Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It's that time of year again...TAX TIME!


For many of you first years, you've probably never filed your taxes. If you do know what they are, great job on the head start! For those of you who haven't, lucky for you being an undergrad, UTSC does your taxes for you, or rather. help you do most of it and best of all, IT'S FREE!

Follow these steps to success:
Go to the market place anywhere from 11AM-5PM
Be prepared, you have to bring the following things in order to do your taxes.
  1. University of Toronto student T-Card
  2. Passport *only required for International Students at UTSC
  3. Income Tax Number (ITN) letter or Social Insurance Number (SIN) card (NOTE: If you do not have a SIN card or ITN, please contact the ISC for assistance)
  4. Direct Deposit Information or VOID Cheque (information required from your financial institution: Account #, Branch #, & Institution #), is necessary to set-up the direct deposit of your tax refund
  5. A Canadian address where your tax letters can be mailed back to you during Summer 2012. (NOTE: If you will be leaving Canada for the summer 2012 for vacation, please make alternative arrangements to secure a local mailing address (examples: friend or family member’s address, Canada Post mail box rental, etc.)
  6. Rental receipts for any off-campus housing or a copy of canceled/returned cheques/money orders/bank drafts you used to pay your landlord (NOTE: students living on-campus in UTSC’s Residence do not require any receipts)
  7. T2202A – 2011 Tuition, Education and Textbook Amounts Certificate Form (can be printed from ROSI under “tax forms”)
  8. T5 Slips – Mailed in January-early March 2012 directly to you by your Canadian financial institution if you have a high interest bank account, GIC and/or investment (contact your financial institution for details)
  9. TTC Monthly Passes, TTC Weekly Passes, or Go Transit Monthly Passes and receipts of purchase
  10. T4 Slip (if you were employed and paid in Canada during the tax year of 2011)
  11. Any receipts of charitable donations you made
  12. 2010 Notice of Assessment (if you filed your income tax return last year)
  13. Your CRA Netfile Access Code if you have previously filed your taxes before and are eligible to file your tax return electronically.
Some of these might not apply to you, go through item carefully!

Before the process you have to sign a form saying that a volunteer is helping you and does not represent the Canadian Revenue Agency etc. They verify your information, ask you various questions and then you make an account on UFile. It's the tax papers software. So basically you plug in information and numbers and after all that, you get an estimate of the tax refund, before you get all excited, you have to understand that this amount is divided by four and sent out every 2-3 months.

After all of that, you get a copy of your tax forms, you have to print about 30 pages, so make sure your TCard is loaded. All you have to do is put those pages in a envelope, put your address on it, put a stamp on it, and send it. VIOLA! You're done.

Basically, when you file your taxes, you are claiming that GST back, that "30%" which is deducted say for example on your pay cheque. So you getting a tax return is you getting that 30% back.

As some of you may or may not know, it is the last week of work study and this may or may not be my last blog post (most likely not). I'd just like to say thanks for tuning in and reading my rants, opinions, critiques, etc. I'd like to say, that first year is and always will be hard, once you get through the train that is first semester, second semester is a wee bit less difficult, we have a reading week.

Although I love UTSC, I'll be taking a break. I'd like to wish my fellow bloggers of today and tomorrow the best of luck.

Epic Quote of the week: "To all the women in Pakistan who are working for change, don't give up on your dreams. This is for you" Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy's Oscar speech (HOLLA!)

Epic Video of the week

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ode to hockey practice

Hey everyone!

Man oh man, it's been a busy reading week for me - and with school starting again, it doesn't show signs of slowing down. I'm currently writing this at 2:48am (yikes!) I got back from hockey practice around 11:30pm and have been doing homework ever since. It doesn't help I have a soccer practice at 7:00am tomorrow morning (double yikes!).

So my dear readers, my mind has turned to jello and for such reason...I will write a poem.


Ode to hockey practice

The coaches made us skate, lap after lap
I only wanted to sit out and take a nap
It's been a long day, but I'll continue to skate
Even when the coach made us carry a weight
My knees were shaking with every turn
You better believe I felt the burn
We had a drill where we wrestled for the puck
I won that play, but i'm sure it was mere luck
Shoot outs happend at the end of the night
I tricked the goalie, as the puck took flight
It missed the net, pretty sure it hit her head
I apologized and apologized, "sorry" I said.
When practice was over, I tripped and nearly fell
We have a game on Sunday - oh goodness, wish us well!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Social Class Room

Hello again fellow readers and students!

