Tip of the Iceberg: the Value of a Theoretical Education

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

When people ask me what I’m studying, sometimes I just want to answer “everything”. I don’t say that because I’d probably come off as sounding pretentious and because I don’t think people want to deal with my  opinions on education.

At UTM, I study commerce, broadly. No, that doesn’t mean that I study money or how to get rich quick. My area of study can cover anything from how businesses run to how to keep the Canadian economy from self-destructing.

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Looking Back at TIFF and why YOU Should Care About it


The Sundance, Cannes Film Festival, and the Toronto International Film Festival are three of the biggest and most important film festivals of the year—one of them takes place in our backyard. Whether you’re a huge film buff or a casual moviegoer, there are plenty of reasons for why you should care about TIFF.

  1. Awards Season
Via Wikipedia

Do you like to keep a finger on the pulse of pop culture? Do you tune in to the Golden Globes and the Oscars? Well, you’re in luck. Many of the films that will be a part of those conversations premiere right here in Toronto. At last year’s Academy Awards, Julianne Moore went on to win the Best Actress Award for her work in Still Alice; which premiered at 2014’s TIFF. This is also true for 2011’s The King’s Speech, which debuted at TIFF and won best picture at the Oscars.

This year we have The Martian, Matt Damon’s space epic with a cast built for Best Picture. Eddie Redmayne premiered The Danish Girl, yet another movie that will likely propel him into the lead for Best Actor. Tom Hardy’s Legend, Christopher Plummer’s Remember, Brie Larson’s Room, Black Mass, Beasts of No Nation, and many, many more are the films that we are going to be talking about in February, and as a resident of Toronto, you can watch them all here at their world premieres (for really cheap prices, too!).

  1. The Star Power
Getty Images
Getty Images

Remember all those actors and actresses in the paragraph above? Well, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Jeff Daniels. Jessica Chastain. Kate Mara. Naomi Watts. Idris Elba. Johnny Depp. Emma Watson. Ryan Reynolds. Christopher Walken. Salma Hayek. Natalie Portman.


More important than seeing one of your favorite celebrities is all the information we get out of them at TIFF. Eddie Redmayne talked about the newest Harry Potter movie. Matt Damon said Jason Bourne could “kick the shit out of” Batman! Excited about a movie coming out in 2016 or 2017? Well, chances are the actors and actresses who are part of those projects spoke about them at TIFF.

  1. It is great for Toronto


If you haven’t noticed, Toronto has been taking up a lot more international spotlight than usual in the last couple years. Sure, all the Rob Ford stuff wasn’t good attention, but the film industry has been doing more in Toronto than ever before.

This summer, one of the biggest movies of 2016, Suicide Squad, was all over Toronto. Emma Watson was literally inches

away from the UTM campus last winter when she was filming scenes for an upcoming movie at the church right by Dundas. Daniel Radcliffe’s romantic comedy What If, took place in and was filmed in Toronto. Plus, we can’t forget about the hit TV show Orphan Black. It may not be a movie, but the Toronto-based show is getting all kinds of attention with lead actress Tatiana Maslany’s recent Emmy nomination.

We are all fiercely proud of living in Toronto, and attention like TIFF gives us the opportunity to show the world why we love this city so much. So whether you are a movie buff or just a casual fan, you should be caring about TIFF and all the love it gives this great city.

How I Got Over my Fears in the Gym

As a workout junkie, the gym facility was the first spot I explored at UTM.tumblr_mcqrcrpalv1r7rk26

The RAWC gym has housed my adrenaline-deprived body for the last five years. I swim, run, and cycle there. I practice Yogilates and Pilates. If fact, in my opinion, nothing beats a good ol’ boot camp class—an intense cardio session that challenges every physical limit you have.

But I used to stay away from two spots—the inside part of the gym near the weights section, where the men mostly are, and the high performance centre, a strength training facility.

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My Goals and the New Year

I’ve heard it said that the best way to stick to a goal is to write it down. When you plan to do something, document the process. This is evidence. The next step is to post it somewhere visible. This is a constant reminder of what you’re working to accomplish.

giphyNow get out a blank piece of paper and a writing instrument. Write down one thing you want to accomplish. I’m doing it with you.

Here are my two goals for the year:

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Did I Build That Castle?

These past few weeks have been a little difficult. I’ve been thinking a lot about walls and castles and metaphorically what that looks like in my life (I blame Piers Plowman). I’ve written about this before, but I usually find it difficult to open up to people, and sometimes I’m mistaken for being cold. I find that I have this immediate reaction where I put walls up.

