3 Tips for Uni Readings


Thanks to this blog for this quote!

Readings can be boring, confusing, and/or intimidating. Getting through them is a challenge for some, and just getting started is a burden for others. No matter how motivated you are, you’re probably asking yourself how you can do your readings more efficiently. Here are some techniques I’ve picked up over the years. Tell me what you think (and your own tips) in the comments below!

1. Read and absorb the conclusion (and subheadings)

The conclusion of a reading is all the important stuff, in short form. Before you read anything, read the conclusion to get a sense of what points the author is building up to. Another tip: also read subheadings! They’ll help you understand the main point behind every chunk of text.

2. Set a time limit

If you’re like me, it seems like your readings take an eternity to finish. Often I even zone out and stop absorbing what I’m reading altogether. You can help yourself stay motivated & on-task by setting a timer. For example, if you have 40 pages of readings, decide you will read as much as you can in 2 hours, and then move on to other things.

3. Look for concepts you’ll actually need

Course readings contain so much information, more than a final exam could ever test you on. Smart students don’t try to absorb everything, but instead they look for the info that matters. As you read, keep this question in mind: “what concepts will be important for an upcoming essay/exam?” Take it one step further by highlighting key terms (instead of whole paragraphs) for easier studying.

One last piece of advice: Patience

Reading quickly and efficiently takes practice, so here’s one last piece of advice: be patient with yourself. If you’re having a hard time at the outset, it probably means you’re doing it right.


An Unintentional Summer


Finland 1

Summer Decisions

I’m an “intuitor” (is that a word)? I feel things out. I go with my gut.

I’m also a stubborn gal. If I can help it, I’ll always choose the opposite option as what my dad wants for me.

So as I was thinking out this summer, I was faced with a bit of a dilemma. The only option that sat right in my gut was the option my dad was rooting for: visiting family in Finland and Singapore. What!? My gut always disagrees with my dad.

Although this trip agreed with my intuition, it offended the things I value most. That is: accomplishment (I am a pro at finding resume-building opportunities), community (This summer I will be leaving behind a beloved camp community where I was extravagantly loved and really useful), and an identity of humanitarian suffering. This last one is perhaps the hardest to unpack.

Identity Crisis

You see, I idealize this archetype of the individual that suffers. I can’t remember who said it, but those of us who don’t seek an identity of extravagance/wealth/fame, seek out another identity in suffering.

This identity might seem more altruistic than the first, but it’s ultimately dysfunctional because it asks for something in return for service. It seems altruistic, but it’s completely conditional.

Anyways, the point is that I almost committed to working in the Global South with marginalized people. It was an impressive, seemingly-altruistic summer commitment, that would have been entirely selfish.

Flights booked, ready to go

Reflecting on the things I’ve been forced to loosen my hold of, I’m seeing more and more potential in my summer choice to go on this family trip. And here I am. My flights are booked, and my will fitfully surrendered to the direction ahead.

I’m a big advocate of the law of replacement (that is, if you want something out of your life, you must replace it rather than leave an empty space of a vacuum in your life), so these are the things I’m consciously grabbing hold of in Finland and Singapore:

Relaxation, because sometimes you can accomplish more in doing nothing than doing something.

Family time. It’s been 9 years or more since I saw my relatives in Singapore, including my almost 90 year-old only-living grandparent.

Heart growth. I want to find a mentor, walk the beaches, eat obscenely good food,  make music, laze about, and live at a different pace.

So cheers to a summer happened upon, completely unintentionally.

See you soon, Finland.




A review: The Explore Program in Chicoutimi


A few of you have been asking about the Explore Program (a five-week language-immersion program).


I did the Explore Program in Spring 2012 in Chicoutimi. Never heard of it? Chicoutimi is an awesome, very-francophone city (60,000 people, 98% francophone) located by the Saguenay and Chicoutimi rivers, just about a 3 hour drive north-east of Québec City.

With that said, onto your questions!

Should I do Explore? At what level of French?

