music, semi-formal attire, and all our proceeds going to United Way. Plus, we had sparkling apple juice. Nothing screams class like sparkling apple juice.

KU house council looking spiffy
I know final exams are right around the corner, and my happiness will probably waning soon, but I need to make sure to remember the things about university that make me smile while I’m poring over my CHIRP next week. Just in case you’re also dreading finals and are in need of a little pick-me-up, here’s the happiest song/music video I could think of. It’s the first track on my “happy” playlist on my iPod and never fails to put me in a good mood.

What I do in chemistry

“There ain’t no party like a s-block party!”

They’re electrons that are getting excited…get it? I also may or may not have made up an accompanying parody song about the s-block elements to the tune of “S Club Party”. Sometimes I swear, I’m too nerdy to function. Don’t worry though, I get real studying done, too.

Random pun of the day: What do you call a cat who raps? Whiska Lifa. (Shout out to my friend Sarah from Toronto who tweeted this last week and caused me to collapse into hysterical laughter in the middle of one of my lectures.)

Album(s) of the day: Take Care by Drake and the slightly less hyped but equally awesome Camp by Childish Gambino (aka Troy from Community), which both came out today. I’ve been listening to these two albums non-stop in the floor lounge today in an attempt to convince people that I’m way more gangsta than I actually am.

Botany and Kool Aid

Thursday is always the busiest day of my week. Usually, this ends up being a bad thing, but today I actually ended up having an awesome day. Here’s a rundown:

The “E” on Main Mall was painted today in honour of Movember. Made me smile.
8 am – For SCIE 113, we had an assignment to interview a researcher. That’s how my friend Quinne and I ended up in Dr. Roy Turkington’s office in the Biodiversity building this morning, listening to a story about one of his colleagues getting chased down by a jaguar while doing field work in the Serengeti. For anyone who thought botany research was boring, think again. A lot of the plant talk went right over my head, but it was great to find out more about some of the research that is going on at UBC, and I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who was more excited while talking about plant communities. For more information on Dr. Turkington’s research, check out his lab website. Added bonus, we finished with the interview with just enough time to make a breakfast run to Timmie’s in the Forestry building.

9:30 am – Time for the most dreaded part of my day: an hour and a half of calculus, also known as the class that makes time stand still. Today was made even worse than average due to a student teacher who kept mispronouncing “tangent” (it’s a soft G!) and the unusually low temperature in class. I ended up wrapping my circle scarf around my head in a desperate attempt to hold onto my body heat, attracting a lot of weird stares from the people around me.

The womb. I’m willing to bet at least half the people on those benches are sleeping…

11 am – Naptime isn’t just for kindergardeners anymore. Freezing and mentally drained from calculus, I walked over to the Aquatic Centre for a well-deserved nap on the stretches of carpeted benches overlooking the pool, aptly named “the womb”. It’s so cozy and warm up there, and something about the smell of chlorine and the sound of the water makes my eyelids feel instantly heavier…zzzzzz.

12 pm – Wake up just in time for class. Grab a Marbelous cookie and cafe mocha from Blue Chip in the SUB. Sugar and caffeine, always a good combination.

12:30 pm – SCIE 113 Science and Society Speaker Series. Today’s presenter was Lisa Johnson, a reporter for CBC Vancouver and a UBC Science alum. Her talk focused on the connections between investigative reporting and the scientific method, and discussed how her journalism benefits from her science background. It really demonstrated that many things we’re learning in SCIE 113, such as how to evaluate claims and use different forms of evidence, can be applicable to all kinds of real-world issues. I also found her career path particularly interesting since I’ve been considering going into scientific journalism lately. For more information on Lisa’s talk, read this post from her blog.

In Chem 121, we answer life’s big questions, like “what’s in grape Kool Aid?” Ohhhh yeahhhh.

2 pm – Chem labs freak me out. You’re not actually given a step-by-step procedure; you need to read through your lab manual and figure out the experimental design for yourself. Then, when you get to the lab, you have 10 minutes to write a quiz on the material, and then you’re on your own for the next 3 hours. Super intimidating. Also, I had a mishap with a titration a couple weeks ago that left my self-confidence in the lab seriously shaken. I actually enjoyed today’s experiment, though, and managed to get through it without completely screwing up. We took Grape Kool Aid, and through a bunch of fancy lab techniques were able to determine which food dyes were used to colour it, and what their concentrations were. I won’t bore you with all the nerdy details, but at one point you could actually see the red and blue dye bands separating out of the Kool Aid. I wish I could’ve taken a picture, but cell phones aren’t allowed in the lab. It was cool though. You’ll just have to trust me on that one.

