Breaking out of the cocoon of teenagehood and spreading your awkward adult butterfly wings can happen so fast. Through this process, it is encouraged (and sometimes expected) to let go of your dependency on your parents. Whether it’s money, housing, or general support, becoming an adult means becoming independent.
In the aftermath of the deadly terrorist attacks that hit Paris a week and a half ago, monuments around the world lit up in the colours of the French flag, heads of state gave inspiring speeches on the need to defend shared values, and Facebook launched a safety check option for those in Paris along with offering users an option to overlay the French flag on their profile picture to commemorate the victims.
This flag-filter immediately became popular. When I logged in to Facebook, almost every single post on my newsfeed was about a changed profile picture. But this small act of solidarity, in my opinion, is actually quite problematic.
I think I first heard the term “bully” in elementary school. I’m guessing that’s about when you first heard it, too. The teachers would press on about what bullies were and what to do if you were confronted with one. Walk away, ignore them, tell a teacher or a parent.
Cyber bullies, playground bullies, classroom bullies, neighbourhood bullies, verbal bullies, physical bullies. Essentially, we were vulnerable to mean people in any area of our lives.
2014 was the beginning of what I can only describe as my “introspective season”. It was a year in which I had, for the first time, read the incomplete text of my existence, reflected on it, and plotted out what would be written in future passages.
September 8, 2015: I will be humble.
October 4, 2017: I will love more.
February 14, 2020: I will be brave.
Above are only a few of the numerous journal entries I had made back in Grade 12. They have since been revised, but the purpose of the book—to act as an instruction manual for me to follow—has not changed. Written in it are those virtues that I want to place into my identity and those vices that I wish to remove. The entire operation is much like an organ transplant wherein I am the one performing the surgery and the donors come from somewhere within me—not necessarily a soul, but the equivalent thereof.
We all subjugate ourselves to this subliminal surgical procedure several times in our lives—perhaps some of us have already gone through the operation more frequently than that. It is a necessary process in which the goal is perfection.
Although I have only clocked in about three months or so of university time, I’ve realized that the point of this season is not necessarily to be educated, in the most traditional sense of the word, but to learn who we are in the freest space. It’s where we gather, en masse, to hopefully become better at literally anything.
University is a place to pick and choose your virtues and vices—to construct a new “self”. As a first-year, you’re in a place where those who had known your secrets—that you have the entire Frozen playlist downloaded on your phone, for instance—are not at your school to spread them.
However, no matter whom you become, do not forget all the identities you had to create in order to get there. I cannot remember what I was like at five, but thankfully I can remember how I was in middle school and in high school. When I graduate from UTM I will remember how I am now, lying on my bed and writing this message to you all.
Our identities are steps in a staircase and it is important to take each one so we do not trip as we make it towards the top.
It’s November. Do you ever feel like you just need more time to just get everything done? Whether it’s trying to find a balance between sleep and study schedules or buying a coffee before or after lectures, we are always on the go!
Let’s take a look at a UTM student’s typical schedule for this time of year, shall we?
6 a.m: Trying to pull yourself together from studying all night… Can I just wear sweats to school every day?
7 a.m: You are already late for those buses you were supposed to catch over an hour ago—if you’re lucky, you should make it in time for that 9 a.m. bio lecture.
8 a.m: Either you will find yourself making notes on the bus or falling asleep and missing your stop/transfer.
9 a.m: You have to run from the bus stop at Davis all the way to class on the third floor of IB. Good luck!
10 a.m: Phew! Class is over and you have a small break until the next class.
11 a.m: Decisions, decisions! Should I study in the library or eat something at the CCT café?
12 p.m: Eating in silent study and watching Netflix always seems like a good idea!
1 p.m: Lectures, lectures, and more lectures…
6 p.m: Time to go home! Maybe if you’re lucky, you will get a ride—otherwise, get ready to push your way onto the 110 to Square One.
8 p.m: Eating dinner and writing essays is the best way to spend those long nights.
10 p.m: Time for a quick Facebook break.
12 a.m: “Oh snap, I’m still not done the assignment due at 9 a.m., and I’ve wasted so much time on social media!”
3 a.m: After 10 cups of coffee, the assignment is finished! Now to catch a few minutes of sleep before I have to do that all over again. 😛
Ah UTM; that U of T campus located in the middle of a forest. The one where the deer roam free and finding a spot in the library during exams is impossible after 10 a.m. Good ol’ UTM. Whether you’ve just started here or are as ancient as some of the executives on UTMSU, our experiences are UTM-specific and there are certain ones that you are guaranteed to have in your time here.
Has anyone else noticed that UTM is really stylish?
I’m never bored when I find myself walking across campus these days because everyone seems to have taken their fashion game to the next level. I see people in outfits I would never dream of putting together, and yet somehow they make it work.
When my co-worker told me that he could take my shift so long as I bought him a beer, I knew he had an ulterior motive. But I agreed to it.
Sure enough, it was his way of tricking me into a date. His asking me to go for a beer meant that we could speak one-on-one without the eyes of our coworkers judging, questioning, or assuming.
I didn’t know how to react to him asking me out, so I asked my mom what she thought. She told me that I should nowhere in the text message mention that I hate beer.
“Give him a chance—he seems sweet! Realistically, what else are you doing?” Dammit, Ma, look at what you got me into…
Our “date” came to an end. I drank two virgin Shirley Temples and listened to his combination of scheming pickup lines and flattering compliments.
But then he said, “I think you’re beautiful and really fun to hang out with. I wouldn’t ask you this if I didn’t have a really good time tonight…” He licked the residual beer foam off of his glass and looked up. “Would you want to take this further?” I knew it. All this time, he just wanted to sweet talk me into bumpin’ uglies with him.
It’s happened—you’ve finally received “the call”. A jolt of energy runs through your body followed by a discouraging sense of self-doubt and panic. “What if I fail?” you ask yourself. “What if… What if… What if…”
It happens to the best of us. As a mature student, I’ve been to my fair share of interviews, from interviewing for my first job at Harvey’s when I was 14 years old to interviewing for larger media agencies. I have had the time to make mistakes, but most of all, to learn from them.
Allow me to break it down and explain how you can fight those interview jitters and strut into the interview as though you already have the job.