Yes! Do Explore. But…

To get the most out of the program, I think having the basics down is important (although not necessary). Brush up on basics (ex. conjugation rules) so that you can move beyond them during the program. (This is my opinion though, you can do the program at any level of language proficiency.)

Some more advice: Really commit to speaking French during the program. You sign a contract to speak French 100% of the time and if you cheat, you’ll probably end up regretting missing out on progressing in your language learning.

I’m convinced about going to Explore, but should I go to Chicoutimi?

Chicoutimi. I mean, how do you even say that?!

My answer: It depends.

Chicoutimi is A-W-E-S-O-M-E. But there are some things to consider:

Do you love doing awesome things? Example: meeting francophones, playing sports, meeting people from all over Canada, volunteering at a farm, learning lots of French, swimming by mini-waterfalls, experiencing Quebecois culture, talent shows, improv, meeting Glendonites (I ended up in the same apartment as Sarah Campeau!), carnivals, and whale-watching?

Then yes, go.

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I personally loved Chicoutimi and I was so glad I went there. There are a few things to consider in deciding if Chicoutimi is right for you:

Do you want university credits and/or to stay with a host family?

Chicoutimi offers both. The advantage of getting uni credits is that you can save time and money on doing those courses during the academic year. A host family is helpful because conversing francophones is the. best. way. to learn French.

Do you want a vibrant city with an awesome night-life or a more laid-back town?

Chicoutimi has a few bars and karaoke places, but compared to a place like Toronto, it is pretty small. Its downtown core is essentially one street.

That being said, I really enjoyed its laid-back restaurants, Kambio Café (a fair-trade type place with a weekly coffee house show), and the river that I could walk to from my residence.

How far are you willing to travel? 

Chicoutimi is far (from Toronto). Driving with no breaks or stops is 10 hours. So be ready to pay for a plane ticket or make the trip by bus for… a while.

chicoutimi map

Do you enjoy the Québecois accent?

I adore it. Not all people do. (Keep in mind French is spoken with different kinds of accents, just like English!)

My teacher is the grinning one in the black dress. She was PHENOMENAL and totally Quebecois.

My teacher is the grinning one in the black dress. She was PHENOMENAL and totally Quebecois.

Well I can only say so much. This video basically sums everything up and lets you see what everything looked like. If you have other questions, leave them in the comments or on Formspring!

Things to do on campus and in Toronto


I have a feeling I’m kind of abnormal. I go to university, which according to pop culture, means I should be in a sorority, streaking across the quad, or competing in an a capella competition. I have yet to do any of the above, but I still feel like my life is an adventure.

For the past few weeks, my life has been a dumping ground for all kinds of awesome. I saw Argo, trekked through a hail-storm, went on a forest walk, had a banana pancake party at 2 am, and watched a lot of goat videos (let’s not talk about that). In other words, my life is pretty great.

I have no explanation.

I have no explanation.

I was thinking about it, and I realized that you (future students) might not really know much about what there is to do in Toronto. Here are some of the adventury-type things I like to do to get you inspired.

See the city lights. 

If you have a friend with a car, drive down to the Sound Academy to see the skyline lit up at night. This is the perfect night expedition.

The Bayview tunnel in front of Glendon... where many adventures begin!

The Bayview tunnel in front of Glendon… where many adventures begin!

Go for a walk in the Sunnybrook Forest.

This place is perfect for aimless contemplation, bird-watching, and creeping other peoples’ dogs (there’s a dog park 20 minutes down the trail).

The Sunnybrook Forest on a melty-warm winter day. Perfectly serene for a solitary moment.

The Sunnybrook Forest on a melty-warm winter day. Perfectly serene for a solitary moment.

birds birds birds

birds birds birds

dogs dogs dogs

dogs dogs dogs

Go to Keele on the shuttle bus for a meal. 

The food at Keele is pretty legit (i.e. Hero Burger, Mac sushi, the Underground Restaurant, Yogen Fruz, Booster Juice). You can pay for all of the above with your meal plan dollars.

