We forgot all about our follow-up post, but a comment left on the original got us back on track. The question is, what are the alternative options besides living on campus, and commuting?
We will confess, the choices are slim.
Apartments On/Near Campus
One option is to live in an apartment near campus. If you get lucky, you can avoid the drunken mess of “newly-released” undergraduate students. On the other hand, if your neighbours end up being a family with small children, you aren’t going to have it might quieter. You don’t get to control or choose your neighbours in an apartment, and they may not be into studying – or keeping the noise down – at all. You’d be surprised how noise, sounds, even cooking smells! can waft into your apartment and destroy your concentration.
There are other important points to consider:
The anonymity of apartments means that safety is an issue. If something went wrong, it could be days before anyone noticed you were missing. It’s really important, if you live in an apartment, to keep in touch with friends or family. After what happened to the poor York University student Liu Qian, we urge you not to take safety as a light issue.
Additionally, the cost of the apartment might be 12 months, which means you need to sublet your apartment for the summer months, or you end up incurring a hefty charge paying for rent in an apartment you aren’t using.
Speaking of extra charges – finding an apartment farther from your university means you pay a double whammy for public transit. “Only 15 minutes away” becomes really challenging to walk when there is a blizzard outside. You also have to lug all your books to campus, because coming back during the day isn’t really a viable option, unless you don’t mind paying a lot for transit.
Definitely, there are pros – better facilities than residences, more amenities, no students, etc. People who live in apartments don’t consider it an 8-month rental: its their home, and they want the space respected – an attitude you don’t often find on residence.
- Living in a basement apartment in a family home is much like living in an apartment building. You have more control over where/who you live with (as opposed to residence) but there are safety considerations you need to take into account. On one hand you have a better support network, but make sure you are living somewhere safe. Nice to have a home away from home, but living with another family can be very distracting, especially if they have young kids or pets. Also watch out when lease terms include “baby-sitting” or “light chores” –> those “good deals” can come back to haunt you during exam time.
- Renting a house with friends has been a popular option for upper year students. While we caution you to choose roommates that suit your living habits, we have seen it turn into a very successful option for students who know each other well. Living with someone requires much more than just being friends – you need to be able to (a) see the person at school and still be able to live with them at home and (b) have a strong enough relationship to be open and honest with someone about how you feel about their living habits without it destroying your personal or professional relationship.
Other thoughts? If you don’t live on res or commute from home, what are some note-worthy options for living?
For those of you just heading downtown, I am sure “wrapping up” doesn’t even begin to describe your day (come back to this post when you are ready to curl up in bed with your laptop and peruse blogs!), but bear with us as we provide some perspective and well deserved credit.
Today was a day that put students to the test. For the lucky ones at York or UTM or UTSC, the test didn’t apply. But for U of T St.George or Ryerson or York Region District School Board secondary school students, there was a big examination. It was an examination that tested your commitment to your education.
Did you pass?
(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?
If you are in university, this is probably right around the time you feel like hell, with exams, papers and a million readings that you put off, even though you swore this was the year you would keep up. Don’t fear, you are not alone.
My younger sister came home for the weekend, in a rather perplexed about her current university experience. She is travelling through her first year and, like some foreign visitors, was marred by an experience of unexpected surprises. Rather than brave the university world alone, she got smart and decided not to re-invent the wheel; instead, she opted to talk to her older siblings. It was a rather rousing debate – there are four of us, all at different universities and programs, and it seemed post-worthy for any university student who needs a little guidance to the elixir of good grades. I’ll confess – none of us are geniuses – but I maintain that because we each have averages above 3.5/4.0 GPA, we feel qualified to give a few tips on improving.
This post is a tough-love post: it is for those students who have been cruising through university, and have suddenly realized their grades are not high enough – whether it is for professional school or grad school, for graduation, for your parents, or just for yourself. One thing my sister mentioned is that university students (including herself) feel lost in their student experience, and that a little tough love from some older siblings might have helped. So we’ve decided to play “older sibling” to all of our readers and dish it out, cold (ice-cream!) style.
A friend of a friend (props for a ‘chain-post’!) was discussing how students have a terrible habit of abusing the TUSBE system. TUSBE, for those of you who do not know, is the Toronto University Student’s Book Exchange – a website where students in the Toronto Area (including those from York University, Ryerson University and all three of the University of Toronto campuses) can post their course textbooks online, free of charge, or peruse the list of available textbooks to purchase for a significant discount from other students.
Now, it seems that students have become a bit mistaken about how the system works – and after four years, I thought it would be worth sharing with newcomers how to go about TUBSE-ing (yes, I just made that up.)
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?
My mother mentioned to me that my little brother had been down in the dumps the last few weeks. Hoping to work my ‘older sister magic’, I went to talk to him. What I expected to be a normal chat shifted when I got an unexpected piece of information. It seems that my brother’s classmates have been spreading rumors that his last few gold medals at the annual school science fair are undeserving because he receives assistance from my mother and me.
I was caught off guard by this for a number of reasons: the kids in that class are quite close-knit and friendly (generally not the spreading rumors type), every medal-placing student openly gets assistance from their family, and my family only helps my brother with choosing an experiment and editing/gluing his information on his science fair board.
I was very upset to hear these comments – science fairs are a bit like the Olympics for my brother. He excels in science – he thrives in science – it is one of the few areas of learning that I really see him become passionate and involved. It is, to me at least, the most amazing thing, to see someone be really engaged in learning. I suspect it is the best part about being a teacher.
You can imagine my further surprise when my brother said that the teacher endorsed the students’ negative comments, and in addition, has been making comments to my brother (paraphrasing here) that it is unlikely he would achieve a gold medal without assistance. Continue reading →