VOLUME 12 ISSUE 2 SEPTEMBER 2012
Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new. OG MANDINO (1968)
Am I Doing It Right?
A Simple Old Book
Where We Write MARY FERGUSON
A Note for Newcomers
Student of Life ALLIE HINCKS
The Last First Day
The Final Goal
Pursuit of Reflection
LAUREN RABINDRANATH CHRISTINE NAGUIB
COSIMO DE FRANCESCO
EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Lakyn Barton
THE STUDENT ISSUE
Production Manager Katie Parkes email@example.com
Literary Editor Fiorella Morzi
I have been a student, in the traditional sense of the word, for most of my life.
Art and Photography Manager Allie Hincks
Like most of you, I have been in school since the age of four and haven’t really looked back or taken a break. Even now, as my final year at Laurier begins, I am considering continuing into graduate school. Academia has been such a strong influence in my life that thinking about not being within it terrifies me.
Promotions Manager Mary Ferguson firstname.lastname@example.org
Radio Manager Katie Parkes email@example.com
Brantford Manager Carla Egesi firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTRIBUTORS Katherine Boehm, Cosimo De Francesco, P.G. Gallant, Maria Kouznetsova, Cassandra Mensah, Christine Naguib, Ashley Newton, Lauren Rabindrath, Andrew Savory, Natalia Smiarowski, Alcina Wong
ADMINISTRATION President, Publisher & Chair Emily Frost Executive Director Bryn Ossington Advertising Manager Angela Taylor Vice Chair Jon Pryce Treasurer Thomas Paddock Director Kayla Darrach Director Joseph Mcninch-Pazzano Corporate Secretary Allie Hincks
When the Blueprint Editorial Board decided on the theme of “Student” we were not only thinking of the reason that brings us all together at WLU, but about how that term can be applied and critiqued in so many ways. There is the actual act of being taught something within a classroom setting but I wanted to expand the term “student” to explore other avenues. We have all been a student to others kindness, intelligence, and cruelty. We have learned something from friends, from people you thought were friends, from pets, from siblings, from television. We all have those key people and moments that impacted your life - those learning moments. Respect those moments, those teachers, and respect that you still have more to learn. You may not be the ideal student. You may zone out during lectures, you may not learn it the first time (or the second), and you may think it is pointless, but show up to the lesson because someone has taken the time for you.
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Lakyn Barton Editor-in-Chief
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COLOPHON Blueprint is the official student magazine of the Wilfrid Laurier University community. Founded in 2002, Blueprint is an editorially independent magazine published by Wilfrid Laurier University Student Publications, Waterloo, a corporation without share capital. WLUSP is governed by its board of directors. Content appearing in Blueprint bears the copyright expressly of their creator(s) and may not be used without written consent.
COVER Art by JOEL HENTGES
Blueprint reserves the right to re-publish submissions in print or online. Opinions in Blueprint are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Blueprint’s management, Blueprint, WLUSP, WLU or CanWeb Printing Inc. Blueprint is created using Macintosh computers running Mac OS X 10.5 using Adobe Creative Suite 4. The circulation for a normal issue of Blueprint is 3000. Subscription rates are $20.00 per year for addresses in Canada.
NEXT ISSUE On the theme of “Danger” Submissions due October 5 On stands October 17
The character on the cover is faced with the similarly daunting choices of a student. Even before he decides where he would like to end up he has to first decide to start. From there his options open up endlessly and graduating from something with lead to another, he just has to climb.
