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How to get involved at UBC

This was me in high school.
Take note on the mandatory white graduation dress and the school uniform.

This is me now, after one year at UBC. Yes there is a grounded flying saucer in the background.

In high school, I was student council President. I held leadership positions in my community. I volunteered for Habitat for Humanity. I was an editor of my school’s yearbook and newspaper. I enjoyed listening to Taking Back Sunday and mostly anything from the “punk
or “emo” genre of music, but that phase eventually ended some point around grade 10. So to sum it up, I was a highly involved student who had an interesting music taste.

When the end of grade 12 came, I chose a university to attend that was on the other side of the country (UBC!). Moving forward, I no longer had any of my leadership positions. I no longer belonged to any clubs. I no longer had my mother’s car to drive. I had to start fresh.

I knew what I liked. I liked to be the voice for youth and for students. I liked to speak in front of large crowds. I likde to mentor others. I liked to plan events. I liked supporting charities. I liked being involved with student politics. I liked being filled with school spirit.

With that, I went on my search for opportunities that fit the things I liked. These are some of the things I joined, what I participated in and what I suggest new students to UBC look into as well.

VP Students Emerging Leaders Program
Through the program, I was connected with an upper year student and a small group of students who are in my faculty and new to UBC as well. I was able to volunteer for the Reading Week Learning Exchange in an elementary school for three days during this past reading week, attend the Student Leadership Conference that happens every January, and have meet and greets with Brian Sullivan and our faculty’s Dean. It gives students the chance to find new ways to be involved at UBC, connect with other students who are new as well, and to grow as a leader. Next year I’ll be a POD Leader (that lovely upper year student I talked about, who for me was Tarini!) and I’m stoked to be able to help more new to UBC students find their place in such an amazing community.

UBC Blog Squad
Keep checking back to find out how to apply this summer to become a blogger just like I am now! It’s been “the bomb” being able to share with the world my experiences as a UBC student. The best part is the comments I receive where people from places far far away tell me that I influenced their decision to come to UBC and I have made their world all the brighter.

Art History Student Association & Arts Undergraduate Society
It all started when I got an email blast from the Art History Visual Arts dept inviting me to the AHSA movie night in one of the lecture halls in the Lasserre building. I met the club, decided to join, which lead me to the position of being the AHSA rep to the AUS! Through the AUS, I sat on the Killam Teaching Prize Committee for the Faculty of Arts as the Undergraduate rep which gave me a chance to read profiles on amazing professors in my faculty and to get to know the school better. Being on the AHSA also lead me to meet the Art + Architecture + Planning  Librarian, Vanessa Kam, who gave me advice on how to research for my art history paper. In addition, I helped plan and attend career fairs for AHVA students, learn about my future professors, and network with upper year students in my program. All of these doors were open because of one little movie night I decided to attend.

UBC Rec’s Soccer League
I joined with a team from Totem Park and we might of never won a game but it was a lot of fun to wake up early every Sunday morning, walk over to the soccer fields, and play a game of soccer with mountains in the background. The best part about Vancouver is that the season started in January and it was warm enough to play in just a t-shirt.

AMS Mini School- Pole Dancing 101
My friends and I from my floor in Totem Park signed up for this six week course on how to pole dance for beginners! It was for an hour every Thursday night in the Student Union Building for six weeks. The AMS Mini School offers discounts (with already low prices) if you join with friends and they offer many other courses like bar-tending, different forms of dance, photography and more.

Dear Erica,

My friends: Lauren, Megan, Katie and myself in the UBC Rose Garden last weekend. This is a shot I took after we finished up a photo shoot. They were nice enough to take time out of their day to be my models for a VISA 183 project. That’s why I’m in TOMS and they are in heels. What lovely folk they are.

Last summer, I was asked to write a letter to myself for me to receive in the mail one year later. This happened before I started university. Last Friday was a little less than a year, but it came. Somehow, for once, I didn’t recognize my own handwriting that spelt out my name and address on the front of the envelope. I opened it, unsure of what was inside, until I saw 5 main goals written on the outside of the folded sheet of paper.

It read,
BFA Honours -> MFA
Learn French
Starry Night
Be physically fit
Be happy with yourself”

These were the things I cared about the most. I wrote this just a week before I was leaving for UBC last August. I can say that most of those goals are being met. If you are wondering what Starry Night means, that’s a story for another day that I will share with you soon.

There is also what I wrote inside.

