How to Make Money at UBC – Part 2

Click to view the first segment: How to Make Money at UBC Part 1.

6. Scholarships

Profitability: UBC has a curious tendencies of drastically downsizing the scholarship amounts after luring us in Freshman year. If you didn’t struck gold with the $20 000+ Major Entrance Scholarships, you’ll have to “make do” with mere $500 – $4000 scholarships for the next few years.

Time: The great things about some university scholarships is that you don’t even have to apply – they come straight to your mailbox thanks to a faculty committee handing them out. Others might require application forms and reference letters.

Skills/Difficulty: Not top in your class? Not to worry, you get something even if you’re second sometimes! Woot! Sarcasm aside, there is a bit of competition for grades and whatnot but we all know the atmosphere at UBC isn’t as cutthroat as those of MIT or Berkeley. So try your best kids.

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UBC AMS Election for the Clueless

Note: this post is backdated from Jan 20, hence date references are a bit blurred. Wait til I track down the person who sneezed in my face and gave me a fever… *sputter*

Who better to write an entry on the AMS Election than some mere first-year who was not aware that an election was going on until a few days ago? According to the latest survey of made-up data, 1/3 of you didn’t know the AMS had elections (if not for those Facebook group invites!), 1/3 of you is more interested in how pigeons get into the SUB than how your peers get voted into office, 1/3 of you will vote when forced then arbitrarily pick a candidate based on some funny-sounding foreign last name, and 1/3 of you can’t do math.

What is it? The Alma Mater Society of UBC (basically university student council) holds an election every at around this time to determine who holds those impressive-sounding titles, who gets to control the millions of dollars in the university fund, and who will bring about “change” in the upcoming year.

When is it? Campaigning officially started last Friday (Jan 16), hence the onslaught of Mr.Clean look-a-like posters on campus. If you missed out on the nomination process then… tough luck, maybe next year! Voting starts on Jan 29 and ends on Feb 4.

Now the candidates. With the power of social networking, a lot of the campaigns went on the internet. Candidates, I tried to pick the most flattering picture of you and avoided those that looked like they were taken in a sketchy ghetto =D

Presidential Candidates

… will the gentlemen please take the stage!

Blake Frederick “Bachelor” #1 Blake Frederick

Background: 4th year philosophy, AVP academic, student senator
Best known as: one of the voices behind UBC Insiders
Platform: lower tuition thru BC government, better housing, save the farm, more buses, fund raise for new SUB, reduce athletics fee
Thoughts: definitely a comprehensive platform (by God, do you know how long it took me to read all of it?!) I like the idea of turning towards the BC government for credible improvement of campus resources; it shows this candidate has both short-term plans and long-term visions. I would vote for Blake Frederick AMS President for his clearly articulated and relevant blog entries. A blogger *cough* can do no wrong (most of the time)!
Links: Facebook Group | Website

Paul Korczyk “Bachelor” #2 Paul Korczyk

Background: 6th year student, residence advisor for Vanier, residence coordinator
Best known as: “That Polish Guy” aka President of the Polish Club
Platform: open communication, open communication, open communication (oh and better housing, bring back AUS County fair, oppose move to NCAA, green space in new SUB)
Thoughts: a bit vague in contrast to Blake’s platform. It’s very student-based however, but I see no efforts to reach out to the government and external sources for change, funding, and support. I would vote for Paul Korczyk for AMS President because the AMS really needs some new blood. For those of you who sat in British Columbia Youth Parliament with me saw first hand the deterioration that can happen to an organization if the governing portion becomes too exclusive and fails to delegate leadership to the newbies.
Links: Facebook Group | Website | Twitter

