Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween and Goodbyes. Oh, and YOLO.

Aloha UTSC!

The month of October has not disappointed. The midterms have been as tough as ever and Halloween costumes have outdone themselves, either in how scary they are, or in how little fabric they seem to employ. So forgive my nostalgia for taking this opportunity to say goodbye to Hallo-week, cramming season, and yet another half of a semester that we’ll never see again.

Ironically, Halloween is yet to arrive. The 31st seems to have become the least important day in Halloween season in North America, with most parties, events and gatherings taking place well before. The SCSU’s annual bash, so creatively titled: ”YOLO...or do you? – UTSC’s Halloween open bar party” brought around 170 (out of over 1000 invited) people out to a banquet hall a full week before the actual day. (Well, Facebook says that’s how many people attended). Oh, when will the SCSU learn that unnecessarily long event names DON’T yield better results in attracting people to go? My theory is that simply ‘HALLOWEEN OPEN BAR’ or ‘GET DRUNK IN A COSTUME’ would have sufficed. Otherwise I’m more than happy to name this blog ‘Seemingly important but entirely irrelevant rant about the SCSU and some tidbits about hurricane stuff”. Maybe I’d throw YOLO in there for good measure, because you know, none of us have heard that enough. For what it’s worth though, in the event that every single person had shown up, it would have been hilarious to witness them accommodate over 1100 guests at this majestic banquet hall. Yes guys, effective party planning has taken a serious hit this October. Let’s hope our GPA’s scraped by the massacre.

Closing statements: Enjoy Halloween in personal style, whether that involves another university party, or hanging out home dressed as Mr. Potato Head. It’s time to say Goodbye to Sandy and hello to Movember. I've been told mustaches are the answer to most of life’s queries. I’m about to find out.

Stay warm, safe and cautious UTSC. Guys, cherish your women, we’re all hurricanes on the inside.

Cheers !

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Big Mo

So, it's the last Monday of October and I'm here wondering where the last 2 months have gone. Feels like just yesterday I finished my exams for first year. But here we are today...

To some this might mean CHRISTMAS is less than two months away, to some it might mean that this is the month of remembering and yes, all that is most definitely true. But more recently, the month of November is often associated with mental images of dudes with dirty ‘staches and excess facial hair. This can only mean one thing… MOVEMBER.
Movember is a fairly new concept introduced to increase awareness of prostate cancer in males. It was launched in Canada in 2007 and has gained recognition since then. If you don’t already know, it’s called Movember because in slang Mo means mustache and it takes place in November; Hence the term, Movember. 

Here’s something you guys might not have known: THERE ARE ACTUALLY RULES YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE. I took part in Movember a couple years ago. It’s a lot more challenging than it seems. Keeping a moustache for a whole month without shaving it no matter how you look is  a challenge. I need to give a shoutout to all those who are brave enough to rock a ‘stache regardless of what month it is. You guys have heart. Anyway, here are the rules for the men who are participating:

  1. On "Shadowe'en" (October 31), the complete moustache region, including the entire upper lip and handlebar zones, must be completely shaved.
  2. For the entire duration of Movember [November 1–30], no hair shall be allowed to grow in the goatee zone (any facial area below the bottom lip).
  3. There is to be no joining of the moustache to sideburns.
  4. If you have a full beard, you can shave it leaving only a super moustache for the month.

Who knew, huh?! Here’s the fun part, UTSC will have a variety of different events throughout this month in order to help raise awareness of prostate cancer and Movember.
If you’d like more information on Movember itself (eg. How to register, how to donate, etc.) visit

How do you feel about Movember? Are you participating? If you have any questions or comments or idea’s about a blog post just comment below and I’ll make sure to get back to you! That’s all for this week’s post guys. Till we meet again. 

Peace and love.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Real: "The Total Recall Poems" Chapbook Launch at UTSC

In the summer of 2010, the remake to the '80s cult classic film Total Recall was being re-filmed on the campus of UTSC. At 6:00 pm on November 14, 2012, you can re-experience this historical event with the upcoming chapbook, The Total Recall Poems, written by the creative writing group COW, right here at UTSC.

Book and Promotional Materials Designed by Katie Fewster-Yan 

Attendees of the launch at the Dorris McCarthy Gallery will be able to enjoy readings by the poets themselves, sketch comedy based on Total Recall, and more. The chapbook itself will be on sale, with some versions coming with The Total Recall Poems DVD.

But why should you go?