“Dear Erica,
I hope that you have found a great love, your passion and all the inspiration in the world. I hope you reach your Top 20 Under 20 goals. I hope you are sleeping about 8 hours a night and physically fit. I wonder what your relationship is like with Trevor. I think I just ended it with him but it’s usually never over. I hope Starry Night took off and the Mob is a huge success. I hope your grades are around 85. I hope AE in Vancouver is great. I hope you found your life long friends. I hope your acne has cleared up. I hope you still listen to Viva Radio & This America Life.

Be honest.
Use your ethical compass.
Focus on your grades.
Live your life.
Be honest some more.
Share everything with Loran.
Go to Disney World.”

Then there are little things I wrote at the bottom of the letter,

“I’m just trying to be me, whoever that is.” – Bob Dylan

“Make someone’s day special. If you aren’t happy -> figure out why and change it.

Love, Erica Baker.”

Under that, it says “Read reverse.” I flip over the paper. I’ve included a five dollar bill and a note.
“Okay so I’m making a little investment. I’m putting it in this envelope  hoping it makes it to the new me in a year. Use it on something you really need. Use it on something that will make you happier. Use it to benefit yourself. You need to be happy. You need to take care of yourself. Love.”

What a perfect time for me to receive this. I only have two more days of class and I’m currently reflecting on my first year of university. Overall, I have achieved what I wanted.

This semester, I finally convinced myself 8 hours of sleep is good. I am now more comfortable with my body and I even have gone to the gym a few times. To add to that, I took pole dancing classes, joined a UBC REC soccer team and played on my floor’s football team. Hannah even took me for a few early morning runs along old NW Marine Drive & took me swimming in the pool.

Trevor. I wanted to go home this summer to be able to be around him. Those plans didn’t work out. We had a good few months of contact in the winter. Christmas break was a lot of fun, it felt like I had never left my hometown and that we hadn’t stopped dating. 5 years is a long time. Now, we don’t talk. We were living a half-relationship half-not sort of thing for a while that was just too stressful on my system. I’ve really grown in five years, and he hasn’t changed, we’re just not the same mix anymore. It’s hard to find things in common besides the past, but he’ll always be someone I want to call “baby.”

I’ve found my lifelong friends. They know who they are. I have 23 photos of one of them on my wall in my dorm room. We counted. I remember laying down on my longboard last October, looking at the night sky, on the roof of the Marine Drive Parkade. I told Alex, who was sitting on his board next to me, that the most important thing for me this year was my friends. In high school, I was so focused in everything that was American Eagle, volunteering, and politics. I’m glad that I’m coming out of this year with the closest friends a girl could ask for. They even read my blog without me forcing them. Guys, thank you.

I’m keeping true to most of the things I mentioned. I listened to some This American Life today, my acne isn’t as bad as it has been in the past, I am very happy with myself, I’ve shown lots of love, and I’ll always remember that if I’m not happy I will figure out why and I will change it.

Thank you Erica from the past, you rock. I’ll save that five dollars for something special.

Ohhh yeahhh.

A typical Totem Park Sunday for Erica:

– UBC REC League soccer game. Team name: Tiger Pants. We’re legit.
– WTFL football game.
– Post soccer game. Trying to get the best shower in the floor bathroom before your other teammates.
– Lunch. Dim Sum Sunday or Belgium  waffles and ice cream? Or the classic scrambled eggs and bacon?
– Laundry. Today I was the cool kid who made their washing machine fill up with bubbles and suds.
– Watching Ferris Bueller’s Day off (The best movie to come out of 1986) on Mega Video. It’s becoming kind of a Sunday afternoon tradition.
– Back to the laundry room. I pay to have my clothes go through the dryer a second time and hope they all are dry by the end of their second round.
– Chocolate milk run. I go for the large carton.
– An attempt at studying is eventually made. Emails are always answered.
– Facebook creeping.
Dinner with my floor mates in the  Dining Hall around 6pm, everyday, like a ritual.
Post-dinner. Random things from my “To Do” list, work on getting things done for the West Coast (Mob)ilizers Program, catch up on more How I Met Your Mother, and pretend I like to read my text books.
– Magda’s trip for some onion rings and candy.
– I go into Megan & Maegan’s room several times to either a) bug them b) tell them a funny story or c) talk really loudly after quiet hours in their room for the purpose of AJ having to close their door.
– Bed. Eventually. But this semester, it’s pretty early compared to what it used to be.

Greetings, from the UBC Visitors Centre

Whuddup my small group of blog readers since I have not posted in a few decades. Okay, that is stretching the truth a little bit, but none the less it feels like decades have gone by since the Olympics arrived. I can’t even picture in my mind what Vancouver looks like without swirls of blue and green all over the place and what Granville looks like without men in Canada hockey jerseys trying to rip trees out of the ground. True Story.

