relax, it’s not OCD By Julia Meadows Artwork by Erica Tsou
our eyes open and you begrudgingly get out of bed. Walking to the bathroom, the first thing you do when you get in front of the sink is brush your teeth. The brush topped with toothpaste; you begin to brush and discover that you are standing on one foot. Sound familiar? Probably not, but that’s how I start every morning and end every day. Standing like a flamingo-in-training may sound bizarre to you, but it’s normal to me. For each person, there are little alterations within everyday routines that would be considered odd when placed under scrutiny. Other people might not be the source of the self-consciousness that comes with knowing your deviations. The realization, often accompanied by varying degrees of horror, can occur on one’s own. Afterwards, you cannot leave the house without feeling like everyone around you knows that you locked and unlocked your front door several times. The sky has opened up and the eyes of
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Editor-in-Chief Karen Zhou
fancy, elegant way that the sauce falls. Focusing on so small an action raises an eyebrow at the nature of normalcy. The basis for declaring something abnormal is shaky and usually avoided. Of course, this can spawn hilariously awkward conversation if someone makes a big fuss over how you are doing things.
judgment have descended to press discomfort upon you as you go about your business. Am I being melodramatic? Maybe. While I might be a severe oddity (a fact which I accept), it is definitely a comfort to know that I am not alone in the sea of strange people. In fact, this ocean of curious behaviour is much larger than we think. Eating a meal seems straightforward, but table manners can be extremely deviant. Some are cultural: sharing food, not pointing your cutlery at people, or keeping your elbows off the table. Putting those aside, your fellow diners may find your behaviour strange nonetheless. Elizabeth, a second-year student, remarked that she pours sauce on her food “like a chef.” To her, pouring it in large circles is normal - but it was notably strange to the friend she was eating dinner with. She admits that ever since this occurrence, she cannot help but notice the
Specific modes of execution for daily routines - particularly where organization is concerned - come under the heaviest fire. A friend of mine cannot stand other people helping her with her laundry. This is not due to any sense of wanting to hide her cardigans and jeans from others, but because she sorts them in a very specific fashion: by season and, within that category, colour. Additionally, there is a precise method to folding and the orientation of the clothes within her dresser and closet. It is fair to say that most of us who follow any sense of order for our clothes have similar patterns: a sock drawer, a pants drawer, a t-shirt drawer. This is assuming that clothes manage to get off of the floor or out of the laundry basket. There are people who are strong advocates for the floor-wardrobe, though it can quickly turn into layers of sediment. Another student explained that she steps on the cracks in the sidewalk, with her opposite foot needing to fall on the exact same point on the line where her other foot fell before. When she looks down while walking, she begins to calculate the position of her feet. She noticed this habit on her own; in a pleasant discovery, she later discovered that her sister walks the same way. In a pleasing subversion of the judgment of others who walk differently, finding someone else who does the same thing erases some of the discomfort. For some habits, you wonder if anyone else will come forth and admit to the same thing. At the same time, certain quirks may be self-acknowledged as individual and unlikely to be found as a common link between two people. I doubt I will ever find someone else who also crosses their legs twice.
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Features/ Arts & Culture Sophie Munden Perspectives / Sports & Health Cathlin Sullivan Sci & Tech / Entertainment Amina Mohamed
Ananya Biswas Caroline Teng Cathlin Sullivan Christian D. Raharja Craig Maniscalco Erica Tsou Gerrit van de Riet Henrika Luong Janice Lee Jieun Lee Julia Meadows Marsha Malcolm Olivia Balanyk Sofia Cutler Taylor Stinson
Business Manager Amanda Liao
Distribution Manager Shudipta Shabnam
Perspectives Relax, It’s not OCD Julia Meadows; Artwork by Erica Tsou The Path to Politics – A Night with Olivia Chow Cathlin Sullivan Advice Column: The Window Washer
Arts & Culture
Straighten Up and Play Right Julia Meadows; Photograph by Jieun Lee The Individual Manifesto: Is Selfishness in Style? Olivia Balanyk; Artwork by Ananya Biswas
O Canada: A Sorry Excuse for Politeness? Olivia Balanyk; Artwork by Ananya Biswas In & Out – A View on the NCSC Cathlin Sullivan & Gerrit van de Riet A View from the NCSC Craig Maniscalco
Science & Technology
Germs, Germs Everywhere! Christian D. Raharja; Photograph by Caroline Teng Healing with the Humanities Sofia Cutler
Sports & Health
Finding the Soul in Yoga Sofia Cutler; Artwork by Janice Lee Navigating Health & Wellness in the Bureaucracy that is U of T Taylor Stinson
Don’t Click On This Julia Meadows; Artwork by Caroline Teng Watch, Watch, Repeat Marsha Malcolm Rooted in Habit Artwork by Henrika Luong
The path to politics—
a night with
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me that politics is corrupt and in order to make a real change you must take the grass roots route.”
