Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Blogging the UTSC student experience!

UTSC Pulse is a blog by students and for students of UTSC. We're recruiting a new crop of bloggers to write about what's important to them, and to you. Keep an eye on us as the Fall semester begins, and in the meantime have a look through our archives for interesting, funny and insightful writing.

And if you want to be one of those writers, drop us an email at with some information about yourself, why you want to write, and some writing samples if you have them.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The great impersonal machine

I don’t think most people are really that honest when they’re applying to jobs or being evaluated in some way, because the thought of baring your soul out to someone and then being rejected is too much for any of us to bear. I have a friend whose great passion is going into medicine, and yet her answers to the question of “who do you want to be” from strangers or those probing little forms that you have to fill out for various purposes in life, are the most sterile, generic answers you can imagine. Read them and you’d get the impression she’s just going through the motions, or that she’s the most cheerful yet shallow person around. Her job and volunteer and university applications don’t even begin to even approach the true recesses of her soul. Probably it’s the same for me too, or for all of us. Our impossible hopes or niggling self-doubts or deepest passions can never be articulated in 500-word blurbs.

Yet this is how we’re judged. This is who we are. We are not living, breathing human beings with ideas and layers and dreams; we are our resume. We are our GPA. Matt Smith is a 3.1, and so is obviously inferior to Sally Lawrence who is a 3.7. “What do you do?” has replaced “Who are you?” Can our GPA measure our kindness and the quality of our character? Our pride comes from our list of accomplishments, instead of our quality as a human being. If you make $100k-plus a year, have a beautiful house and a nice car, you’ve made it, brother. You are the envy of all of us. You are our envy.

This is our society. The efficiency that we hold so dear has stripped us of our humanity. Who are you now? You are: coffee house barista for 1 year. Studying psychology at U of T, GPA 3.5. SIN 513 993 982. And the arbiters look at your fact sheet and say, Nope, sorry, you’re not who we’re looking for. We just know that someone else would be better at serving mushy hamburgers than you. I’m afraid your accomplishments don’t meet our requirements at this time.

Who are you now? You’re a number in a government database. You’re your tax deductions for last year. You’re a series of rants on the blogosphere. Probably this explains our 21st-century mania with sharing: we share pictures of our meals, our moment-to-moment thoughts, our music and our clothes. We don’t want to be forgotten. If no one’s thinking about us, do we even exist? Our surface thoughts and tastes can be shared, but never our souls.

This mania, to be remembered, to be accomplished, takes a toll on us. We’re exhausted. We don’t sleep. We slave away the night on distractions, on work, on the stuff that doesn’t really matter in the end. We miss something. Maybe we miss honesty. Maybe we miss feeling like a human being, with ideas and layers and dreams.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A social media experiment, part 2

So I just finished the last essay of my second year in university and I can't help but think about how fast this second semester was. I swear the beginning of second semester feels like it was yesterday when I was talking about how the beginning of first semester felt like it was yesterday when I was talking about how the beginning of summer felt like it was yesterday and etc. etc, time flies! 

Anyway, it's week two of my social media blackout.

Week two ended up being more of a challenge than week one. I had more "free-time" because most of my assignments were done and I definitely was not going to start preparing for exams three weeks in advance. I mean, you'd probably forget everything in three weeks, right?! So because of this newly discovered thing called free-time, I found myself fighting a constant urge to sign in on Twitter or Facebook again to tell the world some of my hilarious jokes.

Side note: Wow, I'm talking like I'm addicted to some sort of drug and fighting the urge to relapse or something. It's getting a little scary. 

The good news is that I didn't relapse. I mustered up the little bit of self-control I have left and decided that I don't really need Social Media... it needs me. 

I did however discover some more cons to not having a Facebook or Twitter which took a little bit of getting used to.

Having to actually look outside my window to check the weather. Apparently I got so used to people posting status and tweets about the weather, it became my number one source to keep track of it. Without the tweets, I actually had to get up, WALK to my window and look outside to see if it was raining or snowing or whatever craziness mother nature was up to that day. 

Side note: I don't trust weather apps either because those are wrong at least six and a half times out of ten

Having to keep your opinions about current events happening around the world to yourself even though they're absolutely hilarious. I guess this can go both ways. You can laugh at your own jokes because you know that you're hysterical PLUS you don't have to deal with people who get offended by your opinion. But, on the other hand, nobody else will be able to appreciate the artistically beautiful comedic relief you bring.

Finding out exciting news the next day instead of right when it happens. Because I can't see the trending topics of Twitter or trending articles on Facebook, I have to rely on reading the paper on the bus the next day in order to keep up with the times. For example, Ryan Gosling is taking a break from acting to become a director!! I feel like I'm in the '40s again being so behind on such important news

So to end this experiment, although it might take some getting used to, you really can't compete with more time for yourself. I don't regret leaving the social media realm at all! (For now.)

Also, I heard a lot of people followed my lead of this Social Media blackout and I'd like to hear how it's going for you!
Just comment below.
Until next time,
Peace and love

Friday, April 5, 2013

More Learning!

Every year the various academic departments at UTSC make changes to the programs they govern. That includes deleting unpopular courses, making changes to the wording of the calendar, changing program requirements entirely, and, the fun part, adding new courses.

The following are all the new undergraduate courses being added in the next academic year. Start perusing the courses you could take (or have to take). Get excited. Oh, and definitely review the changes in the calendar that affect your program, because they could be important.

ANTC53H3 Anthropology of Media and Publics

Learn about how anthropologists have studied new and old media over time.

Same as MDSC53H3; Prerequisites: [ANTB19H3 and ANTB20H3] or [MDSA01H3 and any 5.0 credits]; Exclusions: MDSC53H3; Enrolment Limits: 60; Breadth Requirement: Arts, Literature & Language

VPHB77H3 Asia in Display

Basically study modern Asian art.

