8 Ways to Reduce Your Stress and Increase Your Success!!

1. Deep Breathing

·      Taking a deep breathe not only lowers your blood pressure but also  lowers cortisol levels which is what causes anxiety and stress.

2. Light a Candle

·      Scents like Lavender or Fresh Linens are known for their relaxing effects.

3.  Chew Gum

·      Chewing gum also lowers cortisol levels and leaves a person calmer state.

4. Hug!

·      Studies have shown that hugging is a great way to loosen up and get back to that Zen state of mind.

5. Count backwards

·      You’re Kindergarten teacher was on to something. It’s hard to freak out about a due date or midterm when you’re taking a short counting break.

6. Give Yourself a Hand Massage

·      This is especially useful for people who spend a lot of time typing. Hands can hold a lot of tension and massaging them is a easy way to remove some of that strain.

7. Dance!

·      Turn on your favourite song on have a crazy dance party by yourself or with your friends. Release some good endorphins and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

8. Make a List

·      Make of lists of all the tasks you need done or all of your goal you want to achieve. Often things don’t seem as overwhelming when they’re written down.


Musical Outlets within Gage

Are you the type of person who loves to have a spontaneous jam session? Do you love to sing or play an instrument? I’m that type of person. I started playing guitar and singing about 8 years ago and I have no intention of ever stopping. When I came to Gage this year, I was looking for places to play guitar or ukulele and sing. There were some areas that I thought were perfect for me and so I thought I would share them with you.

The first spot, and it’s really quite obvious, is in your own room; it’s private and you don’t have to travel too far. If you have a unit mates, make sure that they are okay with you letting it all out in the room. Another concern with playing in your room is that you have neighbors that might not appreciate you playing loudly. The best solution to this is to play more quietly and to make sure your door is closed. If they come complaining to you or to your RA, then it might be time to find a new place.

Another spot that I have found to be a wonderful place to play and sing is in the commonsblock. In Fort Camp Lounge, there is a piano available. You could make a friend and jam with them on the piano. I have also tried to jam right in the middle of the commonsblock; just play on one of the couches. You might just make a new friend and be there for over 3 hours.

If you’re looking to perform, what better way than with the Gage coffeehouse? It’s a great way to meet people and watch people perform. There are also many events that happen throughout the year that require some people to be a performer for the event. Keep on the lookout for these events on posters and on the Facebook group.

Lastly, there are the stairways in the different buildings. I find these places to be the best area to express yourself musically. The sound is amplified and you sound similar to when you would sing in the shower. The stairs provide you, and your friends and admirers, with seats. Since the sound carries through to the other floors, people will want to check out what you are doing and you can make new friends that way as well.

I hope this article was helpful in giving you an idea of where you can have musical outlets in Gage. I hope to see you in these spots jamming out and having fun.


Podcasts 101: Transportable Story-Time for the University Student

Like most people I know, I have a very intimate love for my earbuds. The transitory times between class or on the bus would not be the same without my own personal soundtrack accompanying me along the way. However, I have very limited space on my phone and I’ve been known to get weary of the same song/album playing over and over again.

Then something magical happened, I actually looked through the default apps on my iPhone and found Podcasts. Since then my life has been transformed! Those 10 minutes spent in transit between the class is no longer a battle of restraint as I try to stop myself from singing out loud, now I mostly just giggle to myself because something funny happened.

The technical term for a Podcast is a digital medium that consists of an episodic series of audio, digital radio, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed on-line to a computer or mobile device. Yet, there is an immense creativity to Podcasts, they encompass a huge range of topics. You can gain new skills, learn about history, keep up with new music, listen to your favourite comedians, follow people’s adventures, and so much more. Podcasts give you the opportunity to engage with compelling stories and connect you to the world and groups of people in a very profound way. Not a lot of media platforms are capable of that.