Alex Monegro “Bachelor” #3 Alexander Monegro

Background: 4th year commerce, arts transfer, VP external for CUS
Best known as: the guy from the Dominican Republic (wow we have such a regional diversity for the race!)
Platform: Create book exchanges, increase student say in prof tenure, strengthen UBC services thru stricter hiring/internal evaluation/campus wide promotion, maintain Upass, maintain tuition hike a fixed percentage
Thoughts: Finally, someone who was born in the real world and realizes that shouting to the government/the board to drastically slash tuition or take tuition away altogether is utterly ridiculous. Taking away tuition charges from a public institution that is so meagerly funded by the government such as UBC is like… hmm… TAKING AWAY MAGIC FROM HOGWARTS (Phoebe apologizes, she hasn’t had a HP reference in a while). Moving on.¬† I would vote for Alex Monegro for AMS President because he was very active in AMS Council meetings (anyone else just spent his/her Sunday morning reading AMS minutes?!) making motions and voicing his opinion, and of course, because I have a strong commerce bias ūüėČ
Links: Facebook Group | Website

VP Academic and University Affairs Candidates

… Arguably the fiercest bunch. I will focus mainly on the VP Academic portion of their platforms.

David Nogas David Nogas

Background: 4th year science, no positions listed (don’t make me dig for your titles… well unless they’re the cool sketchy ones like … you know)
Platform: talk about public transit, bring back water, work with campus housing to emulate other univ’s plans (I’m quoting here!!), no dough to CASA, new gym, coordinate advertising in SUB to make it prettier, encourage Blue Chip to give $0.25 worth more of chocolates on their chocolate covered doughnuts in exchange for students bringing their own coffee mug (… can someone pinch me please?)
Thoughts: David seems like a nice guy. Maybe he needs a campaign team to help him out or an older AMS-veteran as a mentor otherwise he’s going to get trampled once and if he gets inside the AMS. His previous platform (which was still up on Fb a few days ago before I was hit by the fever of the century) actually included two academic-related suggestions: a used-book store and an “everything lecture”. Maybe he’s scrapped them? I would vote for David Nogas for VP Academic because at least he’s not Jeremy Wood.
Links: Facebook Group

Sonia Purewal Sonia Purewal

Background: 4th year computer science and biology, no positions listed
Platform: review course fail policy, review tutorial curriculum, shift less difficult courses to the morning and harder ones to later in the day, optimize timetables to have days with no classes, set up conglomerate university services website (I like, I volunteer XD), implement an Academic Grievances Database
Thoughts: Sonia was a bit late getting someone to set up her Facebook Group. I believe it went up just under 48 hours ago. I would vote for Sonia because she is determined to cater towards commuter students, who believe it or not, make up a HUGE portion of the campus population (just look at the 480 bus line, ugh).
Links: Facebook Group | Website

Johannes Rebane Johannes Rebane

Background: 2nd year finance and international relations, VP Academic for CUS, exec for International Business Club
Platform: Allocate more funding to TA training, introduce, freshman seminar classes (see Berkeley), create more dual degree options, hire career counselors, pass Pass/D/Fail Policy in Senate, bring academic focus to Farm, set up conglomerate website with all career resources (i like v. much), increase student and leadership advising
Thoughts: Okay, this is what an actual VP Academic should sound like. I helped out with a campus interview a few weeks ago in which I asked students at different parts of campus, “What career resources do you know about on campus?” On one hand we had the Sauder students gushing about the wonder that is the Business Career Centre and on the other hand, over 90% of science students gave responses such as 1) “What career services?!” and 2) “I’ve never gone to see a career adviser”. The lack of a career resources at UBC is a HUGE, APPALLING issue, more so than *gasp* the Farm, because believe it or not, one day you’re going to graduate and step out into the real world with a degree in hand but no idea what to do because your VP Academic, your AMS, your University never thought about students’ long-term needs. Career resources are a huge part of Johannes’ platform; other candidates barely touched the issue. As for the freshman seminars, my friends from Berkeley and other US Schools have been telling me that they’re a God-send. FS’s discussion-based and engaging, definitely a non-daunting way to start off the school year. I would vote (and campaign) for Johannes Rebane for VP Academic because he has the abilities to do what he says, a comprehensive academic platform, and one hell of a kickass website. And oh, because I want a course in my timetable called Rhetorics 24 – Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular “Logic” on TV Judge Shows.
Links: Facebook Group | Website