As one of the featured poets, Mattieu Dominic Ramsawak, explains, “I think a lot of people on campus don’t know about a lot of the cool stuff that happens here…This is one of those things that, you know, is not some big formal publication; it’s just something we worked really hard on. I mean it happens every week: we have a lot of talented people here who just get together and very casually write…I think it’s important for people to come out and see the potential for doing awesome things on this campus. Also it’s going to a lot of fun, we want you to buy our book.”
                The poems, which are remakes of other classic poems themselves, offer a startling view into the contemporary condition of humans in a constantly recreated world, where the lines between original and copy, Facebook identities, and real identities, are constantly blurred. And by startling I mean hilarious.

Take one of Mattieu’s poems for instance:

click the pics for details

So come on out and see what UTSC’s creative scene has to offer! Who knows, maybe you'll write a poem at the event and end up publishing a chapbook about The Total Recall Poems chapbook launch?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

UTSC: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Buildings

enough said about my gpa................
Hello folks! And so passes another week of brutal mid-term season. I wonder if anyone else is like me when it comes to these times. My automatic reflex is to curl up into a ball, roll around and cry. Much like this ---->

I hope the rest of you are stronger than I am. On to the topic of the day: U(GLY)TSC  

I imagine reactions to this would be along the lines of 'HEY, DON'T TALK SMACK ABOUT UTSC,' 'Dude...harsh' or the discrete head nodding for those who automatically think of our campus buildings. I mean of course that building that frames the gorgeous Rouge Valley the Science + Humanities Wing legally known as 'The Andrews Building' (AB).

Often, before I understood the AB I imagined it looked like the power plant from the Simpsons. This was followed by envisioning Mr. Burns walking the dimly lit lower levels...

Can you blame me? I mean. our campus has played host to the film crews of Total Recall and Resident Evil: Afterlife. I remember seeing the Meeting Place in the movie and almost spitting out the ice cream I was gorging on... Good times. 

Yes the AB is bleak, claustrophobic and scary, but you must give me a chance to show you the majesty!   The architect (John Andrews) did after all have a masters degree from Harvard. He also designed the CN tower and apparently the south residence at the University of Guelph.

The style of architecture is called 'Brutalism'. If you're a metal fan you'd know that makes our buildings the most epic of epic because they're 'brutal'. UTSC is therefore brutal. 

These are pictures of the AB to help you see the light behind the genius

Aztec pyramid
Humanities building kinda look like an ancient Aztec temple?

One of my fav sights, Science Wing stairwell very meditative

It could just be because I'm in art but this is a really beautiful lighting outcome
Breathtaking snap I caught yesterday when hanging around the valley. Who would've thought weeds could look this good?

Amazing framed view from 4th floor of the SW

The valley is glorious this time of year 

The top of the stairwell reminds me of an ancient worship pier

Shot I took in the summer. Again, it's important to look at architecture as a frame. Buildings aren't necessary supposed to stand alone, but instead complement the landscape they stand on.
Today (Wednesday) I was so grateful for the cover from the rain. Saved my hair from going into afro-mode

I hope I managed to show you some of the majestic qualities of UTSC! Go explore campus instead of staying holed up in Timmys or the food court! We are technically an architecture heritage site and should take more pride in our campus!

Stay beautiful UTSC <3



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

In the Lion’s Den

There are agitated roars coming from the walls. The Doris McCarthy Gallery has been transformed into a restaurant for beasts, with rhythmic scratching sounds, wooden sticks for cutlery, and food plastered everywhere. Tables are lined up in rows, topped with fried eggs and sausages. The wooden cutlery skates across the plates as if driven by an invisible hand, or paw.

Courtesy of the DMG
 Laura Gutierrez is here to guide me.

