How To: Absolutely “Kill” a Presentation


So your prof assigned a presentation and you’re tired of Googling presentation tips. You’ve come to the right place, grasshopper.

November is my least favourite month—university students are loaded with tests, quizzes, midterms, assignments, essays, and, yes, presentations! As a third-year student in CCIT, English, and French, I’ve been through my fair share of presentations and have about three this month, too. Throughout my journey, I’ve picked up three all-encompassing tips on turning your daunting presentation into a breeze.

Read on, and the next time your prof says “presentation”, you’ll be volunteering to go first.

There are two components to any presentation: the verbal and the visual. My usual method is to create the verbal part first, then decide the visual part.

                       1.  Ooh, Kill ’Em: Verbally

The key to the verbal aspect of your presentation is simplicity. The verbal part of your presentation shows how well you know your topic in terms of how well you can explain it. If your topic is complicated, divide it into sections.

Tell your audience what section of the topic you’re about to talk about and, briefly, why it’s important. You don’t want to confuse your audience with complicated jargon (Google: “special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand”). Define difficult words and break your topic down to its simplest terms.

Ensure eye contact with your audience (or random eye-level wall corners), a clear voice, and a smile now and again. Use cue cards with maximum three points on each card. Sometimes, I only write a sentence per card. Speak with passion—if you sound interested, your audience will be too.

                        2.  Ooh, Kill ’Em: Visually

The key to the visual aspect of your presentation is also simplicity. You’ve probably heard the phrase “death by PowerPoint”—I know I have. But PowerPoint is not a “deadly” visual as long as you keep your slides simple.

With any visual you choose (skits? Prezi? PowerPoint? Posters? Hand gestures?), take the main point of your presentation and make it explicit. Save the text for talking points; the visuals are your clarity tools. Keep a two-colour minimum on your visuals, and minimize text to stress only the main points of your topic to your audience. You can limit yourself to one point, or one word, or one picture per slide on a PowerPoint, for example.

And remember, a presentation is not just an assignment worth marks for a class.

I mean, that’s one way to think of it. But a presentation is literally anything that you present, or anything that you show other people.

You present yourself to the world every day through how you dress, how you speak, what you say, and even how you walk. Store branding presents a store to consumers. The Internet presents information to people with Internet access. Any situation where communication is happening is essentially a presentation.

I like to think of communication with a simple goal in mind: what do I want to get across? What’s the point?

The underlying component of your presentation once you figure out your goal is creativity.

                         3.  Ooh, Kill ’Em: Creatively

Even the key to the creative aspect of your presentation is simplicity: using a simple, straightforward design. How are you going to get your point across to a lecture hall full of your peers, to a potential employer in an interview, or to the date that you have tonight?

The best part about presentations is that you get to be creative: papers and tests have formats, but for the most part, presentations don’t. You can use the space in the room, your peers’ participation, your group members if you have any, posters, skits, props, anything! For the brief time that you present, you are in complete control—how will you use it?

Presentation is an art—get creative!

If the Pants Fit…



Name: Christine Sharma

Age: 20

Body Type: I’m going to say standard.

This is not another article on how you should love your body no matter what size or shape you are.

This is about how all of our bodies are standard body types. You don’t have to define yourself as a “size” or a “shape”. You are not fat and you are not skinny, because using words like “fat”, “skinny”, “tall”, and “short” attempts to define what a “normal” body type is in terms of how much you deviate from the norm. But if everybody has different body types, aren’t we all normal? Can we not all have standard bodies?

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How To: Survive Group Projects


I hate group projects.

Apparently, group projects are supposed to “lessen your load” and give you “teamwork experience” and help you “learn from each other”.

But when you’re dealing with other group mates, that’s not always the case. There will be someone who is completely unresponsive, doesn’t do any work, and doesn’t show up for group meetings, and still gets their name on the assignment. Next, there’s the person who tries to take charge entirely and do everything on their own, and sometimes the group will let this person do all of the work. And then there’s that one person whom you kind of feel bad for because they try to contribute, but most of their work is wrong.

Or maybe I’m just a control freak.

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We are sitting next to you in lecture. We are in line behind you at the Blind Duck. We are ordering coffee at the cash next to you at Tims. We are studying near you in the library until our last bus leaves campus.

We are commuters. We have #commuterproblems. And we are all over campus.

Allow me to make a general statement: UTM is informally known as a commuter campus. The majority of students on campus seem to commute—that is, take some form of public transport to and from school.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard of some faraway lands that our peers commute from: Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon, Markham, Woodbridge, Toronto, Scarborough, Milton—a whole bunch of places in and around the GTA. Think about it: the person sitting next to you in lecture might’ve woken up three or more hours ago to commute.

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Welcome to Elections Season at UTM



I don’t know about you, but personally, I’m tired of candidates for UTM elections tossing flyers and pamphlets in my face.

Yes, I get it. You’re “lobbying” and “fighting” and “increasing” and “decreasing” and “fighting back” and you’re doing it all for me! Thank you. And I understand that maybe you are trying to make a change to better campus life at UTM. But from the average UTM student’s point of view, you’re making all of these claims with no results. How many elections have been held at UTM, and how many changes have I been able to see? Are you really running for an election to better campus life, or do you just need a role to add to your resume?