Same as GASB77H3; Exclusion: GASB77H3; Recommended Preparation: [VPAA05H3 and VPHA46H3] or GASA01H3; Breadth Requirement: Arts, Literature & Language

VPHD47H3 Politics and East Asian Art

A seminar course that centres around a collective digital research project. The content, apparently, varies from year to year. Writing- and research-intensive.

Same as GASD47H3; Prerequisite: 11.0 credits, including at least one of [GASB31H3, GASB33H3, GASB35H3 GASB58H3/HISB58H3,VPHB39H3 or VPHB73H3] & a further 1.5 full credits at the B- or C-level in Art History, Asian History, and/or Global Asia Studies; Exclusion: GASD47H3, VPHD46H3; Breadth Requirement: Arts, Literature & Language

CHMB43Y Organic Chemistry I and II

A condensed version of the two half-credit courses on organic chemistry already offered (CHMB41H and CHMB42H). Much the same material as those two courses, but, at a faster pace and higher level. Includes an augmented lab portion, incorporating the new instruments in the TRACES facility. Fair warning: only the best and brightest Chemistry students should undertake this challenge, seeing as the two original courses are already notoriously difficult.

Prerequisite: Completion of at least 4.0 credits, including CHMA10H3 and CHMA11H3, minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7, permission of instructor; Exclusion: CHMB41H3, CHMB42H3, CHM138H, CHM151Y, CHM247H, CHM249H,CHM242H, CHM245H; Enrolment Limits: 44; Breadth Requirement: Natural Sciences

CHMC25H3 Quantum Chemistry

Get introduced to computational quantum chemistry with hands-on experience, using computers to figure out chemistry stuff. Again, for advanced students only.

Prerequisite: CHMB21H3 and PHYB56H3, minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7, permission of
instructor; Enrolment Limits: 40; Breadth Requirement: Natural Sciences

IDSC18H3 New Paradigms in Development: The Role of Emerging Powers

Examine the growing role of the emerging powers—namely Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—in international development.

Prerequisite: IDSA01H3 and one other B-level course in IDS; Breadth Requirement: Social & Behavioural Sciences

IDSC19H3 The Role of Researcher-Practitioner Engagement in Development

Learn about recent theories and approaches to researcher-practitioner engagement in development. I don’t even know.

Prerequisite: IDSA01H3 and IDSB01H3; Recommended Preparation: IDSC04H3; Breadth Requirement: Social & Behavioural Sciences

A brand-new Creative Writing minor, with five new courses along with it:

ENGC04H3 Creative Writing: Screenwriting

Write friggin’ screenplays! Your craft will be honed through in-class discussions, readings, and workshops. Admission by portfolio; see the Calendar for details.

Pre-Requisite: ENGB61H3; Recommended Preparation: Students should have developed a small body of creative works before enrolling in this course; Enrolment Limits: 20; Breadth Requirement: Arts, Literature & Language

ENGC05H3 Creative Writing: Poetry and New Media

Embark on “a creative investigation into the intersections between poetry and new media (from wikis to cell phones to social media)”—again, with discussions, readings, and workshops. Admission by portfolio; see the Calendar for details.

Pre-Requisite: ENGB60H3; Recommended Preparation: Students should have developed a small body of creative works before enrolling in this course; Enrolment Limits: 20; Breadth Requirement: Arts, Literature & Language

ENGC06H3 Creative Writing: Writing for Comics

Why are you reading this when you should be writing comics? Admission by portfolio.

Recommended Preparation: Students should have developed a small body of creative works before
enrolling in this course; Enrolment Limits: 20; Breadth Requirement: Arts, Literature & Language

ENGC08H3 Special Topics in Creative Writing I

Practice multi-genre creative writing designed around a specific theme or topic, with a class that involves readings, exercises, field trips, projects, etc. Admission by portfolio.

Pre-Requisite: ENGB60H3 or ENGB61H3; Recommended Preparation: Students should have developed a small body of creative works before enrolling in this course; Enrolment Limits: 20; Breadth Requirement: Arts, Literature & Language

ENGD22H3 Special Topics in Creative Writing II

The sequel.

Pre-Requisite: ENGC08H3; Recommended Preparation: Students should have developed a small body of creative works before enrolling in this course; Enrolment Limits: 20; Breadth Requirement: Arts, Literature & Language

Other new English courses:

ENGB27H3 & ENGB28H3 Charting Literary History I & II

Consider yourself introduced to the history and culture behind English literature before 1700, and from 1700 to the modern day in Part II of the class.

Exclusion: ENG202Y; Enrolment Limits: 175; Part I recommended before enrolling in Part II; Breadth Requirement: Arts, Literature & Language

ENGC90H3 Topics in Classical Myth and Literature

Study a few myths in-depth.

Prerequisite: ENGB03H3 & ENGB04H3 & [one of ENGB05H3 or (ENGB01H3) or (ENGB02H3)]
& ENGB30H3; Exclusion: CLAC01H3, (ENGC58H3), (ENGC60H3), (ENGC61H3); Enrolment Limits: 50; Breadth Requirement: Arts, Literature & Language

ENGC91H3 American Realisms

Explore American Realism and naturalism in literature, movies, visual art, etc., including the study of works by Henry James, William Dean Howells, Edith Wharton et al.

Prerequisites: ENGB03H3 & ENGB04H3 & [one of ENGB05H3 or (ENGB01H3) or (ENGB02H3)]; Enrolment Limits: 50; Breadth Requirement: Arts, Literature & Language

CITB08H3 Economy of Cities

Analyze the economics of cities, including topics like land use, urban structure and zoning, and transportation; Sim City for the real world.

Prerequisite: Any 4.0 credits; Enrolment Limits: 150; Breadth Requirement: Social & Behavioural Sciences

GGRA35H3 The Great Scarborough Mashup

Study the great cultural mosaic of Scarborough through field trips, interviews, and guest lectures.