“The exhibition is by Rita McKeough. It’s supposed to be a comical take on the more serious issue of food production. So basically, when you come in here, what kind of feelings do you get?”
Confusion. Anxiety. There are carrots on the walls that are screaming to be let down, shocked by the chaos and primitive hunger. The grating sounds are overwhelming. Laura tells me that the roar is supposed to represent a person’s hungry stomach. The exhibit is supposed to be a juxtaposition of how humans are fed in restaurants and public places, and how animals are fed behind closed doors. It’s meant to make you think about how food gets from factory farms to your kitchen table. The sausages skewered to the walls with sharp sticks? “They were trying to run away.”
White milk-tongues stretch out of the milk tank and glasses of milk, trying to lick you back. Wooden fish in the fish tank push to the top to be fed.
We walk over to what looks like a miniature animal pen filled with sausages. “Well, what do you think it represents?” Laura asks me.
Other than the sausages, it looks like a collection of miniature animal dung, but I don’t want to say.
Laura says, “So this is kind of poo, right?”
I laugh.
“So it’s kind of cattle who are sort of living in their own dirt in factories and industries, so they can be fed to us and turned into hot dogs. It represents how animals are treated. And what they have to go through in order for us to be fed.”
Our final stop is the back room. The door closes and the room is stifling. It looks like the remainder of the kitchen after a tornado: cracked eggs on the floor and sunny-side-up eggs flattened on the walls, piles of plates on the floor. On top of the crooked counter is a plump white animatronic chicken. Then the chicken starts screaming.
“Well this is the kitchen!” Laura says.
The hen makes terrible high-pitched cackles of laughter, a searing cacophony in the cramped room. It giggles and squawks and curls its head back in hysteria.
“Most people just laugh,” Laura says. “You look really scared right now.”
The eggs on the walls are supposed to represent eyes, watching and judging. The cracked eggs on the floor is another representation of how animals are treated.
And the chicken? “Yeah…she’s kind of gone mad, right? So I think it’s about how animals are treated, how chickens are treated, chicken farming. They have no place to stand, they’re being genetically mutated, they fall down because their muscles are so heavy. Some of them are just laying eggs so we can eat them, right? So I guess, in that way, it’s kind of like the chicken just cracked.”
Chaos, surrealism, and anxiety are words I’d use to describe The Lion’s Share by Rita McKeough at the DMG. The exhibit lasts until this Saturday.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Homestyle: An overview of UTSC's Student Housing service.

UTSC, I sincerely hope midterm season is being kind to you, or so by U of T standards. Philosophically speaking (or so I like to think), exam time coincides with the Fall for a very symbolic reason: the sight of those big, crunchy leaves falling from the tree often represents our own lives. Our falling grades, our falling social life, our falling sleep patterns. The concept exists of everything in life just going down the drain for these couple of weeks. So now that I've painted THAT happy little picture, we can all move on with this wave of optimism that I am sure has overcome you with my words.

With a population of over 10,000 students, and over 15 percent of the student body being comprised of International students, one of the much needed and widely-utilized facilities available to fellow humans here in Scarborough is on-campus housing. The Student Housing & Residence Life office operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 365 days a year in some capacity or the other. However, its image in the eyes of the student population has become majorly obscured. To most residents, it is home. To everyone else, it’s a great party spot AWAY from home, or a place to crash before an 8 AM class that they still probably won’t attend. (In their defense, 8 AM classes? What were you thinking, Oh University overlords?)
So here’s to shining some light on our Student Housing service, just because I may provide a totally unbiased view. Okay, I lied, I actually live/work there.

An overview:

Residence is divided into three major portions: North Residence, located adjacent to the SY building on that side of campus nobody can ever bother to walk to. South Residence, the main entrance of which is closest to our Social Sciences building (MW, didn't you know? M and W are the new S. Cosmo says it’s all the rage this season). And Joan Foley hall, the ultra-exclusive (well, sort of) apartment building that looms over our MW wing. Students are accommodated in four- or six-person townhouses, or four-person apartments that come fully equipped and furnished. By fully equipped, I mean ovens/stoves/kettles. Unfortunately, no panini makers, PlayStations or waterbeds are offered as of yet. Overall, residence has the capacity to accommodate just over 750 students, with first-year students being guaranteed residence regardless of their actual hometown. Works well because every new student is entitled to that on-campus experience, but creates slight chaos when a froshie from Malaysia is competing for housing with a froshie from Markham road. Oh well, equity.

Students who chose to live on campus pay in housing fees what they do in tuition. The over $6,500 going towards residence contributes to a variety of facilities they are entitled to. The Student Housing maintenance office operates on a full-time basis during the school week, and is available for emergencies during the weekend. Those maintenance workers can fix ANYTHING, literally ANYTHING, from a broken faucet, to a broken bed; to a broken heart (some of them are incredibly easy on the eyes). Campus police is also a regular fixture on the grounds of residence, especially after hours, and are in close communication with student staff present.

Student Leadership on campus:

Speaking of student staff, the housing office’s greatest achievement (apart from you actually having houses) is an environment that fosters great student leadership. In a residence of 750 students, the office employs over 30 full-time student leaders, with committees and volunteer opportunities for whoever is interested. The student staff is thoroughly trained and certified in several areas of leadership before becoming eligible to actually take on the job.