This is me telling the truth. It’s not stretched. The Olympics has turned Vancouver into a house party out of a terrible music video on Much Music. I’ve found one UBC Ski and Board Club shirt, one million Canada hockey jerseys, one man with barely no clothing dancing on Granville, four opportunties to take a photo with punks for $2,  several dedicated Denmark curling fans, the Green Men from the Canucks games and I have found no Olympic protestors.

The lines to get onto a train at any Canada Line or SkyTrain station are ridiculous. The wait for a twenty second ride on the zip line that is set up in Robson Square is five hours. To get into the Vancouver Art Gallery, it is a 2 hour wait. The wait to get into The Bay to buy red mittens- upwards of five hours as well. I want to experience the Olympics but I feel unable to do anything unless I want to commit several hours for a 30 second experience. VANOC should of adapted the Disney World FastPass system because this is just getting silly.

It’s been a week since Opening Ceremonies, so in brief, here is how wicked-awesome my Vancouver 2010 experience has been. I watched the Opening Ceremonies dress rehersal, got turned away for the Alexisonfire show which was shortly after cancelled, attened womens curling which had more enthusiastic fans than mens hockey at Canada Hockey Place had, cheered on China as they played Russia at UBC Thunderbird Arena, welcomed the world with intereactive art exhibits for CODE Live and the Cultural Olympiad, visited friends in Toronto at a national conference that brought together my entire scholarship class, ate two crepes, spent $70 on one meal in Cactus Club, bought several candy apples from Rocky Mountain, saw Stars live in concert, watched Canadian Luge athletes speed past me in Whistler, and welcomed guests on to UBC campus at the Visitors Centre- where you can find me right now as I write this blgo post.

I cannot stess enough how amazing it is to have the Olympics here in Vancouver. So many exciting things are happening which compliments all the other exciting things in my life that are curently happening as well.

I really want to get back on track with communicating to the people who stumble across my blog, including the people who type in “Daniel Magder UBC” into Google and end up here (Yes, Google Analytics tells me that) and all of the potentional new students who are given the Blog Squad link when the apply.

Love you all, stay classy, and attend a few free concerts for me. Girl Talk next week anyone?

Goodbye 2009 Music Monday!

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Here is my ultimate Music Monday filled with internet goodies and music to end the year in the proper fashion. Currently, I’m at home in Niagara Falls with my two kitties Digger and Sandy and some good old Marble Slab to eat during my Dorm Life Season 2 marathon.

The best things about being home is..
trying to drive in snowy conditions,
going to Sobeys, the awesome 24 hour grocery store, with your friends in the middle of the night when you are hungry,
watching home town hockey,
turkey soup,
and finding old clothes in your closet that you forgot about that feel new again that you’ll bring back to school in January.

As I mentioned, I’m on a Dorm Life marathon. If you haven’t watched it yet, it’s probably because my RA hasn’t met you yet and hasn’t preached the good word of Dorm Life to you on a regular basis. I didn’t hear about it until I met her when I moved into res and ran into all of her promotional posters in the halls telling our floor to watch it. It took me until now to give it a serious chance and I’m addicted. It’s actually very true to residence life and follows the same kind of comedy as the office. If you watch it from the beginning, you’ll get a lot of the inside jokes.

Below is one of my favourite episodes where some of the floormates go to a Frat party which is a regular thing first-years do at UBC. The floormates who don’t go get high in the RA’s room while he’s gone, which isn’t a regular thing first-year things do at UBC. Less than regular.. more like never. Check out the episode below!

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Now for some music. This video is worth watching, it’s a wrap up of the Top 25 hits of 2009 by DJ Earworm called Blame It On The Pop. It’s actually pretty amazing.

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Some lessons in music, do not get the iTunes fever and start downloading everything that you find that sounds good. Happened to me for the first time this Winter Break, not good for the credit card.

For a new song, check out Phoenix, iTunes listed their song 1901 as one of the top songs of the year.

Their best & stuck in my head & the anthem to my winter break:

1901 by Phoenix
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Lisztomania by Phoenix
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And as a little treat for you, check out the really creepy giant poster I have of myself in my room back at home next to my luggage. Happy Hew Years! Vancouver 2010!

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Hey Joshua Jackson,

Hey Joshua Jackson,

It’s good to know you are on campus filming Fringe. I’ve missed you since TBS disappeared and I haven’t watched Dawson’s Creek in a really long time. Besides getting to know that your pretty face is hanging around UBC for the next little while, all the TV show cop cars that are parked at Buchanan Tower really make my day. I didn’t know that there was a ‘555’ number that I could use to reach the local police. You learn something new everyday. Just like I didn’t even know vehicles were allowed to park next to Buchanan Tower in the middle of a walkway. I’m glad I didn’t accidently scratch your cars with all my text books. I’m pretty clumsy at times.