had never heard of Olivia Chow before, disregarding a piece of mail that I got this past summer that had her face and a few policies that I did not bother to read. While politics are important to me, being a transplanted Michigander in Toronto for a finite period of time, I have not gotten caught up in the Toronto political scene (that was until Rob Ford made it impossible not to). Although the politics of this city have never captured me, the passion and heart of Toronto have constantly made me question where I call home.
Chow engaged the audience with colorful tales of how she got into politics — a field she never saw herself in — and her love for the city of Toronto. As she spoke, I found myself more proud to be a part of this city than ever before. Chow has shown a dedication to youth and education, with a focus on marginalized youth who could easily slip through the cracks of a broken school system. “I want to make sure that immigrant kids, poorer kids have the same opportunities. [That they have] equal opportunities and equal On the night of Monday, January 13th, university outcomes.” While Chow started off her career students, community members, and faculty as a fine artist, when she eventually became an gathered in William Doo. As a resident of the assistant MP she realized, “Ah, this is how you Trinity-Spadina ward and as someone with a can make an impact; how you can change a law.” great interest in social justice, I thought that attending Chow’s talk would help me better Politics has always seemed like a foreign tongue understand my interests in regard to the to me. I have never taken a political science neighbourhood I have called home for three course; I suppose that it has been instilled in me years. New College principal Yves Roberge that politics is corrupt, and that in order to make welcomed her on stage, introducing her as one a real change you must take the grassroots of the most passionate and “in my circles […] route. Chow challenged this sentiment. She probably one of the most-liked politicians today.” makes politics seem accessible, and does not Chow spoke for an hour and a half, beginning her exude the normal salesman attitude of most talk on praising New College for its commitments politicians simply working to win votes. During to equity, diversity, and social engagement: “New the Q&A portion of the evening, somebody asked College represents the new face of Canada; what she plans to do in order to appeal to more maybe that’s why it’s called New College. I wish voters. She answered: “If I carry on my political I could see this kind of diversity in the House of life to only get re-elected, I might as well just pack
up and go home. You need to know your passion, that the conference continued. “That was a great what drives you … I know what drives me, I know victory, especially for all of the students who didn’t know what power meant.” When Mandela [the] passion that runs my political career.”” was released from prison, the first place that he I was never an outspoken child — I would visited was Central Tech in Toronto. Chow wants sit in the back of the room and my parents people to understand that “when people come would consistently be told at parent-teacher together for something that they passionately conferences that I did not speak. This has believe in, they have the power to make a somewhat dissipated, but the idea of taking the difference.” stage and voicing my own opinions and thoughts is still somewhat terrifying to me. “I have always If I knew that there were elected politicians been a shy person,” Chow stated, laughing. “I’m like this, perhaps I would have taken a political usually the one sly down in the back. I never put science course. Perhaps more subordinate my hand up. I might have a question, but I’m not bodies would take to the political field. Chow going to ask it.” Although she may not realize it, made me feel like it was time to change how we just the affirmation that she was able to grow operate. from those days of sitting in the back not wanting to ask a question gives me confidence that I too As an Equity Studies student with a special interest in education, I left Chow’s talk feeling could do the same. more passionate, engaged, and ready to get I am thankful that Chow was able to surpass into the field than ever. She speaks with a calm her initial fear of being in the public eye in order confidence and a warm tone that swoops over to pursue her dedication to education equity, the entire audience, leaving people feeling specifically because of what she was able to invigorated by her humble disposition and her cultivate between Nelson Mandela and Central call for immense change. “We have the power Tech High School in Toronto. She and a selection inside of us to make a difference. People will of students decided that as long as Mandela listen, people will follow, people will join … was in prison they would host an annual anti- Nothing can stand in your way.” apartheid conference. When the board tried to shut the conference down, she encouraged the students to take a stand. Together they ensured
“We have the power inside of us to make a difference. People will listen, people will follow, people will join… Nothing can stand in your way.”
