Public Speaking


The dreaded, borderline inhumane tribal ritual of an individual getting up in front of a large group of people and saying words.

Personally, I’ve always had mixed feelings about public speaking. It all depends on the group of people you’re addressing, I say. If they’re an engaged, enthusiastic audience who want to hear what I have to say, chances are I’m going to be far more comfortable than when trying to address a rowdy crowd of people with zero interest in what I’m saying.

It also depends on you and what you’re talking about. Are you passionate about this? Do you have extensive knowledge on the subject matter at hand?

Now, I hated public speaking in high school. Hated it. (You know I mean business when I break out the italics). Hand raising in class? Doable. Getting up and talking in front of a tired group of people anxiously eyeing the clock in hopes that the time will drain away and it will be time for them to leave—lol no. I just mean—the amount of anxiety that would flow through my adolescent body was insane! I would mark my calendar for my presentation date, and treat every day as though it was a precious gift all leading up to the final day of doom—when I would stand in front of the class, clutching my notes in my hand (trying not to pass out), and educate my classmates on topics they cared little about.

Despite this, I can—on some level—appreciate what teachers were trying to achieve by asking you to get up in front of the class and present. It is an important skill, and one that is required in many career fields. They just want us to get used to the idea, reduce some of the tension behind it, and help improve our speaking abilities—such noble reasons for such a cruel, heartless act.

I am happy to report that this is no longer the case with me. In fact, I’ve even decided to go to pursue teacher’s college after my undergrad at UTM. Participating in several extra curricular activities and taking courses a percentage of my mark is dependent upon my class participation has definitely opened up doors for me—over time, I just got more comfortable talking in front of people. (I do, however, feel somewhat guilty knowing I’ll have to subject my future students to the same tortures [cough] I was subjected to in my own school career. Just not enough, I guess.)

All in all, public speaking is a skill, and one that does not come easily (I have clearly learned the hard way). As someone who persevered through this, I feel confident in offering some advice to those who are going through the same struggle.

Deep breaths. Inhale, exhale, and repeat. Several times. Three times to be precise. It clears and declutters your mind. If you feel really awkward, just remind yourself—you’re never as awkward as you think you are (words to live by). If you mess up—you’re only human. No one in the world has gone through every public speaking event in their lives flawlessly. Educate yourself on the topic; you’ll have a far easier time talking about things you have extensive knowledge on, versus something you’ve barely looked at. Read, read, and reread until you know it like the back of your hand—it also decreases the possibility that you’ll forget something.

Good luck, friends. May the force be with you.

Introvert, Extrovert: Is There Any In Between?


Do we have to choose one of them? Does committing to “extrovert” status mean you’re signing on for a life of wild weekend nights, leaving no moments to yourself? Does “introvert” mean spending basically all your time alone and cringing at the suggestion of a group hangout, doing anything and everything humanly possible to get you out of hanging out with a large group?

The answer is no. There is nothing in the world that strictly dictates how you must behave. The labels introvert and extrovert are just that—terms, and in no way do they determine who you are and how you choose to behave. You can swear yourself to a live of extroversion, but chances are there are still going to be times you’re going to give up going to a party for a quiet night in. Oppositely, you can vow to follow a life of introversion, but you’re probably still

Personally, I think a person’s status as introverted or extroverted depends largely, if not completely, on social context. Put me in a group of people I love and am comfortable with, and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be cracking jokes left and right and howling with laughter. Put me in a group of people I don’t know—chances are there’s going to be very polite small talk. Put me in an even larger group of people I don’t know, and I’m probably going to be standing around quietly, looking around, hoping someone else does the talking.

Whenever anyone asks me if I’m an introvert or extrovert, I simply say I’m both. I have my extroverted moments where all I want to do is be surrounded by people and makes loads and loads of conversation. One Friday night, I may be the epitome of a social butterfly, and the next day I might just as easily transition back into avoiding all human contact. It just depends on what I’m in the mood for. There are times where I am the loudest person to ever happen and all I want to do is go out with lots of people and do so many things, and others where all I want to do is stay home with a friend or two and just watch movies and hang out.

