Monthly Archives: October 2012

Voices from the Heart

Update! I’ve just completed a really cool collaborative art project called
Passion for Learning, an “interactive exhibition of images, personal stories and quotes, created in collaboration by Downtown Eastside residents and UBC students”. Browsing through the UBC website I came across a variety of ways to get involved. Mind you, not everything is going to cater to your interests, but sometimes you come across an endeavor that may suite you very well!
The goal for the Passion for Learning project is to facilitate the interaction of UBC students and downtown east side residents in a unique way. Through this, I was provided an opportunity to get involved artistically and in an interactive way. I was able to combine my interests in art as well as my interests in getting involved. Here was the description I stumbled upon on the webpage:

Get Involved/At UBC Campus (Point Grey): We are looking for people interested in a creative and artistic volunteer experience. Participants will create art displays based on Downtown Eastside residents’ quotes about learning. No artistic experience is necessary—just a passion for learning! A variety of formats are welcome including painting, mixed media, photography, and more.

I emailed the person in charge and was able to start from there. The process began when she sent me a quote from a patron of the UBC learning exchange , a UBC department that does community outreach in the downtown eastside. All of the quotes collected were on the theme of learning. Mine was:
Q: What is the most important lesson you have ever learned?

A:  How to be truly free and comfortable with oneself.

One of my favourite aspects of creating art is the conceptual side of it. I like taking ideas, themes, concepts and emotions and producing something from that. I was really happy with the quote I got because I think it’s something that everyone can relate to, and especially through this major transition to university, where it becomes a priority to find oneself and be comfortable with that.

Gettin Down on Friday?

I’ve been waiting all week for today to finally arrive! Then again, who doesn’t wish for Friday…. This Friday IS special however, because its post term 1 midterms, wooooo! I don’t know about you guys, but leaving the room of an exam has got to be on my top five list of most satisfying moments. It’s over, it’s done, there’s nothing left for you to do. Which is somewhat assuring, especially if you know it wasn’t you’re best performance. The stress has officially ended and I couldn’t be more excited to relax. I even had free time last night, which is a little unheard of… OR maybe just reflective of my poor time management and perhaps that procrastination degree I’m minoring in.

None the less, all that free time provided the perfect opportunity for my friend and I to spend half an hour of our night hopelessly wandering around the library, in search of…. (drum roll please) THE “HARRY POTTER ROOM”. What is this, you ask? Well rumour has it there is a room, situated in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, that resembles the commons rooms you see in the Harry Potter movies. Did we know it would be such a mission to find the room? Not at all. Did we look like weirdos circling the 3rd and 4th levels of the library over and over? A little… After some awkward attempts at asking some civilians, or who we thought at least went to this school…I finally just asked a librarian if she knew where the “Harry Potter” room was. At first she sort of just questioned my sanity, then laughed a little, then finally proceeded to tell me there was something called the Ridington room on the 3rd floor, and to try that out. I think she was right. It didn’t exactly live up to my expectations, but folks I will say its not too shabby. The room is open, cozy, it even has a spiral staircase, and some chairs that might resemble a posh-er version of what Dad might sit in at home. Check. It. Out.

I also spent my Thursday downloading some new music. A little Ellie Goulding, a little Theophilus London, some James Vincent McMorrow, and Angus and Julia Stone (a random assortment, I know). I have come to the conclusion that I must have some weird subconscious ability to predict the weather though because clearly today’s onset of eternal mist was ready for my Angus and Julia Stone.

Speaking of which, I would also like to note that I survived my first REAL Vancouver experience today (in the rain). The reality of it all was like a splash in the face, literally. It’s hard to tell after one day, but I think I understand that “bone chilling moisture” and “slanted rain” stigma of Vancouver weather, or at least far better than before, when I would try to imagine it on sunny days aka. every day since I got here… But seriously, the diagonal spitting and spatting?! WHAT IS THAT?! Umbrellas were not designed to be held in front of your face, and I would know…. I foolishly tried that all day. Hopefully I’ll get the hang of it all soon, haha but then again, there really is no other alternative.