Enrolment Limits: 30; open to first year undergraduate students only; Breadth Requirement: Social and Behavioural Sciences

GGRC50H3 Geographies of Education

Explore the geography of education; topics include geographical educational inequalities, class and race, the family and intergenerational class mobility, and the movement of children to attend school.

Prerequisite: [GGRA02H3 or GGRA03H3] and GGRB02H3; Enrolment Limits: 60; Breadth Requirement: Social & Behavioural Sciences

GGRC54H3 Human Geography Field Trip

Get out of the dungeons of UTSC and into the real world, with field research (including interviews, archives, and observation) on a topic shared by the class.

Prerequisite: GGRB02H3 and 1.0 additional credit at the B-level in GGR; Enrolment Limits: 30; Breadth Requirement: Social & Behavioural Sciences

A major new expansion of the Health Studies majors, with 11 new associated courses. See also, Management.

AFSB50H3 Africa in the Era of the Slave Trade

Learn about the history of Sub-Saharan Africa, from the era of the slave trade to the colonial conquests. “The capacity of Africans to overcome major problems will be stressed.”

Same as HISB50H3; Prerequisite: Any modern history course or AFSA01H3; Exclusion: HISB50H3, (HISC50H3), HIS295H, HIS396H, (HIS396Y); Breadth Requirement: History, Philosophy & Cultural Studies

AFSB51H3 Twentieth Century Africa

Continue where AFSB50H3 left off, studying the history of Africa from the colonial conquests to the post-colonial era

Same as HISB51H3; Recommended Preparation: AFSA01H3 or AFSB50H3 or HISB50H3 strongly recommended; Exclusion: HISB51H3, (HISC51H3), HIS396H1, (HIS396Y1); Breadth Requirement: History, Philosophy & Cultural Studies

GASB77H3 Asia in Display and GASD47H3 Politics and East Asian Art

Sound familiar to the Art History courses above? They’re the same.

HCSD05H3 Intellectual Property in the Arts and Humanities

Learn about Canada’s intellectual property (IP) systems, copyright, patent, trademark and confidential information. If you want to be a lawyer, this course will give you a leg up.

Prerequisite: Any 2.0 credits and 2.0 credits at the C-level in ACM, CFL, HCS, ENG and PHL; Breadth Requirement: History, Philosophy & Cultural Studies; Enrolment Limits: 30

HISB12H3 The Classical World in Film

Remember Troy? You’ll be studying historical films involving the Greek and Roman empires, like their props, archeology, and adherence to historical accuracy or source material.

Same as CLAB20H3; Exclusion: CLA388H and CLAB20H3; Recommended Preparation: CLAA05H3 or CLAA06H3 or (CLAA02H3) or (CLAA03H3); Breadth Requirement: History, Philosophy & Cultural Studies

WSTC23H3 Community Engagement Practicum

For students in Women’s and Gender Studies programs to apply their knowledge in a practical environment: namely an unpaid placement in a not-for-profit organization helping the community.

Prerequisite: WSTA01H3, [WSTA03H3 or (WSTA02H3)], WSTB05H3, WSTB11H3, WSTC02H3; Enrolment Limits: 8; Breadth Requirement: Social & Behavioural Sciences

WSTD07H3 Themes in the History of Childhood and Culture

Study cultural and gendered ideologies of children and childhood throughout the world, studying such disparate topics as factory children in England and mixed-race children in India.

Same as HISD07H3; Exclusion: HISD07H3; Prerequisite: At least 2 C-level courses in History and/or Women's and Gender Studies.; Enrolment Limits: 15; Breadth Requirement: History, Philosophy & Cultural Studies

JOUC25H3 Field Placement

Get placed in the field and create editorial content on various platforms individually and as a team. Taught at Centennial College. The field placement before the change was optional and non-credit, but now is required for a journalism degree.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of semesters 1 and 2 of the college phase of the Joint Journalism Program; Breadth Requirement: Arts, Literature & Language

LINC60H3 Special Topics: Structure of a Language

Learn to analyze the structure (including phonetics, phonology, word-formation rules, syntax, and script) of “a featured language” that’s not English or French: no prior knowledge of this language is necessary.

Prerequisite: [LINA01H3 or [FREB44H3 and FREB45H3]] and [LINB06H3 or LINB09H3]; Breadth Requirement: Arts, Literature & Language

PLIC54H3 Speech Physiology and Speech Disorders in Children and Adults

Learn about the physiology of speech perception and the physics of sound, as they relate to treating speech disorders.

Prerequisite: LINB09H3; Breadth Requirement: Natural Sciences

PLID56H3 Special Topics in Language Disorders in Children

Do like really in-depth learning about a specific type of language and communication disorder, e.g. hearing impairment, Down syndrome, or autism.

Prerequisite: PLIC24H3 or PLID55H3; Exclusion: JLS472H; Breadth Requirement: Natural Sciences

Aside from myriad other program changes, the Department of Management has added a new Specialist BBA program in Management, and a Health Management stream w/ four new associated courses. There are four new courses as well for regular Management students. I’m not even going to try to touch this, because all the shuffling around is very complex. My advice is that if this is relevant to you, check it out immediately.

STAC51H3 Categorical Data Analysis

Statistical models for categorical data or whatever. Contingency tables, generalized linear models, logistic regression, multinomial responses, logit models for nominal responses, log-linear models for twoway tables, three-way tables and higher dimensions, models for matched pairs, repeated categorical response data, correlated and clustered responses. Statistical analyses using SAS or R. If you know what all of this means, God help you.

Prerequisite: STAB27H3 or STAB57H3 or equivalent; Breadth Requirement: Quantitative Reasoning

MDSC53H3 Anthropology of Media and Publics

The same as the ANTC53H3 that I mentioned before.