I know it's been a while and I do apologize. As you know I am a social media enthusiast and I enjoy looking at social trends within difference contexts. Recently I've noticed a significant increase in social integration in the classroom. All of my classes have official Facebook discussion groups that are moderated by professors or TAs. This is coupled with a higher use of the Blackboard discussion groups. In the classes that have this online supplement the professor typically assigns 10% of the grade to participation especially when using Blackboard. I realize that students have been forming groups like these before but I've rarely seen an official one created by the professor/TA.

I have 1 class that uses a Facebook group to connect students to TAs and additional material and 1 class that strictly uses Blackboard for this purpose. However, I've noticed there is a stark contrast between using the Blackboard discussion board and an avenue such as Facebook for online course supplements. If you happen to be a TA or a professor reading this you better start taking notes! I've noticed the Facebook groups are better in terms of student engagement with the course material and extra material as well as the professors and TAs. I've actually learned a few concepts strictly from the Facebook discussion group. While on the other hand the discussion board is rarely used and when it is used I'm being forced to by a 10% participation mark. There is no other shared material other than what is required of me to post for my grade.

I believe the whole idea behind having discussion boards/groups in the first place is to foster engagement between students and with the course material - the whole learn together thing. I would like to see more classes adopt an official Facebook group to supplement learning and course material. I've noticed students are more active on such a group because they are already on Facebook for other reasons and it's a more casual environment as opposed to the one offered by Blackboard. Though the Facebook group does have to be moderated or else it will turn into a free for all dystopia of trolling.

I happen to enjoy these Facebook discussion groups, but I'm not sure how prevalent they are among the classes at UTSC. Let me know to what capacity your classes have them and how you feel about them in the comment section below!

Remember to follow me on twitter @malcolmwong1 and the subscribe to the blog!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Man 2 Man

Hey guys,
In case you didn't know, tonight at UTSC's SC:OUT and DSL (Dept of Student Life) is hosting a reading of the play "Man 2 Man." I will be there! In the past I've tried to get interviews at the events I've attend on and off campus, but some artists aren't as cooperative! (NOT IMPRESSED.) I hopefully might have some luck at tonight's event- WISH ME LUCK.

I know this is a very BRIEF wall post but I will back next week with FRESH IDEAS! Till then stay swaggin!

Epic Quote: "To power, we must either submit or resist." Aisha W.

Epic Song of the Week:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

UTSC rated B- in athletics

Annually, The Globe and Mail conducts a "University Report Card," where students all across Canada rate their school on most satisfied students, quality of teaching, student residences, libraries, athletics, etc. Overall, UTSC falls into the average grades for each category. As previously mentioned by my fellow bloggers, UTSC may be a smaller community, but I think we could embrace all the opportunities we have to offer.

UTSC is rated within the "small universities" category. We're rated a B- in athletics and recreation along with Nippising University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University. At the top of this list is University of Lethbridge and UOIT.

U of T St. George is rated a B+ while UTM is rated an A- in athletics.

The survey is going around again and UTSC can have a chance to move up a grade in all categories because let's face it, we're U of T students and a B- will only make your parents say, "you can do better."

In other news, UTSC will be having a "UTSC Marlies Day" on March 10, hosted by the SCHPA. The game is at the Ricoh Coliseum at 3pm. Oddly enough I used to work at the Ricoh and I can tell you Marlies games are WILD! It's a small arena, so anywhere you sit will be a great seat to watch the game.

Tickets are $35 and include, not only the game, but an $8 food voucher, Marlies T-shirt, autograph signing with a Marlies player, and a post-game skate on the Marlies ice.

Attending the game will be a great first step into embracing the UTSC athletic community. You don't have to play a sport to attend, just gather a group of your friends and have fun!

Tweet me @Jessica_Moy or comment below if you're attending the Marlies game, or how (as a UTSC student) would you improve the athletics at UTSC?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The small joys and victories of UTSC

Hey Guys, it's E.A.P

Valentine's Day is right around the corner, but instead of being all Anti-Valentine's day, I thought I'd show my campus some love.

