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Things I wish I knew in my first year of university

Every September I get a little nostalgic. I loved my university days — wearing sweatpants to class, toonie Tuesdays at the campus pub, and of course, my days on the student newspaper. But more than that, I loved the university experience. Every day I learned something new and was able to experience something completely different. That first year was incredibly special. I met some of my best friends, found out I hated philosophy, and learned that I was able to be an independent human being, capable of making my own decisions (whether they were the right ones is still debatable).

But first year can also be a little overwhelming. However, if you listen to those with a little more experience (ahem me), you’ll be fine! Here is what I wish I knew when I started university:

Make sure to participate in Frosh Week: I knew a few people who did not participate in any Frosh (or 101-week) celebrations, and honestly, that was a big shame. Frosh week is the perfect time to get to know your campus and the other people in your program. I met some of my best friends during that crazy week and they helped me get through the next four years. It’s also a great distraction before you have to delve into the textbooks.

Have fun, but not too much fun: It’s every students prerogative to have fun during their first year of university. Whether that means hitting the bars or a residence party — make sure you go and mingle with new people. It’s also important to de-stress and take your mind off of school. But remember to make your studies a priority. Most universities and colleges offer grants to first year students that can be renewed if your grade point average is high enough. It’s also plausible that you will have the same professor in your second and third year, so it’s important to make those good first impressions. Don’t goof off too much. Instead of going out with your roommates every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, just go for one of those days. That way you can go all out and have a blast without regretting the decision later.

*Note: It took me a while to learn that Thursday is like a Friday in university speak.

Look for older versions of textbooks: University is expensive. There is tuition, housing, supplies, food, and then textbooks on top of it all. While most first year students want their textbooks new and shiny, make sure to ask the professor what has changed from the older version. If it’s just a few pictures or citations, purchased the older version. Also, don’t rule out used textbook. Most people don’t highlight in their books and the used books usually just have a few bent pages —nothing that can hinder your academic success.

Make your room (or your half) personal: For most, your room has always been an escape. It’s the place where you went when you were mad at your parents, upset about a relationship, or even when you just wanted some peace and quiet. However, residence can be a bit different. First of all, you may be sharing a room with another person, something most of us haven’t done since we were five years old. Make sure that your space really is your own. Find posters, pictures of family and friends, decorate with pillows or add your own blankets. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but make sure the room represents your personality and is able to act as a safe haven from the craziness of university life.

Do your readings: This seems like a lame piece of advice — but honestly, if I had done all my readings during the semester in first year it would have saved me a lot of cramming come exam days. Try using Sundays to catch up on readings. Get off campus, go to a restaurant, café, or even sit outdoors and power them.

Go to a sports game: Sports may not be your thing, but the sense of community and spirit that can be found at a university sports game is incredible. Not only is it a chance to dress up in your school colours and grab a few drinks with friends, the high you get from cheering a winning (or even a loosing) team is really unique. You may even gain a small appreciation of the sport of your choice. My only other piece of advice would be to dress appropriately.  Football begins in the fall and it can get pretty cool in those stadiums so make sure to wear layers.

Don’t be afraid to get help: University can be overwhelming. You may only have five or six classes, but each one has an extensive reading list and many assignments. Not to mention there is the pressure of living on your own, working a part-time job, and any other life commitments. It’s okay to be stressed and anxious. Make sure to keep in contact with family and friends who can support you throughout your first year, and remember that nothing is the end of the world. If you need help, ask for it! There are lots of services available on campus and your professors will welcome you during their office hours if there is something you don’t understand. Feel free to take advantage of the on-campus health care, especially counsellors. Remember that it will be tough, but university is a fun experience. Take advantage of these moments while you can!

 

What advice would you give to those starting their first year of university or college this week?

Fashion over compassion?

The damage caused by Hurricane Harvey was unexpected and devastating. On Aug. 29, U.S President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump boarded Air Force One in Maryland to visit flood ravished Texas.

