Category Archives: Commuting

On Being Pooped

I am pooped. I kept trying to think of some other way to start this post but those words kept coming out of my fingers, so I won’t deny them. I am pooped in a very happy way.

Right now I’m doing six courses because the one course I want to be in but am not currently registered for — American lit — is full. I’m going along to it and watching the course seats online like a hawk. (I’ve even bookmarked the page and refresh it every so often.) Meanwhile, I’m still going to all of my five official courses just in case it doesn’t open up: it’s a wildly popular course and I’m fighting with ten other people to get in. I can’t drop the one course that I don’t want, otherwise my President’s Entrance Scholarship is void, and that is worse than not getting into American lit. I’ve never done American lit before and I have my heart set on it as there is just so much great literature I am missing out on.

Well, I only need to keep doing this for another week. Monday, January 21st is the last day for withdrawing from Term 2 courses without a ‘W’ (Withdrawal) standing, so if I can’t get in by then, I’ll just stick with my Linguistics class. Apart from the sheer work of keeping up with six classes — Miranda mentioned this before, but don’t do six courses if you can help it — I’m actually enjoying them very much. It’s nice to be doing subjects that you actually want to do and with good professors. While I take ratings on with a grain of salt, it’s still nice to hunt down the profs with good reviews.

Last Thursday, I began volunteering with One-to-One Literacy, a children’s literacy programme based in elementary schools where volunteers read with struggling children on a one-to-one basis. My kids have a wide range of personalities and are all adorable. I’m planning what kinds of activities we can do to further their reading experiences. Since reading’s always been a favourite activity of mine, and since I like children a lot, I thought it would be a good idea to combine these two things and help children improve their literacy. Helping’s another thing I try to do. I found out about this organisation from a local opportunities fair that was in the SUB earlier last term. That’s another thing I encourage: make use of free information! You won’t use most of it, but it’s good to have a look around.

Yesterday, I went to the Student Leadership Conference and had a wonderful time. It is definitely one of the highlights of my first year at UBC thus far, and I highly recommend everyone to go next year. I know I will be going.

The presentation on Global Citizenship that I went to featured presenters covering homelessness, particularly in Canada, and the Darfur crisis. It was an amazing and personally much-needed experience to see passionate, idealistic speakers despite all the obstacles that they inevitably face.

One of the workshops I went to was on the topic of how to choose which activities to do from the wealth of opportunities that is available here at UBC. As anyone who keeps up with my blog knows, I joined something like nine or ten clubs last term and only stuck to two. Contrary to evidence, I’m usually the kind of person who sticks by her commitments. The problem at UBC is not whether you will find anything to do, but how you will decide just what to do, so that workshop was very helpful for me. The second was less so. It was slightly misleading when it said it would help people understand their passions and how to transform those into something you actually do. I didn’t enjoy that one very much.

Stephen Lewis’s speech made up for everything and more. I’m one of those people who teared up during his speech that Genevieve was talking about (and setting my friend off in the process): when he was talking about the femicide in the Eastern Congo, and the effect of AIDS in Africa — of children watching their mothers die from AIDS without understanding why, and their grandmothers having to raise scores of children in their old age, hoping to save and support them. Guilt wasn’t my predominant emotion, though, as that is a feeling that persists throughout my daily life because I’m so frequently reminded of how lazy I am of undoing my own ignorance. Without wanting to sound grandiose, I think grief is the closest word to how I felt: How can we do these things to each other? was the rhetorical question running through my head.

I don’t know.

I ended my evening by going with some friends to Richmond and ate at a Chinese restaurant (YAY!), before we went to someone’s house and played Monopoly. I’ve never finished a game of Monopoly before and am impressed I got so far into the game. I had to mortgage almost everything I owned, but I’ve never managed to even get to that point before, so I was content. (Then we remembered the busses don’t run all night and had to end suddenly in order to get back to UBC.)

So I am contentedly pooped.

A life in a day

So we’re now a quarter of the way into the academic year, with three more to go. It’s also application season for high school senior students, so I thought it would be a good idea to write about what a typical day is like for me.

My day actually began yesterday. I stayed up until 1:30 am to write an essay that is, ironically, due on Friday. Academic staff recommend students to write their essays ahead of time so there is time to revise and make a good job of them. I don’t think they meant for us to lose sleep over them ahead of time as well, though… However, I really enjoyed writing it and couldn’t stop once I got started. It’s so much more fun to choose your own titles on a subject you actually care about.

It’s quite hard to sleep early when living in rez. There is always something going on — tonight is obviously Hallowe’en. I went to the Haunted House at Hamber with some friends, and had a great time. I’m impressed by how much they managed to do in such a small space. I wish I’d screamed, but I was laughing too hard. It’s the first time in ages since I’ve got out of my room properly. Even though I’m exhausted tonight, I’m still not going to be able to go to bed for another hour. I hope we don’t have a fire alarm tonight — we had one two Fridays ago, and we all had to troop out to the commonsblock at two in the morning. The alarms here are piercingly high and painful, so you have to get out just to save your eardrums, even if you don’t want to leave your bed. Unfortunately, the alarm at the commonsblock went off too, so we got chucked out into the field, and then it began to drizzle while the firemen sauntered around. We all went back twenty to thirty minutes later, but not before one of the RAs yelled, “Who was watching porn on the big screen?” Our new big screen TV in the house lounge has obviously been put to use…

These many late nights, coupled with the later sunrises, mean that I get up late as well and don’t have time to eat breakfast before I go to class. I almost wish that someone would take my milk from our floor’s fridge, just so it won’t be wasted. (I buy giant jugs of them each time.) Our floor is pretty good about not taking other people’s food. But I don’t really wish it. In fact, I’d be pretty peeved if anyone took my milk, so please don’t take it. It’s mine. Hiss.

My meals have been rather atypical today. Some friends told me that there is a caf in Buchanan A. I was astounded. We have food in Buchanan? And I didn’t know about this? What is the world coming to? I’ve been hunting out feeding-grounds to satisfy my appetite, which has been increasing exponentially ever since I came to UBC and had to start walking around. Oh, for hyper-convenient public transport again! Vancouver’s transport system isn’t actually too bad, and Translink is a great trip planner for the newcomer — it did, however, once get me stranded in the middle of nowhere, so I don’t entirely trust it anymore. The best part of it all, of course, is that we have our UPasses, transport tickets that basically give us free reign of the public transport system, covered for in our school fees. Yay, free transport! Especially wonderful for commuters.

Returning to the topic of food, though, Vanier’s caf food is not too bad. Totem tent people might say something different about theirs. I actually still quite like the food here — everything except the Asian food. Those are just all wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. (People tell me the quesadillas here are fake and disgusting, but I’ve never known otherwise, so I’m able to continue eating them in perfect bliss.) And there are other yummy places to get food — Suga Sushi down in the Village is my best suggestion for sushi on campus, if you insist on it. I’m heartbroken that Cafe Crepe isn’t open anymore, though. I love their crepes beyond anything else containing an egg.

For someone who almost fell asleep swing dancing — I feel so sorry for my partners for my completely slow reactions; I can’t even remember how to do that new dance we learned today, and that was basically just walking in a straight line — I am horrendously verbose. Actually, that is probably why I am rambling away in the first place.