Tag Archives: friends

Switching Syndrome

Apparently I like making up fake disease names, but Switching Syndrome is the name I gave to the feeling I get whenever I switch locations. I have a solid community in both Vancouver and Winnipeg, and each has different strengths and weaknesses. Whenever I go to school in the fall, or back home in the summer, it takes a bit of time to adjust to the new place and social setting.

Even though I’m always excited to see friends I haven’t seen in months, I also feel sad because I’m leaving people behind. It dampens my excitement and in general I get a wash of emotions that are a bit confusing.

I thought I’d be extremely happy to be back in my parents’ house and not have to cook anymore, but I’m finding that I don’t always like the way they cook (they really need to use more green vegetables!), and when I try to cook my mom hovers over me and tells me I’m doing it wrong. I also miss having the control of living on my own, not having to ask permission to go out, and having a clean space. My family is redoing the flooring in the kitchen, so the house is full of kitchen boxes everywhere, and my parents also moved their computer into my room so their clutter has moved into my room. So much clutter makes me feel like I can’t relax, and not even being able to do anything about it since it isn’t my stuff makes me miss my tidy room in Vancouver!

There are good bits to being home, obviously. I have a summer job lined up since the store I worked at last summer wanted me back, so there’s money. Transit isn’t as efficient as Vancouver, but it’s cheaper, and I have access to a car here. I also don’t have to pay for groceries, internet, or electricity. My lever harp is in Winnipeg, so I can go busking (street performing) on nice days. Not to mention my boyfriend is here :P That’s the biggest plus.

I’m more or less adjusted at this point, but I still miss my Vancouver friends. I’m sure that when I go back in the fall I’ll have conflicting feelings again, but that’s the way it is! Just don’t ask me to think about what it’ll be like once I graduate!

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Living With a Room Mate

Having successfully survived the year without killing my room mate (or being killed by her :P), I feel like now would be a good time to reflect upon what it’s like to live with a room mate.

I think it’s important to say that Christie and I don’t share a room, so I can’t comment on what it’s like to have that kind of room mate, but we do share a kitchen, living room, and bathroom.

Christie and I have gotten along very well over the past eight months, which I attribute to two main factors: a) we were good friends before moving in together, and b) we have similar personalities.

Both of us are pretty quiet people, so noise has never been an issue. She likes to shower in the morning, I like to shower at night. We’re both good at having open lines of communication so that things which could potentially turn into problems are dealt with before it gets to that point.

Living with another person has also made me learn about myself: I never new how neat I was until I was sharing a space with another person. Christie is… not as neat as I am, but she’s been doing a really good job of being as neat as she can manage, and I’m doing a good job of letting it go if things aren’t always as pristine as they could be. Originally, we had a cleaning policy of “clean up the mess right after you make it,” but that didn’t always happen, so we made up a simple cleaning schedule, which meant one of us cleaned the counters and the other cleaned the floors on alternating weeks. We both found that a schedule was a good motivator for cleaning.

One thing I loved about having a good friend for a room mate was that if I ever wanted to talk to someone, I could just stick my head out my bedroom door, and then I could go back to studying. I loved the impromptu trips to Menchie’s or outings for Mexican food, evenings spent baking, and afternoons spent lying around and talking. I loved having a place that actually felt like home (the dorms never quite did that for me), and I loved having someone who was waiting for me to get home and caring where I was.

Overall, it’s been a great year and I’m very excited for the next one!

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Meeting People vs. Making Friends

I’m assuming that by now everyone has heard of whatweshouldcallubc.tumblr.com; I discovered it last week and went through the whole thing. Something that stuck out to me was a post about how people are “dying of loneliness”, and there was at least one other consisting of upper year students also saying how they’d only just found their place or still haven’t.

It made me think about how 1) it’s very common to not find your niche immediately as some people feel they should, and 2) how it’s very common for various organizations on campus to shove lots of ways to meet people down your throat and saying “Yes making friends is so easy here, you’ll have a group in no time.” Because seriously, meeting people and making friends with people are two very different things.

