Category Archives: Involvement / Leadership

Submit to The Garden Statuary!

Enjoy writing? Have an essay you’re proud of? Want to showcase your photos, art or music? We accept all these and more at The Garden Statuary, UBC’s English undergraduate journal. Deadline for submissions is February 17th — check out the website for more details on submission guidelines and/or to see what we do!

I, for one, really love seeing students’ creative and academic work and can’t wait to see what you’ve got!

In other news, my professor invited me to observe a symposium running today and tomorrow. The symposium is being hosted by SFU and is on the topic of “Can there be a World Humanities?” I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to attend, since it’s by invitation only and is completely in line with some of the questions I’ve been exploring academically.

It’s been really fascinating so far, not least to see what a scholarly conversation in a formal setting actually looks like. To my relief, I’m actually keeping up with most of the papers — only one out of six went over my head (and I know I’m not the only one who felt that way!). Lots of interesting thoughts I’m gleaning from here, and am looking forward to the more open discussion portion happening tomorrow.

(And lunch! Lunch was great!)

Want to learn a language?

Then you might be interested in the UBC Tandem Language Program! I heard some really good things about this program last term, and am so sad that I’m too busy to participate.

Hosted in the Global Lounge, Marine Drive, students are paired up to learn one another’s languages for 1.5 hours a week, for a total of 11 weeks. For more information, check out their website or visit the Global Lounge by January 17 to ask questions and fill in an application form. The program is entirely free for participants!

Want to learn a language but can’t do the Tandem Program? UBC Continuing Studies has an impressive list of (not for credit) language courses open to the general public. Price varies, depending on the course.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Being sick multiple times over a few weeks teaches you a lot about patience. It provides an excellent opportunity for introspection and increased self-awareness. It helps you reassess your priorities and renew your appreciation for the things you might otherwise take for granted, like (usually) having good health.

My milder mood has also made it easier to review my resolutions for 2011 which, frankly, bombed. As in, not only did I fail to achieve them, they dropped quite sharply downwards.

Oh, well — sometimes, you just have years like that despite your best efforts. 2011 was one of my most challenging years, just as it is most likely going to be one of the most life-changing ones in the long run. Instead of focusing on the difficulties and wishing, as I have every December since 2007, that next year might be better, I’d like to look past the fog of discontent and pay attention to the aspects I might otherwise forget until it’s too late.

because when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing

(source unknown)

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I love to see you smile

One of my friends recently commented on how I don’t really talk very much about myself anymore. ‘But I blog!’ I defended. ‘About my life! As a UBC student!’

Not really, my friend countered. Apparently, I talk about all the events that are going on around campus and I mention random things that I enjoy in Things I Love Thursday, but I don’t really talk about my life as a student.

Like how yesterday, I stood with some Speakeasy volunteers outside Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and handed out free hot chocolate. (Two heaping spoonfuls of chocolate mix are recommended, though you can have more if you want!) It was the perfect day for hot chocolate — sunny, dry and cold, especially after standing there for two hours. We didn’t have a sign with us advertising the freebie, so we had to call out to passers-by instead — and how people’s faces lit up at the chime of ‘Free!’ It’s the most beautiful sound in the college world.

The sound must also have resonated throughout IKBLC: every now and then, small groups of exhausted students emerged from the bowels of the library beast with a hopeful ‘I heard there’s free hot chocolate?’

Yes, it’s free. No, there aren’t any strings attached or even a survey to fill. We can give you a spiel if you have the time to hear it,* but we’re really giving this out as a form of stress relief and self-care during exam time.

It’s fascinating how suspicious some people can be, but it’s even more lovely to see smiles magically appearing on stressed-out faces. I also gave a couple of free hugs to students, including one poor soul who came up for just the hug and not the chocolate. Aww!

Honestly, the experience really made my day, because one of the things I miss most about being a volunteer is being on shift at the desk, smiling at strangers and being helpful. I got to talk to a number of interesting individuals, including a few exchange students from South Africa and New Zealand (where we commented on each other’s accents).

Then I went back to the office and did a whole bunch of behind-the-scenes work that will just never make it to this blog because, seriously, there is only so much potential to wax lyrical on writing meeting minutes.

And my friend wonders why I don’t talk about my life as a student.

Thank you to everyone who came by and chatted, and good luck with all your exams! Don’t forget to take care of yourselves!

