Tag Archives | things to do

Image by Hermann, pixabay.com

Image by Hermann, pixabay.com

So you’re off for two months, and then university. What are you supposed to do in the meantime? Though it seems like a whole two months away, your summer will (sadly) fly by faster that you’d think. Here are 10 tips that can help you make the most of it and prepare for your first year at university!

1. Review your grade 11 and 12 material
Many programs, especially life sciences or engineering, are based heavily on prerequisites that you took in high school. Reviewing chemistry, physics and math will put you at an advantage when it comes to your first year classes.

2. Buy your textbooks
If you know your schedule, search around online for some old syllabi and start buying your textbooks. It’s better to buy used, as you save money and may get some notes out of it, so join university textbook exchange groups, look at the school’s bookstore for used copies, and start buying early! The later you wait, the harder it is to find students with copies of the books that you may need.

3. Scope out the campus
If you have some free time, take a trip down to your campus and take a tour! You can use this time to check out some good study spots, food places, gyms, as well as find out where your registrar is. This way you won’t be stressed out when finding where to go on your first day!

4. Layout your room
If you aren’t sure what you’ll need to take with you to university, try getting a layout of the dorm rooms, and plan out your space. Then make a list of the things that you’ll need and start shopping!

5. Find friends
Making friends in first year will define your first year experience. Try joining ‘accepted’ Facebook groups, keeping an eye out for those who are in your dormitory. Then strike up a conversation and meet up with them during Frosh week! This can also work when looking for study buddies – try posting your class schedule and finding those who are in your class. Now if you’re ever sick, you have someone to get notes from!

6. Research Resources
Most universities offer crazy amounts of resources for their students – whether they be workshops, skills training, or essay help, look into what your school offers so you know what to make use of in your first year. Knowing that you can get essay or math help for your classes can definitely help boost your grades!

7. Look up your profs
Searching for prof ratings before your classes can help give you a sense of how the class is going to be. Sites like www.ratemyprof.com give ratings about how much you’ll need your textbook, how much is weighted on lectures, etc., which can be helpful advice for your classes. If reviews are negative, fear not! If you find out ahead of time you can try and switch profs – or just learn what makes them tick. Once you find your profs, try emailing them to get to know them! Then during the year, they can put a face to a name, which can make it easier for you to ask questions and get help. This will definitely set you apart from other students in your program!

8. Join clubs
Getting involved in your school in first year is a must! It’ll help you get out there and experience what your university has in store for you. Look up some school clubs that you may like to join, and try emailing them if you have any questions. Clubs look great on your resume and will help give you a break from classes.

9. Search for jobs
Moving to a new town for university? You may want to consider looking at businesses in the area, or town or university specific job boards to find a position. You can even try emailing different professors asking if they have any research opportunities available. Finding a job will definitely help make sure you have money throughout the year, look great on a resume, and help you create a support system in your new home!

10. Find fun hotspots
University, if anything, should be a learning experience! Look up fun things that you would like to try with your friends, as well as any food places, clubs and festivals that take place in your university area. Always wanted to try kickboxing? See if a gym nearby offers it – then take your new friend from tip 5 to try it out!

Be safe, have fun and be prepared for your new year of university! 🙂

Image by Jonathan Percy, Flickr

Image by Jonathan Percy, Flickr

Inevitably, students will encounter the winter blues. It’s cold, dark, and windy. Snow was fun until it started swirling everywhere and blocking your vision. Most people begin to spend their time indoors. Winter blues can affect students drastically from decreasing their motivation to changing their overall mood. Here are some tips for beating the winter blues.


Lack of sunlight and staying indoors are two of the most common reasons for encountering the winter blues. To solve this problem, go for walks on the occasional bright, sunny day. The sunlight will improve your mood and walking around will make you feel refreshed. However, on the days where the weather is not so cooperative, try working out at home or the gym. Do anything from cardio, strengthening, or yoga to get you active and moving.


The school year can make students extremely busy, but it is important to remember to take time for yourself. Balance is the key to beating the winter blues. Take breaks between extensive school projects or tackle one subject at a time. Choose something fun to do afterwards. Here are some suggestions:

  • Curl up and watch your favourite movies.
  • Head out with some friends for lunch or dinner.
  • Read a book.
  • Reward yourself and head over to the mall for some retail therapy.


Food is a complicated topic for college and university students. We all love it, but time and cost can be barriers. Eating junk food and fast food all the time can be detrimental to your health. It can also make you feel sluggish and unmotivated. Have a healthy snack or meal to boost your energy.