Some good ways of meeting people include:

  • Introducing yourself to the people you sit near in your classes.
  • Attending residence/AMS events.
  • Hanging around in common areas, if you’re in residence.
  • Joining an intramural team, or participating in other UBC REC events.
  • Joining a club.
  • Chatting up random people in line for Starbucks or at the bus stop.
  • Wearing a nerdy t-shirt. It’s amazing how many nerds who love the same stuff you can attract.

It’s true, the above list is slightly skewed towards on-campus students. It’s an unfortunate fact, but if you want to meet people as a commuter, you have to put in effort. It evens out in the end though, because here’s the thing about making friends: it takes effort. Except for a few exceptionally outgoing individuals who are certainly not me, meeting someone does not equal being friends with them.

Some good ways of making friends with people (a skill that I am always trying to improve upon):

  • Initiate conversation. I know you want them to start talking to you, that you want to feel like they like you, but realistically they’re probably sitting there thinking the same thing. And if you don’t speak up, no one will. And friendships generally aren’t born out of silence. (Not good at speaking to other humans? Start with, “Hey, how are you?” And ask questions. Ask them about their weekend, any exciting plans coming up, ask them about themselves, their preferences. Don’t give up, it takes practice.)
  • Arrange a time to meet up where you can have some solid get-to-know you time. The five minutes before class starts does not count. Go for coffee, have a movie marathon in your dorm room, explore downtown, see a concert you’re both interested in, a one-on-one study session. Or it could be a group thing, too.
  • Get their number and text them. Don’t be creepy or obsessive, but some casual banter can keep you on their radar and if you’re scared to ask them to hang out it can take some pressure off.
  • Do/say nice things. People like people who make them feel good. Again, don’t paint their name on the side of the clock tower, but compliments and remembering their birthday or saving them a seat can go a long way.
  • Meeting people and making friends go together best when you meet people in a place where you’re doing something you’re interested in; lots of the time they have the same mindset as you and you’ll have something to talk about and do together.

It kind of sounds like I’m giving dating advice here, but honestly, a good friendship takes nearly as much effort as a romantic relationship.  If you don’t go out looking, most of the time, it isn’t going to land in your lap. Lots of people I know have made friends through their classes, and I met most of my friends through residence and knitting club.  It’s not guaranteed that you’ll click with every person you make an effort to talk to, but if you never try, then you’ll never know.  Just keep trying, because your kindred spirit is out there, looking for you too.


Filed under Campus Life, Wellness

Wreck Beach

With school starting tomorrow and the sun shining in this rainy city, what else was I do to do but go to the beach? Yes, it’s true that Wreck Beach is clothing-optional, but I like to keep mine on and if you keep your eyes mostly on the ground you shouldn’t see too much of anything you don’t want to see.

The mountains, as always, were beautiful. The scene was serene, but full of life; after all, it is a holiday.  Wreck is actually a place I like to come in the winter, when I can just be more or less alone and stare out at the sea and the mountains, contemplate life and find inspiration. But a busy day is is pretty inspirational too.

Among the freshman, booze-vendors, nude tanners, and pot-smokers were also vendors set up towards the trees, selling skirts and scarves, jewelry and bags. I actually spotted a woven bag I liked but didn’t have any money, so I’m seriously considering going back next weekend…

Natasha and Christie and I had a picnic on the beach, punctuated by Christie shaking up her salad, when the lid of her Tupperware popped off and her food flew everywhere, and in her surprise, she kicked up a bunch of sand that went flying into Tash’s peanut butter. My sandwich was safe.  Needless to say, there was laughter. (One of my favourite things!)

Now, we had come to go swimming. I had never actually swam in an ocean before, given that I’m from pretty much the exact centre of the continent, so lakes have been my swimming location for most of my life.  The water was cold – of course, it was only 20 or 21 degrees – but somehow it was easier to keep walking and splashing in as the water crept closer to my head, whereas in the lakes of home I usually have to be pushed in before I’ll let the water get past boob-level.

The waves were huge! I’d gotten waves that large when I’d been sailing on Lake Huron, but never when I’ve been swimming. They kind of scared me, but it was actually pretty exhilarating to time my jump as the wave came, and be suspended a few feet above the sand as the wave pushed me back a meter or two. The salt came as a shock when the water splashed my face and got in my mouth, although Christie (who is from Oregon) said the water wasn’t actually that salty here.