Prerequisites: [ANTB19H3 and ANTB20H3] or [MDSA01H3 and any 5.0 credits]; Exclusions: ANTC53H3; Enrolment Limits: 60; Breadth Requirement: Arts, Literature & Language

PHLD05H3 Advanced Seminar in Ethics

The Calendar is pretty vague on this course, but it’s probably safe to assume that you’ll participate in an advanced seminar about ethics.

Prerequisites: 3.5 credits in Philosophy, including 2 courses (1.0 credit) at the C-level, at least one of which must be PHLC05H3 or PHLC06H3; Exclusion: PHL407, PHL475

POLB50Y Canadian Government and Politics

Merges and replaces two H courses: POLB50H3 (“Canada’s Political Institutions”) and POLB52H3 (“Canadian Politics: Connecting Citizens and Governments”). Students will now also participate in a Model Parliament (at the actual Provincial Legislature!), which wasn’t possible before with two short courses.

Prerequisite: Any 4.0 credits; Exclusion: (POLB50H3), (POLB52H3), POL214Y, POL224Y; Breadth Category: Social & Behavioural Sciences

POLC80H3 International Relations of Africa

Surrender yourself and let your professor introduce you to International Relations of Africa.

Prerequisite: POLB80H3. Students who have completed IDSA02H3 may enrol with the permission
of the instructor; Recommended Preparation: POLB81H3; Breadth Requirement: Social & Behavioural Sciences

POLD92H3 Survival and Demise of Dictatorships

Learn why some dictatorships survive while other do not. Especially relevant in the days of a sort of whiny, tantrum-throwing, and nuclear-armed North Korea.

Recommended Preparation: POLB92H3 and POLB93H3; Enrolment Limits: 25; Breadth Requirement: Social & Behavioural Sciences

PSYC05H3 Human Movement Laboratory

Study human movement, like eye-movements, balance, and walking, and collect and analyze data involving human movement.

Prerequisite: PSYB01H3 and PSYB07H3; Enrolment Limits: 35; Restricted to students in the Specialist/Specialist Co-op programs in Psychology; Students in any Mental Health Studies program and the Major in Psychology will be admitted if space permits; Breadth Requirement: Natural Sciences

PSYC51H3 The Cognitive Neuroscience of Vision

As promised, study the neuroscience of vision, including the visual perception of object features, perception of high-level categories, visual attention. Also, compare human and monkey visual systems. Probably no meeting actual monkeys, though, which is lame.

Prerequisite: PSYB51H3 or PSYB57H3 or PSYB65H3; Exclusion: PSY380H; Enrolment Limits: 75; Restricted to students in the Specialist/Specialist Co-op, and Major programs in Psychology, Mental Health Studies and Neuroscience;  Students in the Minor in Psychology will be admitted if space permits; Breadth Requirement: Natural Sciences

PSYC68H3 Diseases of the Brain and Mind

Super-cool advanced course. Learn the methods of diagnosing and treating neurological diseases from a clinical perspective. Taught by the faculty of brain sciences at Sunnybrook Research Institute.

Prerequisite: PSYB65H3 & PSYC62H3 & [one additional C-level half credit in PSY or NRO] &[cumulative GPA of at least 3.0]; Enrollment Limits: 50; Restricted to students in the Specialist/Specialist Co-op, and Major programs in Psychology, Mental Health Studies and Neuroscience; Breadth Requirement: Natural Sciences

SOCC54H3 Special Topics in Sociology of Culture

Analyze, sociologically, the role of culture in societies. See for the course topic of current and upcoming semesters.

Pre-requisite: SOCA01H3 and SOCA02H3 and SOCB05H3 and SOCB42H3 and SOCB43H3; Enrolment Limits: 60; Breadth Requirement: Social and Behavioural Sciences

SOCC55H3 Special Topics in Race and Ethnicity

Study the key concepts of research on race and ethnicity or something. See for current and future topics.

Prerequisite: SOCA01H3 and SOCA02H3 and SOCB05H3 and SOCB42H3 and SOCB43H3; Enrolment Limits: 60; Breadth Requirement: Social and Behavioural Sciences

SOCD20H3 Senior Seminar: Social Change and Gender Relations in Chinese Societies

A seminar course with room for very few people; examines gender relations in modern China.

Same as GASD20H3; Prerequisite: [SOCA01H3, SOCA02H3, SOCB05H3 & one C-level course in SOC] or
[GASA01H3 & GASA02H3 & one C-level course from the options in requirement #2 of the Specialist or Major program in Global Asia Studies]; Exclusion: GASD20H3; Enrolment Limits: 14

SOCD21H3 Immigrant Scarborough

Conduct qualitative research on the social, political, cultural and economic lives of immigrants in Scarborough, and tie your practical research to theoretical debates about transnationalism and immigration.

Prerequisite: SOCA01H3 and SOCA02H3 and SOCB05H3 and [SOCC23H3 or SOCC31H3]; Enrolment Limits: 30; Breadth Requirement: Social & Behavioural Sciences

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I Wear Your Granddad's Clothes I Look Incredible

For this post I'm going to bank on a lot of people having heard this song.

If you hadn't heard it yet well here you are. 

Why this song? Well the theme for this week will be first impressions.

What happened was when I heard this song I was in a car functioning on three hours of sleep and sipping on the misery cup. All I heard in between talking to my friend was 'I wear your granddad's clothes, I look incredible'. So I thought, 'This is why I don't listen to the radio anymore.'

Then, while looking for desperate excuses to avoid my thesis, I decided to watch the video for this song. Suddenly, it all changed. This song is hilarious, the subject matter might have deeper meaning if you're willing to look into it and frankly speaking that thrift shop swag is working. 

Life lesson, your first impression should not be your last. 

This isn't the only instance this year I've been forced to reconsider my past judgements. One of my closest friends is a guy, who in the first 15 mins of meeting, I dismissed as 'mean pushy dude'. We've been good friends for three years now, I tell him this story all the time. 

