Dear Little Sister, I wish I was you

Dear Grace,

Sometimes I wish you were older and that I was still in sixth grade. Sigh. The biggest thing I had to worry about in sixth grade was EQAO and that doesn’t even matter as much! You don’t even get marked for it!!! (unless you have that teacher that goes, well I have spent time to mark it so it is going to be on your report card, honey). In university, every test, assignment, and exam evokes anxiety and we get REAL MARKS for it. If only you were older, then you could have gone to university first and told me what it was like.

See, I am what this university considers a “first generation student,” which means that I am the first person in our family to go to university in Canada. You don’t have to worry about any of it, if you need help you can ask me. I had to figure it out all on my own.

It took me forever to even choose the university I wanted to go to! Mom and dad were little help, they did not understand the system here in Canada, so when I asked them what an undergrad was, all I got back was “oh no you don’t need to do that, you already graduated high school.” Wait…what? Turns out you have to do an undergrad to become a doctor, and this undergrad could be a degree in anything, not just in something that has to do with the medical field.

I am in no ways sure what to do with my life, though, there is a whole lot of stuff to figure out still! The moral of the story is, however, forget about what the world says, you pick something you like and be passionate about it. Just jump on, wrap your hands around it and whatever happens don’t let go (I hate it when you do that to me, I’d rather you put all that energy here), because let me tell you, being a rock star is cool and all, but you are going to miss out on a lot if you don’t go to university.

Love you,

Your sis


Little Sis, Just You Wait, Our Parents Have Things to Say

Dear Grace,

Mom and dad will tell you “beta (which, in Hindi, means son, why? No. Clue.), be careful, if you are around the wrong crowd you won’t know what will happen. You THINK you know who your friends are, but you really don’t and then bad things will happen (okay what does that even mean?). Don’t go out at night, stay safe, and don’t go to parties.” When they say that, because the will, just nod your head and understand that you don’t have to worry about any of it. Focus on what you care about, you will automatically meet the best friends you have ever had, who care about learning and having fun while learning, and then the world will be perfect. Until you get your first marks back, that is.

When you come to university and start all this cool sciency stuff you are going to get exited, and will want to point out all the stuff they say that makes no sense. But whatever you do, DO NOT use the scientific method to explain anything to them. Our parents run on a completely different software that is only programmed to understand the science of Aaj Tak (a really funny Indian news channel, because they are probably making up most of the story -sooooo biased- and why are we watching INDIAN news when we all live in CANADA????).

On the plus side though, (evil smile) I will never have to worry about papa saying “oh look what your sister got in university, 93% and look what you are doing, only 92!”, then mom says “beta, you do whatever you want, as long as you are happy I am happy.” After 2 min or so, mom will add but my dream was that both of my daughters become doctors, imagine Dr. Khanna, look how much weight that adds to your name.” So you have fun with all that, I don’t need to worry about any of it because papa says I am “serious about my studies.” Makes me soooo happy. Thanks papa!

I know you miss me, but it’s alright I am coming for the holidays. We won’t let Santa get away, this will be the year we are going to catch him, I can feel it.

Don’t get into too much trouble without me,

Your sis

The Things that Make Our Profs Awesome

Many professors are encouraging us to complete the course evaluations that have just recently opened up. This is our chance to speak up, and tell the university what we think of the courses that we have taken, things we liked and things that could possibly change to make these courses better! So I decided to make a list of 5 things that I like about my Profs and how they make their courses awesome.

Humour – this is the key to student engagement, if we laugh it means we are listening, if we aren’t that’s alright, we will hear others laugh and pay closer attention to the prof so that we don’t miss the next joke. We have taken out the time for that lecture to be there, might as well have a good time, right?

When we matter – I love it when I hear other students talk just as much as the professor, the setting totally changes. It feels more casual and less intimidating, like a community where everyone is excited about what we are learning, and not a factory where information is inserted into our brains as if we are robots.

Group Quizzes – I wish all my courses had this! This was the best part of Bio152. It was nice to see the audience get riled up and excited about a tiny quiz that isn’t even worth much of our mark, but it helps us connect with each other as a student body. We can see and hear each other as this massive group so we all feel like we are in the same boat. It is a big confidence booster to see that I am not the only one who has low grades, everyone else does too and we all want to get better.

Pace – I have been lucky that none of my professors have gone too fast when teaching the material. They are all relaxed taking their time and also covering the material so that we feel like everything is going smoothly. Rushing through material spikes anxiety in me, which is not good, I am here to learn, and I want to enjoy doing it.

How Profs Handle Funny Situations – You know your prof is good when they handle strange situations well. Many of us have been in a lecture when a group of boys have entered their lecture targeting a woman with a weird story, while some guy is recording in the back. It is interesting to see how the person in authority (i.e. our professor) handles that situation. My Profs have been really cool about it, either kicking them out nicely, or telling them to finish whatever it is they are doing and then leave. You get to know your Profs better, when they react to situations they aren’t prepared for.

Here Come the 1st Years for Next Year!

Yes, a quarter of the year is already over, exams are coming soon, and before you know it we will no longer be first years, but second year students!!! The high school students have already started coming for the tours.

Looking for volunteer opportunities? Drop by the admissions office to volunteer for taking high school students for tours around the campus, build some leadership skills!

Sunday was the Fall Campus Day, does this bring back some memories? Around the same time last year we were in grade 12 worrying about our first test of the year, which is now pretty much insignificant (we had it much easier in high school!). We were looking for a university to go to, taking campus tours with bags of university brochures and our parents trailing behind us, saying “Honey, this is your day, you go to the presentations that you want to see, we are just here to support you.” Probably you were thinking, I have to start looking NOW? But it’s only the beginning of the year!

That is exactly what I saw on Fall campus day with all the prospective students touring the campus. Can’t say I miss grade 12 though, university is way better. 😀

Now we’re just like, let me get through first year. Just getting ready for the second  round of midterms before exam time comes, and then finally winter break! For most of us residence students, we get to go home, eat real food, go shopping, stay with our families and mostly ignore school for a while before next semester starts.