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.

Scream Bloody Mary; we Have a Ghost on Campus!

Once upon a time there was a woman that fell in love with a man. They both married, although soon after the man had to go to war. His wife worried, prayed for his life, and anticipated his return. Although he did return, he no longer cared for her, and decided to break things off with her, leaving her in despair. That night, she killed herself. Her upset spirit was left to wander around campus, her devastation transformed into rage. Vowing to bring death and destruction to anyone that she comes across, she roams around campus, her anger fuelled by those living a happy life around her.

A friend and I decided to go and see this ghost in person. As we entered the dark house we could barely see anything, there was this red light coming towards our right and as we turned to see what was there, there she was! Just waiting for us to enter, dressed in white. Blood of the body parts that littered the floor around her painted her hands and dress in a deep crimson. As we walked on to see what was inside the refrigerator and washing machine we could feel something breathing behind us. We quickly spun around to see what was behind us, and found that she had followed us. Scared, we all froze until she commanded us to go deeper into the house. As we continued onwards the guy in front of us said something like. “Yo, no touching man, that is not cool”, and indeed we were pushed along by many ghosts,  one of them being her husband, demanding to know where his wife was. Through all the screaming, the scary spider, and dead people, we finally we made it out alive.

The haunted house was awesome, the actors, the decorations, and the overall experience was amazing!

Things You May Not Know as a First Year

These are some things that came out of conversations from different people on campus, and what shocked me was that there are things here on this list I didn’t know of and things other first year students didn’t know yet either. So here are some extra bits and pieces about the cool stuff found on our campus (we made the right choice coming here!).

  1. When someone tells you that UTM has a deer family on campus, they don’t mean 4 or 5 deer, they mean 120. This is the kind stuff you learn as you walk around campus with Chef Sandeep.
  2. Deer are cool but so are salmon and coyotes, UTM has all three.
  3. Have you guys seen the offices of your professors? The ones on the second floor of the Davis building look really, really fancy.
  4. Don’t be afraid of going into lecture halls if nobody is in there, it’s a quiet space to study (you can never find a place to sit in the library).
  5. Many people are looking for jobs but not many people seem to know that there are many student union jobs they can apply for. Just go to their website (Google UTMSU jobs) which list current job postings, and apply on time! Also, start checking CLN  in February if you are looking for a job next year on campus.
  6. Our university has one of the top 3 library systems in North America, with over 44 libraries with over 141 librarians! We have access to all of these resources.

The Wheel of Forune Says: Look, Look, Look Again Until You’ve Lost it!

Time Check – 9:30 Good morning UTM!

Time Check – 9:50 Um… binder, iclicker, t-card, laptop. Open the door, oh! Room Key! Room is locked.——- Wait is the room locked? Go back, push the handle, yup door is locked. Silly girl! At least I checked.

Time Check – 10:00 Oh! I forgot my iclicker. Run upstairs to my room. Lock the door. Done. Check, yup its locked. Damn it! My hands are full: peanuts, nutrigrain bar, chocolate milk, receipt and room key. There, a table! Quickly dove snacks and receipt inside my bag, milk in hand. The sun feels good. Today is going to be a good day I can feel it!

Time Check – 10:10 Alvin Singh guys you don’t need your iclickers today.” Of course not. ———————————————————————–Religion tutorial: no quiz today! Good luck? ———————————————————————————————————————————-Standing in front of my room, whoever said you can never find anything in a woman’s purse was right, where did I put my room key. I usually put it in my back pocket. Empty. Wait, what? No I just have to thoroughly check my bag. I always keep track of my stuff, I can’t lose it. Deep breath…CALM DOWN.

Maybe a I dropped it somewhere on campus? In my religion tutorial? In my Bio tutorial? No and no. At least 3 walks  around campus later I thought, Campus Police! Yes! They found a card this morning which they returned to the residence desk!

Wait, what? What do you mean you don’t have the card? I looked outside. Do I want to look one last time? No it was darker, and colder. Residence desk is about to close. I guess I should buy a new one. What does this mean? Bad luck? Destiny? A new beginning? I mean you lose stuff, it’s not the end of the world. Yet.

The Arcana Magician says, what are you waiting for? Go find an adventure!

Our campus is a small and comfortable little community in Mississauga, but don’t mistake it for being lacking or even boring, despite its size it can also be quite adventurous. One simply needs to be perceptive and willing to take a bit of a risk. The other day Sadaf (a fellow blogger) and I were strolling along the road that winds by Deerfield hall and towards the student center when towards our left we heard a faint melody coming from the trees, paying closing attention we guessed it was a flute being played. But it was…odd. An instrument being played in the middle of the forest, I mean who does that? The music sounded really, really good though and so we went to investigate, hesitating almost every step of the way. Turns out that there was a bit of an open space between the trees where we found two young women sitting on a fallen tree, one of them playing an Ocharina which she learned after watching an anime and does from time to time to de-stress. Talking with them for a while we learned that she was a tarot card reader!!!!

Now that is just cool. They also gave us a lot of advice on how to survive university, the most important being, if you’re afraid of a bunch of strangers in the middle of the forest and you can’t see them, use your phone camera and zoom in (smart!). 

Because I love supernatural stuff, I love tarot, so here’s my reading: one of the trump cards in the deck is called the magician and the magician is able to wield opportunity and to reach in to the future, grab a hold of potential and turn it into creative power. He has access to everything he needs to complete his purpose, but sometimes access isn’t enough or the purpose isn’t always known, so what’s more is that he has the ability to take notice. We are like the magician, UTM, we have all the access, all the opportunity we need, all we need to do is take notice. So take notice UTM, be aware of your surroundings and maybe find something you don’t find every day.