Major Differences

Get it? Differences in majors that are major?

I’m hilarious.

Anyway, to the core of this post. Last time I interviewed my friends, I asked them about different universities. This time, I’m comparing two programs at UTM – Life Sciences vs. Social Sciences. Without any further ado, here is the interview:


Life Sciences: R

Social Sciences: A

On mandatory courses: 

A: None – you can pick anything from psychology to economics to politics to anthropology. There’s a lot of freedom.

R: We have a couple of mandatory courses – biology, chemistry, calculus. Other than that, we can also take whatever you want.

On whether essays or tests are more prominent: 

A: It depends on the course. For example, psychology is almost all tests, while politics is all essays, save for the final exam.

R: Mostly tests, but in bio we have these mini-assignments called “Literacy Tests”. They aren’t all that mini, though, they take forever.

A: Essays are the worst, I’d rather do tests. At least while writing a test, I don’t have to constantly worry I’m accidentally plagiarizing something.

On labs: 

A: Haven’t had a lab since the day after prom where we showed up just to dissect a shark. In case you’re wondering, I still have those pictures.

R: I’ve had a lot of labs, they’re a huge part of both bio and chem.

A: What’s your favourite lab?

R: We did this one, where we watched the mating rituals of crickets, and it was beyond cool. The males would fight and then the female would decide the winner.

A: That’s what i miss most about taking science classes – those cool labs.

On being busy:

A: My weeks alternate – I’ll have a week of nothing due and then a week where suddenly everything is due.

R: My weeks never alternate. I’m constantly busy. Finished midterms? Great, math problem set due. Chem lab done? Midterms again! I’m so beyond busy, I never have time for anything anymore.

A: Including me.

A: 

R: 

On what you plan to do with your degree:

A: Hopefully get into law school.

R: Hopefully get into med school.

On what your pencil case looks like: 

A: Calculator, pens, pencils, highlighter, ruler.

R: Pen, pencil, highlighter.

A: You take calculus..why don’t you have a calculator?

R: Not allowed to use them.

A: Ah, right, that’s why I didn’t take that class.

If you could change one thing about the program, what would it be? 

A: Give me a little bit more direction. Although I love my freedom, it’s also intimidating. What classes should I take? What classes should I avoid? While I know that they do tell us what specific programs want, I don’t know which specific program I want.

R: The only thing I’d change is the course load. There’s a bit too much. I mean, you get Fridays off. I can’t do that. It just won’t work with the classes I take.

What’s the most interesting part?

A: I think this falls down to classes, doesn’t it? I guess I’d say I like how every class teaches me to think differently. In politics, I try to argue. In economics, I apply. And in English, i analyze.

R: The labs win it for me.

What’s the least interesting part? 

A & R: Lectures.

Finally, why did you chose this field? 

A: I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer and social science seemed the logical undergrad.

R: Because I like science and suck at English. Also, you sorta need this in order to get into med school.


Turns out the differences aren’t so major after all. Just the topics, workload, schedules, types of assignments…okay, so it’s pretty different. I guess it all boils down to what you like learning about, whether it’s that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell or that democracy has 9 different conditions that are necessary for a state to be called democratic. (I think it’s clear which topic I know more about.)

All I have to say is what Richard P. Feynman said – “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.”

The Existential Crisis

What am I doing with my life?

As soon as you’re old enough to think about the future in regards other than dessert after dinner, you’ll be hit with this question. I’d argue it’s dominant from the ages of 15-the day you die, but I’m no psychologist, I just took that one course that one time, so don’t quote me on that. Anyway, it’s been the cause of many breakdowns in my life and soon to be the cause of another. It’s time to start thinking about Subject POSts.

I’m going to be honest with you, I have no idea what POSt stands for. (Edit: It stands for Program of Study and then a random t.) But I know it means having to decide what I’m going to major in and what I want to do and what courses and what path and

And breathe.

Honestly, it’s not as final as it sounds. You can always change your Subject POSt, and you can always change the direction your life is in.

You hate your major? Change it.

You hate your minor? Change it.

I could even take this a step further – if you feel that university is not where you belong, that is okay. Life does not begin and end with school, but it does with education. As long as you get an education – it doesn’t matter if it’s while backpacking in Europe or taking notes in a giant lecture hall. You have the power to make your life anything you want it to be and you shouldn’t let anyone tell you different.