Here's another story: I met a group of people at UTSC. At first they seemed cool but I never hung out with them, just passing waves and such. Eventually, the waves stopped and that dance of awkward eye contact avoidance began. You know... that thing you do when you don't want to say hello because you think the other person won't care enough to acknowledge you so you do like an ostrich and bury your vision in a fictitious cloud of ignorance? Maybe that's just me. 

Then I had a terrible day at school and I decided to take a chance on these distant friends (5th circle of friends-twice removed), since all my regulars were too busy to hold me and Dr. Phil me through the day. Ever since that day I've spent every night at school with them doing the most fun, bizarre things and I don't regret a single minute.

Life lesson 2, approach passing judgement with care; you've usually got more to gain than lose. 

I can't speak for anyone but myself when I say this but I'm prone to making such errors. 

That isn't to say human beings aren't prone to be equally disappointing. I've had people cost other people thousands of dollars in damage due to mismanagement and lose competitions because of misplacing subs etc etc (student group problems). But as the British say, (or at least their war propaganda posters of the 30s), said, 'Keep Calm and Carry On'.

Bearing in mind if you set the bar too high you'll have a bunch of people flailing about then dropping into the ocean of inadequacy. 

That's all the preaching I have in me for this week. 
<3 Z. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

A social media experiment, Part 1

Purpose: To analyze the change in lifestyle and behaviour of a young-adult male after 1 week of cutting all ties from the world.

Background: So last Monday I made the hardest decision of my life and deactivated both my Facebook and my Twitter accounts. Now if you know me, you know that I was an avid Social Media user. I used social media as a medium to get my opinions/thoughts/random things nobody needed to know into people's news feeds and timelines.

Now you may be thinking why on earth would I do this to myself. (I like to think of it as social media suicide).

Honestly, I have no clue. I may have just needed a refresher and time to myself, who knows? If you have any ideas why I could have done it please let me know! Like really, comment below. I don't even know who's reading this or if this is even on Facebook or Twitter or who "liked" or "favourited" it so please leave a comment below.


1) I have more time. I normally would come home from work at around 10:30 pm and spend an hour or two trying to catch up on what I missed on Twitter and Facebook during my five hours at work. It would always be pictures of cats and bad jokes on Twitter and useless information about people on Facebook but for some reason I'd still read it night in and night out. But now I usually come home and head straight to bed or read a chapter of a textbook. (More sleep, more productivity = +2 points)

2) Literally 3-4 people made an effort to contact me. Usually if I'm on Facebook or Twitter people are replying/messaging/commenting on what I have to say throughout the day. But ever since I stopped using them only three or four people contacted me. It's only been a week so take what you may from this observation. (+1 just because talking to people who actually want to talk to me make for better conversations)

3) You have more time to actually workout when you're not Tweeting about it. Who knew?! (+1, self-explanatory)

4) Easier to make conversation. Because you don't have play by play updates about your friends via Twitter you can ask them about their day and actually be surprised about something rather than acting surprised because you already saw tweets about it the previous night. (+1)

5) More difficult to make conversation. You can't be like "Oh, I saw you went horseback riding with your pet monkey yesterday on Twitter, how was it?!" This can make for awkward silences(?) and increased frustration with the terrible social skills of this generation. (-1 for awkwardness, and another -1 for the frustration)

Points so far: +3 in favor of keeping social media deactivated.

Overall, it's given me more time to figure out who I am rather than what I want to be perceived as. There isn't anybody I'm trying to impress online anymore. It's just me being me, to myself.

Tune in next week for week two of my social media suicide stunt.


I made you guys and gals a bunch of Motivational Wallpapers to help you through these trying (exam)times.
Enjoy! (These are all 1920x1200 px resolution, sorry multi-monitor junkies and super-hd screen nerds).

Don't be a weary New York, do your work!
Actually took a million hours in ms paint.
Also available in 4:3ish

Also Available in 4:3 For Real!

This one was really hard to do for some reason.
student pls


Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Probably UTSC's architecture is so familiar to you that you just tune it out. That would be a shame, because many of these buildings are award-winning, and are art forms as valid as as the paintings lining the walls of the Doris McCarthy Gallery. Love it or hate it, UTSC's aesthetic was designed very deliberately. Here, take the time to appreciate the place you call home.

The Andrews Building

The Science and Humanities Wings are actually one giant structure, originally called The Andrews Building when UTSC first opened in 1965. It was named after its architect, John Andrews, who is best known for being the architect behind the CN Tower.

Anyway, Andrews constructed the building in the Brutalist style, a style in vogue in the 1960s and 1970s and inspired by Japanese Metabolism, Russian Constructivism, and the New Brutalism of post-WWII England.

It was designed to blend seamlessly into the landscape, and so the forest area around UTSC was left to grow, and the Andrews Building was built against the edge of the ravine, almost seeming to extend the lip of the valley.

At the time it amazed the architecture world for being the largest concrete building ever made. The interior of the Andrews Building was designed to be like a city, with the long corridors meant to resemble streets. Plenty of natural light was let in to reinforce this effect. I'll admit that the corridors do indeed look like city streets, albeit the stark dystopian kind.

The Science and Humanities wings were fashioned so that students never had to go outside between classes (we're in Canada, after all). Originally the residences were to be build at the ends of both wings, so that students could roll right out of bed and into class, but that plan was scrapped for monetary reasons. All the city streets converge on the central hub, the Meeting Place! It was built for students and faculty to mix and mingle, presumably so that science and arts students would learn to get along. That last part didn't work out.


The Academic Resource Centre was the next major academic building to be built, in 2003. It was designed by Brian MacKay-Lyons in the Modernist style. The exterior was plated with copper, which as it aged turned brown and, nowadays, is just beginning to turn green. According to Canadian Architect magazine, "The understatedness and richness achieved through the patina of the copper cladding complements the strength of the massie Inca-like concrete structures initially laid out by Andrews."