And of course, any mention of Wreck Beach would not be complete without complaining about the stairs. I’ve never counted them myself, but there must be at least four hundred, if not more. It is tiring work, climbing back up, let me tell you. But then again, I guess it’s good exercise.

With Imagine Day tomorrow, it’s a good reminder: try something new, have some fun, dream big dreams. Here at UBC, the world is yours for the taking.

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Second Home?

The time is drawing nearer for me to return to Vancouver, and as usual, the feeling is bittersweet. I am of course very excited for my second year at UBC and I know I’m going to have a fantastic time with my friends there, but I’m also going to really miss my friends in Winnipeg. And honestly, I feel like I didn’t get enough time with my friends here.

It kind of strikes me that this is pretty much the same feeling I had last April when I left campus. I was very sad to leave my friends in BC and I wanted more time for first-year-dorm adventures, although I was also looking forward to seeing my Winnipeg friends again.

I was talking on Skype to a few of my UBC friends tonight, and they all said they were excited to “go home.” And I thought, am I going home too? Or leaving home? Right now, I feel like I’m leaving home, but once I’ve been at UBC for a little while I’m sure I’ll feel at home there as well. I believe that what makes a place a home is the people there. I have fantastic friends in both places, so does that make each place a home? Maybe.

I know that Winnipeg will always be my “first home” for several reasons; my boyfriend is here, my family is here, I have many friends here, I’m familiar with this city, it’s where I grew up. But perhaps UBC has grown into my “second home,” despite how when Steven Toope (the president of UBC) suggested that would happen at the orientation last September I thought to myself: “That is never gonna happen!” (True story.)

Well, things change. I mean, as I just said, Winnipeg is my home. My first home. But I’ve found a home for myself in Vancouver too, and I know I’ll be crazy sad when my time there is done, since it seems unlikely I’ll be able to stay in touch very well with my friends from UBC once I graduate.  I know, I know, I’m getting ahead of myself again.  I guess that’s a bridge I’ll have to cross when I get there, but for now I’m just feeling the bittersweet.

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Balancing Academic and Social (And Health)

Have you ever heard of the university triangle? Basically, it goes like this: grades, social life, sleep — pick two.  And for many people, that’s the case. There’s only so much time in a day, so if you want to study and hang out with friends, often there isn’t enough time for sleeping. Or maybe you can’t function without sleep or hanging out, so then your grades take a hit. Or perhaps you’re so focused on getting good grades and keeping your health up that you never have time for fun stuff.

In my personal opinion, none of those options equal a fulfilling university experience.  Somehow I managed to find some balance between the three points of the triangle.  My secret? Time management, my friend. Time management. It makes everything possible. And there is one little friend I have that makes my life sooooo much easier and helps me manage my time: my agenda.

If I was to recommend getting one thing for university, it would be an agenda, or some kind of calender, even if that’s on your phone.  My agenda contained everything I wanted to do, like on this picture here, I’ve got homework assignments written in, research, readings, lessons, rehearsals, performances, involvement events, dorm spring formal, dinner with my boyfriend’s parents, my mom coming into town.

That’s the main thing: you need to write down everything you’re going to do, on the day you’re going to do it. I would prioritize what needed to happen on a given day, figure out how long I would need to do it, and then schedule it out in my mind.  That way you can make the most of your time that isn’t spent in class.  Write down deadlines so you can see them coming, and start working on projects long before they’re due (I usually take two weeks to write an essay).  If you can do little bits at a time, you’ll be less stressed before the due date and you’ll have more time for other things.

So, balancing out time for a social life? No problem.  Schedule that in too.  Keep in mind you might not be going out every single night, but if you can even hang out with friends once or twice a week, that counts as a social life to me.  It’s easy in a dorm; you can spend time with your pals just by going to supper together, and you needed to go to supper anyway, so bam, two birds with one stone.  Studying in groups can also be a good way to get some friend-time, while still getting some work done. Personally, I don’t work well when I’m surrounded by people, but it can work for some people.