5:30 pm – Dinner with my KU 2 ladies in the Vanier dining hall. I had the most awesome lasagna I’ve ever tasted outside of Italy for dinner tonight (I was really hungry though, so my judgement might have been compromised). Also, Leigh, one of the UBC Food Services employees, told me he feels like “we’re tight” since I always choose his register over all the other ones. We sure are, Leigh. We sure are.

6:30 pm – KU House Council meeting in the lounge. We made “tombstones” for those who have perished in sock wars so far and came up with a variety of creative deaths, including “overdosed on candy from Hubbard’s”. There’s also a winter formal dinner and dance in the works for the last day of classes. Get pumped, Vanier.

8 pm – Biked to meet Melinda at IKBLC, where we desperately attempted to wrap our heads around wavefunctions before our chem quiz tomorrow morning. We mainly wasted a bunch of time trying to imitate our prof’s British accent, but we figured things out in the end.

And now, I’m lying on my way-too-high bed, trying to keep my eyes open as I finish this blog post at 1 am. Now that’s dedication, folks. Goodnight, UBC!

Hanging out with Florence

What I did today: Convinced a bunch of people to be in a SLC promo video, mainly by running up to them and yelling “HEY DO YOU WANT TO BE FAMOUS?!” scary loud in their faces. It proved to be a pretty effective approach.

What I’m doing now: Taking a break from my chem prelab (read: I haven’t started yet) and hoping that the Vanier dining hall has good chef’s soups tonight. Seafood chowder would be ideal.

What I’m listening to: Florence + the Machine’s new album, Ceremonials, which came out yesterday and has been blasting from my room ever since. Here’s the video for the album’s first single, “Shake it Out”, which basically makes me want to dance around and climb trees.

Also, I found this video today that both accurately describes my issues with procrastination and makes my inner Pokemon nerd smile. Win-win.

There Will Be Socks

Look out, Target #2. I’m coming for ya.
This weekend, a change has fallen over KU. Friends have become pitted against each other, the hallways have been turned into war zones, and everywhere you look people are carrying around socks and clutching stuffed animals to their chests. That’s right: KU Sock Wars has officially begun.

What is Sock Wars? It’s a game of stealth and strategy in which every person in the building is assigned a target, and you need to hit your target with a (clean) sock before someone else hits you. To win the mystery prize, you need to be the last one standing, plain and simple. Each week there’s a different safety item (hence the stuffed animals), and if you’re carrying it, no one can harm you. There are also safe zones, such as bathrooms and the stairways, where you aren’t allowed to hit anyone, so you need to be clever in order to hit your mark. So far, I’ve seen people pretend that a RA is looking for their target in order to lure them out of their rooms, as well as lurking in the shadows outside floor lounges, waiting for their target to come out. People have also been changing their Facebook profile pictures, even their Facebook names so they can hide from their killers. Needless to say, Sock Wars is intense.

This morning I experienced my first sock kill, ambushing my floormate on her way back from the bathroom. She had no idea it was coming. She ended up taking my betrayal pretty well though, and we ended up going to breakfast together shortly afterwards. Now, thanks to Sock Wars, I’m sitting in the library with a folded up Spongebob slipper next to me. Yes, I know that it’s not technically a stuffed animal, but it’s going to have to do until I can get a UBC teddy bear from the bookstore on Monday. I knew leaving my childhood Beanie Baby collection in Richmond Hill was a bad idea. And what library am I in? That one’s a secret, just in case my sock assassin happens to read my blog. (Message to my killer: you’ll never catch me. I’m a sock ninja.)

So many sock-related threats on my whiteboard. I’d be a little intimidated if I wasn’t 99% positive that they were all written by my friends on my floor who do not have me as a target. Extra points for you if you can spot the Summer Heights High reference.
PS goal for next Saturday: do not sleep through Vanier Learns to Run and Ultimate. Although it will be Halloween weekend so I’m not sure if this goal is in any way realistic.

PPS, Today I got splattered in the face with red paint for a SLC promo video and was forced to walk back to Vanier looking like I’d just brutally murdered someone. It was awesome.

Home sweet home

When I was looking into schools last year, one of my biggest concerns was where I was going to live. I had this horrible image of being like Will Ferrell in Elf, when he’s in the North Pole and unable to stand up straight since everything is so tiny.

Then I got here and realized that this wasn’t at all the case. The rooms can be a little bland at first glance, but with a little bit of creativity, you can easily make your little cube your own. So without further ado, lovely blog readers, here is a virtual tour of my room in Vanier. Usually I don’t invite strangers into my room, but I had sushi for breakfast today. I’m in the mood to break all the rules.

Welcome to Casa Cam! Notice my lovely door decorations, designed so that people know who to come to with questions, ideas for floor events and/or requests to go to Hubbard’s. A whiteboard is a university must, especially if you want to come back from class with funny pictures, quotes and messages from your floormies (or if you want to tell your floor about Sock Wars, which is epic and starting soon. I’ll save that one for another blog post, though).