I feel like no one has formally welcomed you to UBC. Well, welcome Joshy. Come by Totem Park sometime and I’ll feed you Lychee juice boxes and fill your pockets with Pocky. It’s only the right way to welcome you to campus. If you have some free time tonight, I’d appreciate some term paper help as well. I don’t know, you just look like that swell kind of guy who wants to help and you seem to enjoy Buchanan just as much as any other Arts student. Oh and if you happen to know whoever the guy is who chose Buchanan Tower as the place for the bad guys to hang out in for the X-Men Origins Wolverine movie, let me know. I wanna talk to him because that’s just wild.

And since you are in town, I was wondering if you knew that the Cullens were selling their home in West Van. Wanna buy it for me?

k thanks Pacey for the $3.3 million for the house, Erica. 🙂

An open letter to the Coordinating Editor of The Ubyssey

Dear Paul Bucci,

I wanted to express my adoration for the newspaper that is filled with juicy UBC goodness like a jelly filled doughnut. Every Monday I pick it up in Lasserre before I go to my scary modern art lecture and every Thursday I grab it in Totem on my way to the dining hall. Yes, I am one of those people who ask themselves, “what day is today?” only to figure out if there is a new issue printed and ready for my little hands to flip through. Thank you for being printed twice a week. Others should follow in your example like Christmas or birthdays. Wouldn’t it be magical- Christmas twice a week?

Thank you for keeping me company when I stand in long lines on campus like the sandwich bar in the dining hall or when I’m at Starbucks in the SUB. Paul, can I call you Paul? I will. Paul, thank you for working so hard on such an important piece of.. dare I say?  Literature. I can picture you now, working away in your office in the SUB, spending those long Sunday and Wednesday nights putting together the final pieces of the paper. If I wasn’t just some random UBC Blog Squad girl, Paul, I’d bring you some bubble tea or some yam sushi from the Honour Roll and I’d make your day a little less stressful.

I do have one question for you, Paulie. Who chooses the advertisements for The Ubyssey and where they are placed in the layouts? A few weeks ago, these “MULTI ORGASMIC SEX” advertisements started appearing next to other ads like “PROFESSIONAL EDITING.” I don’t know what the reader demographic is for the campus paper but, maybe if I was a lonely student or more adventurous, I would appreciate the photo of the girl with the sex toy in her hands. Even better is the line that states “15% Off with UBC Student Card.” Yippy.

I can only imagine the kind of person you are. Probably brown hair, maybe glasses, and you eat a lot of Subway. Those are my guesses. My biggest wonder is if you are an iPhone or a BlackBerry kind of guy. If you are a BlackBerry kind of guy, I think we could get along mighty fine and even search for my BlackBerry thief together.

In the end, words cannot describe my burning passion that I have for The Ubyssey and such a hard working editor. So much so that I write this over-dramatized letter publicly on my blog. If you ever need someone to bring you lots of Asian food or write articles like “Going drag for Cantonese opera” then surely you know that I’m your girl. Keep up your good work, Paulie.

Sincerly your dearest reader,


To the person who stole my BlackBerry..

Dear UBC Student who stole my BlackBerry,

I wanted to wish you all the best on your new adventures through life with my cell phone. Since you have now taken my best friend away from me, I thought you should know a little bit about it. If you are wondering why the screen is fading in the top left corner it is because I stabbed it with a ruler in my studio art class a few weeks ago without noticing. In my eyes, it adds character. I hope you treat my phone with the same respect and care that obviously I have shown it. Please do remember to take it for walks and to take photos around UBC such as I have. In addition, I hope purple is your colour and you appreciate the $30 purple protector case I bought from Rogers only 3 weeks ago.

When you grabbed my phone from the forks, spoons and lack of knives section of the Totem Dining Hall, I just want to let you know I was about to enjoy the best meal of yams and gravy that you have ever witnessed. It was going to be magical. Instead, half of them are nestled in my garbage can since I spent my evening asking every UBC desk if anyone had turned in my phone. I wonder what you were purchasing that lead you to be gifted with a new Blackberry.

I always thought people would be sincere and return lost items. Now, I get to go visit my lovely friends at Rogers and buy another $600 phone. It’s just what I wanted for Thanksgiving.  Tell my phone I miss it very much and I hope that one day we could be reunited and share in a very quickly typed email together.

All the best,

Erica who is stuck in the Okanagan without any means of communication.

Update: I went to Rogers. New Blackberry Bold: $699 plus taxes. Hello savings account. Fml.