Despite this headline, most people were struck by what Melania wore while boarding Air Force One. It was a rainy Tuesday morning and she wore a quite fashionable outfit: cropped black pants, a green bomber jacket, hair flowing, sunglasses, and the infamous thin black stiletto heels.

By all accounts she looked great, but the damage was already done. People began mocking the First Lady for wearing heels on a visit to a disaster zone.

By the time Melania arrived in Texas, she had changed her shoes, now wearing clean and bright white sneakers. Her hair was tucked back in a FLOTUS cap and she had on a raised collar crisp white shirt tucked into those cropped black pants. Sunglasses still in effect. The First Lady’s fashion choices were more talked about than the reason the President went to Texas in the first place — and how can I blame them?

Everyone is entitled to an opinion on this topic, but it’s hard to know what exactly the First Lady was thinking. Let us not forget Mrs Trump is a former fashion model. She knows how to dress. In fact, since she took office many have paid close attention to her fashion choices. Maybe if she wore the sneakers initially instead of changing on the plane this would not be an issue.

Her choice of heels is what ‘raises’ Melania Trump above the rest. I think even more alarming was her FLOTUS cap, (I believe we know you are the First Lady.) What you are viewing here is simply the reality of Melania’s world.  She is used to dressing well when she is out in public so she did not give it a second thought. However, I do believe there was some forethought into these outfits, as the FLOTUS cap gives away. She meant to wear these two specific outfits to Texas. They were fashion statements.

Her rise as First Lady has always been mocked, from her choice of words, to her stiff and cold expressions towards her husband. She does not come off as warm and loving. Instead she is represented as a upstanding trophy wife enduring  the spotlight. No one really knows why Melania chose those shoes, or what she was really thinking. All we know for sure is that the press is buzzing about her outfit rather than her effort and compassion. If you want to make a heartfelt visit to a disaster area, it may be best to wear some boots made for walking.

What do you think about the First Lady’s fashion choice? Was it on purpose, and why do we even care? Leave some comments below.

Will you listen to the TTC’s ‘Rush Hour’ or ‘Hush Hour’ playlists?

Commuting in and out of the city can be a bore — unless you have some beats to help you pass the time!

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is partnering with Universal Music to introduce “Tracks on Tracks”, an exclusive Apple Music program for commuters in Toronto. This program will include two TTC-branded playlists — ‘Rush Hour’ with upbeat songs and ‘Hugh Hour’ with more serene choices — featuring Canadian artists like Drake, OneRepublic, Shawn Mendes, and Alessia Cara.

“The TTC takes you where you are going and music transports you to another world,” said Universal Music Canada President and CEO Jeffrey Remedios, in a statement. “It’s fantastic to be announcing a program built to help guide Toronto riders’ musical experience, reflecting the heartbeat and pulse of our city.”

Each playlist will include about two hours worth of music and will be refreshed every Friday. The idea between the two playlists is to help suit the mood of each commute. The ‘Rush Hour’ playlist will help commuters get energized in the morning and the ‘Hush Hour’ is meant to help you relax you at the end of the day.

This is a unique and fabulous partnership for the TTC. I can’t ride into work without seeing people plugged in to their phones, listening to music or podcasts. A TTC-designated music playlist is a great way to interact with those commuters and make those rush hour and hush hour moments a little more enjoyable.

Tracks on Tracks is only available on Apple Music. Users can stream these playlists on Apple Music or download them so they can listen offline. Check them out at applemusic.com/hushhour and applemusic.com/rushhour.

Sigh, I wish I still had my old Iphone.

Jennifer Keesmaat leaving position as Toronto Chief Planner

Toronto Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat has announced she will be leaving her position with the city as of Sept. 29th “to pursue other interests.”