Back to the positive! Thing’s are looking good, I’ve got a weekend planned of downtown adventures, Halloween costume shopping, and some down time to relax, draw, and SLEEP. Sounds like a plan to me.

Hope everyone is enjoying their day!

Hollllllla Blog Squadders

Totem Coffee House

Totem has got some serious ass talent!

I just got back from an amazing night spent under candle light at the Totem Park Coffee House where the first, of many, open mic nights was held. A phenomenal group of students performed in front of the crowd sharing their voices, their talents and their stories. There was an eclectic combination of saxophone duos, homemade instruments, guitar rifting, opera singing, some jazz, a little banjo, Michael Jackson melodies and even a little bassoon rendition of the Backstreet Boys…. Ya that’s right you heard me… “I want it that waaaaaaay”

I am blessed that I was able to experience it. Having gone to an arts high school, nights like these make me feel at home. I love the sense of community you build with those who simply sit around you at these gatherings and the passion that echoes. These intimate atmospheres foster inspiration and creativity amongst the mass, energy flows, and people are filled with joy. I can’t begin to describe the warmth felt and shared. It just goes to show 2 things, a) being that I am a total arts nerd and b) how easy it is to feel connected, and to feel inspired by the talents of others.

Just wanted to share!

Ps. the “Saxman” as he prefers to be called, just had a jam session on the sidewalk, outside my bedroom window haha, I love UBC!

The Small Fish Syndrome

It’s no surprise that UBC is a highly competitive university. Every year students from all over the world are pooled together to attend this highly recognized institution. Although, when you are submerged in an environment where everyone is of the same caliber as you, the standards are a lot higher. For many, you were probably that BIG fish in the small pond. High school might have been difficult at times, but for most it probably never reached far out of your comfort zone; one could perform at their maximum and succeed. But here, you’re essentially surrounded by the best of the best and no longer do you have that big fish status. Guys, the pond has turned into an ocean and it is sink or swimmmmmmm. Haha alright..sooooo….a little cliché, but it does the job.

There is always that stigma of university. Before coming to UBC people always told me to manage my time, stay organized, do this, do that…. And I was conscious of the changes I would soon face, but I also knew I could never predict what was to come until I experienced it myself. Having been here for a month (wow, time really flies….) I’ve noticed a lot of those changes. Which brings me to my point, how does one deal with the small fish syndrome? If you’re like me, you might have found a challenge in adapting to academia in terms of standards. I don’t want to assume everyone struggles with this, but it’s probably on a lot of people’s minds. Keeping up with the work and material is manageable, but it’s that mental barrier that takes time to conquer. It’s easy to doubt your own abilities when you’re surrounded by people who have set the bar really high.

Some things I found that have helped:

Visit the UBC Learning Commons, where a plethora of resources are available to you. On the website you can find tips on: how to take notes, asking questions/communicating with your TA and Professors, writing resources and more. The Learning Commons is there to promote student success in a variety of ways. Take advantage of it, and get on track so you can avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Set personal goals that work for you, your pace and your style of learning. Setting goals early in the game can save you a lot of energy and help you make efficient use of your time. Having goals for yourself sets the bar and keeps you focused. The course load or type of work can be really demanding in your first couple of weeks, especially as you’re still learning to adapt. Some of my biggest weaknesses are not knowing when to stop and having to deal with abrupt changes. I have tendencies to worry about things I can’t control, and overwork myself, which has lead to some pretty stressful moments in the past. But by setting personal goals, I was able to map out what I was being asked of from my classes, what I wanted to contribute, how to do that and subsequently, how to succeed.

Try not to compare yourself to others. Some may say find that competition motivates them but comparison can be quite self-defeating. You are here to experience life and learning and to find something that you are passionate about. Don’t worry what others are doing, its too counterproductive.

Remind yourself why you are here and honor that accomplishment. You have made it this far for a reason, and that is something special.

You may not be able to change the things that you face but you can certainly remain positive and in that, find ways to cope. Being that small fish is all apart of the process, and although it may not be what you’re used too (like in my case), you have to make the best of it, or make it work for you.