The Final Goal CASSANDRA MENSAH
You’ve finally done it. A large home and a salary that can’t be beat But imagine one day it all fell out under your feet Is there nothing left to define you? Do you even know who you are? Or have you spent your whole life measuring your success to the speed of your car? Fear settles in. Your real nature demands to be noticed As inner failures become the main focus It’s a frightening thing working towards a sole goal Only to realize it has left you with a gaping hole Imagine all that you’ve missed as your head refused to sway Tunnel vision aimed at the top. You engrossed in battles day after day Now, like a ton of bricks the world’s suffering falls to your feet You’re dumbfounded at the “troubles” you had as a child who struggled to eat Or you look to your left and notice the beauty in natures design And begin to think “Ah, now that’s what Shakespeare had in mind!” Disappointment settles in and I do not blame you one bit You were trapped in a rat race, and simply refused to quit But this is why I don’t waste time comparing my success to yours Because if I’m not happy, I’ve clearly closed the wrong doors So I remove these materialistic fears quickly from my thought And try to be truly happy as an honest human ought I try not to lie, but be authentic and true And spread as much happiness from me to you And sure I’ll be happy if I make it big and can rejoice But I better be sure that when I get home, I recognize my lovers voice Life’s a balancing act and a difficult one I can admit But find your poise and you’ll succeed in ways the old you wouldn’t permit.
LAUREN RABINDRANATH Okay, I admit it – I am a complete and total school nerd. Geek, keener, loser; whatever you want to call me, it’s true. I love learning. I love school. I love being a student. And you should too. There are so many wonderful opportunities available to university students and great qualities of student life that it is hard for me to imagine why anyone I know would complain about school. First of all, the fact that you are here means that you are among the few people in the world who can afford post-secondary education. In other words, you are extremely privileged and should feel grateful and lucky that you even have the opportunity to set foot on campus. Second, you are living in a completely awesome, isolated, and idealized bubble. Right now in your life, you have to worry about you. Having fun, hanging out, and becoming who you’re going to be for the rest of your life. Throw a few classes in there, some of which you might actually enjoy, and you might realize that being a student rocks. Yes, it is expensive, but right now it’s about completing the degree – not paying for it. Never again will playing Robot Unicorn Attack/Data Worm/Draw Something for extended periods of time be acceptable (or desirable). The opportunity to digitally hit on strangers isn’t likely to happen again (LikeALittle anyone?). Getting dressed up and trashed on a regular basis is totally suitable here, as is sleeping in, shirking your responsibilities, and eating mac and cheese for dinner every single night. Once you graduate these and many other common student habits are not always taken kindly. Third, this is the one of the last times in your life you will have easy and (relatively) cheap access to people, food, athletics, recreation, trips, clubs, classes, parties and time. Sure, writing a fourteen page paper on the implications of Renaissance art on modern culture may not be your favourite way to spend a Tuesday afternoon. But consider the fact that Tuesday night will be spent at the Fox, and Wednesday you have one hour of lecture before your dance class, after which you’ll meet your Art Club for drinks at Wilf ’s. Makes those few hours typing seem a lot better, doesn’t it? Students have around 20 hours of class a week. Even with assignments, readings and group meetings you’re still going to have way more free time than you will when you work fulltime. You’re in a safe, fun and friendly area with thousands of people your own age. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Most of all, live it. The one piece of advice I received the most on the last day of my summer internship was to enjoy school because I’ll be working for forty years afterwards. You have your whole life to work. You only have these next few years to stay up all night, live with your best friends, learn about the world, party copiously and consistently wear sweatpants. Don’t complain your way through it.
S-T-U-D-E-N-T KATIE PARKES
The ‘S’ is for the storybook summer that has sadly soaked its way into your subconscious. For the sticky, squeaking sound your shoes make as you stroll to class. And for the slippery feeling in the pit of your stomach as you sit in your seat, silently staring at the solidness of the ground. The first ‘T’ is for your trembling hands as they reach for your treasured timetable. For the terrifying tower of textbooks you will try to tackle. And for the tender sun that teases you through the tingling window. The ‘U’ is for you and for becoming unique. It’s for the unwanted pressure. For the unexpected and the unknown and the unforgettable weeks. The ‘D’ is for the dumb decisions you will undoubtedly make. For the dull moments and the devilish ones. And for the desperate desire for dreams that might never come true. The ‘E’ is not for easy. It’s for the endless moments you will spend exaggerating the effort you put into your education. For the excessive drinking and the elaborate excuses. And for the enormous debt that exhausts you. The ‘N’ is for notebooks filled with nonsense. For narcissism and naughtiness. For nights spent alone and for feeling numb. The second ‘T’ is for the temper tantrums you will have over theses and theories and teachers. For the tick tock of the clock that reminds you that this time in your life won’t last forever.