“It’s been an honour to work with Mayor Tory, Council, City staff and my remarkable team in the City Planning division over the last five years,” said Keesmaat in a statement. “I promised myself that after five years in public service I would review my future options. I look forward to new challenges in the important business of city building now enriched by invaluable lessons, new friends and colleagues acquired while serving the people of our great city, Toronto.”

Keesmaat has been a strong leader for the City of Toronto. She was never afraid to confront her colleagues in council or on committees, answering their questions with poise. When asked about how she deals with the politics of city building, Keesmaat always answered with respect for the democratic process and government accountability. With her aide, Toronto has begun its transformation into a more liveable and walkable city. One example is the council-approved Transit Network Plan, which will connect all regions of the GTA together under the “motherlode” of transit plans. And then there is the King Street Pilot, something that may revolutionize how Torontonians view the downtown core.

During her tenure, she also started a podcast called Invisible Cities, which touches on numerous aspects of city building. Through this podcast, listeners are able to hear her passion and the joy she gets from discussing things like density, green spaces, and automated cars.

In July, Women’s Post presented Keesmaat with the City Builder Glass Slipper Award for her dedication and leadership. It was an absolute pleasure to have her as a partner and Women’s Post wishes her the best of luck in her future endeavours.

School names aren’t the problem — it’s the education

Remembering our past is the only way to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario passed a motion last week calling for school districts to rename schools and buildings named after Sir John A. Macdonald. The reasoning behind this motion is that Canada’s first prime minister played a key role in developing residential schools.

It seems that after centuries of honouring former politicians, inventors, and explorers, society is suddenly realizing their faults — and determining they should not be celebrated. Confederate statues across the United States are being torn down and/or removed after protests and political activists pointed out they are associated with white supremacy and European colonization.

As a history major, I’m well aware there are parts of Canada’s past that are unsavoury. America’s history as a whole is bloody. Our ancestors, as much as we would like to deny it, did some truly horrible things. But, can we acknowledge this past without erasing or ignoring the many accomplishments that helped shape our country? I guess that is the big question nowadays.

For example: John A Macdonald may not have been the ideal role model, but he was integral to the creation of Canada and its first government. Is that not something that should be honoured and recognized?

Residential schools are a part of Canada’s past that is embarrassing, tragic, and simply horrifying, but changing the name of a school won’t erase the pain and suffering they caused. The teacher’s union has said they want this motion to create a conversation — but as teachers, can this be done in a more effective way? It’s a teachers job to make sure children learn their history, science, art, and math. Wouldn’t it be better to incorporate these omissions into a curriculum rather than change the name of a sign in front of a building? As someone with friends who went to a school called Étienne Brûlé, I can attest to the fact that very few knew, or cared, who he was.

I am sure there are many qualified and deserving people in Canada’s history who should be honoured with their name on a school. I agree there should be statues of women, people of colour, and Indigenous leaders in front of schools, hospitals, and government buildings. But, I don’t agree that history can be changed just because we are ashamed of it.

Ultimately, a school name is just a name. If the teacher’s union really wants to make an impact — maybe they should focus on education and not media grabs like this one.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Hot and new fall TV shows to watch out for

September and October are a TV junkies’ dream, with the hottest new shows premiering across all networks.

Every year we are blessed with new shows that stick around for years — gems such as Empire, This is US, Scandal, Chicago Fire, The Blacklist, and others that are huge successes. While it can be hard to tell which new shows will make it, it’s always exciting to test them out and add them to your cozy evening fall lineup. Women’s Post has decided to compile a list of the most buzzworthy new shows, reboots, and spinoffs coming to your television screen this season.

NEW SHOWS

For The People: ( ABC/NBC) TBA

In true Shondaland style, this new drama follows a group of young lawyers navigating their first cases. Classed as the new look of justice this show offers up lots of drama and juicy cases.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KjnaAd2sO4]

Alias Grace: ( CBC) September 25 2017

This highly anticipated show is based on the best selling novel by Margaret Atwood. The show follows a housekeeper in 1843 accused of murdering her employer.