So if you love good storytelling, indulge the glowing purple person app on your phone, check out some of my favourite Podcasts (I preemptively apologize for my love for all things NPR and Economics, I promise that there is more variety than my narrow niche):


  1. Planet Money: This was the first podcast I had ever listened to, and is part of the reason why I fell in love with Economics in my first year. Planet Money attempts to make sense of the rapidly changing global economy and they do so with pizazz. One of my favourite pieces they’ve done is when they followed their very own Planet Money t-shirt in all of its stages, and when they deconstructed the American Financial Crisis.
  2. Invisibilia: One of NPR’s newer Podcasts, Invisibilia looks to chronicle the invisible forces that control human behaviour – ideas, beleifs, assumptions, and emotions. My favourite episode is “How to Be Batman”, which looks at how expectations shape our abilities through the lens of Daniel Kitsch a blind man that has the ability to echolocate.
  3. Serial: Warning, this Podcast will leave you obsessed. Serial attempts to unfold one story – a true story – unraveling the case of a murder over twelve 30 minute episodes.
  4. Cited: Formerly known as the Terry Project on CiTR, Cited makes sense of the news by combining original storytelling with groundbreaking academic research. It’s a weekly radio documentary program about big ideas, and it’s the only podcast with a bibliography!
  5. This American Life: This podcast is #1 on the Top Charts and for good reason. It’s hard to describe how amazing this podcast is, the only way to grasp it is to listen to it. I attribute it to Ira Glass’ beautiful voice, but I think it’s likely the range of themes each episode is centered on. Literally everything from babysitters to the changing landscape of gang life in Chicago.


Again, there’s a plethora of podcasts that I’ve missed, but half of the fun of podcasts is finding one on your own and falling in love with them. So armed with your earbuds and a full battery, go explore the audio world.


AMS Elections 2015

The Alma Mater Society, or AMS, is the student government on campus representing over 50,000 graduate and undergraduate UBC students. On an annual basis, the AMS provides support to students through services like SafeWalk and Speakeasy, events like Block Party, and businesses like the Pit Pub and Blue Chip.

The AMS is a student organization run by an Executive team elected from the greater student body every year during the spring. This year, elections will be taking place in March, and the new group of Executive will be taking office in the beginning of May. In order to get the conversation rolling, here are the Executive positions that will be elected and the names of the official 2015/2016 nominees:


The top dog of the AMS, this person is responsible for representing the voice of students as the Society’s main spokesperson. Besides being the figurehead, the President is responsible for building a strong team dynamic among fellow Executives, the AMS staff, and the body of elected student representatives on AMS Council.

This year’s candidates are:

  • Aaron Bailey
  • Cheneil Antony-Hale
  • Tanner Bokor
  • V

Vice-President Academic and University Affairs

This executive is responsible for liaising with the University on issues related to academics, housing, and student life, among many others. Previous projects have included lobbying the UBC Senate for establishment of an Exam Database, conducting the Acadia Park Community Needs Assessment, and representing the student voice on the recent proposed increases to tuition and housing fees.

This year’s candidate is:

  • Jenna Omassi

Vice President Administration

The VP Admin is the go-to person for new capital projects, such as the soon-to-be-opened AMS Student Nest, as well as the main liaison to AMS student clubs as chair of the Student Administrative Commission (SAC). They also oversee the operations of the SUB Art Gallery exhibition space.

This year’s candidates are:

  • Ava Nasiri
  • Alexander Remtulla
  • James Jing

Vice President Finance

As the name suggests, this person is in charge of managing the millions of dollars in the AMS budget, ensuring that students’ money is spent responsibly and with their best interests in mind. They chair the Finance Commission, and also oversee the Sustainability Coordinator.

This year’s candidates are:

  • Mateusz Miadlikowski
  • William Pigott

Vice President External Affairs

If VP A&UA is the connection to the University, this person is the connection to the outside world. Responsible for engaging with all levels of government, as well as other Student Societies across the country, the focus of this office has been primarily on encouraging discussions around a rapid transit solution for the Broadway corridor.

This year’s candidates are:

  • Marjan Hatai
  • Janzen Lee
  • Jude Crasta

The official campaign begins March 3rd and closes on March 13th. Visit http://www.ams.ubc.ca/elections for more information on candidates, as well as instructions on how to vote!


Voluntourism: Creating Opportunities for Meaningful Travel


With the new semester well under way and the depths of winter bringing about grey days, students may already be considering their plans for summer intersession. We certainly wouldn’t blame you if they included a warmer climate. For students seeking travel with a greater purpose and cultural connection, volunteering abroad presents a unique opportunity.

There are varying degrees of voluntourism, a term that has recently been targeted by critics of international development. There’s no foul in a humble act of volunteering a special skillset but it’s imperative that participants carefully vet prospective organizations. Students studying technical disciplines make especially great candidates for voluntouring. Moreover, it provides an opportunity to build experience, and explore areas of further career specialization or academic research.

