Category Archives: Wellness

Five Rules for UBC

As I pack my bags to leave campus this week, I think about the past five years at UBC and what I’ve learned.

Inspired by Five Rules for Life, a website that collects different people’s five “rules” or guidelines on how to live a life, I decided to try and sum up my own guidelines for making the most out of your time at UBC.

Everyone’s journey is different and this is not meant to be any kind of exhaustive list or dictum, but these are the principles that I wish I’d known to follow when I first got here. Some of these are principles that worked for me; others are what I wish I’d done. I’d be happy to hear what you think of these guidelines below, and any suggestions for what you think would make for a satisfying, memorable time at UBC.

1) Whenever possible, study a subject that you love.
This is one of the most amazing experiences and privileges that a university education has to offer, so take advantage. Even if you aren’t able to pursue your preferred subject as your major, do your best to at least take an elective that you like — when you enjoy your studies, you are more likely to do better in class, struggle less with the material, and feel more confident about your abilities.

  • Not sure what your options are? Take a look at your faculty’s page on the UBC Calendar and find a full list of degrees conferred.
  • Don’t know what you can do with a specific degree after graduation? Speak to Career Services and check out suggestions for what you can do with your major.

2) Get involved. Find your niche.
UBC is a big campus and it’s easy to feel lost and alone amidst a sea of thousands. Combat the temptation to stick solely to your books (especially for commuter students) and find out about engagement opportunities. Try these out until you find a community of like-minded people you are comfortable around. If you don’t find your niche on the first ten tries, keep trying until you get there.

3) Try one or two new things every year.
Whether it’s taking a class in an unknown subject, a new volunteer opportunity or an original project, make a point of trying to push yourself beyond your comfort zone at least once or twice a year. University is a rare time when you’re at liberty to try different things with little risk of consequence, so make the most of it. Give yourself the chance to have mind-expanding, ‘woah’ moments.

  • A program for your radar in second year and above: Student Directed Seminars (not mentioned in the CSI list).
  • If you can afford it, seriously consider going abroad for a part of your degree, whether for an academic exchange, research, or international service learning. Visit Go Global for travel and funding options.

4) Work, study and play in moderation.
Get work experience before you graduate — this is what counts most when you’re looking for a job. At the same time, don’t burn yourself out: after working almost non-stop for the last five years while a full-time student, I wish I’d given myself more breaks. If I could do it again, I’d either work full-time during the summer and study full-time during school with no part-time work, or worked part-time while at school full-time and taken the entire summer off.

  • The UBC Learning Commons gives good guidance on questions like time management, effective study methods and presentation skills.
  • Find out about co-op opportunities in Arts, Commerce, Engineering, Forestry, Kinesiology and Science at the UBC Co-op website.

5) Be good to yourself.
Your time at UBC will not be all rainbows and sunshine. Hard times happen. When they do, don’t be afraid to reach out and get the support you need, and don’t beat yourself up for it. Fellow Blog Squad member Miriam once wrote a letter to first-years that I think sums up everything I want to say.

  • Do you have concerns about your physical or mental health? A list of resources you can access is available here.
  • AMS Speakeasy is a confidential peer support service where trained student volunteers will listen to your concerns about anything and will point you to both on- and off-campus resources as needed.

To all new and returning students, I really hope you enjoy your time here. I’ve had the great good fortune of being part of the UBC Blog Squad since its inception in 2007 until now. As the Blog Squad moves in new directions and as I move on to the next chapter of my life post-graduation, I hope these last comments function as a useful closure to this blog. It’s been grand.

For those of you wondering what’s next for me: I’m moving off campus this weekend and am wrapping up my contract with the UBC Arts Co-op Program, which ends the first week of September. After that, I’m going to travel Western Europe for a few weeks and may visit Asia again before I come back to Vancouver to hunt for a more long-term job.

And with that — goodbye, good luck and have fun!

In classic Speakeasy tradition

We wrote gratitude notes to each other at our year-end event on Friday and left them in each other’s wine glasses.

Thank you guys for the notes, the card and the signed weekly planner. It’s been a grand four years and this year has probably been best of all. I’ve loved being part of the service with every bit of my heart and will miss it so much when I’m gone.

But since I’m not gone yet, I’m going to enjoy the last three (non-coughing!) weeks as much as I can. And with that promise comes snacking materials for y’all.

For those of you wondering…

AMS Speakeasy peer support service is operating during exam period (Tuesday, April 10–Wednesday, April 27).

Volunteers are trained to provide a listening ear, confidential one-on-one support and resources for a wide range of issues including, but not limited to: exam and academic stress, relationship concerns, LGBTQQI issues, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

If you’re the least bit worried about something or just need someone to talk to, approach one of our volunteers on shift at the information booth. I promise they are some of the kindest, most accepting people you’ll ever meet.

AMS Speakeasy
SUB Main Concourse (north side, facing Brock Hall)
Open Monday–Friday, 9:30 am–4:30 pm during exam period

No one can say I’m unproductive

While propped up in UBC’s Urgent Care Centre with an oxygen a nebulizer(?) mask on my face (I should point out the only reason I was there was because Student Health Services was full today and they directed me to UCC), I twiddled my thumbs and applied for graduation online. Hurray for portable devices and free Wi-Fi!

Now here’s to hoping that nothing goes wrong and I won’t have to retract that public announcement. Nothing should go wrong, but I’m paranoid like that.

On another note, being ill does put things in perspective. I used to want to graduate with flying colours and stressed myself out with that particular ambition. Now, just being alive and well during graduation is looking quite the accomplishment!

on a happier note

sighted the first cherry blossoms budding on Iona Drive and crocuses pushing their way past black earth

this might be old news to everyone who’s been out and about for the past week, but I took it as the world’s glad greeting and a promise that it really is going to be spring soon

no flu can keep me down with that hope to hold onto!

especially not now that I’m on new medication that may or may not be contributing to my good mood, hehe

Long-distance mother-daughter bonding

Although my mother and I are separated by a gigantic ocean by the name of the Pacific, we like to maintain a close, loving relationship. Our latest mother-daughter bonding has been through the sharing of our bodily mishaps:

Mother: Had an accident last week and gashed her head. Reports say bone was visible. Received stitches. Out and about after a day, buying groceries.

Daughter: Developed flu complications and went to VGH one night. Received IV in arm and underwent a few tests. Discharged after intaking a few bags of fluid. Still largely incapacitated at home.

Obviously, mother wins for both attention-grabbing reason for entering hospital and for speedy recovery.

P.S. If you live on campus and have anything happen to you past 10 pm, go straight to Vancouver General Hospital. UBC’s Urgent Care Centre closes at 10 pm. (Lesson learned the hard way.)

P.P.S. 请妈妈保重身体,女儿想你。