advice column The Window Washer
What is the one thing students neglect to take advantage of in university? Everything. It is easy to get sucked up into an excessive lifestyle of only doing school, only clubbing, or only participating in a few extracurricular activities. We are at one of the best universities in the world, with some of the best libraries around; yet I often hear of so many people just settling on one comfortable place as their place to study. I was the same way: I only ever studied on the ninth floor of Robarts, but lately I have been exploring and have found a ton of better or more interesting places. Even with the amazing things in the city that are at our fingertips, I find that we end up sitting around repeating the same daily tasks and complaining that there is nothing to do. I am not attacking anyone here, because I do it too, but if this resonates with you just go outside, walk down the street, and try something new. Literally walk in any direction from where you are now - New College is surrounded by a bunch of new and interesting stores or restaurants. No, this isn’t a plug for New College, I mean genuinely NEW, unique or unknown. Be it a new club, a new bar, a new student group, even a new library to study at. You had last semester to get comfortable; now go out there and explore a little — if not the city, then at least the campus. Bring a friend or a loved one and make memories. I did this once and discovered one of my favourite restaurants ever. If no one is available, take something to read – say a magazine of some sort, which you are now conveniently holding — and sit down and enjoy the new place you have discovered. I know the weather can be rough, and change can be tough, but you won’t get anywhere if you expect to watch the world around you to change and not be a part of it.
Dear Window Washer, was it hard for you to pick a major? I'm in first year and I'm taking a bunch of random courses that are all really interesting, even if some of them kicked my ass. I don't understand how I'm supposed to make this life defining decision when I'm not great at any one thing in particular. To some degree I am still not settled on my final decision. For a while I was set on being one thing, but the more I explored it in academia I began to realize that my passion was elsewhere. So I am not the same major I was when I started. This switch actually occurred for me less than a year ago. I wasn’t challenged in my old major and I found it to be repetitive and boring, so I talked to Donna and Sally at the registrar’s office - as well as some departmental people - and made a smooth transition. This year has kept me fully engaged to the point where I don’t want to skip classes. I am actually doing the readings every week and my GPA has gone up. School has become more motivating for me because I am doing not only something I want, but something that stimulates me intellectually, even when things get tough. As for your scenario, you need to sit down with someone. I’d recommend someone in the registrar’s office or the career centre, but a random drunk at Einstein’s will do as well. You need to talk about where your passion is. This needs to be something that doesn’t come easy, because knowledge at its root is challenging. You need to find something that, even when it becomes difficult, you will want to pursue. Job perspectives come later, but should be something to consider too. The weirder or more specific your interest the better it will be, because it will be easier to turn it into a thesis if graduate school is where you think you may end up. That is a bit far off, but realistically this is the point in your life where your future is open to anything, so go explore and hope you don’t mess up your life too hard.
Straighten Up & Play Right
ARTS & CUTURE
By Julia Meadows Photograph by Jieun Lee
For those among the student populace who took piano lessons in their childhood, it is doubtless that memories of teachers poking and prodding proper posture into their students arise. Sitting up straight, keeping your wrists loose instead of rigid - all familiar to pianists-in-training.
Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers
Upon speaking to several accomplished student pianists, two of whom recently completed their ARCT, the highest Royal Conservatory grade, they gave similar answers to the question around which I planned to centre my investigation: How were you taught to play? Alistair, a first-year student, remarked “I was taught the ‘standard’ rules for sitting on a piano bench: back straight, feet flat on the floor, elbows slightly out, and of course, fingers curved.” Providing further evidence for the common nature of this posture, Ani, a student in Rotman commerce, quoted from a James Anagnoson masterclass, describing this posture by use of a simile: “Your body is to be like a flower in a flower pot.” The imagery of this is clear: supported and upright.
seems to dance with the music, causing piano teachers everywhere to cringe as he sways and moves his arms wildly. Interestingly, Alistair directly critiqued this playing style, saying that “excessive movement is unnecessary, distracting, and all too often compromises posture.”