In the interior of the ARC, Mackay-Lyons took influence from Andrews in the use of elevated walkways, overlooks, and plenty of natural light. The plan of the building is organized on a grid, with 25-foot-wide "boats" being "docked" on the grid. Between the "boats" are two-storey hallways and suspended walkways. The lecture theatre, AC223, is meant to be a giant "ark" docked on concrete. 

Mackay-Lyons used repetitive materials, like concrete columns, concrete block walls, suspended and exposed circulation system, and cherry plywood millwork "as a means of demarkating spaces, from points of arrival to back-of-house activities," says Canadian Architect. Of course, the major landmark of the ARC is the University of Toronto Scarborough Library, which was relocated from the Bladen Wing.


The Social Sciences Wing (originally the Management Wing) was designed by architectural firm Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg. Like Andrews's Brutalist work, it's made chiefly of concrete, but Douglas fir was used on some walls to give it a lighter touch. The "city street" aesthetic from Andrews was again borrowed, and the architects lined faculty offices along the outside walls of corridors in the building, separated from the noise of the social areas but still open to each other. The architects also took cues from Andrews in the generous use of natural light, with one wall being entirely window, and minimal artificial light. The 60-seat lecture rooms with desks in a horseshoe around the professor were modelled on rooms at Harvard Business School.

AA and Student Centre

The Arts and Administration building is made largely out of brick and limestone. It was also inspired by Andrews, but its use of wood and polished concrete makes it warmer and more elegant.

The Student Centre was opened in 2004 and funded by students themselves. It's clad in titanium, and its butterfly roof establishes a clear main entrance to the campus. It was designed from the ground up to be energy-efficient (and LEED-certified!), with a green roof, bamboo floors in lounges, and its use of recycled steel.


Finally, the Instructional Centre is the newest building on campus, and the most indicative of modern architectural styles. Painted in white and grey on the inside and clad in green opaque glass, photo-voltaic solar panels, a green roof, and no shortage of windows, the building is meant to have an airy feel. A glass bridge connects the two sides: one for students, and the other for faculty offices. Cementing its modern approach, the IC is built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver sustainability standards and features a two-storey-tall piece of modern art on the wall in its skylight atrium.

And that, folks, is all. I hope I've given you a new appreciation for the intelligent design of our campus. All photographs were taken by yours truly.

Monday, March 25, 2013

National Nutrition Month

I know this is the last week of March but since I haven't been able to write all month I just thought I'd share that March is national nutrition month!

For us as students, I know that free time is just a theory. With mid-terms, assignments, part-time jobs and trying to get the most sleep we possible can, there are things we have to compromise. Usually, it's sleep. Sometimes it's a meal, sometimes it's physical activity. I believe that compromising nutrition is one of the biggest mistakes we can make, especially as students. There have been countless studies performed linking good nutrition to better grades, enhanced learning ability, etc.

The slogan for this year's nutrition month is plan, shop, cook.This basically means that planning meals and snacks ahead of time will help you stick to a better diet.

The planning stage should start from when you're making a grocery list. If you minimize on junk, there won't be any junk in the house to be tempted with. Instead, substitute the junk with healthier snacks. I personally recommend baby carrot sticks because they're so good, they're vegetables and everybody knows how hard it is to find that combination. Greek yogurt is great because it's low in fat and greater in protein content; it also tastes delicious. Fruits are definitely a delicious way to stay healthy, apples especially. You've obviously heard the cliche before so I won't say it but if you're tired of eating boring old apples, you can also try dipping them in peanut butter. I've never tried it because it doesn't sound very appetizing but my sisters say it's delicious and peanut butter is a great snack as well, so why not? The last thing I can personally recommend are nuts (almonds in particular), they contain healthy fats that your body needs making them a great post-workout snack.

The "shop, cook" part of the slogan is fairly simple. Shop for only what you planned for and cook all your meals. No matter where you eat out, it's always a better idea to cook meals at home. That way you know exactly what is in your food and you can prepare accordingly.

If you want more information on National Nutrition Month, visit:

That's all for this week.

Until next time,

Peace and love

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Top 10 worst reasons to be late

Welcome to the third last week of school! Insert dramatic music. We're almost near the end of this magical rainbow, formed by our tears.

He knows.
I was on the TTC this week, contemplating how I managed to be 30 minutes late again, when I began counting the worst reasons I've had for being late. For comedic purposes I shall include my friends, who shall not be named, as inspirations.

1. I woke up on top of my alarm clock. Apparently having muffled the alarm sound with my body. Basically body smash my phone daily.

2. I left something at home and had to get it, three times, one morning.

3. I really needed to know who won on The Price is Right.

4. My TTC bus driver had a sudden coffee craving and left everyone in the bus waiting for as long as it took to beat the line. It took a while.

5. My dog hid my shoes. 
Can you be angry at that face? CAN YOU?
6. Thinking the toilet seat was down, but wasn't, and smashing your pelvic region on the porcelain rim. Then spending the next half an hour recovering from the pain. This is a true story from a friend who I'm trying desperately not to name.

7. Forgetting to wear your shoes and not noticing till almost reaching school. How my friends manage these extraordinary feats I do not know.
8. The TTC bus driver drove past you. Twice. Happened to my friend on Tuesday. Tuesday was a cold day.

9. Cattle barring your path. This is a very 'developing country' specific problem but used to be a legitimate concern for me back in the day.

10. Tim Hortons. You know the line is at least a 15-minute commitment.

If you have any stories you would like to share there is a handy dandy comment section at your service.

Hip hip old chaps and keep a stiff upper lip.