Tips for responsible volutourism:

  • Sustainability: is the project/organization executed by locals?
  • Esure your presence isn’t reverse outsourcing.’ For example, performing manual labor may result in fewer jobs for local construction workers.
  • What tangible skills are can you contribute?
  • Are you prepared to deal with culture shock?
  • Do you have realistic expectations of a voluntour experience?

Voluntouring doesn’t have to be an international pursuit. Organizations such as Frontiers Foundation run programs right here in Canada.

Learn more about it here!

Article author: Jenn Larsen

Photo Credit: http://www.seeds.is/pictures-iceland/236


Say Goodbye to Cram Fests

School is back in session and it’s time to return to the all too familiar grind! While going to lectures may expose us to main learning concepts, we need to crap open our textbooks to soak in the nitty-gritty details. This, of ouches, can be frustrating and overwhelming, especially when carrying a full course load of detailed-oreintated notes. Here are 5 strategies to help you excel in absorbing and retaining information!

1) Use A Highlighter 

It’s easy to lose track of main ideas when faced with the prospect of long and seemingly never-ending readings. Highlight main ideas to distinguish and process the reading material.


2) Talk It Out

They say you haven’t fully learning a concept until you are able to explain it to someone else! Put the books away (temporarily), and try explaining the concept to a friend. Doing so will challenge you to break down the complexity of what you’ve learned and present in it layman’s terms.


3) Making Mind Maps

It’s no surprise that courses typically present over-arching ideas and layered concepts. Throughout the term, create a mind map that visually links and connects various ideas/concepts you are learning. By the end of the term, you’ll have an easier time noticing take-home messages and unifying themes!


4) Post a Poster

Difficult nitty-gritty details that you can’t just seem to grasp?! Create a poster that lists out these pesky nuggets of knowledge, and put it in a spot that you’ll encounter many times a day (i.e. desk). Daily glances can do wonders when struggling to nail down details!


5) Test Yourself

It’s not enough to read and re-read lecture slides and textbooks! Challenge yourself through the use of flashcards and mock exams. This will bring “red/yellow light” areas to your notice, helping you target these areas of concern.


by Cynthia Naslund


DIY : Home Workouts!

It is no secret that some degree of challenging physical activity is positive for most people. Not everyone can be physically active in the same way, but for those of us that are able to challenge our bodies in one way or another, it is highly recommended that we do so!

Some benefits of physical activity:
• It makes us physically stronger by tearing and then re-building muscles
• We use the some of the calories we have consumed to produce energy, rather than allowing all of them to become stores of fat (which are not completely bad!)
• It wakes us up! Blood flow is increased as our hearts pump to get blood to areas that are working extra hard.

Sometimes, the trek to the gym just isn’t that appealing – or we don’t want to wait for a treadmill, or we don’t want to pay for a gym membership, or we don’t like using weights or elliptical machines.

What to do instead?

Here are three easy at-home-workout resources that don’t always require equipment and will do a fine job of waking up those dormant parts of your body! Just don’t forget to have a healthy 4:1 carb:protein ratio afterwards, followed by a good protein-rich snack!

1. Nike+ Training Club (iOS app)
This application can be downloaded to your telephone or iPad, and offers you a wide range of workouts that vary in difficulty, muscle group targeted, and duration. Feeling like you need to burn off some negative energy? Try a 45-minute strength workout that will hit every part of the body! Want to tighten up your back muscles or abs, but don’t have a lot of time? Opt for a 15-minute “Focus” workout. Some workouts suggest weights, but those can be replaced with water bottles, textbooks, or any other items with weight!

2. 7-Minute Workout
The 7 MWC application is more-or-less exactly what it sounds like: An app that provides a set workout that will take 7 minutes to complete. You are able to set the workout to cycle through more than once, to extend your workout’s duration, but if you are in need of a pick-me-up, and want to get your blood pumping, go for the 7-minute workout! No weights required.

3. Way of Gray (www.wayofgray.com)
Way of Gray was created by a young woman from Edmonton, Alberta, named Sophie Gray, who wanted to create easy, at-home workouts that do not require a lot of time but have a big impact! She has four different workout packages that you can purchase on her website (for $10 each, or as part of a bundle with recipe books included), and each package offers 16 unique workouts scheduled to be done in four weeks. The best part is that you can go back and use the workouts on any day in any order you feel like! The workouts generally fall between 15 and 25 minutes in duration. No weights required.

Exercise your mind, spirit, and body, in whatever way that might mean for you!

