Category Archives: The Social Student

Would You Work As Hard If It Didn’t Count?

At our last Surviving Studenthood meeting, one of our bloggers brought up a very interesting student dilemma. We always hear students say that they would work harder at university if they were just there to learn – that tests, examinations and essays impede our quench for knowledge.

So when one of our bloggers has that very opportunity – to take a course without any real concern with the grade – the results have become rather surprising. In enacting an option for “credit/no credit”, she’s starting to get a little lazy in the course 🙂 – at least, placing this course at a lesser priority . Credit/No Credit is an option any U of T arts and science student can enact for 1.0 credits. If you get over 60% in the course, you just get “credit” on your transcript, without the grade actually showing up.

What do you guys think? Does the stress from test and papers make it difficult for you to keep up with the readings and materials taught in class? Or, do they provide proper check-points for you to make sure you keep on top of everything?


~ Surviving Studenthood


Cost of Res vs. Campus Experience

We got a great question on our previous post “Should I Live on Residence During University” and we decided it was worthy of a blog response! The question was:

I have a question, my step mother is stressing me out about the constant costs of residence and would prefer me to stay home to save money. like i hear what she is saying but like i really want that first time experience and to say “hey i lived on campus before”. And she is also stressing me out that i need a job, if i am going to live on campus….

I don’t know what to do!


Hi Whitney,

Great question. Actually, I was in the same situation and so have many of our other writers – we have had parents that didn’t want me to live on campus, because of the cost. Totally get your position.

Here are some of your options:

1. Live at Home, and Get Involved in Other Ways: Campus life is very much what you make of it – in fact, I found I was involved much more in campus activities when I was living at home, rather than on campus, where I tried to get away from it all. What you really want is not “Hey, I have lived on campus before” – its more about “Hey, I got the campus life experience while I was studying at university”. And you can get that experience whether or not you live on campus by getting involved in clubs, volunteering, and participating in extra-curricular activities.

Further, it might be worth trying out travelling for first year, and if it really isn’t working, you can jump to number two, three, or four.

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Pre-Graduation Jitters

(This post was written in conjunction with The Wonders of Womanhood writers. Many thanks for your words of wisdom, ideas, thoughts….and just the right amount of feminine touch.)

I don’t know what it is, dear readers, but I have a terrible feeling settling in my soul. Partly, it’s because of the upcoming “U of T Hell Week” that sinks its teeth into us next week – I think the amount of assignments, exams and papers I have due next week is worse than any other week I’ve had in four years of undergraduate study.

But the other part, I think, is the realization that a very important chapter in my life is coming to a close. No matter how challenging and destitute university feels while you are in it, its impending close is bittersweet. While it is exciting to move on to other projects, it is so hard to let go of that which you know and feel comfortable with, and more importantly, the wonderful experiences you have had as a university student. As I always say, there is no other time in your life where every day, you will develop and grow so much as a person. Every time you leave a classroom, you are irrevocably changed through the knowledge you have gained. That experience is irreplaceable.

Somehow, I am not sure if I am ready to leave that behind…I guess you could say, I have pre-graduation jitters. 🙂

I guess one of the reasons endings are so important to us, is because we want to feel like we made a difference; that we impacted someone’s life, and that even when we leave, the memories and the friendships that we have made in university will carry with us into our future paths. I think its scary when you realize you haven’t as much of a difference as you hoped, where the ever-lasting friendship you thought you had was really just you putting in 70% of the work, and receiving only 30% back, or when the relationship you spent so much time investing in is suddenly moving away and moving on without you. Some of those realizations hit me these past few weeks – while perhaps I hadn’t made as much of an impact as I had hoped, I also realized that maybe others were more ready to move on than I expected, and I was the one holding back and holding on.

Friendships and relationships are a bit like holding sand tightly in your hand – the more you clutch, the faster it slips from your fingers and the move you lose. But letting people go and hoping they come back in their own time, is daunting in itself – with the realization that you must let go without any conditions of hope for return. It requires a lot of faith, which is also ingredient for investing in one’s own future.

That is hard for me; I’ve never been the “wait and see” type, and maybe that’s why I’m still trying to hold on to what I know – because it is real, and true, and tangible and right there in front of me, while the future is still unknown and fleeting, like wisps of clouds. My view into the future is foggy, and I am afraid to venture out into that which I cannot see. I feel vulnerable, afraid, and exposed. And, while the other side of the bridge may lead to a place that is better than I ever imagined, it’s always hard to take those first steps, to close your eyes with blind faith and recognize that you have worked so hard to be standing, here at this precise moment, that not taking that first step will always be more of an injustice than any misstep you could ever make along the way.

As I write this post, I realize that we approach the final stretch; the last few miles on the well-worth path that we have always known. And while the beaten path is familiar and comforting, the new path may lead to exciting adventures and tales of wonder that are just beyond the horizon.

Cheers to all of you graduating this year. Here’s to something new.