Last point I would like to make is that you’re all so young and you have all the time in the world to figure out what you’re doing with your lives. As Eleanor Roosevelt said “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

Dear High School Me

Last week, Karissa wrote this awesome post and I loved it so much, I decided to steal her idea and write my own version. You should all go check hers out if you haven’t already. Anyway, here it goes:


Dear High School Me,

All those post-it notes you bought? They’re totally going to waste because you bought this dry-erase calendar where you write everything you need to know and – I swear I’m not being dramatic when I say this – it’s the best thing to happen to you. Can we get an amen for organization?

I know you have super amazing plans for university, with all of the fun times you’ll have and all the memorable nights with all these new friends, but those dreams die the second you decide it’s a good idea to take six demanding courses in a semester. I’m still so furious with you.

You’re gonna do a great job with the second semester though – Fridays off warrant the highest of fives. But, because I went through first semester, you get nothing but a slight nod in your direction.

Anyway, I know you’re nervous about applying to university and worrying about scholarships and all of that, and I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you shouldn’t have worried. In fact, the one thing I don’t regret about my high school career is my constant worrying. While it feels silly now, it didn’t then, and I can’t fault you that. I’d actually argue that I’ve been a little bit more prepared for university because I’ve figured out how to cope with stress. That’s not to say I’m not still learning – it goes without saying university is a completely new challenge and that I need new skills to work through it – but at least I have a foundation.

This is the part where I give you some advice on things like exams (not that you’d need it, you rocked them for the first – and probably only – time ever) and prom and graduating. First of all, first period spares every day? Enjoy sleeping in, you’ll only do it twice a week as soon as university starts. Second of all, take more naps after school. You won’t get another chance to do that. Not without feeling crippling guilt every time you set that alarm for a 24 minute nap. And a 24 minute nap isn’t even the weirdest nap time you’ll give yourself. The food at prom sucks, don’t jump out of the limo in heels, and definitely don’t do it twice. I think that covers the advice portion.

The most important thing I’d say to my high school self is to cherish seeing your best friends every day. Some of them will move away and you won’t see them again for a period of time that feels like eternity, so hug them a little bit harder. Some will still be close, but life is busy and time goes quickly, so enjoy those stolen moments on those strolls around the school when you’re supposed to be in the washroom. I promise you, you’ll think back on those times when you’re down in the dumps and you’ll smile and it’ll be the most bittersweet moment.

I’m dangerously close to being too cheesy, so I’ll end it with the line I wish I put as my yearbook quote:

Goodbye everyone. I’ll remember you all in therapy. – Plankton

Baby, it’s cold outside

Like really cold. So cold, UTM did something people told me they never did – they called a snow day.

(actual gif of actual deer on our campus)

While the deer may have been crying because every day is a snow day for them in the winter and that must suck, I was laughing because my version of a snow day is so much better than theirs.

Something great happens when there’s a threat of a snow day – students of all ages band together the night before, hoping and begging and praying that enough snow falls and that the school board is kind enough to close down the buildings. It is the only time anybody will wake up at 6 am willingly, all to check the news for that fateful “______ is closed due to extreme weather conditions” headline. Or in our case, that UAlert text or email.

Let me tell you something folks – you do not know happiness until you shut off your 6:30am alarm and roll back up into a burrito of warmth and blessed dreams.

Ever.

So when I woke up eventually, at the golden hour of noon, I faced the daunting challenge of figuring out what to do with my snow day. I had to make the best of it, obviously, who knows when the next time this will happen comes around again? The possibilities were endless.

I could watch a winter movie on Netflix, armed with a cup of hot chocolate. Or maybe a cup of hot tea. Or maybe a caramel latte.

I could go outside with my sister, who was also home due to her school being closed, and have a snowball fight. Last time we did that, she wiped the floor with me. There’s a great family video of her cornering me behind the garage, angrily throwing snowballs. It is due time for revenge.

I could forgo the revenge, be the bigger person, and build a snowman with her. Maybe then she would stop acting like Ana with the constant cries of

(I hate Frozen.) (No, seriously. I really really hate Frozen.)

I could call a friend over, see if they love me enough to trek it to my house. We could watch Netflix armed with cups of hot chocolate. Or tea. Or caramel lattes.

Okay, I’ve run out of ideas, so the possibilities aren’t endless. But the point remains – I could do so many awesome things with the day off. So, you may be wondering, what did I end up doing?

Psychology notes.