Even though I’m well-prepared, I can’t help that I’m so scared Because my life’s about to change In ways that may, to me, seem strange. I’m so nervous I can’t sleep Because my move-in day did creep Up suddenly on me tonight: I can’t calm my growing fright. Tomorrow, what will happen here? Will I miss my home so dear? And how about my mom and dad— Will they miss me all that bad? Wait! I haven’t even moved in yet! It’s not that frightening, I’ll bet. I guess I have to wait and see What uni has in store for me.
Binder Doodle P.G. GALLANT
A Note For Newcomers FIORELLA MORZI
I always thought I chose Laurier for the wrong reasons. I didn’t choose to attend because I was enamored with the program, or because I knew people that decided on Laurier too. I didn’t even choose it because of its lively school spirit, student initiatives galore or reputable social scene. I chose Laurier because I was afraid of the one lesson moving away from home can provide you with: how to depend on yourself. Like many students first arriving to university, I spent the last 18 years of my life living at home with my family. I rarely cooked for myself, and heck, my parents even did my laundry. In many ways I lived in a home protected by my folks, living with a mother and father who loved their children tremendously and were (and continue to be) sensitive to my sister and I’s individual needs. In fact, it began to dawn on me that it might be a scary thing leaving behind the comfortable nest my parents had lovingly created. On the night that I decided which school I would attend, I had the Carleton pamphlet in my left hand and Laurier’s in my right. In my mind, the deciding factor was distance. I rationalized that an hour away from my home in Oakville at Laurier was “safer” than five hours away at Carleton. I could never have anticipated that the exact phenomenon I feared and was desperately trying to avoid would be the key to awakening facets of my identity not yet familiar to me. It would become the foundation for understanding myself in ways that, without embarking on my journey to Laurier, would not have emerged in the manner that they did. I hope you’re still with me. At first, Laurier’s energetic sense of school spirit dumbfounded me. I didn’t want to be just another peppy university gal, but I didn’t want to be the party-pooper either. I envisioned my future identity as a rigid box instead of a fluid process. I realize now that “discovering” your identity is a creative, active practice, one not about social binary constructions, but about approaching iden-
tity construction like a flowing and rambunctious wave. The truth is I didn’t know what I wanted or what I was looking for. Looking back now, I think that was a good sign. I entered university unsure. Unsure of why I was there, unsure of who I wanted to be, which in retrospect I believe can be one of the best positions to be in when entering a new phase in your life. The only requirement is first and foremost making a conscious decision to experience it with kindness and flexibility in mind. With my bags packed and my family and I standing in the doorway of my new dorm room, I can say that an earnest desire to know was all I really had. Essentially my fears were rooted in the belief that I wasn’t going to be okay on my own, but each of the three years here has offered me newfound insight into who I am as a person, a student, a writer, and a woman. Eventually, not only was I okay on my own, I grew in the process of figuring out how to be. Throughout my three years at Laurier, I have been blessed with meeting girlfriends that I know I will maintain a friendship with for the rest of my life. I had the pleasure of meeting them at the beginning of first year in residence. Note: Meeting life-long friends is not limited to living in residence. You’ll be surprised at the relationships you build within class and extra-curricular activities. In my case, I would soon find out that my roommate and I complimented each other perfectly: she accepted my sleeping habits, and I understood her cleaning ones. The other girlfriends I met there taught me how to befriend and love someone who is unlike you, which is something that I have learned to value for its ability to show you the wonders of perspective. Above all, my girlfriends and I laughed until the wee hours, bared our souls, and taught each other the meaning of closeness, acceptance and love. Without Laurier, I would not have developed these friendships, and more importantly, it
would not have been the same experience anywhere else. My point is this: enjoy your time here and enjoy it with the people you meet, relish in the moments you share with the strangers who are quickly becoming your best friends, and savor the beauty in having someone to share it with. In my academic and extra-curricular life, I didn’t really throw myself into things I was passionate about until my third year. I had gotten advice from senior students who raved about extra-curricular activities, and their message was clear: get involved with as many things as possible right from the beginning of your undergrad career at Laurier. This is an important mindset to start your first year with because it allows you to see the possibility in every club and organization on campus that catches your eye. However, it didn’t happen all that smoothly for me, and I’ve learned that it doesn’t for a lot of people. It took some plain old messing around and dipping my feet here and there