a visual tour: university of toronto

When you are planning to go somewhere with your friends for the day, you would usually do an internet surfing to find the right place that would be most enjoyable and within the comfort zone of your group of friends. In the same way, I think it is safe to say that it is that time of the year where we start to stress a little over the college and university applications that we’ve applied to, especially during this time when things are not very clear to us due to the virus. Not only are we stressing over whether or not we’ll get accepted into our desired program, but we also have the tendency to think about the drastic change that is about to come and flourish our way; the uncertainty of our future. It could also include things like the new environment, the students, the professors. Will it all be the same as high school? Will you be able to adjust yourself quickly? Anyone who is currently studying at post-secondary will tell you that having a visit to the potential schools you plan on going to is an excellent idea so that you are ready for your first day at post-secondary. However, since you cannot visit them right now, let me bring it to you instead when you’re safe at home!

I can gladly say that I had the opportunity to go on a tour for two universities: University of Toronto (George Brown Campus) and Ryerson University. In this blog post, I will be going through some of the exciting aspects that UOFT upholds and welcome you with open arms. I will also be doing the same thing for Ryerson University in the next blog post for those of you who are interested in reading about it too! Now, I still have some time before I move towards post-secondary education, but since I’ve been volunteering with Brampton Multicultural Centre (BMC), I’ve had the chance to take a visit there! And oh my, it was full of gems…

It was one of the coldest days of Winter that had bestowed upon Toronto. Each snowflake was a cluster of cotton balls falling rapidly from above, and I certainly was not prepared for that weather, which I soon realized after I stepped in a thick layer of snow with my Vans – NOT a great start to that tour. However, as we were met with our tour guide, who was a student at UOFT, I knew that I would be able to find something that I would fall in love with. And soon enough, I found out that there were 42 libraries within the campus. Yes, I said it, and I’m not mistaken. The library that really caught my attention was Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library – one of Canada’s most incredible rare book collections and manuscripts. Now, if you’ve been following along with me for a while on Instagram, you would know that I absolutely LOVE to read so after seeing such a phenomenal library that every bibliophile would die for *literally* because of its vast choices, I knew that this would be perfect for me.

After going to the library, we were taken to their gym, which had an animated view of the campus. The environment is what really brought everything together since everyone seemed to be minding their own business, doing their thing. I wasn’t able to snap any photos due to privacy reasons. Still, the gym is indeed a spot to familiarize yourself with, especially if you’re really into health and fitness, or overall just some self-care that is definitely needed for us.

So, the tour goes on, and we are taken outside again near Knox College to a place called Hart House, which was probably my second favourite spot to visit because of the aesthetic itself. From what our tour guide told us, this spot is usually for those who just want a place to hang out with their friends, maybe do some light reading, or even just acknowledge the fantastic painting and put up your own artwork. I bet you all could agree with how BEAUTIFUL this place is too:

I think that the best thing about visiting an area you’ve never seen before is that you start getting a little bit more appreciative of the things that are around you. I can say that after going on a visit there, I felt more fulfilled with the things that I am privileged to be surrounded with. Especially now, more than ever. With the widespread of COVID-19, the lack of appreciation can easily be clouded away in a whirlwind. Looking back at this tour, it has reminded me of how we tend to always take advantage of things until we cannot have them anymore. This was probably the most perfect time for me to write a blog post because looking back at the photos I’ve snapped, I was able to realize that. If you’ve come towards the end of this blog post, I hope you enjoyed looking at the little perks that the University of Toronto was able to offer. Overall, I really loved the vibe, and I was SO happy that I took the opportunity to go visit because this university has been on my top list to apply to in the future. Some places were closed due to renovation, so I wasn’t able to snap as many photos as I wished. HOWEVER, I encourage all of you to visit the campus (once it’s safe to go), and experience what UOFT has to offer! I’m sure you will enjoy it as much as I did. Other than that, I’m hoping that everyone is staying safe at home in quarantine. Stay safe!

With all the love and beyond,

Salina.

living in quarantine

It was a regular Thursday afternoon when the news broke out. It was also the day of my birthday. Plans were set for March break, cheerful spring days with friends and family in the sun as it starts to creep in after living in the snowy conditions for far too long. Finally, being able to go outside.

It was a regular Thursday afternoon when all the students found out that there would be no school for quite a while. As much as it might’ve been some exciting news, it wasn’t. What would be left of the March break plans? What about the students who are graduating? Everything that once seemed so sure…didn’t seem so sure anymore. How does one go from thinking that they have absolutely everything to absolutely nothing in a day? All of a sudden, everything you know becomes blindsided by the news. Your purpose starts to shift a little. Everything that was once a priority to you is no longer really thought of anymore.

It has taken me around two weeks to wrap my head around the fact that there truly is a virus around us, a contagious virus. The numbers and stats no longer seemed like a joke anymore, it was a wake-up call for me. What was I even doing? I lived my life the way I usually would, dangerously and miraculously coming home every day feeling okay. However, while I thought everything I was doing was acceptable, my loved ones prayed for me and for my safety. It was selfish. What does one do at home every day with nothing to do anyway? I wasn’t quite sure because all I’ve been taught is the lifestyle that has shaped me into what I am: go to work, get good grades in school, study, maybe go out with some friends every now and then. But what do you do when you no longer have power over it?

The easiest thing to do would be to cozy in, binge-watch some Netflix series while you still can. But what difference would that be from the life you previously had to the one you are creating for yourself right now? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Netflix. In fact, I was binge-watching The Office during the first week! However, I quickly realized that instead of spending my time watching something, I could take advantage of this time to do something that I’ve been holding off on because “it isn’t the right time.” There’s nothing that we can do to make up for the time we are losing. This is why instead of making this situation into a tragedy, take it as an encouragement, a “creative prison” for you to start creating, as Andrew Schulz recently said.

So… what am I doing right now?

As hard as it’s been to keep myself motivated at home, the more actions I take towards the things I’ve been wanting to do, the easier it’s been to keep my creative juices running. It has taken me a while to have that sense of realization, and I’m not going to lie, I’m just getting started. But it also brings me closer to the idea of this being a time of creativity, like water flowing out of you, the creative ideas gushing out of you, making its way through to take action.

The best advice that I can give to you at a time like this before I leave would be this: take it slow, one step at a time, and most importantly… fully embrace it.

“If you cannot change a situation, change the way you react to it.”

-Andrew Schulz