All in all, there’s an extrovert in every introvert, and an introvert in every extrovert. By no means are we constricted to one of those categories. If the two were in a Venn diagram, I’d live in the middle area where the circles overlap, and be a frequent visitor to each circle. Because why not? All that matters is doing what’s good and healthy for you and what makes you happy.

The Struggles of Being the Only Single Friend In Your Group.


1) Having no one to watch that new romantic comedy with because your friends already saw it last week—with he-who-must-not-be-named.

[All friends you’ve ever had in life, in unison]: ‘“Busy Friday night. Hanging out with [insert significant other’s name here].”


It’s okay girl. Netflix got you.

2) Having an uneven number of guys and girls in the picture—and it’s all your fault.


3) Giving attention to a guy you normally wouldn’t even consider.

(nervous laughter) Hahahha I’m only here because all my friends have boyfriends…


4) Your friends ask you for advice and you have little to no romantic life of your own to make reference to.


5) You advise them anyway—and then they praise you for your wonderful counsel and go, “OMG, how are you even single??”


I don’t know, Jessica. I don’t know.

6) Every time you hang out with just your girls it’s declared a “girls’ night!”, even though every night is basically a girls’ night for you.


7) Your friends tell you about all the new “‘firsts’” in the relationship. And when it’s your turn, you’re just like, “…I took the wrong bus by mistake yesterday… it It was a real adventure…”


8) Saying, “I have a boyfriend,” to guys you’re not interested in and on the inside you’re like “LOL”.


We all do it. At one point, I was saying it so often I was actually starting to believe it.

9) Your friends talk about the things their boyfriends buy them and you want those things too but wonder if it would be lame to buy it for yourself.


10) You all have Pandora bracelets—theirs were presents from their boyfriends and yours was a present from you.


11) When your friends say, “Don’t worry, you you’ll find someone.”

And you’re just like, “‘Should I be worried…?”


12) But hey, at least you know what you’re doing on valentines Valentine’s Day!


Why We All Deserve a Break From Social Media


many of us, I recently succumbed to the stresses of social media and just quit.
I deactivated my Facebook, said goodbye to the Instagram app, and threw Snapchat
to the curb. I did, however, decide to keep Twitter—mostly because I use it
less for connecting with others and more for complaining about late buses and
the lack of/too much cream in my iced coffee.

is such a thing as too much connecting. Constantly updating your social media
on what’s new in your life, seeing everyone else’s updates and pictures of get-togethers,
etc… It’s exhausting.

Kardashian voice)

I’m just over it.

tired of knowing every little development in people’s lives—whether it be via
Facebook or Instagram—or any little, even moderately exciting thing that
happened to them recently (or that has ever happened to them, via the #tbt hashtag).
I also got tired of feeling the need to update everyone on my life. I mean, I
think there’s a very small handful of people who actually care, and I’d rather
just tell them myself.


I the only one who feels the need to scroll through her timeline sometime in
the morning until I’ve reached the batch of old ones I had already seen last
night? It’s a waste of time and I find myself getting bored doing it, but I
feel compelled.

there’s the struggle of having to think of creative ways to take pictures, with
creative angles and creative lighting; I just don’t want to, dammit.

my food is to eat, not to Instagram. I’ve grown tired of showing the world my
meal before it is viciously devoured by my carnivorous appetite. (On that note,
I’ve also grown tired of seeing everyone else’s meals seconds before their

also feel like it takes away from experiences—I want to go back to having a
great time without showing everyone what a great time I had.


