An Open Letter to First Year Me

Dear Beckie,

To begin, prepare for the four most exhilarating, challenging, and quickest years of your life. You thought that high school went by in a breeze? High school’s got nothing on how quickly four years goes by in university. Nevertheless, you made the right choice. Glendon is the right school for you. You’re going to be a little bit nervous when you first confirm your offer – will the tiny campus still give you the university experience you want? Don’t fret. You’ll have an even better experience than most of your friends at the big universities.

The small campus will become your home. You’ll also get to take classes at Keele to get the big university ‘feel’ but you’ll always prefer Glendon to Keele. Glendon was not just a school for you; it was a home away from home. You’ll miss that when you graduate I’m sure but you’ll always be thankful that you were able to have that experience at your university.

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These years will not go by without some setbacks. After your first year, you’ll go on the most exciting trip you could imagine – going back to England for the first time in 8 years! That trip will end up being the best decision you’ve ever made. Mostly, because it will be the last time that you will spend time with your Nan as she will pass away in your third year. This will always be a hard memory to reflect on but you’ll go in life knowing that you were able to have those moments to remember for years to come. This will be a surprise to you but you’ll end up scheduling counselling appointments to deal with grief management and in the end, you’ll be thankful you decided to. It helped you to understand what you were feeling and to balance grief with school. You’re a better person for asking for help.

You’re not going to find the prince charming you were hoping to find after 4 years of not finding him in high school. This will be an insecurity of yours but you always find a way to remember that while people your age were falling in love, you were dealing with real life situations.

This isn’t to say you’ll never find boys that you like – no, there WILL be a few (because you’re so unbelievably picky) but again and again, it won’t work out for a number of reasons. Despite this fact, you’ll remind yourself of what “Our Glad” always said – to focus on school and let everything else fall into place when it’s ready to.

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You’ll worry about your whether you chose the right program but you did. First year me can read this blog post to understand more. By fourth year, you won’t be a complete expert in your field but you’ll have worked really hard in all of your classes and your marks reflect that. And hey, you’ll also score a really great summer student position in your second year that helps you pay for school on your own!

When you graduate, you’ll have become a determined, strong, funny, and confident young woman. And…you’ll have an idea of what you want to do when you graduate. You’re set to go into a post-graduate certificate program in public administration. This is something you’re passionate about – not necessarily knowing specifically where you want to work but to work in a position where you can help people by answering their questions as quickly and efficiently as you can.

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You’ll become friends with some of the most amazing people you’ve ever wanted to meet. Seriously. You’ll find friends who find you funny and witty and let you do what you love to do – make people laugh! You’ll stay up, even in your fourth year, with friends playing the Sims; you’ll go to pub nights or dinners out with your close friends and laugh uncontrollably and make the memories you couldn’t fit in a memory box because they’re not tangible – they’re inside jokes and silly memories you can’t put into words.

You’ll stay friends with some of your closest friends from high school; some of them you may lose touch with but the moment you talk again, it’s like time hasn’t moved. Nevertheless, there will be those that you decide to cut loose because you were done trying to be their friend when they weren’t trying to be yours. All in all, you’ll graduate knowing that the friendships you made at Glendon will stay with you for years to come.

Love,

Becks

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What 4 Years on Residence Has Taught Me

Hey friends! I’m sitting on my bed right now, listening to some Mumford and Sons, sipping on some coffee and I thought I should write a little bit about living on residence.

Initially, I wasn’t even going to live on residence. Brampton didn’t seem that far away from the campus and commuting seemed the way to go. I’m not sure what changed our minds but eventually, my parents and I decided living on residence would be worth it and it really was.

Living with a roommate: I loved living with my roommate, Barbara. In the beginning, I realized that not many people had asked for a roommate and so, we were quite the oddity. However, it IS more common to have a roommate in residence now.