before fully realizing what I wanted to devote my time to. And then, when I was ready, I canon-balled into the water. Academically I experienced a similar sense of uncertainty with my program, but I decided to stick it out to see if anything would change, and it did. I began to see both the practical and personal worth of my degree, and by choosing a host of interesting electives I came across a course that radically changed my thinking. I fell in love with what I was learning, so much so that I added it to my degree as a minor. Take the opportunity to explore courses that not only appeal to you but challenge you as well. Dare to be adventurous and open-minded. Even if you’re looking for a course to fill up your schedule and you stumble upon something that seems like a write-off, take a chance. At best it will nourish you, be a source of personal fulfillment, and revolutionize the way you view something, but - well, there is no but. Each course, interesting or
not, has the potential to teach you something new about yourself. You might not come away from it thinking you learned much at all, but I encourage you to look beneath the surface. Even in a course you detested, your reasons for finishing it will probably aid you in your self-development on an intellectual, psychological or spiritual level. After all, your university education may be about finding a job in the future, but I think we are all really here to learn about ourselves, the power of communion, and through our many efforts an important lesson in humility. At the end of my first year, I thought I had experienced the best time of my life, and maybe you will feel the same way when this school year comes to a close, but with each passing year I am reminded the road is long and beautiful. I am reminded of the countless lessons (both easy and difficult) in and out of the classroom left to learn and how there is no rush to master these lessons. If anything, I have learned that in time these experiences will come to you naturally through divine intervention or by learning to pay attention to your gut. Cater to your curiosity. Our trials and errors have an incredible ability to nurture us, empower us, and scare us stiff, but the beauty of it all is that any time you feel impacted by something, there is abundant opportunity for growth. Seize these opportunities! Although I may not have picked Laurier for the “right” reasons, my adventure at this university has provided me with invaluable insight into who I am as a changing person and it has enriched me because of it. Of one thing I am sure, within the next four or five years of your life here, you will evolve and explore unknown territories. But do not fret: there’s no need to preparWith an open heart, you’re already on the right track.
Individuals KATHERINE BOEHM
There has not been a single moment in my life when I have not felt like a student. A student is someone who is learning, has learned, and needs to learn something. I am certain that I have always fallen into one of these three categories. That stage when I was fourteen and thought I knew everything? I still felt like a student, albeit a well-learned one. I was the one who people went to for advice when they had a problem, and the one who was unafraid to ask the teacher a question when she had a problem. The stage I have reached now, twenty-two years old and feeling like an idiot ninety percent of the time? I feel like a student who has not quite learned enough yet. There is so much to know out there. I cannot possibly cram it all into my brain, despite wanting to. I feel overwhelmed by the vast amount of things I do not know. I happen to like learning, which is why I am both dreading and yearning for the school year to start. I dread the inevitable stress.. I remember the pressure I felt last year, and of course, that thought is begetting more stress. Well done, me, for that unnecessary loop of heart-racing. But I yearn for it because I feel like I have lost a sizeable chunk of knowledge over the summer. During that time, I had some moments where I proved to myself that I could still think critically, but that tower was built on a rusting base
which I still need to maintain. I hope that returning to university will help. I have tried to keep on top of things; I worked full-time hours, earning money for my tuition and books. The knowledge base I gained from my job is rewarding, but also limited, and any free time I have is to be put towards tasks that prepare me for my future. So my time learning and experiencing the present is also greatly affected. When I was in high school, I enlisted in a co-op that allowed me to take university courses and work as a research assistant while earning high school credits. One of the major factors that made me decide to do the program was the fact that high school drove me nuts, and I wanted out. I did not feel like I was getting the most out of my time there. I needed experience, something I could learn from, and I felt that the high school system was not the perfect avenue for my particular brand of learning. That is part of the reason I constantly feel like a student, even outside of school. I am trying to learn as much as I can while navigating through a system designed for the mass majority and not for the individual. It has to be this way, since there are so many of us students in this world, and it makes sense to set it up that way. Yet there lies the flaw; we are all individuals, so it is for none of us.