A breakfast of coffee, fruit, and a chocolate chip cream cheese bagel at Keele Campus.

A breakfast of coffee, fruit, and a chocolate chip cream cheese bagel at Keele Campus.

Check out a creative event on campus.

Two weeks ago, my friends Max and Brynn, Four Minutes Til Midnight, and Trouble and Daughter played a concert at the Lunik Coop. Glendon Théatre also puts on amazing drama productions like the Fridge Festival (which I’ll be performing in; you’re welcome to come see!).

Four Minutes Til Midnight performing on the Lunik Café stage.

Four Minutes Til Midnight performing on the Lunik Café stage.


Go adventuring downtown. 

Dundas Square, adorable cafés, and the Eaton Centre. With a $10 TTC Day Pass, there are heaps of things to do and see in a day off.

Tea with my friend Andy at David's Tea, located at Yonge and Eglinton. This place has lots of shops and little stores. The stretch just south of Bayview and Eglinton is also fulllllll of little shops.

A cuppa with my friend Andy at David’s Tea, located at Yonge and Eglinton. If you’re looking for more cute shops, check out the stretch on Bayview south of Eglinton.

Adventuring is a daily pursuit. Fellow Glendonites, what fun things do you do in your spare time?

Hey girl, Happy Valentine’s Day.


Inspired by the immortal meme featuring Ryan Gosling, here is an homage to the pick up line and all things Glendon-related.

Leave your best pick-up lines in the comments!

Hey Girl 124 copy

(the 124 is a bus, btw).

Hey Girl abnormal psych copy

Hey Girl all class copy

Hey Girl francais copy

Hey Girl bilingual copy

Hey Girl COE copy

Hey Girl fair trade copy

Hey Girl history copy


(Thanks for this line, Laura!)

Hey Girl tablettes de chocolat copy

rock hard abs copy

Thanks for the photos, men. Among these faces, we have two eAmbassadors. Check out Juan’s blog or Nick’s blog.

Also, if you want to feel more campus love, check out my Valentine’s Day post from last year. I think you’ll like it.

Extraodinaires: students who work part-time


Until I was in university, I never had a job during the school year. Last year I got hired at my first part-time job (this one!) and I’ve realized how working during school is an awesome advantage.

Working and studying at the same time…

1. prepares you for the workplace

2. pays you for (hopefully) doing something you enjoy

3. gives you perspective on what you’re learning in class

Many of my friends have a part-time jobs and like me, a lot of them work right on campus.

Some of my friends who work on campus

Here’s a bird’s-eye view of my friends and their part-time jobs. Full disclosure: I’ve only asked people who like their jobs!

Michelle helpdesk

Michelle, Helpdesk Technician

“I help students with their Passport York accounts, email addresses, and Moodle, first and foremost. I also sometimes install computers for staff and faculty, troubleshoot weird technical things and feel like a superhero if/when I fix them, and set up the A/V for campus events. The people who work here are awesome and I’ve made some great friends. I’ve also gotten to learn a ton about super practical computer things and I’ve gotten to know a lot of faculty and staff through my job.

Having a job during school pulls in some extra cash that students so desperately need, as well as helping you practice time management and all that fun stuff. Working on campus is a great experience, especially if you’re a new student, since you get to meet so many people.”


Sienna, Student Researcher

“I research human-bonobo communication by analyzing and transcribing audio and video files from the Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary (IPLS).

The things I’ve learned from my research have really humbled me as a human being. The similarities between humans and animals like bonobo apes just remind me how connected we are to the rest of the world – and it’s also really amazing to see a bonobo playing Pac Man with more success than I ever could!”

Juan Garrido

Juan, Office Ambassador and eAmbassador

“I work as an office ambassador with Student Recruitment. This means that in addition to being an eAmbassador I sit at the front desk of the Welcome Centre, answer emails and phone calls and help the Liaison staff with their projects. It’s awesome because I get to work with some amazing people and I get the chance to really help future students ease the bridge to university!”


