Honey, Don’t Stress!

First off, I apologize for slackin’ on my posts lately it has a been a busy last couple of weeks around here. I must say I am definitely feeling the wrath of these final projects!

However, in the midst of all this chaos I have still managed to find some time to fulfill my procrastinating duties, but not the kind I had hoped for. Last Thursday I landed myself a WICKED migraine. If you have ever personally been victimized by one of these god awful experiences, I feel for you. And if you haven’t….consider yourself lucky. Long story short after paying the UBC hospital a visit and receiving some medication, I was practically bedridden for 2 full days. This may sound like a really fun time you know pop a movie in, get some snacks, hangout. Unfortunately that was not the case and I had to lie there in the dark, alone, in attempts to calm down some of the symptoms. If you’re anything like myself; impatient, restless, talkative etc. this task was extremely difficult!

This week I finished my term research paper, a presentation for my Swedish class and am on the road to completing my life size self-portrait for art. 5 gold stars for me! Now I’m feelin’ good, I’m feeling like I’m on top of things. I plan on gearin’ up for finals season stress FREE. I know UBC has many resources available to students to help deal with stress and especially around exam time. I mean let’s get real, would you pass up a 30 minute session to play with an adorable puppy? Or perhaps may I suggest the lovely annual Undie Run, where students get together to run around campus in their underwear in 5 degree weather. Now obviously I have never personally experienced such events, this being my first year and all, but they have certainly gained quite the reputation. Someone want to try it out with me?

For my own sake, if that doesn’t work out, I know I can rely on my trusty companion You-Tube, for when one is having a mini brain lapse or mini meltdown, whichever happens first.

When you “read” the same 3 sentences over more than 5 times and you still don’t know what is going on, you have probably encountered a brain lapse.

A mini meltdown may look a little more like this:

“That’s it. I’m done. I quit.”

followed by…

“Hmm, maybe I could just skip it?! Its what, only 30%?….” [insert an elaborate plan to induce over-sleeping your alarm on exam day]

And when both happen together, we turn to You-Tube

and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hV-wTyltX7Q

and finally

 

Alright, hope you enjoy everybody, and good luck with exams! 🙂

25 Things.

  1. The cold side of the pillow
  2. When a stranger smiles at you
  3. Going to sleep when everyone else is awake
  4. When your ipod shuffle is good to you (aka. Nelly Furtado followed by Bon Iver followed by Jay-Z, followed by Theophilus London, followed by M83 and so on…)
  5. Craving a certain type of food and satisfying it
  6. Eternal love manifested in a 90-year old couple, holding hands (saw that yesterday)
  7. When you get a whole row of seats to yourself on the plane
  8. Positive vibes
  9. The anticipation before a big vacation
  10. That feeling when you wake up before your alarm is set, and realize there’s nowhere else you need to be but in bed
  11. Goosebumps from good music
  12. A productive work day
  13. Laughing fits (rolling on the ground included)
  14. Surprises
  15. When you finish an exam
  16. Coffeehouses
  17. When you’re handwriting is really neat
  18. Receiving a compliment
  19. Home-cooked meals
  20. Finding money on the ground
  21. When you automatically “click” with someone else
  22. Giving gifts
  23. When it rains for a week and you get a day of sun
  24. Reuniting with someone you love
  25. Beyonce.

 

 

 

 

Wake Up The RIGHT Way

Good mornin’ ya’ll, nothin’ like some fun music to get you going on those dreaded mornings before an 8am lecture… or in my case 10am (that’s plenty early)

Join me….

 

A Human Phenom.

It is literally 2:30 am right now and my mind is racing!! I am just having one of those nostalgic nights. Every once in a while, in the midst of all the chaos, I stop to reminisce on the past…. And every time, I am captivated by my childhood memories. When I was younger I lived in Sweden for 3 years, and for some reason have a very emotional attachment to my time spent there. So, often enough certain smells and visions will trigger memories. What I find particularly odd is HOW much I remember.  I moved when I was four, yet I have very vivid recollections of scenes, smells, places, interactions, friends and sometimes entire episodes.