I feel like a student who has not quite learned enough yet. There is so much to know out there. I cannot possibly cram it all into my brain, despite wanting to.
Student of Life ALLIE HINCKS
Over the years, I have slowly come to the conclusion that being a student can mean two things. You can either decide to be a student of academia, or you can choose to be a student of life. If you go the academia route, your papers and exams might be more important than social outings. If you are a student of life, then you probably say yes more than you say no and there’s a good chance you have learned way more from your mistakes than in any classroom. Neither one of these is better than the other. They’re just different. I am a student, just maybe not by the same definition as others are. I think that life can make me a better person than exams can, and I think knowing I can be strong when faced with a bad situation is more important than knowing I can write a 12-page paper in one night. I think that knowing yourself, your limits, your faults, and your strengths can’t be taught in a classroom, but I do understand that a lot of other things can. That’s the thing about being a student, the lines are blurred and the boundaries are pretty non-existent. You can choose to learn about one thing or everything, or you can choose to read what you want to know or go out and face what you want to know. Please don’t get me wrong - I love class. I thoroughly enjoy learning and I especially love knowing that the things I learn
while in university are things I probably otherwise wouldn’t have. But, at the end of it all, when I finally graduate, I probably won’t remember the institutional criteria of the public sphere or the central features of a political economic perspective. I promise you I will remember the feeling of defeat, and the feeling of knowing I can pick myself back up again. I will remember every single night that didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, and that’s a lesson in it’s own. I will remember every single minute spent doing nothing in particular but all those minutes somehow got me to where I am right now. And where I am right now… well, I don’t think it could get any better. Being a student can pull you in a hundred different directions and it can stress you out. I can guarantee the things you worry about when you’re a student, you will not even remember in two years. You can’t lose sight of the things that matter, and I mean the things that really fucking matter. I may not have an exceptional transcript and I may not be on a first name basis with my profs, but I love my life and I am certain that I can do whatever I want and make it through whatever gets tossed in my face. At one point, the things you put on paper stop mattering and the way you conduct yourself does.
September ANDREW SAVORY
Brimming with personality and character, and yet nothing but an empty chapter. Here exists anything and everything, open plains scattered with potential for more. Within the thick of it all lays your beginning, daunting at one moment, absorbing at the next. At your feet opportunity is approaching, bringing with it the chance to seize all thatâ€™s in your grasp. Four years or more if you wish, ready to merge into a bright blur. Amidst this you will flourish, leaving you in a state of wonder. Let nothing pass you by, for this is a time youâ€™ll remember. Ties will be drawn, and friendships created, take it all in, this coming September.
Where We Write MARY FERGUSON
a continuing series exploring independent cafes in the Kitchener-Waterloo region.