Yea, let's be honest; UTSC school spirit is a bit in the dumps. That being said, it doesn't mean we can't raise it.

I've been thinking since I do take courses at the downtown campus, I appreciate UTSC more.
I dedicate this post to UTSC.  Here are the things I love about UTSC:

  • The small class sizes. I would much rather be in a room full of 30 kids than 95
  • We have some really awesome courses e.g "Women in the Arts: Hot Mamas, Amazons, and Madonnas," " Gender and Genre," "Music and Healing," and even a course on "Painting" to name a few.
  • We're right next to STC, isn't that fun? You could go watch a movie in your 3-hour break (if you aren't broke yet).
  • We got a Hero Burger and Taco Bell opening up VERY soon.
  • We have really awesome guest speakers visit our campus. Who went to see Lawrence Hill the other day?
  • There's always someone giving away free food. Yup, referring to DSL.
  • We have a hot dog guy!
  • There's always some new building opening up, but either way this campus isn't big enough to get lost at.
  • I'm actually really glad our campus doesn't do that whole "colleges" thing that the downtown campus does. That way you don't have to go to like 3 different registrars to get something done.
  • We have some awesome profs, Daniel Tysdale! :D
  • Our school teams don't suck, we actually win most games! #RepUTSCSports

Just a few closing remarks:
I just feel like our school isn't given the credit it deserves. University can be fun guys! You just have to look, and if it's not there, take a chance and start something positive. Instead of complaining about how our campus spirit "sucks" take initiative and do things on this campus that you wanna see happen.

Next week I'll be attending Spoetic Poetry Slam on Thurs Feb 16th. One of my many pieces got published in an online zine (So stoked for that).

Epic Quote of the week: "Tell her that the only way her heart will mend is when she learns to love again."

Epic Video of the week:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Superstition in sports

If you're an athlete, chances are you're likely to believe in superstition. Everything you do before a big game has to be to your liking or you'll feel unprepared. Take for example a soccer player who has to put on their left shin-pad first before their right or a volleyball player who has to bounce the ball a certain way before serving.

It all may seem a tad silly, but in order for certain athletes to feel prepared, they must stick to the same routine before heading out on their respective playing fields.

Many famous sport superstitions include Fabio Capello, England's soccer manager who banned all the girlfriends and wives of his soccer players during the 2010 FIFA World Cup from any sexual activities. Some may say such activities can hold back an athletes competitiveness, but according to TIME Magazine, this is just a superstition.

Another superstition is former basketball superstar Michael Jordan who couldn't go a game without wearing his lucky basketball shorts from college. He even wore them under his longer Bulls shorts during all his NBA games.

Personally, I'm not too superstitious when it comes to sports, but I do have a couple that stand out. For hockey I always have to tie my skates outside the dressing room. I don't remember when I started doing this, probably back in high school when the dressing room was always sweaty and crowded. I used to take my skates and tie them outside the room and listen to my music. Even today I continue to do this, it's automatic - even if the dressing room is half empty.

Also, in the beginning of the game when my team is about to cheer, I have to turn my back to the crowd. I believe this started when I was younger when I was always so nervous when friends or family came to watch. It would remind me to not pay attention to them and concentrate on the game. May sound silly but hey - it worked!

Here's a short, funny video of superstition in the NHL.

Let me know by commenting or tweeting me @Jessica_Moy if you or someone you know has a weird superstition or routine before heading out to the big game!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Is UTSC Spiritless Place??

Hello UTSC, as you know this is my 5th year at UTSC and that I am a big proponent of getting the best university experience possible. It dawned on me the other day that it might be possible that UTSC and possibly the entire entity of The University of Toronto lacks any school spirit. This idea came about me as I was visiting a friend at another campus. As he was showing me around, I noticed a few things.

The first thing I noticed was the amount of students wearing an article of clothing emblazoned with the universities name. I know we had the whole "1 Love UTSC" thing going on, but this was on a whole other level. Are UTSC students ashamed of repping their campus? I obviously see students with University of Toronto clothing, but the frequency of a sighting like that is minimal. Why is it that this type of rep is so rare at UTSC?