Although I had the entire weekend, including the whole day of Friday, I managed to waste it on Premier League games, random naps, One Tree Hill, and random websites on the Internet – I’m looking at you Buzzfeed. I’m ashamed to say I procrastinated to the point I couldn’t even enjoy the snow day because I was too busy doing the work that was already supposed to be done. This is it folks, I’ve hit a new low.

It’s times like this, when I’m ruing missed chances and missed opportunities, where the wise words of Abraham Lincoln comfort me  – “I will prepare and some day my chance will come.”

Come on Canada, I know you have another snow storm in you. I swear I’ll use it properly this time. (For revenge.)

Stuff Every College Student Should Know

That’s the title of this book I stole–I mean borrowed, from one of my friends. It has so much information in it, giving how-to’s from dorm living, to academic life, to social life, and even something they call “The Real World”. I thought I’d review some of the book – it’s super long and if I tried doing the entire book, I’d have to start a whole series – and basically let you know if they have any validation.

Dorm Living and Personal Care

I’ll begin with the fact that I’m not living in a dorm, so this whole section on spicing up your dorm room for free doesn’t apply. But microwaving food? That totally applies.

Eggs: It says to “nuke” the scrambled eggs for one minute and then for 30 second intervals until it’s done. I tried it, I do not recommend it. Maybe it’s because I’m old-fashioned and love my pan method, but I found the texture more rubbery than I like it. Plus it made my kitchen smell weird and I am so not down for that.

Chocolate Chip Cookie: YES. YES YES YES. THESE ARE THE BEST THINGS EVER. I hate sharing cookies and I’m also super lazy so I don’t actually make cookies often, so this recipe is a blessing. Here’s an online version: http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com/2013/05/1-minute-chocolate-chip-cookie-in-a-mug.html

It does involve egg yolk, and if you don’t like that, I have a recommendation for an egg-free recipe right here: http://eugeniekitchen.com/microwave-chocolate-chip-cooki/

Popcorn: I burned it. No shame in saying it, even Macklemore burned his popcorn. At least I didn’t cause a hotel to evacuate. Anyway, stick to the popcorn bags that the grocery store sells. They have instructions and also better flavours.

Academic Life

How to e-mail a professor: This mentions everything my professors have told me over and over again. Don’t wait if you have a question, avoid vague subject lines, say hello properly, introduce yourself (this is a big one), get to the point, be specific, don’t be cute (this is such a sassy way of saying “You’re not texting your friends, don’t use emoticons”), and say thanks before signing off.

Social Life

How To Find And Make Friends: This is perfect timing after my lonely post, but I have to admit to cringing while reading this. Not that the advice was wrong per se – no, you shouldn’t stress; yes, be yourself; sure, connect online – it was just hilariously cringe-worthy. I will have to point out my favourite line, however, where the advice was to “sit down” and to talk about how bad the food is because “almost no one will disagree, even if it’s pretty good.” What? If it’s pretty good, I sure hope they disagree! Nobody wants a liar for a friend, especially when it comes to deal-breakers like food.

The Real World

I’m going to pause here for a second and complain about the repeated use of “the real world” when referring to life outside of school, as if the past 18 years of my life have been a free trial. I digress.

How To Get Discounts On Everything: Oh, now we’re talking. This is the kind of thing I look for whenever I find anything that revolves around tips. Please, save me the little money I do have. Advice is the following:

  • Student-geared events will offer discounts
  • Rewards programs
  • Clothing stores have discounts (Roots does)
  • Computer software comes with the school (it does, you can download Word off of your email)
  • Transit lowers fares (hello UPass)
  • GROUPON

I concur with all of the above. Great job on that chapter, Blair Thornburgh. I’ll leave you with a direct quote from the introduction: “Oh, and you can do anything you want. You’re a college student.”

I Can’t Believe I’m Really Going To Fall Out Boy

I’d like to take this time to give a shout out to 13-year old me: AHAHAHA YOU JEALOUS?? I’M GOING TO FALL OUT BOY.

I can’t believe I’m going to Fall Out Boy. I can’t believe Fall Out Boy still exists! I’m so excited, I can’t sit still. I suppose I should give you a little bit of background… that background of how I turned punk.


It was the year of 2008, moving into 2009. My best friend, Kajal – hey Kajal, look you’re famous – was in love with a band called Boys Like Girls. She used to sing their songs all the time, and I never got the reference. Conversations went a bit like:

K:  *singing loudly* And your little white socks in the top drawer.

A: I swear, I keep mine in the bottom drawer.

Yeah, I was funny back then too. In all seriousness, I got into it pretty quickly too. Soon enough, we were regaling the playground with our wonderful, angsty singing. It was great.