The best part of having a roommate was having somebody to talk to whenever I needed a friend.We didn’t spend too much time together outside of the times we were both in our room but I think that was the key to a successful roommate relationship. Although, it is completely okay to spend lots of time with your roommate!

Every roommate dynamic is different, that’s what makes it so fun. We got along so well we decided to live together in our second year as well.

Tips for living with a roommate would be outlining what you both require or what boundaries you need to maintain from sharing a room. For example, if one of you goes to bed early then it would be good to say from the very beginning that you may be asleep earlier than the other person and to ask that that person is careful of the noise they make when they come back from evening classes or late at night. res7

This can all be discussed with your roommate over the summer before you both move in or in your first week of moving in. Oh yeah – it also means that you have an automatic friend at Glendon if you’re both participating in Frosh Week – score!

Living on an all girls floor vs. co-ed floor: In my first year, I lived on a co-ed floor. In second year, I moved onto the all girls floor and have lived here ever since.

The decision was solely based on wanting to live on the same floor as one of my close friends. I really can’t say that there was that much of a difference between the two. My floor-mates were all very respectful of each other on both types of floors. It’s really all about what you’re comfortable with. It’s a safe and welcoming environment on every floor.

Your experience on residence is also not limited to your floor – you’re free to go to the other floors and some res events are held on other floors so you get to meet and talk to other residents from all over residence and campus as a whole.

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1) Respect your floor-mates:

As much as Glendon will become your home, it is important to remember that it is also the home of the other thirty people you live with. Among your floor-mates, you will have those who are in third and fourth year who really need the peace and quiet, those with early classes in the morning, those who are trying to study, etc.

When you move into residence, you’ll have a house meeting with all of the other people on your floor. At this time, you’ll discuss what sorts of things you should be careful of to not make that much noise (ex: slamming doors, talking in the bathroom at night as it echoes, etc.).

You’ll also have a helpful Don to go to if you find that there are any issues or concerns with noise or anything at all. Every night, there is also a Don on Duty that you can call if you have any concerns as well.

2) Do not bring your entire closet with you in September and don’t wait until April to take it home with you:

I definitely made this mistake in First Year. For some reason, I thought that I was moving into residence in September and not leaving until April…..wrong. However, if you are living on residence and you live very far from home, you may actually need to do this.

But, if you’re planning on going home every now and again, it’s not imperative that you bring all of your clothes in the beginning of the year. You’ll have time to go back home and bring the rest of the clothes with you then.

Also, it’s always better to bring clothes home once seasons are ending. So, when the weather is getting colder, that’s a good time to take some of your spring and summer clothes home with you.

The same goes for when the weather gets a bit warmer. This way, you don’t have too much to pack when the school year ends in April. Four years later, I think I MAY get by without a comment from my Mom or Dad about packing too much (…maybe).

3) Grocery store + cafeteria food = happy student

I have been asked by prospective students about the food options at Glendon. If you’re living on residence, the caf will be your main place to go for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are some really yummy options in the caf – my personal favourite is the deluxe breakfast (2 eggs, sausage, hashbrowns and toast) and the pasta station.

We have a wok station, salad station, candy station, the grill, wrap station, pizza station, and a station whose name I forget but it has delicious lunch and dinner options such as perogies, mashed potatoes, meat and veggies, or TACOS…I LOVE TACOS.

There is also Keele campus food options. The other campus is only a 40 minute free shuttle ride away and provides you with a whole other number of options – Thai Express, Mac’s Sushi, Hero Burger, yum, yum, yum. There’s the Underground which is a restaurant that I’ve gone to a bunch of times with my friends as another dinner option.

It can be useful to give yourself a whole range of options for meals. I personally like to eat a lot of vegetarian food although I’m not vegetarian (my Mom is a vegetarian so I’ve grown up on stealing her food muhahaha).

I like to have lots of fruit in my fridge and some breakfast type foods to grab on go when I’m off to class in the morning. So, I go to the Metro which is a $3 bus fare/5 minute ride away and pick up some groceries every 2 weeks or so.