– Surviving Studenthood & The Wonders of Womanhood

Surviving Studenthood brings you The Wonders of Womanhood!

I’m not sure what it is with girls, but they have this knack for community and sisterhood. Somehow, the girls of our group here at Surviving Studenthood have decided they they need another blog, and we guys have to grin and and stick it out – although, we got dibs on the design of Surviving Studenthood, and decided to funk it up a little more.

The girls bring you ‘The Wonders of Womanhood’. I know I will be reading it, just because I am curious about what wonders women might have that men don’t – and certainly, I will get some insight on how women think. I encourage you to check it out – they’ve snagged a couple of our posts which you may not have read, and they have a few of their own.

I hope you enjoy their new blog!

Welcome to The Wonders of Womanhood! This is a blog for woman – and for men, but mostly for women 🙂 – to discuss ideas, share thoughts and commune together while we survive and enjoy the magical passage through womanhood. Anyone can be part of this blog – it's an opportunity for women to get some reinforcement from a fellow sista, and guys (or other girls) to get the inside scoop on understanding women. We are the girls from Surviving Studenthood – we write about the trials and tri … Read More

via The Wonders of Womanhood

How Can I Promote My University Club?

Hey Everyone!

A great comment/question was left on our humourous post “The Only Sober Apple in a Drunk Barrel” and we thought other students may be interested in our answer. If you are starting a new university-affiliated club, or maybe you are part of a well-established club that needs new members, check out our publicity and promotional ideas, in response to Meimei’s question.

Well, after careful consideration I’m going to start a group on campus this Fall! =)

My group is going to be the official group for Roots & Shoots Canada (part of The Jane Goodall Institute of Canada), not sure if you’ve heard of it…haha…The mission is to foster respect and compassion for all living things; to promote understanding of all cultures and beliefs; to inspire each individual to take action to make the world a better place for people, animals and the environment! Currently trying to figure out how to recruit members……any ideas?


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To Be Pluralistic In the Face of Adversity

The following post was kindly re-published with permission from Change Tomorrow’s World.

My naive side loves Canada – a country that encourages  its people promote pluralism and acceptance for different cultures and ethnicities. I love that I can walk in the streets of Toronto and be proud of my culture and heritage, and be able to be excited to share – with the world – my thoughts, ideas and attitudes stemming from my religious and cultural background. I like to learn from others about their customs, and I believe Canada is a country that discourages racism.

Unfortunately, my naive side seems to not quite have an accurate picture of this country of which I am so proud. A recent trip to Windsor opened my eyes to the racism that is ever present in our forward-thinking society. While sitting on a bus (public transit), a young woman dressed in traditional Muslim clothes – long sleeves blouse and long skirt and a traditional head scarf known as a hijab – got on the bus. Her face was visible, and she was a beautiful young lady, who sat quietly on the bus, waiting for her stop. I couldn’t catch all of what transpired next, but here was mostly how it went.

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Different Places In the Relationship

Leonard (defensively): We [Penny and I] were just in different places in the relationship!

Sheldon: I fail to see how a relationship can have the qualities of a geographic location.

Walawitz: Well, its simple. Leonard was living in a little town called “Please Don’t Leave Me”; while Penny had just moved to the island of “Bye-Bye”.

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From Betrayal Comes Self-Discovery

A friend of mine made a big mistake. She went behind my back about something, knowing full well that I would be furious about it and that it would severely jeopardize our friendship. Unfortunately for her, she made the crucial mistake of underestimating me and assuming I wouldn’t find out about what she did- or rather, I’d only know whatever she was finally willing to confess to me and not actually bother to do my own research. Sadly for her, I know much more about the situation than she realizes and am startled at her lying ability. After being friends for so many years, I was sad to realize that I was not surprised to discover that she never had my back in the first place.

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When The Fat Gets To Your Head

I must admit I am a bit overweight. I used to be in very good shape, and quite skinny, but undergoing several years of undergraduate study, and the realization that food can keep you awake, my Freshman 15 went to Freshman 45. I confess openly however, that while I am now insecure about my body, I’d also enjoy being a bit overweight. I like the curves. 🙂

Recent picture-taking has revealed I am heavier than I think I am (or does the camera add 10 lbs?) and that is not a realization I was happy to confront. I’ve become a bit … wary of seeing my own picture, and tend to shy away from the camera now, but it has never been more serious than that. I love my body. Despite these positive feelings, a recent event made me insecure – leading to a startling realization that all this fat was starting to mess with my brain.

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Did I Miss Out on Facebook?

Okay, secret confession time.

I don’t have facebook. I never did. (pause) ……. I know.

When it was all the rage, and people were talking about “writing on walls”, and “poking” each other, I was kid who had to use the home phone to call people. I didn’t get a cellphone till my 16th birthday, as a present from another family member, not my parents, and it was a pay-as-you-go-phone, for only emergencies. I didn’t get a “real phone”, as my friends called it, till my second year of university. I had msn briefly until I didn’t, and I missed out on many of the technological milestones my friends celebrated.

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