I think these memories also have something to do with how I visualize things. Everybody has a different style of learning, and I think most get a true understanding of what works best for them at a young age. I am most definitely a visual learner which I think in part, attributes to my ability to recall such specific details. I always tell people “I remember it so well I could draw you a picture!” and today in astonishment of all the things I was recalling, I dragged my roommate in to see. I drew a birds eye view of the primary school I attended noting the interior layout, as if I was just there yesterday. I told her about the time I was playing hopscotch outside and explicitly the scar I got from scratching my finger that day. I recalled upon the time I was putting on my shoes for recess and everyone came in begging me to be in the school play because I would fit the main character from the Jungle Book perfectly….Haha yes the main character is a boy and yes he wears red underwear, and yes I did have to re-enact that…. I remember walking down the street one morning and asking my teacher if she had named her red Volvo. I remember my street, my house, all of my friends, my teachers, our class field-trips, my play dates, the movies, the city….
I could literally go on forever. All this thinking makes me question psychology and the human ability to generate, encode, store, and retrieve information in the form of memories (shout out to Nirel 😉 you psych major). What dictates what we remember and what we forget? What factors play in? Age, timing, moods, senses?  How is it that some people cannot remember things from their childhood at all?

The brain really does work in mysterious ways. You’re probably reading this right now, using that “voice inside your head” and in most cases we don’t really think twice about it. But now, that it was pointed out, you might take a second to realize…. How is it that we can call upon a memory when we’re asked? It’s like speaking a language. It’s so instinctive, it is our nature, it just happens.

 

 

 

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.

My Room

At UBC there are 2 major residences for first year students: Place Vanier and Totem Park. Within each residence lie different houses (this is just to break up the living spaces). In Vanier I believe there are about 12 houses and in Totem there are 8. But the BEST part of it all is where q’ələχən (QLXN for short) comes in. Yes, yes I am indeed one of the chosen ones who get to live in the newly constructed buildings on campus. Whenever asked where I live in Totem, I’ve discovered its easier just to say “that new shiny glass building” because a) unless you live here, no one recognizes the name of the building, let alone can pronounce it and b) it’s fun to marvel at the fact that you’re residence building looks like a hotel.

It’s only been about a week since I’ve lived here but it already feels like home. I didn’t think it was possible to get acquainted to a new living space that easily, but I guess I was wrong! Going into university, a lot of people are probably all experiencing some of the same fears. For instance, a common question might be, how am I going to feel comfortable living in a confined space? Or simply, how will I get used to these big changes. For many, a typical room in residence is a big change, but downsizing doesn’t necessarily mean downgrading.

I’ve posted some pictures of my room so you can see!

If you’re one of those people who takes pictures of their meticulously crafted plate of food or admires a good quality, handcrafted Moleskine notepad, then maybe you’ll appreciate my design choices……

Ubc residence

My bed and personalized frames from home, also a world map because I love to travel!

ubc residence bathroom, totem park

Spacious bathroom vanity. In Qlxn (residence building) there are 2 single rooms connected by a washroom which you share with someone else. These are called connected singles.

The Art of Leaving Home

Yeah I’d say there’s an art to leaving your birthplace… I mean let’s face it, for many of us it can be a daunting and very emotional process BUT just like anything else, practice makes perfect.

Ever since I could remember I was leaving home. When you’re young, jet-setting across the world to live in a different country feels like an adventure, but sometimes we lose track of that innocent and care-free attitude. As you grow up, leaving home can feel like a completely different experience. But, there is hope! I’ve racked up a few key pointers from my days if you really want to become a master. Here are 7 easy steps:

  1. Be positive, be positive, be positive. Negative energy is draining and can taint your experiences. Do people actually enjoy drowning in their sorrows? No, I didn’t think so. Kids, optimism truly does go a long way.
  2. Try to keep the future in mind. Think about all of the awesome things your going to, not what you’re leaving behind (i.e. a beautiful campus, the beach, independence, and people who are socially and academically of the same caliber as you).
  3. Give yourself plenty of time to pack. This eliminates those mini-meltdowns after weeks of procrastination and that “I think I forgot something, but I don’t know what it is” feeling. Sure, some things you can just buy in Vancouver but most certainly not your favorite pair of jeans that you left at your friends house this summer or that knitted treasure your grandma made for you to keep warm….in the rain….
  4. Load a bumpin’ music playlist for your iPod and make sure it’s charged (made that mistake and was tuneless for that oh so fun 5 hr plane ride).
  5. Download Skype. It’s free, easy and you can actually see your mom’s face WHILE talking to her at the same time, revolutionary stuff eh?
  6. “Goodbyes” are so last year… try a simple “see ya later!” because realistically, we WILL be seeing our family and friends from home, later. Hello Christmas break?
  7. Takes a deep breath, or a few…

And remember, it’s going to be okay.