I’m being honest, I just don’t understand the purpose of Snapchat. I just don’t
get it. I just don’t need/want to know what everyone I know is up to every day.
It’s one thing if it’s something particularly exciting, but the number of
selfies I used to receive and pictures of people holding their coffee or pouting
in front of their books… I just don’t get it. I just don’t.


big one. The king of all social media. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is
about Facebook, but it has recently taken up residence on my last nerve.
Perhaps the mindless scrolling and flooding of my mind with everyone else’s
thoughts via status updates and new photo albums has finally gotten to me.

in all, I’m just tired. I need some “me” time, time to grow on my own without
the constant watch/influence of 200 followers/followings on me, and I’m really
looking forward to seeing how different my life feels without a heavy online
presence. I’m also well aware that this change will not last forever. This is a
temporary hiatus, not the end of my social media career.

is not the last you will see of me, social media.

12 New Year’s Resolutions to Create and Actually Follow Through On


1. No more complaining (okay, slightly less complaining).

Try to make the best out of situations. No matter how annoyed you are, just try not to translate that annoyance into words—it honestly makes the situation so much more unbearable than it needs to be.

2. No more procrastination.

I’m talking to you, person reading this blog who should be studying right now. I suppose, then, that I’m also talking to me…

3. Be more social

Take people up on invitations, invite people out, and maintain friendships and relationships so you can stop complaining about how alone you are (am I the only one guilty of this??).

4. Get enough sleep.

No more of that stumbling out of bed 40 minutes before class and rolling into lectures with bed-head, sweatpants, and your breakfast in your hand.

5. Make an effort with your appearance.

You look good, you feel good. Confidence is an investment, and can have a ripple affect on other areas of your life, including, school, friends, romantic relationships, and so on.

6. Make time for a social life.

A little party never killed nobody—although I suppose those who have had a different experience of partying cannot attest to that.

7. Stop worrying about your romantic life (or the lack thereof).

Stop trying to find the right person and start being the right person. Yes, I did read that on Tumblr.

8. Focus on your future.

You’re young now, and you have many opportunities available to you. Don’t get distracted by little things that don’t ultimately matter. Keep in mind the grand scheme of things.

9. Do not define yourself on other peoples’s terms.

You decide who you’re going to be in the world and the kind of place you’re going to occupy in society, and the only standards you need to hold yourself to are your own.

10. Take initiative.

There are opportunities out there, but it’s your responsibility to go out of your way to seek them.

11. Take responsibility for your actions.

If there’s one thing that pretty much never fails to bother me, it’s people who blame the world for their problems (within reason). Taking responsibility for your behaviours and actions can be one of the most empowering things that happen to you—it allows you to realize you have some control in what happens to you in life.

12. Get into shape.

Even if that shape is round.

Breaking Up With Friends: Is It Time to Call It Quits?


Breakups. We all go through them at one point or another in our lives. I mean, even Marshall and Lilly (from How I Met Your Mother) called it quits for a short while (a time we would all like to forget, I’m sure). The experience is practically unavoidable. But what I’d like to talk about are a different—and arguably more painful—kind of breakups: friendship breakups.

Now, friendships are weird. I don’t think I’ve ever actually sat down with a friend and said something along the lines of, “I think it’s time we stop this thing we’ve got going on here”, or “This friendship is just not working out… You’re great, though”. It’s just not something that’s ever occurred to me to do, and I can’t say it’s ever happened to me either, although we have broken up in many different ways.

Again, friendships are weird.

In a vacuum, our lives are basically an ongoing process of meeting new people and letting go of old ones (not all of them, of course). It’s just that, as we get older and grow as people and progress in our lives, it’s inevitable that we outgrow some friendships and simply drift away from others.

The way I see it, when it comes to any friendship, there are four possible pathways down which one can travel.

a)    Keep them around.

Keep that friendship alive and healthy because you love them and they are kind, wonderful, supportive people who love and care for you and fill important spaces in your life.

b)    Let the drifting occur.

It’s not that you two don’t love and care for each other—your lives are just different. When you hang out, you have nothing to talk about, and keeping up with someone whose life is so different from yours can be tough and takes a lot of energy.