What : Whiskey and Espresso Bar When: 8-11 weekdays, 9-11 Saturday Where: Uptown Waterloo
I’m not somebody who can write in public. I need silence, I need darkness, I need a baker’s dozen of mountain dew. Other people seem to be able to operate under less dire conditions. In an effort to understand these writers, I have undertaken a momentous task: to work in and review different cafes in Kitchener-Waterloo that cater to us writerly types. It hasn’t been easy. Firstly, I had to leave the house, which was more than I thought I could handle. Secondly, I had to overcome going off campus for something. These things took much meditation. I decided to start small. I explored Uptown Waterloo and found a few places I really liked, and hunkered down. Death Valley’s Little Brother is new to Waterloo, blessed with a great location and multiple positive reviews on Yelp. It seemed most promising to my change-reluctant writer-in-residence.
With an open concept design and an old-wood feel, DVLB is a great place to nest for a few hours and chop away at some writing. They serve not only espresso, but loose-leaf tea for those so inclined, and whiskey for anyone looking to go the Hemingway route. When I was there, the music was unobtrusive but well picked, no radio ads to be heard. The Decemberists kept me calm as I unpacked my laptop and discovered the free wifi. I was able to work privately but comfortably for nearly two hours before my hermitesque tendencies overtook me and I had to return home. For those looking to make the trek off campus, this is a great first step. Close to Laurier, DVLB is located on King St, just before Bridgeport. With a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, delicious snacks and a drinks menu to boggle the mind, DVLB is somewhere I know I’ll keep coming back to.
Pursuit of Perfection COSIMO DE FRANCESCO
Just to start off, I am not a poet Though people see me as one, Because when I write I want to rhyme every time, And this addiction is bringing me some friction. You. You know I am not a poet But when I feel the urge, Before I write, Veins begin to pulse, Heart beats to the rhythm of a drum, Which can only be heard In the loudest of areas. Then I stop breathing... Air is still, body is calm, (Exhale) …then I begin, I want to write the perfect poem, But I know I can’t. Every thought formed in my mind, The flashes of words, Continuation of phrases. Formulating around my brain, Surging more words and phrases, Which hit the page in disorder, Leaving me lost. I want to write the perfect poem, But I know I can’t. I get worked up on the words I have written down, Then I stop, with no conclusion. And fall, The same feeling I had When I rode my first bike, Able to see ahead of me Then slowing down, Tilting over, and crashing onto the pavement. Hand scared by the ground, In need of repair.
I want to write the perfect poem, But I know I can’t. I know I can dream of one, Every piece of imagination, Through the focus of my eyes In the background of a picture Beside the future I saw two days ago. I see it escaping me, Slowly. Waiting for me to catch up, Hopefully. When I finally finished my poem, I read it over, I sink into my seat, Slowly slipping, Closer to hitting the ground, Wondering what went wrong, Why it is not perfect, Why can’t I write a perfect poem, The only problem with what I thought, Is not about writing a perfect poem, Because there is no such thing as one.... And what I have written, In that moment Is the closest to perfect as it will ever be.
Am I Doing It Right? ANNA SOUTHALL-MILLWARD
If you could take it all back, you would. But then you think. And you think often. Not always purposefully, but the thought is there. The notion emerges that there were moments – moments that may have in fact made it all worth it. They are often not realized until after the moment has passed, time has passed, the decision has already been made, the papers signed. Whether or not these moments are just ways to justify the experience itself, the time and money and pain and angst and confusion, they do exist. The feeling in your stomach, the giddy feeling, that you don’t think about while the moment is happening, but somehow takes over your mind and body until you are deliriously happy. You could be flying. But you are standing. Standing is what actually happens, flying is what you remember. Those moments when someone touches your hand, and consequently touches your heart. Those moments when the buzzer sounds after what seems like an eternity and the scoreboard is in your favour. Those moments when you look at the sky and realize that it encompasses the whole world. Those moments when your lungs collapse from the deepest laughter over the mundane details of the life you are living. Those moments when you realize your parents are in fact right. Those moments when the idea crosses your mind that everything is going to be all right. Those moments when chocolate seems like the elixir of life. Those moments…. they are present in every situation. Pain doesn’t disappear but it can be forgotten. Regret is not permanent, but firmly seeded. Untouched, these seeds multiply and expand. By focusing on these moments of perfect happiness, the time and money and pain and angst and confusion temporarily become worth it. And the temporary becomes permanent. Nothing can be taken back, but why should it be? It’s the moments. The moments you live for. The moments that go unrealized until realized.