<3 Zarish

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Samantha Wong studies her textbook. Jim Heiliger studies his textbook. Parth Subramanaim studies his textbook. Pamela Wick flips back and forth between two different pages, frowning at each. Jenna Li hunches over her computer. James Gonzalez studies his textbook. Jasun Singh clears his throat loudly and swallows the rest of his phlegm. Sunjay Rupani studies his textbook. Patricia D’Silva plays a game on her phone. The sound of squeaky shoes from students walking on the concrete floor. Jim Heiliger chats dully with his friend. Samantha Wong pulls her hair. Parth Subramanaim puts on earbuds. Jenna Li’s finger skates on her trackpad. Ambient temperature is 20°, made warmer by coats and too many people. Pamela Wick writes something in her textbook and promptly erases it. Jim Heiliger laughs loudly and is shushed by someone beside him. Parth Subramanaim studies his textbook. Sunjay Rupani  studies his textbook. Patricia D’Silva talks with a friend who happened to be randomly walking by. Andrew Ping types excitedly. A grey day outside and heavy snow. Patricia D’Silva is told to keep it down by a library monitor in a yellow shirt. Samantha Wong studies her textbook. James Gonzalez studies his textbook. Parth Subramanaim studies his textbook. Jim Heiliger leans back in his chair, his legs open at 90°. Bill Eichenwald stands up and adjusts his hat, and sits back down. Jenna Li coughs on her computer screen. Sunjay Rupani studies his textbook. The overall decibel level of the room is too loud. Parth Subramanaim studies his textbook. Jasun Singh runs his hands over his face. A library monitor looks like she’s considering telling Patricia D’Silva to shush, but changes her mind and walks away. Rustling papers and clacking keyboards. James Gonzalez studies his textbook. Jim Heiliger bites his nails. Parth Subramanaim’s music is too loud, and disturbs the people around him. Bill Eichenwald chokes with laughter at a YouTube video. Pamela Wick’s pencil tip breaks, and she scrambles in her case for another one. Ambient temperature now hovering around 19°. People walking around like herds of cows. Andrew Ping bounces his leg against the desk while studying his textbook. James Gonzalez studies his textbook. A disturbingly neutral smell, or maybe one you’ve merely gotten used to. Parth Subramanaim adjusts his chair, which makes a loud squeak. Jenna Li’s back will remain hunched when she’s 60. Jim Heiliger’s hair is blown back from a person walking by. Sunjay Rupani studies his textbook. Pamela Wick slams her book closed. Samantha Wong studies her textbook. Jasun Singh’s jaw is slack. Bill Eichenwald stares at the ceiling. Almost no one is happy. Kim Poon sits down and opens a bag of Hero Burger onion rings. Patricia D’Silva swallows her gum. Jenna Li goes into a coughing fit that makes everyone around her scooch away. Buzzing fluorescent lights. Jasun Singh’s face appearing lifeless and droopy. Samantha Wong studies her textbook, making little tears at the edges of each page. Ambient temperature back at 20°, give or take. The lights harsh and warm, like spotlights. Andrew Ping studies his textbook. Pamela Wick studies her textbook. A cackle from somewhere like the voice of death. Sunjay Rupani studies his textbook. Jim Heiliger studies his textbook. Every person here spends a full 1/3 of their day in a sitting position. James Gonzalez studies his textbook. Bill Eichenwald’s eyes glaze over browsing Facebook. A friend stops by Kim Poon’s desk and grabs one of her onion rings. Samantha Wong studies her textbook. Parth Subramanaim studies his textbook. The A/C making roughly the same sound as a jet engine. Clomps of high heels. Sunjay Rupani’s hemorrhoids are acting up, and he gently shifts his position on his seat. Ambient temperature perfectly calibrated to enhance studying efficiency. Patricia D’Silva looks outside at the snow. A little bit of drool hangs from the edge of Parth Subramanaim’s mouth, and is quickly sucked up. Samantha Poon thinks that if she died over her textbook like this, no one would notice for days. Kim Poon studies her textbook. Sunjay Rupani studies his textbook. Jim Heiliger studies his textbook. Andrew Ping studies his textbook.

         Inspired by David Foster Wallace

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The science of art? The art of science?

It’s difficult to compress five opinions into a couple of hundred words, more so when those opinions come from some of the most accomplished minds in our generation. No, I’m not talking about Emma
Watson (I’ve recently realised that people really, really like her and all these face book jokes/meme revolve around her...yikes). What I am actually referring to are the opinions of our students here at UTSC. Our school environment at the least encourages a funny but belligerent sort of competition between the arts and the sciences. With the faculty of science greatly superseding that of the arts (in sheer numbers, if nothing else), it’s not difficult to figure out what sort of academic environment is prevalent at UTSC, and U of T in general (did I mention that I’m definitely not on board the psychology-is-a-science express? #sorry #myapologies #hashtag #hashtag ).

So I actually sat a few people down (well, five to be exact...I JUST realized they were all women..woohoo!), and asked them to allow me to pick their brains a little bit, let me in on the great secret. Turns out there isn’t one, UTSC is a conflicted place when it comes to what people think about programs and major choices, but there are a lot of those who believe this ongoing Art vs. Science pseudo-war needs to come to an end. Some are apathetic. It’s not that ignorance is bliss; just that ignorance saves many of us the trouble of getting into ridiculously irrelevant arguments.

Beth Jarrell, a second-year student in the Joint-Centennial Journalism Program said, “My friends all belong to such a diverse range of majors. Of both my closest friends, one is an IDS major and the other a Math specialist. I would be lying if I said that it hasn’t greatly affected their personalities and in turn, our friendship. I can talk about Canadian politics or Canadian History for hours and come out on top of any argument, but all the while, I am painfully aware of the fact that I can’t code or solve a differential equation to save my life. It’s a feeling of inadequacy that is ingrained within us. I’m sure my ‘scientist’ friend’s freak out a little every time they need to write an actual paper for one of their biology classes or whatever”.