The Good Doctor: ( ABC) September 25 2017

This media drama follows a paediatric surgeon with autism. The doctor will be portrayed by Freddie Highmore, who played Norman Bates from A&E’s popular Bates Motel.

Marvel’s Inhumans: ( ABC) September 29 2017

Based on the Marvel comic of the same name, this show offers a rare look into Marvel super-humans from a royal family that have decided to head back to earth.

Ten Days in the Valley: ( ABC) October 1 2017

This drama packed series follows a TV producer dealing with the disappearance of her child, revealing secrets along the way.

S.W.A.T: (CBS) November 2 2017

Two words … Shemar Moore

Me, Myself & I: (CBS) September 25 2017

This interesting take follows a man at three points in his life. This new comedic twist and storytelling looks promising.

Law and Order: True Crime ( NBC) TBA

This is the latest out of the classic Law and Order empire. Created by Dick Wolf, this show’s first season will feature a dramatization of the real life crime: The Menendez Murders.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xh01uHWc15Q

The Gifted: ( FOX) October 2 2017

Mutants have returned in this hot new fall show. The series is loosely based on Marvel’s X- Men and will have relation to some of the previous films.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTzW9rMcbzk

Life Sentence: (CW) January 2018

Despite not starting this fall, this show is still worth a mention. This feel-good comedy highlights the important part of living your best life possible. It follows a young woman who learns she is cancer free and no longer terminally ill.

 

SPIN OFF’S 

Young Sheldon- A spinoff prequel for the popular TV show, Big Bang Theory

College-ish – A spinoff of Blask-ish

REBOOTS

2017 might be the year of reboots, and I’m not mad about it. Are you excited for Will & Grace and Roseanne?

 

Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below which fall tv shows you are most excited for.

Is this the end? Will we suffer an apocalypse via eclipse

As people worldwide wore silly glasses and looked to the sky to witness this once-in-a-lifetime-actually-nevermind-it-may-happen-again-in-seven-years event, I stayed inside, huddled in a corner of my office, pondering the meaning of it all. The sun was being blocked out and the world threw a party! What does this mean for our future?!

I watched the live-stream from the safety of my workplace, wondering how everyone could be so calm. Doesn’t this act of God prove how tiny and insignificant we all are? In the darkness of space, time is lost. Without time, aren’t we just drifting, endlessly without any goals or sense of purpose? Is that what this eclipse was meant to teach us?

But what if it’s not about time at all. Maybe the universe is trying to tell us that darkness is coming and that we need to get used to it. The apocalypse is nigh. I realize this eternal darkness may not happen for a few years, but really, if the world is going to end, do I need to do those dishes? Why bother going into work? Those pesky responsibilities don’t matter now. You know what does? Stock piling canned goods and toilet paper! Do you have your go-bag ready? Leave your love ones behind! It’s probably too late for them. Every woman for herself!

Sure, most people will be distracted by the beauty of the eclipse. The magic of space or something insane like that, but don’t let that fool you! Your hurting eyes are only a warning of what’s to come…

Charlottesville: can it happen here? Yes, it can.

It’s seven in the morning and I’m listening to the radio. The host comes on to talk about the news of the day, describing the violence in Charlottesville once again. I’m groggy, but even I can predict the next question that will be asked — can it happen in Canada? Every day this week I’ve heard the same question. Whether it is on the radio, the television, in the newspaper, or even within my circle of family and friends, people want to talk about how what happened in the United States may, or may not, happen in their communities.

On the evening of Aug 11, a group of white nationalists — a.k.a. Nazis — marched the streets of Charlottesville in a rally that supposedly was meant to “take America” back. These people started chanting things like “white lives matter” and “blood and soil”, among many offensive and discriminatory things.

Oh, and they were holding torches and some of them held flags with the swastika.

