Category Archives: The Working Student

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!

Whitney

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

Study Group or Study Date (via UpbeaT)

(The following blog post was reblogged from U of T’s student-life blog, UpbeaT)

Being part of a study group is a lot like casual dating. Sometimes, you meet someone and you hit it off instantly. You talk for hours and at the end, you get their number and genuinely hope to meet again. Other times, it’s a bust – something about the person makes you realize there is no “click” and by the time you go on your merry way, several valuable hours have been lost.

Most of my friends have never been in a study group. In accordance with the infamous U of T student experience, concerns about other students “taking my ideas” or “not doing enough work” deter many students from benefiting from being part of a study group. In doing so, they miss out on the experience, advice, knowledge and support of their fellow U of T students.

Perhaps you are interested in testing out the study group waters…so where to begin?

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Should I live on Residence during University?

Dear Surviving Studenthood,

I am entering my second year of university and am thinking about living on campus. I was wondering if you can give me the pros and cons? I live about 1.5 hours (one way) from campus but I find that living downtown (near/on the campus) is very expensive. I’m not sure what to do – and I don’t know enough about the experience to know that it is worth it. Can you give me the inside scoop?

Any thoughts?

Thanks!

Anna

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Pocahontas, Avatar, Sherlock Holmes and Academic Plagiarism

I should have been working on a paper, but instead, a girlfriend and I got sucked into watching Pocahontas at 2:15AM. Pocahontus an amazing Disney movie – a classic – about love and differences and how we learn from the worlds of others.

While I was watching the movie, I was appalled at how similar the 2010 movie Avatar is to Pocahontas. What I thought was so beautiful and unique to Avatar only – such as the lighting up of a tree upon human touch – is actually in the movie Pocahontas. Even the story lines are familiar: two worlds that meet initially due to greed develops into a beautiful love story of understanding, tolerance, and acceptance. Now, I know – a lot of movies have this theme – but the similarities between Avatar and Pocahontus were uncanny – particularly the conflict between Native and Western civilizations, the special song-and-dance scene between the two protagonists where the Western man learns about appreciating nature, and even the use of a Willow tree to “hear” the spirits of the ancestors. I mean, seriously, Avatar is like watching Pocahontus-version 2-slightly-adapted- in-3D. Copy cat much?!

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The University: A Bad Employer?

I work multiple jobs during the school year. Although it is a real juggling act, I consider it to be a part of studenthood – it is simply what we must put up with to fund our education. Honestly, I like my jobs – and when I go to work, I put my full effort in.

But when your job takes over your education, is that where the job goes too far?

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