Marwa Sheikh, second year with an undeclared major, was particularly frustrated with the subject matter. “It’s an extremely annoying atmosphere of competition, because it really shapes students’ decision making processes in the worst possible way. I was an all-science sort of kid in high school, Physics and chemistry all the way. Yet, I’ve been taking a bunch of political science and media studies courses at UTSC. Regardless of how much I enjoy or learn from my classes, I feel the need to constantly remind myself and others that I have transfer credits for science courses. I’m originally a science geek or something like that. Why must we swing one way or the other? Why do we have to anyway? I can fulfill my breadth requirements and be happy with who I actually am. It greatly annoys me that Science students call us the ‘artsy kids’, all those joke about handing us a paint brush to shut us up or something. Whilst they think solving a differential equation is the be all and end all of humanity. The worst part is, I WAS one of them. It makes me come out of all this feeling extremely conflicted, we’re into mid-March and I have yet to decide upon a major. I’m afraid of how much these stigmas will play into my ultimate decision."

Some were even more honest and graphic in their statements. Jess Manley is a third-year French major, but she is minoring in Math and was previously a Math specialist. She said, “I feel like I’ve been on each end of the spectrum, and the only thing that’s changed about me is my level of comfort with my homework. I liked Math, I did well on some particularly difficult courses, but I was never happy doing it. French comes so much more naturally to me; I get along more easily with my professors and to be frank, it takes a LOT LESS to get a better grade. I was once having a conversation about a science journal with a friend, and all she had to say was that she didn’t really understand what she was talking about because she is an ‘arts’ major and all she knows how to do is finger painting."

These people might not have their irritations soothed anytime soon. Joanna Yuen, a fourth-year Biochemistry major from Hong Kong, is very blunt about the fact that she chose a program she hates, does assignments she can’t stand, and accepts grade she otherwise wouldn’t because it all comes with the validation of having a BSc. “I wouldn’t have come all the way to Ontario to major in the humanities. I don’t think there are a bunch of jobs in the field of bio-chem, but of course I sleep easier knowing I’m a science major. I just don’t respect the other fields. I wish I did, but I don’t and that’s all there is to it." It’s safe to say that Jess Manley would disagree, “We all have our own strengths. You may be good with labs and numbers, but I am better with grammar and language. What’s the question here anyway?”

Pulse’s very own Zarish Asif will round up this mini-rant of ours. “I’m technically in the arts community, but coming from the inside has shown me how glaring the misconceptions in the field are. Some of my favorite artists come from science backgrounds and vice versa. These are not two mutually exclusive entities, but are seeded off of the polarization that society develops in favor of keeping these disparities alive. Life is more interesting with the science geeks and artsy hippies are facing it off.  No one knows if anyone will ever win."
Before I shut up until next week, I am more conflicted-but-compassionate than ever. What is the science of art? Or is science an art?

S’long....? Till later...?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Why high school shouldn't be the best years of your life

Alright its time to address those 'growing old' concerns that seem to be plaguing everyone in my age bracket. I myself am turning 23 this year and get comments like, 'Oh you getting old girl'. First of all if you're still calling me a 'girl' how old could I really be? Second please stop talking. The early twenties are, thanks to the standard of living in Canada, just a quarter of your life. If I'm supposed to slow down and feel old at 25% of my life cycle I would be near suicidal.

In all seriousness, guys, what the fudge bars? How am I an aunty/grandma/decrepit old coot at 22 or 23? Did a cane just pop out my backside when I went over the hill? Did the pimples I had only a few years ago spontaneously combust into wrinkles?

If this is you after high school........... might have a serious problem.

You see, I'm not particularly hip. I don't listen to the radio much. The TTC just isn't keeping me up to date with what kids are listening to nowadays. Then again I did catch a song the other day with the chorus 'I look good in your grandpa's clothes' and remembered why I don't care about what the kids are listening to. Back to the point... Since I am unconcerned with the eternal fountain of youth, this descent  into old age (at 22) is not troubling me all that much. Frankly speaking I'm really glad I'm from basically the last generation that grew up listening to some kind of rock (RHCP, Pearl Jam, Nirvana represent!). 

That one year I spent in a Canadian high school drilled it into me that university would be a massive jump. A leap of faith where if you didn't ingest your textbook and generate that work ethic you didn't have in high school you would drop out faster than an anvil in a Looney Tunes cartoon. From my experience this really only applied to the people in high school who worked really hard or the random slacker that got into university and decided not to go to class, ever. I am a product of a different school system though... You think school is your ally. But you merely adopted the education system; I was born in it, moulded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a (wo)man, by then it was nothing to me but BLINDING!

Last but not least one major complaint is the beating everyone's social life took in this journey from high school to university. Well I can't speak for the GTA but I've noticed a lot of high school friendships didn't really stand the test of time. Pretty much two or three survivors make it out of the mire of time. There are 10,000 people at the Scarborough Campus and twice that at St. George, sorry UTM but you're too distant. Two hundred campus clubs, an SCSU that literally only throws parties and well the other thousands of students in Toronto and people tell me that their social life takes a hit? HOW? You quite literally have to hole up in a corner of the library and maintain an exclusive relationship with your textbook to manage this. 

Dear old chaps, I'm just trying to prod you into opening your eyes to the reality of our situation. If high school was the best years of your life you've basically prematurely curbed the glory of your existence. I know I was a complete idiot for the greater part of my teens. (Why why did I think turquoise bellbottoms were so cool?!) If you just forget for a minute that your biggest concern went from being what to have for lunch to OSAP you gotta take the  good with the bad. The world is just waiting for you to blossom into the creature of marvel you could be. Don't give up hope because that girl/guy you met in high school probably isn't the same as they were back then, there are nice profs and bad profs like teachers, money doesn't grow on tress but you can't live off your parents the rest of your life either. SO BUCK UP and prepare for the ride of your life because you have a life left to live.

I got 99 problems but...

<3 Z