The march was meant to be a response to the removal of a confederate statue, but considering the symbols scrawled on the signs and the slogans being screamed in the streets, there is no doubt this was a meeting of white supremacists who didn’t care about a statue. They just wanted to express their views and show their numbers.

These Nazis* were met with a counter protest — and because these marchers were not there to peacefully showcase their displeasure about a historical figure being immortalized in stone, they lashed out violently. People were pushed and beaten. And then someone drove a van right into the crowd, killing one of the protesters.

* I was recently asked whether it was fair to call these “nationalists” Nazis, and my answer is unreservedly yes. Calling them “nationalists” waters down the message of their ideology. If you are chanting discriminatory things about transgendered people, people of colour, and those of the Jewish faith while holding torches and the swastika — you are a Nazi. Everyone who marches with you, by association, is a Nazi. It’s that simple.

So, can it happen here? That’s the big question, isn’t it? My answer is, sadly, yes — and that’s what’s so frightening.

Fear and violence inspires more fear and more violence. It can create a chain reaction of events on an international scale. When one group of people use violence as a way to deal with what they see as a threatening situation, another group will respond in kind, creating a cycle that is never ending.

And Canada is not immune. Sure, we have small victories. A forum for “nationalists” being held at Ryerson University was cancelled after public outcry, and the University of Toronto has publicly said they will not allow a group of white supremacists to protest on their property. But is it enough to combat the many instances of racism, sexism, and blatant hate this country has seen over the last few years?

During the last federal election, the signs of Muslim candidates were defaced with graffiti, with phrases like “Go Home” scrawled across their property. In January, people were shot while leaving a mosque in Quebec City. There have been numerous instances of neighbours sending letters threatening parents of children with disabilities because they were disturbed and felt these kids shouldn’t be alive. And there is, I’m ashamed to say, many alt-right people who were starting to listen to Kellie Leitch’s rant about RCMP tip lines for those worried about their immigrant neighbours, not to mention the disgusting concept of using “Canadian values” to determine who enters the country.

Hate breeds more hate — and unfortunately, there is still a lot of hate left in Canada. Can that hate turn to violence? Yes, quite easily. But, will it? Not if those of us who are tolerant and compassionate human beings rally together and say enough is enough. People can end the cycle, but only if they do not resort to the same methods as those who initiate the violence and hate.

As grossly cliché as it is, people have to fight hate with love. Already, two rallies are being organized in Toronto as a response to the violence in Charlottestown. If this is how the world responds, in similar fashion to the Women’s Marches in January and February, I have high hopes we will not see the rise of white supremacy or Nazism spread in this country.

God, I hope I’m right.

The Arbour to be first wooden mid-rise in Toronto

In the Fall of 2012, George Brown College opened its doors to the Daphne Cockwell Centre for Health Sciences. Located at the heart of Toronto’s harbourfront in the Queens Quey and Sherbourne area, the stunning architectural design was built to encourage health care graduates with state of the art labs, a rooftop terrace, and tall glass panels meant to introduce the flow of light and wellness. In 2024 , the college hopes to welcome another striking design structure, known as ‘The Arbour’, as part of a sustainability improvement project. The Arbour will be the first 12-storey wooden-framed structure in the heart of Toronto.

The structure is expected to be a carbon-neutral wood building that will produce the same amount of energy it consumes. This balance results in a climate-friendly building adaptable to external changes in temperature. This building is one part of George Brown’s plan to create a low carbon campus by the Toronto shorelines.

The low carbon footprint will create low output of greenhouse gas emissions, often linked as the main cause of global warning and climate change. This is a step in encouraging healthy business practices in the City of Toronto. Adrienne Galway, executive advisor to the president of George Brown College, told Women’s Post that colleges such as George Brown play a critical role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. “This building will be a living laboratory for a low carbon future.” Galway noted that students will have a chance to learn about design, construction , electrical components, and the science behind tall wooden structures by being in one.