And now, ladies and gentlemen, my room. It’s an actual miracle how clean it is today. Now you see the extremely elevated bed I keep talking about. The heights of the beds in Totem and Vanier are adjustable, and I chose to put mine as high as it can possibly go. The bottom of it is about hip height, and thanks to the extra inches added by my memory foam mattress topper, I need to take a running leap to climb onto it. At least I get a little bit of exercise.

My drawers, mini-fridge and printer are all tucked under my bed, which gives me a ton of extra space in my room and makes things feel a little less cluttered. The bedside table is a bookshelf I got at the Firstweek IKEA trip and put together myself. Not too shabby. I also enjoy my cactus named Bertha, who is sitting on the windowsill.

My desk. This is where all the magic happens. And by “magic”, I mean late-night cramming sessions and lots of Netflix-watching. The desk chair is surprisingly comfy, and even rocks back a little bit, so you don’t have that almost-fall-backwards-to-your-death moment when you lean back in your chair just a little too far.

Other things to note: my skis just chilling, waiting for the snow to arrive, my over-cluttered bulletin board with mainly expired coupons and notices attached to it, and the large pile of homework on the corner of my desk that I am currently neglecting.

Storage space. I’m beginning to notice I have far too much stuff. Check out the yoga mat, essential for any Vancouverite. I’ve been putting it to good use since I got here, and I’m planning on heading out to a $2 drop-in class later today courtesy of my UBC Yoga Club membership. Other key items include my Snuggie, large collection of sweatpants, Brita water filter and 16 pairs of shoes. And say hi to my friends Bret and Jermaine, who are hiding in the corner.

Bedridden in BC

After an amazing long Thanksgiving weekend filled with way too much food, I’m finally back in beautiful British Columbia! How did I celebrate my triumphant return? By going down to Wreck Beach and breathing in the salty ocean air? By jumping excitedly on the bouncy bushes? By buying myself a Blue Chip cookie? Nope. Sadly, the answer is: by writing a chem midterm while feeling violently ill.

The upside of living in rez: you spend all of your time around your friends. The downside: you spend all of your time around your friends. AKA, when one of them gets sick, you all get sick. Don’t worry though, everyone is super nice and shares their cold meds.

I’m currently lying in my way-too-high bed in my Snuggie and listening to Noah and the Whale. I swear this music is comfort food for my ears. Here’s hoping I’ll be better in time for tomorrow night, I need to seriously celebrate the completion of my midterms. Have a great weekend, everyone!

A very delayed Vanier Olympics post

KU tigers showing our orange pride at Vanier Olympics 2011

I’ve been so caught up in midterms, I completely forgot to write a post about the events of last weekend – which were pretty epic, if I do say so myself.

Saturday September 24th, 9 am. All was quiet at KU. It was a sunny Saturday morning, and many were still recuperating from the night before. The halls were empty, the lounges deserted. Then, out of nowhere, a song began…

Suddenly, the KU RAs began to run, yelling and cheering through the halls, banging on everyone’s doors. Soon, the halls and stairways were swarmed with orange as the KU tigers all emerged from our rooms and headed downstairs to eat chocolate chip pancakes (a breakfast of champions), strategize our surprise entrance at the opening ceremonies (running out of hiding to Guns N’ Roses “Welcome to the Jungle”), and practice our house cheer.

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Getting groceries is dangerous

Note to self: never bike to Save On Foods via Marine Drive ever again, or at least until you are significantly more fit. I almost passed out going up a hill and had a narrow miss with an 18-wheeler while attempting to turn onto 16th Ave. I somehow managed to make it back to KU in one piece though, with my bananas and Nutella unharmed (best study snack ever, seriously).

I’ve been feeling like a true Vancouverite lately, taking my bike everywhere I possibly can. Biking to classes is crazy convenient, since I get to sleep ten minutes later than I would have to if I were walking. However, the intense hill between Lower and Main Mall turns me into that sweaty, huffing girl in my 9 AM lecture. Hopefully by the end of the semester I’ll be able to make it to Wesbrook without looking like I just ran a marathon.

Anyways, I’m now in my third week of classes here in beautiful British Columbia. I’m finally starting to get adjusted and settle into a routine, and I’ve been having a lot fewer minor freak-outs as a result. Here are some highlights of this past week:

1. Shopping Week. Last week was UBC Rec’s Shopping Week. I gave zumba a try, took a free yoga class in the Vanier ballroom, and, to my absolutely delight, took my first dance class in four months. I overdid it a little bit and couldn’t walk properly for four days afterwards, but it was so worth it.

2. My psych prof is a boss. When asked to give an example of a negative correlation, someone said “Less partying, more studying”, to which my prof responded “Yeah, only if you’re not awesome!” He also gets bonus points for making Grey’s Anatomy and House references.

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