So what is it that is so important about maintaining a good playing posture? One reason Alistair offered was that “technically challenging passages ... are greatly aided by the curvature of the fingers and control over the wrist and lower arm, which in turn is helped if the rest of my body maintains a good posture.” But there is definitely a more serious factor at play: attention to the maintenance of good performance posture is similar to the rigorous training of athletes, where debilitating injuries caused by carelessness are the difference between success and a trip to the hospital. If injury does occur, recovery for musicians can be particularly slow as a result of the limited blood flow to the tendons in the hands. It makes sense then to avoid hunching over or straining muscles by keeping them tense. I ask this question because the posture By consistently playing in a correct form, you described by Ani and Alistair doesn’t seem to train and develop muscles to aid you in playing be a totally universal standard. For example, more complex pieces without risk of injury. Glenn Gould, a Canadian pianist born in Toronto in 1932, defied all of the requirements of this However, there are those who do still favour posture. He hunched over the keys and sat on a their own styles. Nowreen, a self-taught chair that was much lower than a normal piano pianist, shared the shift she experienced when bench should be. While adjustable benches she began formal lessons: “My instructors are common and encouraged, the standard often comment on how high my hand bridge is to have your arms parallel to the floor, but and shoulders are, and how in the longer Gould’s lower seating choice required him to run I will injure muscles, but it is the most reach up to the keyboard. Similarly, Lang Lang, comfortable.” She further commented that a well-known Chinese pianist, doesn’t adhere the form taught by teachers is not guaranteed to the composed and controlled playing style to prevent injury. This may contradict the commonly encouraged; rather, his body opinions of earlier students, but there is merit
to her words: a forced posture will never lend itself to healthy playing, whereas fighting a bad habit without taking an extreme “other” is the better path. Despite this, Nowreen has taken the advice of her instructor and corrected her form, but she still feels there is merit in a degree of freedom. Helping students find a better form to suit their bodies while allowing them to play effectively was for Nowreen more important than forcing them into a specific posture. “Proper posture is what is comfortable and safe,” she remarked. Ani admitted that she sometimes falls out of proper form whilst practicing, but she quickly corrects herself. So while it’s important to remember that there is always room for personal expression in performance, while playing one must keep in mind that unnecessary movement can cause more harm than good.
ARTS & CUTURE
The Individual Manifesto: Is Selfishness in Style? By Olivia Balanyk Artwork by Ananya Biswas
Given the following options, would you rather: live in a comfortable suburban family home, or a trendy downtown apartment? Tell your family about your day, or take to Twitter and Facebook to update your followers and friends? Post that not-so-great photo of you with your best friends, or that perfect selfie you took in the mirror? Spend your money to treat a friend to lunch, or treat yourself to a shopping spree?
addition to this later age of marriage, Canada also has one of the lowest birthrates in the developed world, even compared to the US. The average Canadian woman will have 1.6 children in her lifetime compared to an American woman, who will have an average of 2. Clearly in Canada women are thinking a lot more about themselves as individuals as a part of ongoing independence and equality movements. This is a great improvement.