While the concept of tall wood buildings may be new to Toronto, George Brown has been following similar designs in Europe, Japan and Australia, where engineers are starting to use more wood to construct buildings. The building will be a unique landmark for the Toronto waterfront with the use of renewable resources and unique beauty.

Vancouver based architect Micheal Green is the lead designer behind contemporary wooden buildings and has studied the science behind the design. To ensure the safety of tall wooden buildings, the wood is treated to have the properties and strength of steel. These massive panels of wood can be fire resistant and even safe during earthquakes.

Safety precautions and testings have been done on other tall wooding buildings, such as the 18-storey student residence Brock Commons building at the University of British Columbia. The building  is set to be open in September 2017 and will be the tallest building in the world made of wood.

George Brown has currently placed a request for qualifications for architects. In the fall, interested and qualified parties will be invited to bid. This design competition will allow an architect to work along with the college to help bring the Arbour to life.

George Brown continues to work on their low carbon campus design and in 2018 they will open a building focused on the future of design. For more information visit georgebrown.ca

5 fall fashion items you need in your closet

This is going to be sad to talk about, but somebody has to do it. Summer is almost over!

Yes it’s a horrible statement, but for those of you that love pumpkin-spice latte season, it shall soon be here. Fall is upon us and just like the blowing winds and changing colours, people’s wardrobes also get a makeover, at least to some extent. It’s best to know a bit in advance what to expect in the stores,so here are the fall fashions you will either indulge or snub this upcoming season.

Dark Florals

Florals — you either love them or hate them. In the spring we see light and pastel floral designs, but this fall look out for dark floral prints. This trend was featured in 2017 pre-fall fashion shows in Milan, Paris and New York. Unlike whimsical floral patters, this fall will focus on dark and romantic florals, laced along lots of black to make the floral designs pop while leaving a sophisticated mystery.

ASOS Bardot Long Sleeve Skater Dress in Dark Base Floral Print CAD 42.80

Two-Tonal Style

Cherry-red and plum will be popular on the streets this season. Cherry-Red was featured a lot during award season earlier this year and even at the 2017 Met gala in May. Red is a striking and romantic colour, meant to evoke sensuality and attraction. Cherry-Red is especially eye catching when combined in a two tonal style with deeper and richer colours, such as plums, the two colours compliment each other. Examples include pairing a red dress with a burgundy jacket, or a plum dress with a pop of Cherry-Red accessories.

Soutache Lace Midi Dress- Nordstrom. CAD 462.32

Off shoulder/ One shoulder Tops

The shoulder is in! Peek-a-boo shoulder tops are definitely still trending and the fall fashion trends are pushing for these one shoulder tops, especially with a full length arm. One shoulder tops offer just the right amount of skin for the unpredictable fall weather. Off Shoulder tops, should make its way through the summer and into the fall. Off shoulder tops, are so trendy because every shoulder is a sexy shoulder.

ASOS One Shoulder Tiered Top CAD 50.95

Leather Pants

Over the years, women have learned to embrace leather again, especially to complete the look for a night out in the fall. Leather pants have  made a return on the runway, including a collection from Calvin Klein, featuring looser, or slouchy leather pants. So more than likely this will join the collection of looser pants that we have seen being worn this summer including tie waist trousers and even those bohemian-themed harem pants, but instead with a bad ass edge.

MANGO Leather Crop Trousers CAD 279.99


Satin and Silk Shoes

One of the best parts of fall has got to be the [fall]DEL shoes and every year people are sucked into buying a new pair of fall booties, even though they have 20. Okay. maybe not all people, but just me? However, fall ankle boots and slip on heels are expected to have a smooth and inviting look, with silk and satin shoes appearing in collections for Oscar de la Renta, Gucci and Prada.

ALDO Nesida CAD 46.98

Let’s see if these runway trends and collections make it into your closet this fall. What trend are you most excited for this fall? Drop a line in the comments below.