And your health?  There are all sorts of ways you can keep healthy in your hectic schedule. Eat good food.  Make yourself go to bed at a time where you can get at least 8 hours of sleep. Staying up all night cramming is not good for you.  Get some exercise: sign up for a class at the recreation centre. That way it’s just an hour each week that’s already set aside for you, and since you’ve already paid for it you’ll be motivated to go.  And that schedule in your agenda? Schedule in time for yourself! It’s important so that you can have time to unwind and not go insane. Maybe it means reading a book, taking a walk, or just derping around on the internet. Just a word of caution though, make sure your “you time” doesn’t go on forever and you don’t forget to do everything else on your list! If that’s a problem for you, set a timer or an alarm so that when your fun time is up, you actually get back to business.

So that’s my personal recipe for balance, but there’s certainly more to say on the subject.  You can attend workshops at CLASS in October or the SLC in January.

Any questions? Shoot a comment my way.

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Maintaining Friendships After Highschool (Or Not)

So, you’re thinking of leaving home to go to UBC next year, or maybe you aren’t leaving home, but you won’t be going to the same school or classes as your BFFs anymore.  What does this mean?  Can you still be friends? Do you even want to be?  Can you live without them? Or will this be your chance to finally get rid of them?

Naturally, people’s feelings about their high school friends ranges dramatically.  A lot of people I know had friends in high school who they basically were friends with simply because you can’t sit in the same classrooms every day and have absolutely no one to talk to. And once they’re out of high school, they aren’t interested anymore and may never speak to those high school classmates again.  And that’s normal.  In high school you don’t always win the awesome-totally-gets-me-in-every-way-friend lottery, and when you’re out, you’re ready for new friends.

So then there’s the other situation, where you have a really close group of friends who you love dearly.  Leaving those friends can be really hard, and you don’t want those friendships to end just because you’re going to university.  Well my friend, those friendships don’t have to end.  Here’s a few ways you can keep the friendship magic alive:

1) Skype.  It’s free, so why not?  Now you can talk to your friend, AND see them. Awesome!  Definitely beats the phone.

2) Be penpals.  When you’re living in residence, nothing is more exciting than getting mail.  Plus it sometimes feels more personal than an email or instant message.  (Packages are even more fun! wink wink nudge nudge hint hint)

3) Create a (video) blog.  This is one thing me and my friends did this year, and it’s helped us stay really close.  We created a video blog (or vlog) on Youtube and we’d each upload a video once a week, just talking about what we’re up to, or just talking about or doing random stuff.  You can find our channel here, if you’re interested. (I haven’t mentioned the vlog on this blog before since its purpose was for me and my friends to stay in touch, rather than talk about UBC experiences.)

If you don’t want to make videos, you can also make a blog about what you’re doing for your friends to read at home, and they can make one too.  (Me and a few friends do that as well – but I’m not giving you the address for my personal blog! Mwahaha!) You can get a free blog at www.blogspot.com.

Seriously though, if you want to keep your friendship going, all it really takes is a little effort on both sides.  If all you do is instant message on facebook, that’s great, if that works for you.  As long as you contact your friends somewhat regularly in some way so you’re still a part of each other’s lives and check in with them when you’re at home, you should be fine.  This being said, there will be some people who you thought you’d be friends with forever that you end up drifting apart from.  That’s okay too; people change, and that’s okay.  Just remember you’ll be making lots of new friends too, so if a few old ones slip away, you’ll be all right, and you’ll always have your memories of the good times you had with them.


Filed under Campus Life, Wellness

Reflection on First Year

I know it’s a bit belated, but I wanted to take the time to look back on my first year at UBC.  It’s definitely been quite the journey, and it’s obvious to me that I’ve changed quite a bit since the beginning of the school year.  And in my reflection, I’ve picked out a few pointers for those heading into the big scary world known as university. (Protip: it isn’t actually that bad.)

When I first arrived in my Totem dorm room, well, I was terrified.  When my parents left the day before classes, I cried, hard.  And then I continued crying for about the next week.  I was lonely as all get out, and I wanted nothing more than to go home.  Oh, I thought UBC was pretty cool – a pretty campus, great teachers, my classes were all really interesting, and I loved my harp teacher – but by the time Thanksgiving rolled around, I literally skipped on my way to class knowing I’d be on a plane later that afternoon.

Fast forward to the end of April, when I choke back tears as I say goodbye to my new friends who I have grown to love so much over the past few months, as I lock my door for the very last time.  The girl who wanted nothing more than to leave this place and go back to her familiar world was sad that first year was ending! This brings me to Tip #1: It will get better.  You might be lonely at first, but give it time, and you’ll find your place, and you’ll love it.