Jeremy Wood Jeremy Wood

Background: 4th year History, no positions listed
Platform: extend exam hardship to 36 hour period, open pass/fail option, expand funding to smaller academic departments, fight for the farm and oppose market housing there, more need-based scholarships, more social spaces etc.
Thoughts: After hearing the Monday Debate, I gave Jeremy “Best Speaker” award in the VP Academic race. I have to keep telling myself that Jeremy is not a joke candidate. In the last 24 hours, especially, I lost all respect for him. For those who missed it, Jeremy pulled out of the race for a few hours – first reported by UBC Insiders then confirmed by my source – to endorse Sonia Purewal and “bring Johannes down”. Scared much? So this candidate finally realized that his platform has neither depth nor substance and decided to withdraw from the race to be VP Academic. Great. The sun continues to shine and Phoebe continues her love affair with Halls and Chinese herbal medicines. Lo and behold, this morning I find out that it’s FALSE ALARM, Jeremy’s back in! To quote the lovely UBC Insiders (yea yea I’m glued to that site), “I’m not quite sure yet how I feel about a candidate who feels like he lost sight of the issues, only to regain focus when others supported him.”
Links: Facebook Group | Website

So that took a week longer than I thought to type up. I’ll do the VP External, VP Admin, VP Finance, and Board of Governors blurbs another time, or never. Coming up next, a definitive list of all worthy UBC media covering the election =P

[Lovely Photo Credits]

Year-End Fiscal Report

2008 was a good year in the sense that I entered the workforce full time and managed to hold on to jobs during the school year. 2008 was a bad year in the sense that I spent money frivolously on non-essentials such as clothing and food. Textbooks are also huge drains from my savings.

Note: Always wanted to use the word “fiscal”… it makes everything sound so official! Oh and this entry is all about money, so stay away if financial talk isn’t your thing.¬† I pay for all of my own stuff except groceries and around one meal a day (lovingly supplied by my parents, fyi i still live at home).


I tried to keep as an accurate account as possible (…have the habit of spending cash/debit instead of credit… ah well). As you can see, UBC textbooks took a ridiculously huge chunk out of my wallet. I’m quite happy that my university tuition was only a few hundred bucks.


The above graph takes out all the “major expenses”. Ever since univ started I’ve been lavishly spending money on fastfood at lunch, a habit I hope to drop this year. Clothings expenses were up there as well – averages to about $30 a month which isn’t too bad.


It’s skyrocketing towards the end of the year haha… blame Boxing Day.


Green bar = income, red = expenses. Got a job in July. Pulled in a deficit for September, but otherwise I’m in the green!


This doesn’t represent the actual balance (give or take a few grand), but I love having visual representation!

Now isn’t dealing with finances fun?! Coming up next: where are Phoebe’s incomes coming from? AKA Making money at UBC =D On a sidenote, for those of you looking for cheap textbooks, refer to my buying textbooks at UBC post back in September. Hope it helps!

QOTW: What do you spend the most money on? What about non-essential items?

How Incredibly Keen We All Are

Follow-up on Textbooks

One of the disadvantages of getting second-hand textbooks is that they sometimes do not have the glossy, colourful pages of the newer ones, hence causing frustration to their readers.

Observe page 47 of my Econ book: “The blue arrows in the upper half of Figure 2.9 indicate the flow of labour… the red outer arrows represent [blah blah blah]” Great, my Figure 2.9 is black and white and filled with grey arrows of different shades *sulks*.

In other news, the $12 book I ordered from got here in one piece. This hardcover on a Civil War battle looks like it has began to turn yellow from sitting in the warehouse for too long – what an exciting item to receive the first time I buy something online! (That’s sarcasm, by the way).