The 17 Residence Advisers (RA’s) are full-time UTSC and residence students who take responsibility for mentoring, guiding residents, and creating a welcoming and positively sustainable atmosphere for everyone that lives there. They are there to counsel, support, hang out with, and lead students through those eight months of campus life. Then there are three Residence Programmers (RP’s and RCC) in charge of planning and coordinating all sorts of events and programs for student to ensure that there is always SOMETHING TO DO.

Academic Programmers and Promoters (APP’s) are 10 student leaders in separate roles. Trained with the Academic Advising and Career Center (AACC) and Registrar’s office on campus, their main focus is to encourage academic learning and provide more options for students who are more academically focused. From hosting study sessions and Professor-student mix and mingles to holding de-stressor yoga sessions, the APPS work around the clock to remind residents that there are options for them outside of just campus life (and that this is U of T and it WILL try to asphyxiate them with an unmanageable workload, so why not do some yoga and eat an apple once in a while).

Campus partners:

The student housing office has close connections with several other on-campus facilities they like to call their ‘campus partners’. The counselling service at Health & Wellness, the International Student Centre and other campus facilities regularly come to residence to speak, hold office hours and keep residents informed of what UTSC has to offer. Obviously, the Marketplace won’t be visiting anytime soon. But I’ll whine about that some other time.

With midterm’s undertow, and stress levels escalating quicker than Mitt Romney’s $5 bajillion tax plan, it’s a good place to be. The walk from home to class is never longer than five minutes, friends literally live 10 seconds away; there are RA’s and professional staff on duty at every hour of the day or night.
As second-year resident Elizabeth Jarrell would say, "There are times when I can get up 10 minutes before my exam, and not worry about being late. That, my friend, is priceless."

Many of our off-campus commuter students don’t even know where residence is. The faint shadow of townhouses in the background, and faint memories of throwing up on someone's couch that one time, may be all the information our students have on the Residence services at UTSC.
Hopefully, I’ve changed that just a little bit. Or more than just a little bit, maybe I’ve drastically altered your view of campus and changed your life in an irrevocable manner. If so, go get yourself checked out.

Stay well UTSC, exams WILL end, and you WILL see your pillow again very soon.
Farewells of all sorts,

Monday, October 22, 2012

Death is not a competition

It's something that has been going on probably since the beginning of time. Recently, it has been getting a lot more media attention because more people are speaking out about it and frankly, people are starting to actually take it seriously. Bullying is starting to take over headlines and breaking news all over again. It's a shame that it stopped getting media attention because it has been a major problem in the past and unfortunately, it always will be an issue in the future. I wish I could say that it wouldn't but realistically, people will always find reasons to hate other people and that's all that bullying really comes down to, hate.

I want to talk about the Amanda Todd story for a little bit. I'm sure you all have heard of it as it's been all over your television screens and newspapers recently. In a nutshell, what happened was that a girl that had been bullied repeatedly put up a video on YouTube a couple months ago telling the world her story. Recently, the bullying got so bad she couldn't take it anymore and decided that not living would be better than the pain that she feels everyday so she committed suicide. If that wasn't tragic enough, I went on YouTube to watch the video and I see MORE hate comments even after her death. The hate comments then erupted onto my twitter and Facebook. Most of them went along the lines of "She brought it upon herself" or "If she wasn't a *expletive*, she would still be alive right now". I didn't know her personally, but I am human enough to respect her and her family. If reading those comments make my heart drop, I can't imagine how her family would feel. It's disgusting, it's as if her being bullied about her mistakes EVERY DAY and eventually committing suicide wasn't enough for people. It's as if they wanted her to suffer more for her mistakes because clearly if they are still bullying her after her passing, they don't think she had actually paid for her mistakes.

With that said, I am also sick of people complaining about how she's getting so much attention when [insert name here] went through the same thing but nobody ever talked about them. Death is not a competition. Stop comparing deaths. Each life has it's own worth and it affects different people. I read a Facebook status the other day about this and I just have to share it.

"Stop comparing suicides. There is nothing you can gain from that. Saying one person WHO KILLED THEMSELF doesn't deserve a facebook page as much as another because "they weren't that innocent" or "they weren't as nice as my friend" is like saying Pol Pot's genocide shouldn't be taught in school because Hitler's was worse. 

Mourn the deaths of those we have lost and recognize them as a person in relation to themselves, NOT in relation to others who have committed suicide

Enough said. 

If you face bullying and are scared to talk about it, you can always visit the UTSC health and wellness centre for counseling, advice, and anything else you might be facing.