So what changed that made me feel so much better?  Well that to me is a no-brainer: I made friends.  That’s not to say I had no friends first term,but the people I talked to I didn’t fully click with, and as a shy person, to really feel comfy I need people around me who really get me and that wasn’t something I found til second term. So how did I make these really awesomely amazing friends? I did fun things with them! Namely entering Totem’s Best Dance Crew. Participating in that one event drew me close to the people I’m now so close with, which brings me to Tip #2: Say yes to stuff. Now, when I say say yes to stuff, I don’t mean say yes to drugs or feel pressured to party; what I mean is, if someone knocks on your door and asks if you wanna go for supper with them, if your only excuse to not go is, “Uh.. nah, I don’t really feel like it, I’d rather sit in my room by myself and eat takeout,” say yes.  You’ll get to have a potentially great conversation with them and get to know them better.  It could become a routine and then hey, you’ve got your social interaction every day, and it could expand into other activities too.  Say yes to rez events (I can’t stress that enough, UBC rez events are so much fun!), say yes to going to get coffee, exploring campus, playing ultimate on sunny days, joining a club, going down to the beach, group study sessions (to be honest, I skipped out on that one – I study way better on my own), just go and do stuff.  Sitting alone by yourself is not going to get you anywhere. Literally.

In terms of academics, I didn’t have the shock most people do.  I graduated high school with ridiculously high grades (as in like, practically 100%), and my average dropped about ten percent like most students, but I mean, I still have a ninety average I have absolutely nothing to complain about…  One thing I have to say is that I have learned an absolutely incredible amount.  The academic standard at UBC is top notch, the professors are some of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and you get the freedom to try a whole bunch of stuff you’ve never even heard of before – I tried German and loved it!  Aaaaaand I also tried Philosophy and discovered I never ever want to take another philosophy class ever. But that’s okay! Tip #3: Try out new subject areas – you never know what you’ll fall in love with.  And hey, it’s okay to find out you don’t want to do something, too. University gives you the freedom to figure yourself out.

My first year at UBC has opened me up to so many opportunities in so many areas. I’ve gotten to meet a ton of cool people and I’ve come out of my shell a lot, I got to participate in tons of rez events, I picked up yoga, I went to a dance for the first time in my life (seriously), I got to participate in a research focus group (complete with blue chip cookies!), I’ve improved tremendously on the harp, I got to try out playing in an orchestra for the first time, I got to meet one of my all time favourite harp performers, I got to write this blog, I got to see this amazing campus and beautiful BC, I learned to take care of myself and handle responsibilities, and in my future years I intend to take advantage of exchange opportunities and on campus employment.  Seriously.  There is so much to do and experience, so that’s why my Tip #4 is: Find balance.  It’s hard, but it’s important to study hard but also form strong relationships, explore your passions, make the most of your time in Vancouver, and enjoy life.

If I could go back to last September, I would give me a hug and say, “Hey, it’s going to be okay! You’re going to love it!”  And I don’t think me from the past would believe it, but it’s true.  If you’re an incoming student and you’re scared, I totally understand.  Just know that everyone else is freaking out too and it’s only gonna get a whole lot better.


Filed under Academics, Residence, Wellness

Totem’s Best Dance Crew

As the year progresses, I become increasingly aware that in Rez, there is never a dull moment.  At least, you can choose to have it that way.

Over the last several weeks there have been many events, including House Weeks (where your house plans a whole bunch of events for its residents, and you get to decorate the caf with your house colours and mascots and such), and a Name That Tune competition (pretty self-explanatory).

Just this Thursday before Reading Week, Rec’n’Rez put on a competition in Totem Park called Totem’s Best Dance Crew. Continue reading

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Day of the Longboat

A bustling crowd of people, loud music, excitement you can feel in the air, the ocean, and mountains and high rises on the horizon: this is Day of the Longboat.  It is a must-attend event at UBC, and for good reason.  It’s the most fun I’ve had in a while, and it really brought me and my team-and-floor-mates closer together.  It also brings up my number one way to meet and make friends: get involved.  Continue reading


Filed under Campus Life, Residence