Furthermore, looking through his collection of photos through out his past years at the university I noticed all the photos had one thing in common - they were all very centralized around school spirit and the university. In my head I compared my memories of UTSC and his photos - there was a HUGE difference. Sure I've been involved heavily and done things that connect me to campus but they didn't resonate with the feeling of "school spirit".

The only reason I could think of why school spirit is not part of our university culture is that at the University of Toronto we are heavily focused on academics and it is our cornerstone of pride. My question to you is whether you think UTSC has spirit or not or that the university experience is better elsewhere. Perhaps it's that as students of UTSC we show our school spirit in a different way - though I'm not really sure about that. Do you think UTSC has spirit? or do we show it in a different way? What are some ways you see UTSC spirit and what are some ways to increase school spirit? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

When I Say Drop, YOU SAY FEES!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

All Out Feb1 st. National Day of Action.

Here is how things went down according to me.

So I was suppose to get up super early and head over to Queen's Park with UTSC, but I slept in (to be fair, I was really excited and I couldn't sleep, so when I did finally sleep, I slept till 10:30 AM)

11:33 AM: Arrive at Queen's Park (I couldn't figure out where the protest was taking place). Someone told me Hart House, someone else told me King's Circle!


(Really Empty!)

11:57 AM: I hear cheering. Heads towards cheering. There was a hype rally in front of Sid Smith. We were all waiting for the other university buses to arrive.

For like a good 30 mins we were all cheering things like,
"The students united, will never be defeated"
"When I say drop you say fees!"
"Education under attack, what do we do? FIGHT BACK"
"Education is a right, we will not give up the fight!"
And other things like,
"What do we think of OSAP? And the crowd said "F**K OSAP"

12:46 PM: We start marching around King's Court Circle. Guided by this truck which came with a microphone, speakers, and a DJ.

1: 12 PM: The crowd gets bigger and bigger:

I noticed that people took turns speaking, while on the truck. The different student unions (i.e Ryerson, York, UofT) all spoke out at the rally about how, not just undergrad students, but ALL students are affected by the high cost and rise of tuition fees. Yay Solidarity :D!

I had to leave the protest early because I got really claustrophobic. I honestly couldn't feel where I was going. I took a breather and got some really awesome videos and pictures to share with you guys.

It felt absolutely amazing to be a part of such an incredible energy and movement. I only hope that our government listens! Although I didn't see familiar faces, I did see friendly ones. My favorite part was the homemade signs people made.

I mean cmon' how does this not convince you?

I really hope everyone over at Queen's Park marching is safe and hopefully it all stays peaceful (I have no doubt it will be).

Epic Quote: "Don't get arrested, I'm not there to bail you out!"-- Somone's mom

Epic Song of the Week:

P.S Guys follow the action on twitter. #Feb1 #DropFees #AllOut
Enjoy everyone :)

Guest Blogger: Lawrence Hill at UTSC

by Arif Hussain

            UTSC recently had the privilege to welcome internationally acclaimed and award winning local author, Lawrence Hill at Leigha Lee Theatre.  Introduced by Dr. Karina Vernon, English Literature professor at UofT, on the topics of mixed identities and black writing in Canada, Hill was positively received by undergraduates, professors and community members all alike.  His writing has the capacity to appeal to folks in all walks of life and meeting the author in flesh only fulfilled that belief.   

Hill discussed his life, growing up in Don Mills and his trials and tribulations leading to his now very successful career. He also read an excerpt from an upcoming book titled “The Illegal”, a fictional narrative in an imagined world much similar to our own world (he warns us), about a runner coming to a freedom state without any papers and runs marathons illegally in order to support his livelihood. Afterwards, he answered questions and had discussions with audience members! 

Meeting Lawrence Hill was an absolute pleasure as he is a very kind individual with a sweet personality and takes the time to address his readers’ inquiries. The Book of Negroes was a popular topic during the two hour-long gathering. In this exchange, Hill demonstrated through his conduct that his passion for understanding people and discussing important topics that are otherwise not often discussed is not only limited to his fictional characters but towards the people he is writing for as well.     

City of Words is a popular reading series that features writers of note who are from Scarborough or who have written about issues related to the region.