Our tastes developed into bands like All Time Low, All American Rejects, Secondhand Serenade, Mayday Parade, Blink-182, Green Day, and Dashboard Confessional. Grades 7-11 were an emotionally turbulent time. Kajal and I drifted apart musically for a while. I went into rock, with Metallica, Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Rage Against The Machine. Kajal went into Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, Coldplay, and The Script. We were held together through this separation with mutual love for The Killers, The Fray, Sum 41 and, of course, Fall Out Boy.

Fall Out Boy has been a constant, at the start and at the end of all our random lyric exchanges. Fall Out Boy has been there through all of the ups and downs of middle school, and even those of high school. It’s not hard to see why we have such a connection with Fall Out Boy, especially considering they featured in one of the best shows ever (One Tree Hill).

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite lyrics from Fall Out Boy: “If you are the shores, I am the waves begging for big moons”

P.S. Hi mom, I swear I was gonna tell you before June. I just got super excited when I saw the tickets online. Love you, bye.

Catching Up Again

When graduating from high school, it’s very rare that you’ll go to the same university as your best friends. If you’re lucky, maybe you will. If you’re anything like me, however, your best friends will decide that the best option for them isn’t at UTM (silly, right?) and will go to another schools. Over the break, we all got together and compared experiences. I thought I’d give you a glimpse of what it’s like to have one best friend attending Ryerson (downtown Toronto, not far away from me) and the other attending Wayne State (Michigan, slightly farther away from me).  So, I asked a few questions, touching on a few topics, and got some interesting answers.

A: Me

K: friend at Ryerson

J: friend at Wayne State

On location, location, location: 

A: Middle of the forest. It’s pretty cool, I feel like I’m a movie sometimes, with all of the nature. Not to mention it feels secluded, like our own little haven. Or hell, depending on your classes. It’s nice being surrounded by fellow students, anyway, like we’re all going through the same things.

K: It smells like catpiss. Our campus is the opposite  – downtown Toronto is always bustling and busy. It’s open and always bustling, we have a skating rink, there are free things sometimes and you’ll see people filming projects and being productive, and it’s really cool. Oh, and then there’s the believe guy.

A: The what?

K: The believe guy. Sometimes he says you’re going to hell.

J: Wayne State is similar actually. It’s a huge campus, with buildings all over midtown Detroit. It’s in the cultural centre of Detroit, museums and libraries everywhere. We get invitations and sometimes free tickets to shows and events around Detroit.

A: I’ve seen 8 Mile. TELL ME YOU’RE SAFE.

J: No, no. The campus is pretty safe given the location, has its own police force and everything. The parking is awful. Some parking passes run up $360 A SEMESTER. If you can’t afford that, you find a parking meter and run out of class every 30 minutes to make sure you have’t received a ticket. Most of the meters are broken anyway.

A: And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why i don’t drive.

K: Because not having your G2 has nothing to do with it.

A:

On food a.k.a the deal breaker: 

A: It’s not bad, I guess. I’d do anything for a proper burger joint, but we have Timmies, Second Cup, Pizza Pizza, Subway, and like two cafeterias I’ve never been in because I don’t really eat on campus. I know people like it, though, so I’m totally not complaining. Plus, Second Cup is all I need. Caramel latte, anyone?

K: You have everything you could ever want at your fingertips. You’ll get fat because McDonalds is the cheapest thing there.

J: There’s lots of food trucks. That’s the one thing I’ve noticed. Nothing healthy to be honest, it’s just junk food.

A: *insert shameless promotion of healthy eating blog*

On Athletics: 

A: We have a great gym and lots of athletic teams. Or so I’ve heard. I don’t do sports.

K: Didn’t you say you’d go to the gym?

A: See above gif.

J: Yeah, i don’t know anything about athletics, other than we have some school spirit.

K: We have a hockey team and basketball and soccer? I don’t really pay attention.

A: Well, that question was a

On social life: 

A: PUB NIGHTS. Every Thursday, Different themes. Honestly, how jealous are you?

K: We party in clubs, because downtown. No sororities or anything either.

J: We have a little Greek lifestyle, I guess. The parties suck.


There’s so much more I could tell you about. What’s the culture like in America? What’s the best campus food? Where is your favourite spot? I want to know all of these questions, so maybe there’ll be a part two to this blog. Until then, go compare your schools with your friends. And then just take the time to appreciate you have awesome friends, because as C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”