Lyryx Labs

Speaking of Econ 101, Lyryx labs are slowly becoming the bane of my existence! We get unlimited tries on these online quizzes, and Lyryx just records and sends in our highest score. It took me 5 tries and 3 hours to get 64/64 on the first lab (okay, maybe I should’ve read the chapter BEFORE attempting the question, lesson learned). From the data Prof. Lemche showed us, an upward of 800 students took the quiz, with an average of 96%+ on most questions. The average attempt number was four.

Can you imagine the scores for a quiz like this (worth 1% of final mark) in high school? No doubt most students would’ve been happy with an 80% and wouldn’t even bother retrying. It’s a warm and fuzzy feeling knowing that as much as my peers announce how we should skip lectures, we are all secretly working our butts off trying to get a high mark.¬† Academia is an awesome thing. Almost makes my daily two hours pole-dancing-on-the-bus commute to UBC worth it!


On a completely unrelated note, here’s a short video. It’ll make you smile, I promise (if not just watch it again). TURN ON SPEAKERS.



Selling: One (1) Kidney for Textbook Money

Currently: blogging in D. Lam (to avoid reading the OB chapters) and craving a honey cruller donut from Tim Hortons.

I stopped by the bookstore in the summer armed with a booklist and a debit card, ready to breeze through the rumored “painful process”. Little did I know that I would soon be considering advertising kidney sales on my blog. I’m a pretty thrifty person so the price tags there were devastating to my soul. Instead of taking the easy way out and reserving my books, I decided to experiment a little and see how much I can save by buying my UBC textbooks elsewere (online mainly), despite not having ANY experience in textbook hunting (all you seasoned pros out there, feel free to send over more tips!)

Class Book UBC $ I paid $ Bought from
ECON 101 Princi. of Microecon 96.00 35.00 Facebook Marketplace
ECON 101 Lyryx card Incl. Bookstore, tbd ($35)
COMM 292 Org. Behavior 116.00 50.00
CPSC 111 Big Java 90.00 30.00 Saveonbook, prev ed.
HIST 237 Thomas Jefferson 20.00 0.00 Borrowing from library
HIST 237 Portia 23.00 0.00 Found free copy online
HIST 237 Sovereignty etc. 15.00 5.00 Facebook Marketplace
HIST 237 Frederick Douglass 7.00 0.00 Found free copy online
HIST 237 March to the Sea 33.00 12.00
TOTALS (w/ tax) 400.00 132.00

That’s a saving of¬†over $250¬†(Mmm…shoes!)¬†In addition to the above list, I did end up buying two costly textbooks from the Bookstore, so my total spendings were just under $400 (as compared to the $640 I would’ve spent).

List of resources I used and/or recommend

  1. Facebook Marketplace – great for local searches as it first displays results from your networks. Private message ensures privacy. Lots of haggling room available. Be sure to ask for notes for free.
  2. –¬†UBC student’s “secret” tool. Pretty convenient since most people have their cellphone numbers on there. Another local resource and notes are usually thrown in. Lots of texts available!
  3. Craigslist – The somewhat “sketchy” corner of the internet… the search is a bit more difficult as a lot of SFU and BCIT books are mixed in.
  4. Bookfinder – This gives you a rough idea of how much the books are being sold online. Just enter the ISBN numbers and it’ll search the corners of the internet for you
  5. Amazon – A bit pricy than the local alternatives ($2 book, $15 shipping, grr!), but they usually have the right editions here. Used books option also available.
  6. Bookmeat UBC – Very minimalistic and organized website, no search option but browsing through courses is easy. Not TOO comprehensive. People who want to sell it go there and list their asking price, save % (GREAT feature), book condition, and contact info.
  7. UBC AMS Sub – “In the basement there is a massive wall filled with for sale textbooks!” (Thanks Andre!)
  8. – “Bigwords compares all the best textbook stores at once finding the sweetest, cheapest textbook deals on the planet” (Thanks Brian!)
  9. Friends/Family/Coworkers – seriously, ask EVERYONE if they have taken/know someone who have taken the courses you have. Turns out one of my coworkers had a few Econ books to give away from his BCIT days!

Hope this helps you on your book hunt, for next year least!