-Kaitlyn Tissington-Turner


Exam Jukebox: Finding the Right Groove to Set the Right Mood

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! When students are piling into Irving wearing the comfiest clothes and the heaviest backpacks, staking a claim over one small spot for the entire day/week(s). During this time of high stress you’d want to spend your time flying through your math problems like a whiz but with classes finished, it also seems like a great time to start going down the Netflix rabbit hole.

One reason you might procrastinate is that you haven’t found the right study atmosphere. People think that a productive environment is dependent on location, but what you hear has an impact on how you study. Often you don’t even know what kind of ambience you need to study effectively until you test it out. Take the opportunity to figure your study soundtrack this exam period with some Songza playlists (with some personal commentary on what I like):

No Lyrics:
Classical for Studying – This is one of my favourite playlists to read to! Let the Classics be the perfect background noise to your drier readings.

Jazz for Reading – Jazz can be really distracting for me because I just get lost in the music but this playlist strikes a great balance of keeping you focused while keeping you from falling asleep and drooling in your book.

In a Busy Coffee Shop – I find that the coffee shop environment is the best when writing those really tough final papers. Those distant murmurs give enough of a distraction and lead to the best arguments.

Epic Film Scores – This playlist is great when you really need that motivational push. Turn your study sessions into epic battles with the soundtrack from Jurassic park, Inception, and more.


Blogged 50 – Songza collects all these songs from music blogs so you don’t have to. Listening to new music keeps it interesting, and keeps you and your mind fresh.

Mellow Electronica – Mellow Electronica allows you to keep the sick beats that keep you motivated without sending you straight to the dance floor.

Chillwave – Listening to the soothing sounds of vintage synths makes it hard to stress out and is a great tool to calm you down during crunch time.

Old School Rap – For some reason Old School Rap and complex math problems go hand in hand. I honestly don’t know why, but it works!

-Umaima Baig


Exam crunch? don’t forget about these!

As finals are fast approaching, so is the dreaded anxiety that comes with them. Your social life becomes a distant memory as you organize notes, tackle tedious readings and sacrifice sleep for review sessions. Fortunately, the walter gage blog has a few de-stressing activities that will help you get through the chaos of exam season with a cool head.

1. Get up and move it: Rather than sitting still for hours when looking over notes, take breaks regularly. A light jog around the block while you listen to your favourite tunes will keep your brain awake. Remember, studying for too long can cause muscle strain and brain fatigue.

2. Drop the bass: Stay active as you turn up the volume on your iPod. Music and dancing is relaxing and an effective way to lower stress.

3. Deep breaths: During high-anxiety periods, we tend to breathe rapidly as a response to a sympathetic “fight or flight” nervous system. Try deep breathing. Inhale for five to ten seconds, hold for four and exhale all the way. Repeat nine times.

4. Om Shanti Shanti: A clear mind is an efficient mind. When you have too many thoughts at once, join a yoga class or do silent stretches at home.

5. Do you even lift?: A handful of students hit the gym to de-stress. When studying becomes overwhelming, pump some iron, hit the treadmill and get the mind and body working.

6. You are what you eat: Brain activity opens your appetite so staying energized is vital when studying. Junk food lacks essential nutrients the brain needs to function. Instead, substitute a McDonald’s run for almonds, vegetables, fish, fruits, eggs and Greek yogurt.

– Vinayak Chabria


Procrastination Station!

Ok, so maybe you shouldn’t be procrastinating during exams right now, but just in
case you need a quick study break, I happen to know about a few sites…


There’s nothing like an addictive game that expands your vocabulary AND helps put food on someone’s plate. When you correctly choose the correct definition of a word, 10 grains of rice are donated to the World Food Programme to help end world hunger. Sure, 10 grains of rice might not seem like much to begin with, but it starts to add up! How much rice can you help donate during your study break?


Think you know your geography? Guess again! This is an awesome game that gives you a 5 minute vacation around the world, without the costly baggage fees or the need to leave your desk. Hint: check which side of the road cars are driving on, and the language the street signs are written in for clues about where you are!

Word Map photo WordMap.jpg


An anonymous blog written by some fellow UBC students, the posts about UBC-related experiences never fail to make me smile. There’s something relatable in here for everyone, no matter your faculty or year!

Feeling stressed? Squishing the gummy bears in this game is surprisingly cathartic, although I must warn you- it’s really, really hard to stop playing once you start. Set a timer if you need to get back to your books!


-Meghan Kuppe