4) Not going to pub night? Make your Thursday night whatever kinda night you want it to be:

When you’re in First Year and not of legal age, Thursdays might seem like a night that you’re not involved in….WRONG. Thursday night is whatever night you want to make it. Whether you’re 18 or you don’t like to drink, there are usually events on the same nights as pub night as an alternative option.

You’re also only a $3 bus ride away from Lawrence Station – you have the whole of Toronto to explore! You could go see a movie at Yonge and Eglinton, go grab some yummy dinner, go shopping at the Eaton Centre – your options are limitless. In my First Year, we would grab a bunch of snacks, order a pizza, and watch Jersey Shore (Ya, I feel old now….thanks everyone).

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5) Use the weekends on residence to your advantage:

Every year, my time on campus has been different. Some years I went home every weekend but this year, I’ve stayed at Glendon for a majority of the weekends. But, I love it.

It’s three days to get some of my readings out of the way, to catch up on all of the shows I’m watching, to play Sims (not kidding), and to go out and enjoy the city. There are events held on campus and events held on your floor or in your residence. So, you’re never out of options.

I hope that these tips and my overview was helpful even in the slightest bit to answer some of the questions you might have had about living on residence. If you have any more, you can always tweet me @beckielhgl or post in the #GL2019 Facebook Group and I’ll answer as soon as I can. Until next time!

“Thank you for your courage”

Hey friends! I wrote a post a few months back entitled It’s Okay To Ask For Help. In the post, I explained that I had made the decision to seek counselling through Glendon’s counselling services as I was having a hard time dealing with the death of my Nan whilst keeping on top of my school work.

I had my last session on Wednesday although I didn’t know it at the time that it would be. However, when I sat down in the chair, I explained to my counsellor that I felt that I had gotten the most of the experience and that I didn’t feel as though I would need another appointment.

This is a really great thing for me. It says that I’ve made it through the first year after my Nan’s death and that for the first time in a long time, the gloomy cloud that I had felt around me has lifted.

Going to counselling was a really hard thing for me to do. I’ve always been a very ‘self-sufficient’ person in that I like to do things on my own and I hardly ever want to ask anyone for help with anything. However, the things that I went through are things that most people at my age have not experienced.

Losing a family member changes your life. There will always be a part of you missing when they are missing from your life. From the age of 16 to now as a 21 year old, I had experienced losing three close family members and several family friends in a 6 year period.

What I took out of counselling the most was understanding what grief is and not what it is expected to be or look like. I always questioned whether other people looked to how I was acting to gauge how affected I was by the death of my Nan and in consequence, worried that I wasn’t showing the “usual” signs of grief.

However, counselling taught me that grief looks more like waves in that moments of grief come and go. When I recognized that this was exactly how I was experiencing grief, I felt relieved that I was, in fact, experiencing it in a way that others do – because the way it is portrayed on TV and in movies is usually incorrect.

More than that, counselling taught me that I am who I am today because of the person my Nan was and what she meant to me – I am most definitely her granddaughter. I’m very much like her in the way that I am tenacious, strong-willed, independent and also, in the way that I am confident in the person I am. She was a Queen in her own right and I can only hope that one day, I am respected and thought of by others as she was.

Seeking help was one of the scariest things I have ever done. It was me saying that I wasn’t having the easiest time with everything going on in my life and that I was willing to open up to somebody about the hardest times in my life. I’ll never forget that my counsellor ended our session with thanking me for my courage. It reflected how she felt that my actions were brave and that I should probably see it that way as well.

In other news, I was accepted into the post-graduate Public Administration program that I applied to – happy times! 2015 already feels like it’ll be a better year and it’s only February. Remember, you can always tweet me @beckielhgl or comment on this post with questions and comments.

Until next week!

Working on campus

Hey friends!