That's enough of my rant for today, until next week,

Peace and love. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Procrastination: Binging on Pleasure, Binging on Anxiety

According to University of Calgary Professor, Piers Steel, 95 percent of college students procrastinate on their coursework. I know, right, who are those other 5 percent of people?

I procrastinate. It’s 6 am and I just woke up to rewrite this blog post under a different topic than I first wrote it because I procrastinated after I didn’t like how the one I was supposed to write ended up. I do this all the time. I get deductions on essays like it’s no big deal and feel terrible about it constantly. I spend agonizing hours watching alarm clocks count down, watching myself wait to start assignments that are due in only a few hours.

This is the way I’ve phrased the question to myself so many times: “What is present-Jakub doing that’s messing up future-Jakub so bad?” I don’t think present-Jakub hates future-Jakub, though present-Jakub often hates past-Jakub. Present-Jakub’s just greedy, he wants all the movies, candy, video games, and books future-Jakub is going to enjoy and he wants them now. Present-Jakub wants to watch one more Bukowski interview before he starts his metaphysics paper. He wants a nap so future-Jakub can work more effectively.

I blame the internet for my temporal quandary.

Just the slightest impulse can bring a person from being well into mastering radiocarbon dating equations, to looking up how they found the age of the Shroud of Turin, to reading about how up to half the world is infected by brain parasites that control their behaviour (it’s spread by cats, just so you know).

Why would I even bother to continue memorizing equations after being faced with that fact, and the links to studies, and articles written about the lead expert in toxoplasmosis (that’s the name of the parasite that may currently be nesting in your brain, reader), a quirky Czech scientist who started off simply by being paranoid that parasites living in his brain were altering his behaviour.

Sorry what was I writing about again? I better get to the point because I’m almost out of time to hand this in.

I blame the internet because the most effective thing I can do to end my own procrastination is to disconnect from it. I’ll delete my Facebook account, and block myself from accessing addictive websites in arduous ways. I’ll go to my local public library with only my old dumbphone with basic internet connectivity, or leave it at home altogether and just grab all my research, references and notebooks in paper form and do the task by hand. The further I can get away from easy, comforting electronic stimuli, the better especially if it’s a tough assignment.

 Other tactics that I’ve used somewhat successfully are breaking  tasks up into small pieces, and checking them off after I finish them. I’ve also given myself small rewards (I’m a big fan of Big Turk and Bounty chocolate bars)  for certain checkpoints, whether it’s word count or time spent working. If I really need to get serious, sometimes I’ll set a timer that goes off every 20 minutes, work until the twenty minutes are up, write down in a log what I’ve done in those twenty minutes, take a five minute break with the reward, then start the whole process again. There are as many different tactics for overcoming procrastination, as there are procrastinators. There probably is a singular way to ‘cure’ procrastination, or I’m sure one of these methods will be absolutely perfect for me, but I’ll figure it out later.
Got any procrastination tips or stories? Share them with us in the comments section below.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

It's Business Time, UTSC style

We all know them. Those dark, mysterious creatures with the aura of self awareness encapsulating them. They have a swagger in their walk, a shine on their shoes and a glint in their eyes. No, I am not referring to campus security. I refer to one of UTSC's most formidable entities, 'The Management Student.' We've all seen them sauntering through the hallways in their suits, ready to impress the pants off any unsuspecting audience.

This is a tad on the dramatic side but there is an element of truth to the matter. From my personal experience, for a Management student any opportunity to wear a suit is a good one.

No offense to my home-boys in the Arts (sorry Med kids I don't interact with any of you) but you need to take a leaf out of the Management book.

Being the President for SIFE (and not being bias in any way, promise) I decided maybe I best tackle the topic of evaluating the presence of Management club. Our contenders are MESA, DECA, TMG, IS and SIFE.  Here's the breakdown:

MESA: Management and Economics Student Association

Purpose: "MESA is mandated to represent the academic and program-related concerns of students in Management, as well as to provide programming, activities, and other events relevant and of interest to students."

Impact: MESA helps all the bright-eyed first year students to get involved and active on campus. They have a lot of well-organized and executed events which do add some flavour to the UTSC club scene. 

Following: Everyone and their grandmothers in Management know about this club. The only downer is that it is obviously not inclusive to students from other disciplines. 

Purpose: "To foster a truly unique and personalized experience for every member of DECA UTSC through a focus on the development of professional and personal skills that are transferable to their future careers."

Impact: Based on my investigation, DECA has one major case study competition which is the main focus of their activity, besides workshops. DECA seems to have a really committed exec team that are still holding a table in the IC lobby; that's commitment! 