I feel like this is particularly difficult for young adults like ourselves. As students attending the number one university in Canada, we can barely keep our heads above the water between painful amounts of schoolwork, extracurricular activities, resume-builders, part-time jobs, etc. etc.

Ain’t nobody got time to chase people!

Note—it’s okay to let drifting happen. Sometimes people are just not right to be in your life at that time and in that capacity; this is okay.

c) You rarely see them, but (and this is how C differs from B) that doesn’t affect your friendship.

Now, personally I find that this is rare, and when it does occur, you should consider yourself one lucky goose. You know you’ve found something special when you cannot be around them for a considerable amount of time, but once the two of you are together, it feels like you were never apart.

I mean, I have friends I only see a couple of times a year. My best friend from high school—at the time we were inseparable (we even changed our last names on Facebook to each other’s first names… Some serious best-friendship going on there)—now goes to a different school and we see each other only during holidays and big events. We even live three blocks from each other, but we both just have our own busy lives.

Sounds super depressing, but it’s not, because the second we’re reunited, we have an absolute blast. There are no secrets or fears of judgement, and we could literally sit there in silence doing nothing whatsoever and have an amazing time.

At this point, I’d really like to stress—friendships are weird.

But also wonderful.

d) Formally break up with them.

This option should be reserved for special cases—I like to call them “toxic friendships”.

These are the people who bring you down. They take every opportunity to remind you of your past mistakes and your flaws, and are all around just a source of negativity in your life. These people must be formally cut out, because you need to ensure that that source of negativity is not linked to you in any way, and thus has no way of worming its way back in.

Well, there ya have it, folks. Friend breakups. They’re difficult, no denying that. But you gotta know which people to keep around and which people to let go.

The important thing to remember is: if they love you, care about you, support you, have your best interests at heart—and you feel the same way about them—and the two of you have a great time together, they are a catch. Keep them. Love them. Nurture them.

They is kind. They is smart. They is important. (The Help reference, anyone??)

Do You Need Others to Make You Happy?


Well, do you?

Personally, I think yes and no. I mean, social relationships are important. Having a group of people around you who love and care for you—family, friends, significant others… They make life more colourful.

In all fairness though, I’m an introvert. That is to say, I don’t mind being alone most of the time. In fact, I’d even go as far as to say I prefer it. But that’s not to say that I don’t need people in life—I do.

In high school, I used to be really insecure about losing friendships—that my friends would leave me or develop better friendships with other people.

The result of that? I became clingy. I needed constant reassuring that the people in my life intended to stay in my life. And I mean, no one likes a stage five cling-on. I felt like I was constantly defining myself by who my group of friends were, and when I was alone, who was I? I felt so part of a unit that, when I was alone, I felt weirdly incomplete.

For example, when I was doing things alone, I was genuinely bored. I didn’t know how to enjoy things by myself. I thought, “What’s the point of having experiences if you have them all by your lonesome?”

So, when starting university, I made a conscious choice to not let people have that kind of effect on me. To make a real effort to define myself by my own standards. I wanted to feel like a whole and complete person all the time, not just around others.

So, I began doing things on my own: commuting, sitting alone in lectures, going to the library alone, etc. That’s not to say that I went out of my way to not spend time with people—if I happened to bump into someone I knew, of course I hung out with them. The difference now was that I just wasn’t constantly looking for people to fill every moment of every day.

At first, it was super uncomfortable. I mean, I had no one to talk to. It was just…boring. But you know what they say (whether it’s in reference to this point or most others)—it just takes time. And surely enough, it slowly got better. Over time, I felt more and more comfortable doing things on my own, and now when I’m in a situation where I don’t have friends around me to lean on, I’m completely and utterly all right.