*The spiel:

Speakeasy is a peer support service run by students for students. We’re located in the north side of the SUB. We offer one-on-one, confidential sessions by drop-in; no appointment necessary. Volunteers are trained to tackle issues ranging across the board: exam stress, relationships, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, etc. We also offer referrals to groups both on and off campus who can provide further support. Operating hours during exams are currently Mondays–Fridays, 10–5.

Have you registered for the SLC?

Apart from finally filling in those course evaluation forms that UBC kept reminding me about, my other major achievement of the day has been to sit down and register for the UBC Student Leadership Conference (Saturday 14 January 2012).

The theme of this year’s conference?

Breakthrough. UBC Student Leadership Conference 2012. Here.

We have a couple of members on the Blog Squad who are on the SLC planning committee, so I’ll let them do most of the promotional work. I do want to share a few of my thoughts on the SLC, though:

The SLC is one of those opportunities I highly recommend all UBC students to attend at least once in your time here, and decide whether you want to continue going. It’s a day for hundreds of interested, interesting individuals to gather, learn from and share one another’s experiences in all kinds of areas, ranging from personal and career development to sustainability initiatives and humanitarian work. Traditionally, this has been one of the highlights of my year, and always makes for a great, motivational start to Term 2.

If you need help covering the registration cost ($30 for UBC students), try entering their contests for free registration!

Win free reg! Attend the SLC for free!

Running from December 1st to December 31st, students are allowed to enter as many times as they like, with 2 winners announced each week! That’s right, that’s a whole 8 free registrations being given out this December — and the SLC team are promising another contest in January.

You might also be surprised by how many campus organisations sponsor students to go to the SLC: REC, RezLife, Orientations, Student Development and academic coaching groups are just a few of the major ones. In my first and second year, I was sponsored by the VP Students’ Emerging Leaders Program, and this year, my registration fee is kindly being covered by my employer. If you’d really like to go and you’re involved with an organisation that hasn’t mentioned it yet, don’t be afraid to bring up the possibility!

A note on choosing your schedule for the day:

Everyone has to go to the Featured Presenters, but how do you choose among the workshops, Highlighted Presentations and Case Studies?

Workshops: For what it’s worth, I found these most helpful in first and second years, when I first started going to the SLC and wasn’t familiar with the whole format. These were at times when I was particularly sponge-like and eager to soak up everything around me. By third year, however, the workshops were beginning to sound familiar and I wasn’t getting as much out of them as I used to. I should have applied to present my own workshop at this point, but health reasons intervened, and I dropped the idea, to my own regret.

Highlighted Projects: A new initiative last year, I attended a couple of these in an attempt to keep the SLC experience fresh for myself. While it was interesting to see what other students were up to, I had no ‘aha!’ moments. This year, however, the SLC team are making the highlighted projects a whole stream, with a suggested schedule of a highlighted project in the first concurrent session, a ‘Freeflow’ lunchtime session, and a special workshop in the second concurrent session.

Case Studies: Tyler wrote a post on his experiences with case studies last year, which you should definitely check out. Aimed at senior-level students and alumni with past SLC experience, case studies provide opportunities to discuss and analyse UBC initiatives. The reason why I didn’t do this last year was because, as Tyler mentions, there were no further details provided on the format or subject of the case studies. Being a bit of a planner, I want to know if I’ll have any interest in or thoughts to contribute towards the areas being discussed before I sign up for them. Apparently, there will be four case studies this year, but again, no mention of what they actually are.

On reflection, I probably should have signed up for a case study last time. While I’m still thinking about it for this year, I’m veering more towards the highlighted projects stream, particularly the ones that go beyond campus. You see, although my life right now revolves almost exclusively around the UBC community — I live, work and study on campus, for crying out loud — my thoughts are wandering well away from this particular area. I’m not currently planning on being here next year and the case studies seem most suited to those who will continue to stick around and engage with them in the months to come.

Personally, I’m looking forward to discovering the possibilities within the greater Vancouver community — or perhaps an entirely different part of the world.

On another note, I was curious about what I thought of past SLCs and started reading my old UBC blog, which I kept from first to third year before switching here. May I say how strange it is to read your old writing? For one, I put my heart on display far more than I would ever do now. On the bright side, all this cringing I’m doing is kind of good news for my non-existent abs.

If you want to see the kind of effect the SLC can have:

Revolution starts here

SLC 2011: Rethinking Leadership
SLC 2010: Think Change. Press Play
SLC 2009: Synergy
SLC 2008: Activation Energy