On to today’s topic: I have been extremely lucky in that I have been employed on campus for the past three years. I work as a Night Porter in residence which means my commute takes exactly…45 seconds at most?

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I applied to be a Night Porter at the end of my first year (that’s when the forms are available) and started working the following September. Being a Night Porter entails that you are responsible for making sure resident’s guests are signed in and that you are available to rent out equipment to residents such as video games, movies, DVD players, irons, etc. You’re looking out for residents’ safety and, at the same time, being a resource for resident’s needs.

The best part about being a Night Porter is that it relieved me of having to go home every weekend in my first year to work at my part-time job in Brampton. I was able to stay at Glendon over the weekend which gave me more time to do readings and finish assignments. And of course, it allowed me to earn money to be able to go out with friends and feed my online shopping addiction.

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You also work with fellow students (who are also residents) and you’re always in contact with residents so it’s a way to connect with more Glendonites. In addition, you can include it on bursary and grant forms that you have worked on campus to show how involved you have been on campus and with the school to help pay for school.

I would highly recommend applying to work on campus if you’re planning to be in residence in your second year. If you have any questions, please tweet me @beckielhgl or comment down below.

See you next week!

My last McMun *tear*

Hey friends! So, for the past 4 years I have been involved with Glendon Model United Nations. It’s our own Mock United Nations club on campus that is run by myself as Vice President and the President along with a number of execs. This year, our club was very popular and our team was the biggest it had been since I joined. In fact, three of our eAmbassadors are on the team: Michelle, Sonia, and Bryan.

It’s bittersweet that I’ll be graduating in June and GMUN will no longer be a part of my life but I’m so glad that I joined because a lot of my memories from my undergrad have been because of GMUN.

Every year around the second last week of January, McGill University hosts their own MUN conference called McMun. This year, my partner Michelle and I were representing Malta in a General Assembly committee called the Sixth Committee (Legal). We were tasked with defining terrorism which never really happened because none of the resolutions passed BUT it did make for a great weekend.

Every Thursday when we arrive, we go to a place around the corner from the hotel called Peel Pub. We’re always at least 10 people strong so finding a table usually means we’re crammed into a corner but it’s fun nonetheless.

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Our committees started the next morning and we were greeted with very awake, very loud delegates who were VERY excited to start debate. We had three sessions that day and took naps in between (hotel beds FTW). I can’t tell you how many hours of HGTV and TLC we watched that weekend but it was comforting and I loved it.

On Saturday night after our sessions, we went to the big event called McParte (the picture is below is from McParte 2014) and I may or may not have started an anthem sing-off in the line to get the bus (Canada won, ps). I also may or may not have started yelling “GOLD MEDAL” which stems from my passion for the Olympics. I’m not even sure if the other people knew I was talking about the gold medal game…

On Sunday, we finished our final session and after closing ceremonies, we ordered some yummy lunch from St. Huberts and then got ready to take our train back to Toronto.

The weekend went by so quickly but I really enjoyed spending it with our team. McMun is certainly the turning point every year that the members of GMUN become closer and get to know each other even better. GMUN and McMun are where I met most of my best friends at Glendon!

If you’re interested in Model UN and want more information about our club, you can tweet me @beckielhgl or our GMUN account @glendonmun. See you next week!

Why I’m really excited for 2015

Hey friends! It’s back to the school grind after the Christmas break where I spent too much time eating chocolate and too little time doing anything school-related (now I pay the price).