Again, that’s not to say that I cut my friends out completely—I still see them and hang out with them a lot. And they’re still very important people in my life. The major difference now is that I don’t need to be around them constantly to feel good about myself. The time I spend with them now is not the only time I’m having fun. I can do it by myself too.

So, “Do you need others to make you happy?”

By the way I’ve been rambling on, it sounds like I’m about to say “No, all you need is yourself!”, right? But I’m not.

Social relationships are still important. We just need to be careful to not define ourselves based on them. It’s important that we have people to spend time with and have fun with, but it’s also important to make sure that those aren’t the only times we’re having fun. There needs to be a balance.

Yin and Yang, my friend. Yin and Yang.

These relationships should be there in your life because you want them, not because you need them. Ya know what I’m saying?

So, then…

Do I need others to make me happy? Heck nah.

Do I want others in my life who make it better, richer, and happier just by being in it? Heck yes.

Tackling the Abyss – Life After University

“So, What’re Your Plans After University?”


Should I be a scientist?

Should I be a teacher?

Should I be a building???

Should I be a cat?????

Ah, the great existential question. Perhaps the most important of our young adult lives—and certainly one on all our minds as we near the end of our undergraduate careers and prepare to be launched into the bloodbath that is the job market.

The truth is, the possibilities are endless. All we really have to do is weigh our preferences with our talents and skills, and match those up with real world opportunities.

So then, what is it about this question that makes it seem so absolutely terrifying?

Personally, I think it’s fear.

The fear of incompetence. The fear that what we are setting out to do is beyond our measure of talent and ability.

We fear that a few years from now, we’ll be struggling while our friends and classmates are thriving—that we’ll have to return to the herd hanging our heads in defeat because we failed. I mean, we’re terrified that we’ll be knocking back a few with all our accountant and lawyer friends who knew exactly what they were going to do and who they were going to be right from freshman year, and who now earn six-figure salaries. (Guess who’s picking up the tab tonight…)

And this fear can be all-consuming—if we let it.

As a third-year student myself, I feel like I’m standing right at the edge of the cliff, preparing to take the plunge. And the closer I get to the summer of 2016, the more time I spend trying to tackle the uncertainty of life after university. I find these thoughts and fears flying through my mind on almost a daily basis. Scratch that—definitely on a daily basis. Multiple times a day, really.

What is it that I really want to do in the world? Where can my degree take me? Will I be earning enough money to lead a comfortable and happy lifestyle? Is this field something I can see myself in for the next 40 years or so? Will I be good at it?

And believe me, there are times when I get so confused and frustrated in trying to figure out my life that I just want to curl into a fetal position and let the emotional roller coaster take me where it may. (If you ever find me in this position—you now know why. Do not be alarmed.)

With that said, there are a couple of things I think is important to keep in mind.

Número uno: It’s not about the money.

Okay, kind of. Money is important, because we need it to survive and exist in today’s consumer-driven culture. But really, money is not everything.

I once read a Buzzfeed article and something from it stayed with me. It was about a nurse who documented the things the elderly would say on their deathbeds, and specifically what their biggest regrets were—the most common of them being that they had spent too much time trying to earn more and more money, and not enough time with their loved ones.

Am I alone in saying this gives me chills?

Lesson? Do not waste your youth trying to obtain wealth—the best kind of wealth is in the form of experiences and loved ones. I mean, no one on their deathbed is gonna talk about how happy they are that they still have a million dollars in the bank.

Número dos: You answer to you.

And no one else. The only standards you have to live up to are your own.

You decide your life. You decide what it is you’re going to do and how you’re going to spend your time. If you truly believe that the only way you’re going to be happy in the world is to obtain mass amounts of material wealth—hey man, by all means, go for it. You’re the only one who has to live with your decisions at the end of the day.

I realize this blog post was a bit of a whirlwind experience, but if there’s anything you take away from it, I hope it’s this:

  • You can do whatever it is you want in the world—you just have to know what that is.
  • Establish your priorities, and keep in mind the grand scheme of life.