LAUREN RABINDRANATH I have been here for eight hours. Sitting. Reading. Writing. I swear my brain is melting. “Here” is the library, the fifth floor to be exact, but it’s been feeling more like home than my apartment this week. I’ve been studying for Accounting for four days and the exam isn’t for another 47 hours. At this point I don’t know if I’m going to make it. I’ve become immune to my own smell. Showering has become secondary, and as a result my hair has been in a bun for two days. I avoid mirrors at all costs and am pretty sure I could pass for my fifteen year old brother – zits and all. I didn’t think you were supposed to break out after grade 10, but apparently the Accounting syllabus was missing some key information. Chips and chocolate bars are now considered acceptable lunches. They keep me going at least, as long as they’re eaten between cups of coffee. I can’t wait to eat something other than pizza for dinner. I’ve forgotten what other foods taste like. I miss daytime the most, though. I come in the morning, I leave when it’s dark – just before I go insane or starve. 47 hours until I can enjoy the sunshine, go for a walk or see a movie. The only break I allow myself has been Facebook, also known as Family Feud. Mostly these breaks have resulted in getting depressed by seeing pictures of friends who are already on summer vacation. Fun stuff. 47 hours. Forty-seven hours. XXXVII hours. I can do this. Chapter 12…
A Simple Old Book CHRISTINE NAGUIB
Everything was dark and dreary as Julian entered the passageway, wondering where he was going. He breathed in hot and stuffy air. Julian’s curiosity numbed his fear. As he continued on, he heard noises and buzzing, but once he hit the concrete basement floor, the noise stopped. As if time had gone backwards he found himself in an old colonial print shop. This was not just any ordinary shop, but a part of history that showed Julian how much work was put into publishing books. Walking down the old corridor, Julian saw numerous young men in old clothing hard at work. In the hot, dusty, room every man had his own job operating on the ancient looking printer. It was large, and Julian thought the work looked tedious. It was wooden with thick arms and the room smelt like burnt paper and ink. Julian felt invisible as he watched them work like he was at the cinema. To his surprise, he saw a young teenage boy walk into the print room. He was tall with musty brown hair and looked quite indifferent to his job. Introducing his name boldly to one of the older men, it turned out that he was an apprentice. Julian followed the apprentice into a brightly lit, petite, binding room where all the books were bound together. It seemed to Julian that binding books was effortless, but he was quite wrong. He watched attentively as the apprentice weaved his hands through the thick paper like an ancient Egyptian creating papyrus paper. It took him hours to get all the books bound together. The sounds of his sighs pained Julian. He wished he could help him and had pity on him. The noise of shuffling at dawn woke Julian up the next day. The printing room was busy and the men were furious. Their goal was to bind millions of copies of the Bible… something that sounded so simple for modern Julian. The old printer was heavy and working with it was dangerous. Many inexperienced young men could easily get hurt. The sound of suffering filled the print room. This was what true hard work was. Julian had always taken books for granted. The looks of pain on the men’s faces had changed him. When Julian arrived back in the present, he was emotionality moved. The image of the men’s faces while working was glued to his mind like a sticky note. As a teenager, he could not believe that someone his age could be busy binding books from dawn to sundown like the apprentice he saw. The next day when he saw a poor abandoned book on the ground, he picked it up, treasured it and thought of all the hard work that was put into it.