Here are some suggestions for snacks:

  • Yogurt
  • Fruit (apples, bananas, strawberries, etc.)
  • Trail mix (include raisins, sunflower seeds, almonds, or peanuts)

Here are some suggestions for meals:

  • Whole wheat pasta with vegetables
  • Quinoa salad
  • Baked sweet potato and grilled chicken


The average person needs about eight to nine hours of sleep per night. As a student with deadlines, readings, and home responsibilities, regular sleep can sometimes be hard to come by. Create a weekly schedule for yourself to identify fixed times that you cannot change (e.g. class time) and what may need to be missed for the week (e.g. extracurricular activities). Find opportunities to study or do homework throughout the day so you’re not doing any school work into the late hours of the night. On the days where school work never seems to end, try to take a twenty minute power nap so you feel refreshed.

The winter blues may seem like a tough hurdle to come over but with some proper care, it can be defeated. Just remember that balance is key as a student. Too much of one thing is never good for your mental, physical, and emotional health. Use some of these tips to help you beat the winter blues!

The Madison Ave. Pub, Toronto

The Madison Ave. Pub, Toronto

The Madison Ave. Pub, also known as “The Maddy,” is a Victorian mansion in the heart of The Annex in downtown Toronto – and it surpassed my expectations. Although it looks small from the outside, it is quite spacious inside. The food and drinks were delectable and reasonably priced. What most impressed me was the attentiveness of the servers – it was like they were reading our minds.

The Madison Ave. Pub is a cozy place to spend a Friday night. The beige walls and red booths give it a vintage feel. The narrowness of the building gives a unique aura to the whole pub experience. Besides drinking, a good game of billiards can be enjoyed at the Maddy.

Normally, expected fare at a bar consists of fast food. Though the Maddy does satisfy your craving for junk food, it also offers gourmet meals. Just some of these include butternut fusilli, grilled chicken bruschetta and calamari. When I was there, I had the most delicious red velvet cake I’ve ever tasted. I’ve ordered red velvet cake from bakeries since, but it hasn’t been the same.

I was quite pleased with the Maddy’s prices – it is a great place for students. My friends and I were able to whet our palates without breaking the bank. As a bonus, the Maddy offers grilled cheese, burgers, quesadillas, wings and pints at $3 each on the first Tuesday of every month in honour of their 30th anniversary. There are also live musicians and a contest to win a car on those evenings.

My friends and I were a bit confused by the service – we didn’t know if the servers would come to us or vice versa. After approaching a waiter in the bar area though, he became very helpful all night. He never abandoned us for too long, and when a friend showed up later on, he brought us a chair without us asking.

After a crazy night filled with laughter, cheer and bonding, I would give the Maddy an 8/10. Although I enjoyed myself, I initially had to go looking for the server, which I found strange. The layout of the pub, though unique, was unappealing to me. Despite this, I would still recommend the Maddy to a friend. Each room provides a different vibe with different music, and you never know what you’ll find around the corner. It is a thrilling place to be.

The Maddy is located at:
14 Madison Avenue
Toronto, ON
For more information, visit their website.

Image by Camera Eye Photography, Flickr

Image by Camera Eye Photography, Flickr

Stuck on campus this Reading Week? With most students away on holiday, it can be hard to stay positive and productive on an empty campus. Get out of bed and make the most of your vacation with these eleven tips:

  1. Find people.

  2. You’re probably not the only one left on campus. Find out who else is on campus and make plans to see a movie, study together, or just hang out.

  3. Having trouble focusing on that paper due Monday? Set a deadline.

  4. Email some friends and family members asking them to edit your work, and tell them you’ll send it to them at a certain date and time. Accountability will push you to get it done.

  5. Stay on track.

  6. If some of your professors or TAs are still on campus, this might be the perfect opportunity to check in with them and discuss your schoolwork. Email to set up an appointment.

  7. Get started on the summer job hunt.

  8. Your university website probably has a job board page. Also try government sites or company websites for internships. Buy a nice notebook and fill it with options. Refine your resume, and make a cover letter template. You’ll thank yourself later when your friends are scrambling to apply for jobs during spring exams.

  9. Finally get to the gym.

  10. Endorphins will make you feel positive and energized. Try out the pool, if there is one – it’s the closest thing on campus to a warm beach!

  11. Explore.

  12. Check out that one café you haven’t been to yet. Print out a map of your city and circle three locations with a marker – museums, cafés, stores – and draw a line connecting them. Bundle up, and go!

  13. Get out.

  14. If your university is smaller, in a rural area, try a nature walk or hike. If you’re snowed in, try building a snowman, snow fort, or having a snowball fight with your friends.

  15. Set up camp in a coffee shop.

  16. Bring your reading materials and let the java jive. If you’re with some friends, bring a few board games.

  17. Try a technology detox.

  18. You don’t have classes or as many obligations as you usually do. Put aside your gadgets for a full day.

  19. Take yourself out on a date.

  20. Dinner, movie, the works. If you’re not comfortable eating alone in public, bring a book or an iPad. The time of day when restaurants are emptiest is between 10am and 3pm.

  21. Read a new book.

  22. Not a school book – a fantasy, adventure, or mystery. You’ll have a refreshed mindset after reading about another literary world.