Monthly Archives: June 2012

Housing After First Year

It’s the question on everyone’s mind – even before they start at UBC. “Where will I live after first year?” UBC is fabulous and guarantees housing for all first year students, which definitely makes first year a bit less stressful, but after that year is over, the remaining housing on campus is basically a free-for-all between all students of other years, not to mention grad students (although there are some areas designated for grad students).  So housing after first year will typically go one of a few ways:

1) You win the winter session lottery. You lucky bum!  Housing is now taken care of for you.  However, most of the people who apply for winter session housing don’t get it. So what then?

2) You get year-round housing.  Year round housing is often the next stop for people looking for housing on campus.  And it’s what it sounds like; you sign a year lease and get to live there for the whole 12 months, and you can renew at the end of the year without having to go on a waiting list again. But let’s say you don’t get into year-round either (or don’t want it). What happens next can be quite different for different people.

3) Stay with family. People with relatives or friends of the family who live close to UBC will often try to rent out their basements. Pretty solid plan, if you’ve got a relative with a vacancy. I however, do not.

4) Find an apartment/basement suite for rent off campus.  Plenty of people in the Kitsilano and Kerrisdale areas (and other areas surrounding UBC) will rent their rooms out to students. However, if you want to be close to the university it can often be very pricy, so finding something suitable can sometimes be tricky.  There are plenty of sites to look on for places though, such as, kijiji, and Rent BC.

5) Get a condo. This is what I’ve ended up doing. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: Oh my goodness, your family must be rich! Well, no, middle class really, we just happened to be able to afford getting a condo.  And it’s what’s best for us, I mean, I’ll be sharing with a roommate to share the cost of the mortgage, I won’t have to worry about paying high rent during the summer of a 1-year lease, I won’t have to find new housing every year, if I want to go on exchange the condo will be waiting for me, and all the money we put into the mortgage now, we’ll get back when we sell the place when I graduate, instead of money that we never get back from rent.


Okay. I’ll be honest. Every time I said “we” there I really mean my parents…


I feel sure there are other things people have done for housing over the years, and if I’ve missed any please let me know in comments!

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Trying to Go Global

It’s been an idea kicking around in the back of my head ever since I heard UBC had exchange program, and my desire to go on exchange has only been growing as I learn what a good exchange program Go Global really is.  My mom had the opportunity to do an exchange to Japan when she was doing her Masters and she said if the opportunity is there, just take it. There’s nothing else like it.  And it seems that’s pretty much what anyone who’s gone on exchange has said.

Recently I was looking at the student reports on the Go Global website, and from the looks of it, only three music students have ever gone on exchange. Ever. I’m not surprised, since the way courses for music students is somewhat inflexible, but I’m expecting this to be a challenge.  And I will push through whatever red tape I have to to get to go on exchange!

So it’s pretty clear from an email conversation and the lack of student reports that the music advisor doesn’t have much experience with exchange, so I plan to go in to the Go Global Office as soon as I get back to campus in the fall. (I feel like not much will get done over email or phone.)  I also plan to get all my courses pre-approved so I don’t have to deal with any silliness when I get back to Canada!

P.S. I haven’t actually picked exactly where I want to go for exchange yet, but when I decide I’ll let you know!


Filed under Academics

The Long Distance Relationship

Many of those coming to UBC in the fall are coming from out of town, and many of those have boyfriends/girlfriends at home who they are not sure if they want to dump or try to go long distance.  Well, it’s a tough call.  You gotta ask yourself: Do I really love this person?  If I was away from them for months at a time, would I be tempted to cheat? Do I trust them not to cheat? Would I rather tie myself down with something I know and love, or play the field a little?

For me and my boyfriend, it was obvious that we would choose long distance.  Neither of us wanted anyone else, and we didn’t want to break up; we were in love (and – spoiler alert – still are) and we were sure we could do it, even though we knew it would be really hard.

I can’t make the call for you, but just know this: It can work. It can. That said, it can also fall apart.  Whether going long distance is something that’s right for you isn’t something I can tell you, but I can give you a few tips on how to help keep the long distance spark alive.

  • Skype. Pretty much everyone’s got it, it’s free, so why not? You can talk to your beau for hours if you want for no charge, and you get to see their face, too.  You can even get creative and do things like take your laptop to a coffee shop and Skype from there and have a “date” or leave your computer on overnight and fall asleep together. (Not gonna lie… did that second one nearly every night.)
  • Mail.  Get your partner to send you letters, and send them letters.  And/or packages.  Packages are extra fun.  For example, go to the dollar store and send them something random, like the eye patch I sent my boyfriend with nothing but a piece of pink note paper with a drawing of a stick figure pirate saying “Arr!”  Also getting them to bake for you is extra nice!
  • Spend time with each other.  Over the phone, over Skype, over text even, you have to make time for your partner. Have conversations (if you run out of things to say, there are lots of websites that have random conversation-starter type questions), read a book to them, play internet games, whatever.
  • Don’t cheat. Obvious, and I shouldn’t have to say it, but don’t.  Recipe for ended relationship.
  • See them lots when you visit home. If you don’t even see them when you’re in the same place… Well, what’s the point?
  • For more activities you can do with your long distance significant other, visit

For me, long distance worked perfectly.  It was hard at times, and I missed my boyfriend a lot, but we’re still together, and having my relationship that way worked well for me.  It has its advantages: having that familiar person in contact with you regularly helps a lot with home sickness.  Even if you feel that you have no friends and everything is foreign, you at least have them.  It also allowed me to focus on my studies and on friends without having to worry about trying to balance my boyfriend into my schedule too, since we just Skyped every night before bed.  And since I wasn’t interested in anyone else, it wasn’t hard for me to, I don’t know, see lots of handsome men around that I couldn’t touch, or something. I don’t know, because nothing like that happened.

So yeah, it can work, if you put in the effort.  That said, don’t let a long distance relationship limit you and hold you back; don’t spend ALL your time on Skype.  You’re gonna miss out if you do that.  Just take into account your own relationship and what’s right for you. And good luck!

Me and my boyfriend Eric at a big band dance this spring.

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Filed under Campus Life, Wellness