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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.

Television: Relaxation in an Electronic Box



Game of Thrones, The Vampire Diaries, Awkward, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Dexter, Suits, Orange is the New Black—oh my, there are an abundance of TV shows detracting from your attention to schoolwork.

With exams around the corner and your favourite shows either ending or beginning (Game of Thrones, April 12!), TV is a huge distraction. Some say it turns your brain to mush; some say TV is a tool for procrastination.

Well, I say that TV is a great way to relax.

Although keeping up with our favourite TV shows (Game of Thrones, I love you) is difficult during the year amidst assignments, midterms, tests, and readings, I feel relieved when I get a moment away from my textbooks to watch a show. No reading, no writing, no stressing. Another world, characters you feel like you know, and a plot-line that keeps you wanting more—TV is the perfect escape from our book-bound lives.

I think that every student needs at least one TV show they love to watch to keep up with throughout the school year (ahem, Game of Thrones in the summer semester this year). If you don’t have a show to watch, ask your friends or Google for a suggestion. You could use the escape.

Once you’ve found your magical TV show (or five, or Game of Thrones), start watching! I guarantee you will feel less stressed about your life afterwards. Fair warning: although TV is great for relaxation, an overdose or a binge-watch could be catastrophic for your looming deadlines.

When it comes to shows, the watcher absolutely must be cautious about how much time they allot to watching episodes. Time management is essential here. Like any other relaxation method (the gym, meditation, food…), too much TV might put you in a time crunch for finishing that essay or studying for that midterm.

Try using TV as a reward. For every two hours you study or write, you get to watch an episode. Or for every 50 minutes you study, you get to watch 10 minutes of an episode. Finishing an assignment and a series simultaneously has never been so easy. Personally, I follow two shows maximum at a time so I can put school first.

So grab a blanket, a healthy snack, and some tea. De-stress and watch something!

Where should I study?!—Your Inexhaustible List of Study Spaces at UTM


Have you ever wished for a giant list of study spaces that you can close your eyes, point at, and choose from?

Have you ever wondered where to study in the library, or where you can pop open a book anywhere on campus and cram in some study time?
Have you run out of ideas for where to study, or need more options for study space?

If you answered yes to any of the above, I present to you a list of study spaces I’ve discovered during my time at UTM!

Keep in mind contextual factors before choosing a study spot, such as if you are studying alone or with friends, if you need to work on a group project, how much noise you can tolerate, what time of day it is, how long you’re going to be there (ie. Do you need a place where you’ll be setting up camp for a few hours?), how soon you need to get your studying done, and if you need an outlet for your phone or laptop charger, to name a few.

1. The library aka. HMALC (does anyone call it that?)—conventional spots
a. Silent study on any floor
b. The fireplace by silent study on the third floor
c. The long table with stools on the third floor
d. The living room-esque area of couches on the fourth floor
e. The couches by the long window in the basement
f. The couches with round tables in between them on the third floor
h. The computer labs on the first floor

2. The library aka. HMALC—unconventional spots
a. In between bookshelves
b. On the carpet… anywhere

3. The Meeting Place

4. TFC

5. The rotunda in Kaneff (IMI?) by the Registrar’s Office

6. Sitting in front of lockers in Davis

7. Any empty classroom you can find
– Check the schedules posted beside classroom/lecture hall doors to see if          there’s a class inside. If not, and the door is unlocked, go forth and study!
8. The green couches in IB

9. The chairs in cozy corners of IB, upstairs
a. In front of the vending machines on second floor
b. By the long row of windows on the second floor
c. At the ends of hallways on the second or third floors

10. The random area with white tables on the third floor of IB

11. In your friend’s lecture
– Ask your friend if the prof will notice or care, or if it’s a large or a small                lecture, first.

12. Deerfield’s silent study cubicles on any floor

13. The Mac lab on the second floor of IB—also has study rooms

14. On the RAWC staircase, the larger stairs to the right of the railing

15. The tables inside of Starbucks—grab a coffee and hit the books

16. The wooden benches outside of lecture halls in IB

17. The tables by the Circuit Break Café/by CC 1080 in CCT

18. The computer lab in the same area in CCT, by CC 1080 and parking staircases
In order to make this list “inexhaustible”, we need each other’s help. Comment below and add your favourite spaces to study, or anywhere that I’ve missed!
Study on, friends.