Following: Lots of people join DECA based on knowing the organization from high school. A few people in the past have stated that if they were not a part of the competition, which was a little pricey expense wise, they felt a little disconnected. 

Investment Society

Purpose: "Investment Society @ UTSC provides opportunities to gain knowledge about investments and finance through interactive workshops and seminars and an open platform and network for students who are interested in finance."

Impact: Pretty interactive workshops coupled with plenty of partnerships with other clubs makes investment society a very active campus group. Also a very clear goal helps to add to a consistent following.

Following: Strong following since most members stick around for long periods of time. Slightly more inclusive than other clubs since they teach financial skills as oppose to expecting a preexisting knowledge base.  

When anyone says it is 'business time' this always plays in my head.

The Marketing Group (TMG)
Purpose: "Providing the UTSC student community and faculty with a feasible way to learn about Marketing and Consumer Engagement. The events and initiatives thrown will be designed to teach students about all forms of Marketing."

Impact: New group thus has the disadvantage of no legacy, but gosh I am a fan of whoever their graphic designer is! The pink sheep to me is genius. They say the marketing people are the party management people. If so, making their presence known should be no problem. 

Following: 133 likes on Facebook is the only source I can quote.

Purpose: "SIFE is an international non-profit organization that brings together student leaders to create a better, more sustainable world through the positive power of business. Conducts projects fulfilling the criterion of helping people, the planet and generating profit."

Impact: Relatively low on-campus impact but is striving to change that. Hoping to spread the word about their name change this November (ENACTUS).  

Following: Mid-size exec team of 30 and in and out volunteers. Unlike other clubs there is no position for general members, which means the team itself is a tight-knit group. 

Conclusion: Management groups are more goal orientated and in my opinion very well organised but non-inclusive. Sigh. Tell me the Studio Art major with all the Accounting/Economics majors to boss around. 

If a group you know of has not been mentioned feel free to let me know in the comments section!

This week's SWAG SIGHTING contestant is......

This man knows when business time is..
Name: Taylor-James Esch
Year: 2nd
Major: Specialist in Astrophysics (My brain went numb in awe)
Verdict: The man dresses like a rockstar but he's cooler because he's an astrophysicist. I mean there is a juxtaposition of of a tool belt and a vest, with that hair to boot. Needless to say this is my favourite swag entry so far.

Enough fan-girl-ing for today.

Stay beautiful UTSC


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The High-Tech World of UTSC

Just by being a member of U of T, you’re eligible for tons of free and discounted software and hardware. From my experience, few people know about these services. Today, you can consider yourself one of the lucky ones.

First, UTSC’s IITS provides tech-related information and links to software downloads. For free, you can download an app that allows you to print wirelessly to campus printers from your personal computer. The days of waiting furiously to get a library computer—needing to print an assignment for a class at two o’clock when it’s one fifty already, and there’s some insensitive lowlife watching The Big Bang Theory on the campus computer (“Why can’t he just go home to watch this,” you’re asking yourself, your legs now turning inwards from impatience like you need to pee), and then when you finally get a free computer having to log in which takes another five minutes and your head is hot with anger, and the collective noise of the library, similar in decibel and pitch to that of a Chuck-E Cheese’s at high noon, is making things even worse here for you—well, those days are over.

Also from IITS, you can download for free a Firefox add-on that searches the UTSC Intranet Directory and an installer that properly configures Skype for use with the campus network. From IITS you can download more free software, such as Microsoft Security Essentials (antivirus) and Cisco Jabber (a video conferencing client). IITS also lists recommended specs for a computer for university use.

U of T’s Licensed Software Office allows you to purchase software at special negotiated prices, right from the site (you’ll need to do this on a campus computer). The shipping is also free. The selection includes software useful for classes, such as Statistics and Mathematics packages, as well as software useful for general computing, like Adobe Acrobat, 7-Zip, or antivirus software.

Of course, the U of T bookstore sells software at student prices, including Adobe Photoshop CS6 (only $199; normally over three times that) and Microsoft Office applications. As for hardware, the bookstore promises to beat the prices of any other Apple dealers in the GTA.

Dell offers prices specific to U of T students, promising up to 30% in U of T member program savings and an exclusive financing offer. Go to and use the member ID 2146522 when you check out.

Most of these offers were well-hidden in U of T’s family of websites. These were all that I could find. If there are more hidden goodies out there, in the sprawling complexes of U of T’s online world, leave a tip in the comments.