Ana, Receptionist at the Glendon Athletic Centre

“I’m a receptionist at the Glendon Athletic Club. I’m responsible for greeting members, handing them their towels, washing and folding towels, answering phone calls, renting/selling gym equipment, and signing in instructors and personal trainers. My job is awesome because I get to interact just enough with students from Glendon and people from the community, but not to the point of getting people-fatigued. Working at a gym also keeps you motivated and eager to get/keep in shape! Plus, I can now fold in my sleep!”


Sarah, Academic Services help desk

I work at the front desk of Academic Services. I greet students as they approach the counter, and try to answer any questions they may have about academics (classes, credits, graduation, degree requirements, the Explore program, the pass/fail option and petitions).

My job is awesome for a couple reasons:

  • My colleagues are AMAZING! I am so fortunate to work with a fun group of people who are knowledgeable and caring.
  • I get to use both English and French. I love that my job challenges me in this way and allows be to practically apply my language skills.
  • The job has lovely hours, the office is open between 9-4, but closes for an hour between 12:30 and 1:30pm, so I never work past 4pm. Plus our office is closed during the weekend.

More questions?

If you have more questions about any of these jobs, leave a comment and I will pass it on to the right person. Glendon Tip: once you get to campus, don’t forget to check out Counselling and Disability Services for career counselling and more.

And a big thank you to all of my friends who told us about their jobs! Y’all are the best!

3 facts: The Communications Program


I’ve been getting questions on Formspring about the Communications program. I love my program, but it was a long time before I realized I was interested in it! (My major was international studies, but I changed it.)

I thought a blog post would be handy in answering these questions, so I wrote up 3 facts about the communications program at Glendon. 

Fact #1. Communications (a.k.a.  Communications Studies) deals with processes of human communication.

What is communications about? Communications covers topics like:

  • mass media and culture,
  • face-to-face (i.e. interpersonal) communication,
  • the exchange of messages, ideas, and values,
  • technologies that influence communication (e.g. the internet),
  • sometimes: rhetoric, i.e. how to form an argument (think Socrates, Plato, other dead guys)

Interesting fact: Oprah, Jerry Seinfeld, Spike Lee, and Howard Stern all studied communications.

You might be interested in majoring in communications if…

  • You’d love a job like: public relations consultant, human resources adviser, television broadcaster, journalist, copywriter, or editor (find more career options here)
  • You’re passionate about publishing, mass media (e.g. social media, television, print journalism), international development, policy, or politics.
  • You want to be a character in Ugly Betty or Mad Men. (Don’t get too excited though; working life is not that glamorous.)
I'm reasonably sure most people in communications aren't this grumpy.

I’m reasonably sure most people in communications aren’t this grumpy.

Fact #2. The Communications Program at Glendon is in transition.

Although there is no program right now, there will be a complete program available in 2015. Right now, Glendon already offers communications-related courses like:

  • Introduction to Communication: Theory and Practice (GL/SOSC 2100): This course focuses on interpersonal communication (e.g. How do you handle conflict in your professional or personal life?) and teaches you how to do business consulting.
  • Professional Communications Field Experience (GL/SOSC 4505): This combines in-class study with a 6-week internship.

…and a certificate program in Technical and Professional Communication. This is useful because hard skills like business writing look good on a resume and can be practically applied in a job.

Fact #3. I am studying communications at Glendon (what?!) …in the Individualized Studies Program (oh.).

This is the most confusing part of this post because I am a fossil – one of the last of my kind!

fossil = me.

fossil = me.

Before the official communications program is introduced at Glendon, new students can study communications at Glendon in the Individualized Studies Program.

The Individualized Studies Program allows students to study programs by mixing and matching courses that are related to a single subject that doesn’t already exist as a program (i.e. communications). Be warned, however, that this requires more initiative than other programs.

Well that’s about it. 

If you have other questions about communications, leave them in the comments or on my Formspring.