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It’s also a new year (captain obvious Becks here). People sometimes complain about those who find the new year as a way to start over but hey, people find reasons to complain about everything (me included). Nevertheless, I am really excited for 2015 for a few reasons:

1) I’m graduating: In September, I was really nervous about leaving Glendon because I am so comfortable here. But, I’m feeling that push now to take what Glendon has given me and apply it to my new graduate life. I don’t want to be in a rush to become a real life adult but I’m looking forward to what the future has in store for me. It could (hopefully) be more school or starting a new job. Speaking about school…

2) I’m not done: Over the Christmas break, I applied to two post-graduate certificate programs. They’re both in public administration and both have work-placement opportunities. I’ve been fortunate to work for the past two summers in a government and public sector summer student position so I’m almost certain that’s what I would like to be doing for my career. I haven’t heard back from them yet but I’m excited to find out what happens with them!

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3) 2014 is in the past: My Nan whom I was very close to passed away January 10th 2014 and so, 10 days into the new year 2014 became an awful year for me albeit there were exciting times like becoming a Canadian citizen. I wouldn’t say that I would like to put that event in the past for me because I’m still in a continuous grieving process which I’ve learned to experience and not push away or hide from but I am definitely optimistic about a new year. I am still in the grieving process and dealing with grief but I was proactive about it in 2014 (see post here) and I think I’m starting 2015 better because of it.

4) It’s a surprise: I still don’t know what my life will look like post-April or even tomorrow so even though I can only list 2 or 3 things right now, there will hopefully be a ton more things to be excited about as the year goes on.

What are you excited for? Let me know in the comments and remember, you can always tweet me @beckielhgl to discuss Glendon, the new year, and everything in between!

All I Want for Christmas is…to go home for the Holidays

Hey friends! I’d like to start off this week’s post by saying how grool (yes, Mean Girls reference) it was that I was in my Transnational Crime and Corruption class yesterday and Professor Gutterman came by during our small discussion groups and told me that she had seen and read my blog!

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I’ve had Professor Gutterman three times during my four years here at Glendon – Introduction to International Relations in First Year, International Relations through Film and Literature in Third Year, and Transnational Crime and Corruption this semester. It was our final class and, consequently, my last class with Professor Gutterman at Glendon so it was a really nice way to finish off the semester.

It’s that time of the year again. Final exams, final papers, take home exams. It’s always a bit horrifying when I plan out the weeks leading up to when, at least for me, I can pack up and go home for the holidays. Every year, my pattern of going home during the school year have varied.

In first year, I went home every weekend because I was still employed at my part-time job in Brampton. Second and third year were spent differently and I found myself going home for the most part but staying back at Glendon when my work load piled up.

This year, I decided that I focused best when I stayed at Glendon. It’s my fourth year so I want to doreally well in my classes and concentration is key to staying on track with readings and assignments. So, I’ve been home about three times and the last time was early November. Needless to say, sometimes I find myself really missing being at home.

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Living on residence was a really great decision for me. Despite being from Brampton, living at Glendon cuts out the time I would spent commuting back and forth so I can use that time to do my readings, work on assignments, watch Bad Girls Club… but no, seriously.

But as it’s coming up to Christmas time, I find myself complaining that I just want to be home. It might be that the holidays are such a homely time for me or it could be that I want to escape the work load coming up in the next few weeks. I mean, just look at my dog and tell me that you wouldn’t want to snuggle with her instead of studying…

I don’t really have “tips” per se for dealing with missing home. I’ve often found myself texting my mom asking her to send me pictures of our two cats and dogs (again, no seriously). Keeping in contact with family and friends back home via text also helps – I just need to remember to text them back because I ALWAYS forget, whoops.

I’ve got about 2 weeks or so until I’m done exams and I can finally go home to relax. I’m mostly excited to just snuggle with (but I feel like she would say ‘snuggle on’) my not-so puppy Keira and drink endless amounts of tea – surprisingly as a English person, I don’t drink tea at school! So I haven’t had tea in amount a month or so!

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Well, today marks the beginning of the 6 days I have to complete a take-home exam and then another 6 days to study for my final exam for sociology. I’ll probably just be a coffee machine for the next few weeks so my tweets might not make a lot of sense but you can still tweet me with any of your questions! Tweet me here @beckielhgl!

See you next time!