The Last First Day ASHLEY NEWTON
There is something crisp about the air on the first day of school. A wave of new beginnings seems to float effortlessly in the air. I watch as the people around me convene with their friends and reconnect with their lives as if they were puzzle pieces. The edges are so flawless and all these students seem to readjust so quickly to the life of academia. I should know; I am a student myself. And today—the first day of school—will also be my last first day of school as an undergraduate student. Fourth year is kind of sad and sublime in that way. But one word seems to stand out to me: Student. Student... What does that word mean? Although mental and physical destruction comes from its dictionary definition, I can easily recall certain experiences that have defined the term for me in several other ways. So can you. Each and every one of us has the power to formulate and comprehend our own experiences as students and decipher what those experiences might mean. I have found that being a student means you are hungry most of the day, you are tired, you want more time to spend on leisurely activities, and you want to be a millionaire so you won’t have to worry about various expenses (or—you guessed it—debt). Sometimes it means the occasional morning lecture in your pyjama bottoms. Sometimes it means being homesick—both at school and away from school. Best of all, being a student means you are offering yourself up to the real world and becoming a better person from what you will learn in such a small space and during such a short span of time. Now that my last year is already here, I cannot truly admit I want it to end. After nearly four years of associating myself with being a student at this institution, I often wonder what my identity will become once I leave this place. There are fears about employment, debt, and everything else life manages to throw at me. But at this moment I am simply a student, and I am like other students around the world who share these thoughts and feelings.
Being a student is more than just avoiding your typical academic headaches. It brings the knowledge that you will adopt your school’s colours—in this case purple and gold—into your own veins for the duration of your stay. You become part of an unbreakable community with your graduating class and the other students around you. Sometimes it may feel like we are different animals simply thrown into one cage left to fight over limited resources. If we can look past our struggles, our experiences as students remind us that we truly are all different, yet identical in our ability to envision what we want to take with us once we leave school. We’re all just a bunch of hawks, really. I invite any student who reads this to think about what being a student has meant for you. Then, I would like you to imagine who you might be when you are no longer a student. Who are you? Where are you going? What do you want out of life? It’s confusing to envision, isn’t it? Now, I ask you to forget about your worries regarding the technicalities of your future income, your dream home or spouse, or even the bigger stresses you will come to know. Worry about being a student now, not when the time to be a student has already passed. Worry about creating memories with the people around you; people who share a similar vision. Don’t dwell on anxiety. Find what you enjoy about being a student and hone those emotions. For some, being a student means enjoying the pleasures of independence. For people like me, being a student means I can enjoy the chicken strips and curly fries from the dining hall before an evening class, or whenever I want for that matter. I guess it also means I should stop standing under the Aird underpass like an idiot and get to class. I can’t ride that wave of new beginnings if my surfboard has already been tossed across the post-apocalyptic realm of Bricker Avenue. I’m really going to miss it here, aren’t I?
Study Tools ALLIE HINCKS
Good Mistakes NATALIA SMIAROWSKI
I’ve learned that staying up all night talking to your lover is more rewarding then staying up doing essays. The slightest movement of hands tracing, of bodies turning. Even his soft breathing is too loud to let me sleep. We rest in each other’s arms until morning, barely knowing each other, and marvel at how a few hours ago we were awkwardly sitting on his couch. In the morning we walk to the Heuther for breakfast and sheepishly look at each other as young lovers do. I’ve learned that when you’re 19, sleeping with someone who is a quarter of a century old is not as appealing as it sounds. He has a car and tattoos. A tongue that can make you moan. Scars far deeper then mine. He has had 5 more years to make mistakes and to get used to the things he can’t change about himself. He tells me his body is an art gallery that I want to walk around in. You want to fall in love because you have not heard someone say something so nice in a long while. But he leaves your life without a goodbye. A bastard with a big heart for someone else. A mistake named me. Don’t kiss someone who has taught you. Or maybe you should. You could find yourself sitting in a cemetery, just talking, the day before your birthday. I tell him only teenagers hang out in cemeteries (they’re always looking for easy thrills) and maybe he is looking for some youth in his life. I’m in the path of the cemetery ready to leave. He walks up to me and says that by swapping saliva we become more immune to infection. It’s a good reason to kiss anyone at least once, but would have been more useful to some of the deceased that surround us.
Volume 12, Issue 2