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The End of Year Blahs


It’s that time of year again. You know, when there are more deadlines than there are weeks of class left.  When we’re in that awkward phase between winter and spring where there’s snow out so you think you should wear a jacket, but it’s getting warm so you really don’t want to. When you spend too much time in the library and forget what daylight looks like. When you wonder if you’ve ever had a social life.

Sound familiar? You are not alone!

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I Hereby Profess My Love



Dear Tea,

I need you with every fibre of my being.

You are in my thermos on my commute to campus. As I walk into Davis or North, and the red Tim Horton’s sign reflects into my glasses, you are the first thing I want – especially for those rough 9am classes. I need you before class, I need you after class, I need you in between classes, after my workouts, and as soon as I get home. University students pre-juice before parties, but I pre-tea. Let’s not forget the time we spend together at meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and tea time.

“Three teas a day keep the doctor away” is my mantra. Sometimes, I have four to maintain my health.

Steeped, Green, Orange Pekoe, English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Chai – you have so much personality. I love you no matter what name you take, and I like to switch up my tea order to fit all your faces into my day. Most of my income and my OSAP are probably spent on you, and I want you to know that that’s okay. I want you to know that I will always be here for you as you are for me. I will even debit or VISA you when I’m out of change. You’ve been with me through the good times and the bad, and I want to thank you for that.

Remember that night we spent together in the library? You were piping hot and steamy when I peeled back the plastic Tim Horton’s lid to let you breathe. You held my hand and warmed me to the core as I fired up my laptop to write an English paper. I drew you to my lips and immediately my body pulsed with energy. You made sure I stayed awake to meet my deadline. We were on the fourth floor until midnight together. Let’s just say, my lipstick ended up all over you.

Some of my friends don’t understand though. They say you make me nauseous. They say you have too much caffeine in you. They say I should stop seeing so much of you. I’ve tried to explain to them that we’re soul mates, me and you. And they’ve seen that without you, I can’t function. I wander from class to class like a zombie until I’ve had you at least once.

Sometimes I wonder if you love me back. Do you think about me before you go to sleep, and when you wake up? Do you trust me? Do you talk about me to the other teas, or even coffees? Could you live without me? You are the love of my life and I would never trade you for any other hot beverage in the world. I just need to know if you feel the same.

Yours truly,


Secrets of a UTM Frenchie

Hot, crispy fries smothered in thick gravy and creamy cheese with guacamole at La Banquise. Fresh sesame seed bagels with chewy cream cheese at Fairmount Bagel. Milky hot chocolate served in wine glasses at Juliette et Chocolat. Five dollar pitchers of beer and dancing all night on Tuesdays at Café Campus. Strolling down Rue Côte-des-Neiges in the heat of July every afternoon. These are the pieces of Montréal I will remember forever.

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Taking Advantage of Our Resources



So, I have a confession. I started doing something this month that many students don’t get around to in their university career.

You guessed it. I…

Have been taking advantage of our campus resources. The RAWC, the Career Centre, the Office of the Registrar – even the student centre. Some might call this a resource-binge. Or I just created a super-cool, super-relevant, super-new word. Either way, in my first year I had no idea that UTM had so much to offer, and that I was already paying for. This year, I’ve been exploring our resources.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to pick up a weekly class at the RAWC. January was hectic (not an excuse, I swear!), so this month I’ve taken up Cycle-Yoga Fusion on Tuesdays at 5:10pm. Admittedly, I have to run from North to Davis to make it on time, but the class is definitely worth it. The instructor, Cindy, is really clear on how to do yoga poses. I’ve even ventured onto the elliptical and into the weights, and after only three weeks of gym time, I feel healthier and de-stressed every time I stumble out through the turnstile and climb back up the 58 stairs to the Meeting Place. My goal is to be able to touch my toes by the end of the month!

A few weeks ago, I saw an academic advisor at the Office of the Registrar. One of my friends suggested I talk to an advisor because I’m thinking about switching majors. And it’s easy! All you have to do is walk in, scan your T-Card on the screen to the left of the doors, touch some buttons, and bam: You’re waiting your turn to talk to an advisor. The advisor I spoke with helped me find clarity and direction for my degree, taught me about deregulated program fees, and pointed me towards the Career Centre located at DV3094. So, I went upstairs and made an appointment with a career counselor.

I kid you not, I waltzed out of my career counseling appointment with even more clarity towards my degree. The Career Centre is full of career catalogues by major, career and volunteer ads on their bulletin board, and experienced people. The counselor obliterated all of my degree-related questions such as the difference between a BA and a BBA to an employer, and trends in the job market today. She even opened my eyes to programs with internships and encouraged me to come back and touch base with her in a few weeks.

Now the student centre. It has never been a prime option for me to hang out or study. Until now. Not only can you grab bubble tea or chicken wings from the Blind Duck, you can browse flyers for upcoming events while you procrasti—I mean, while you take a break from studying. Events happen at the pub too! Just this month, I’ve been to UTM’s Got Talent, the Multifaith Dinner, UTMAC’s Laughter Therapy, and Leafs Night, and they were all packed with students. I felt refreshed to see spirit on campus, and I made a couple of friends while I studied and ate and attended these events.

The last three weeks have absolutely opened my eyes to campus resources and have helped me feel more at home on campus. I can’t wait to explore more tuition-included resources on campus during my time here, and I hope you will too.

Have any campus resources you think I should check out? Let me know, comment below!