Think about your answers and then ask yourself one last question. Has society become But are certain values being lost? What about vainer than ever before? in youth culture — if there is selfishness in our age group, is it tied to larger, positive social It seems like everyone worships the “cult trends, or a newly emerging negative trend? of the individual” nowadays. In the city, Young children are involved with technology to fashionable lifestyle revolves around singles; a greater degree than any previous generation, advertisements promote products like clothing and are possibly more spoiled than ever. This and cars that promise to build individual past holiday season, so many young kids were identity; Facebook and Twitter provide social getting iPads as presents that Fisher Price media forums that revolve around one person. began to market an $80 “Newborn-to-Toddler The overall psychology of our generation is Apptivity Seat for iPad”. If our peers already that the way you feel is the most important seem obsessed with social media, then what thing in the world. Everything else can wait. is this new batch of youngsters going to grow up like? In many ways, this is a good social mentality, tied to the results of empowerment movements Daniela, a third-year student, says that “people throughout history. The struggle for women’s have always been selfish. Now, they just have rights is an example. What was previously the outlets in social media that make them show “spinster” has now become the “confident, it more.” It is a common sight. The endless empowered single woman,” with the average selfies that a “friend” posts on Facebook, the marriage age for women in Canada increasing mundane updates on Twitter, and the person from age 23 in 1972 to age 30 today. In who barely makes eye contact between
checking their text messages all speak to a Alex, a second-year student, says, “Facebook and Twitter have actually made us more of high sense of self-importance. a global community.” He believes that an Ari, a third-year student, points out that individual sense of importance contributes to “Facebook and Twitter are the most obvious self-empowerment, and leads to people making examples” of what he considers a “self-focused real differences in the world by themselves, society.” He observes that “everyone’s goal is or banding together. “It makes people more to become a minor celebrity, to put themselves socially aware, involved in large charities and fundraising — even encouraging door-to-door first, and to make people follow them.” type charity in your local community.” It is difficult for people today to imagine how differently society, even fifty years ago, saw Vania, a third-year student, thinks that what individual importance as an opposition to constitutes selfless behaviour has actually family importance. Today, for the first time changed, and that it makes people seem to ever in Canada, singles outnumber couples. act more selfishly even when they are not. The nuclear family typically consisted of “People may not take their friends out to lunch traditional, opposite-sex, married households. anymore, but I feel like people actually share This image is changing to embrace new forms things a lot, even food or clothes, without of the family unit, based on high divorce rates thinking twice.” and common-law and same-sex relationships. So are we a selfish society? Binary-oriented Patrick, a third-year student, shared his views thinking usually just results in an unrealistic on traditional marriage, saying, “In this day representation of all the diversity that exists and age, it’s just not necessary. It’s a personal around us. It’s true that everyone has a unique choice, but I think people aren’t as religious as voice, deserving of consideration and respect. they used to be, and are more inclined to opt And people can all contribute their voices to the global community. If society is changing, for co-habitation.” and it clearly is, then maybe it doesn’t have to But does this evidence of broader ideas about be either a “me” or a “we” society — maybe for community and family signal a selfish society, the first time, it can be about the “individu-all.” or one that is more tolerant and aware of the self on a more universal scale?
Oh Canada: A Sorry Excuse for Politeness? By Olivia Balanyk Artwork by Ananya Biswas
Giving a whole nation an identity seems like an impossible task, and yet, stereotypical as it may be, on some level we all participate in assigning national reputations. England? The prim and proper country that loves its tea and its Queen. Italy? The country of pasta, the Pope, and well-dressed men with names like Fabio or Marcello. The United States of America? Patriotic Texan cowboys with stars and stripes on their shirts. We all know that these national identity stereotypes are highly flawed and make gross generalizations of entire populations. But what does that say about our own reputation in Canada, you may ask (politely)? The national reputation of Canadians is that we are generally a very polite people. We say “please” and “thank you” when we buy coffee, give people their personal space, will give obviously confused tourists directions before they even ask, and are always willing to go out of our way to make someone feel welcome. Did you bump into someone? Did somebody bump into you, perhaps? Did you move towards an open door just as somebody else did, and aren’t sure who should go first? Is it your turn to shuffle past other commuters to get off at St. George station? Have you possibly made someone else feel slightly uncomfortable or awkward in any way during a brief social encounter? I’ll bet you’re apologizing.
a considerate, well-mannered society, then that is hardly something to be ashamed of. The question is: are we really as polite as our reputation says we are? Concetta, a third-year student, says, “Canadians have a good reputation, but we don’t live up to it. There are people you meet who are demanding, discourteous, and obnoxious, and it doesn’t matter that they’re Canadian.” This is true. Rude people exist everywhere, and Canada is not exempt from this. But is something that we consider ill-mannered or discourteous seen that way by others? Have we become coloured by our own perception of what “politeness” means? In the United States, the general practice may not be to say “sorry” about everything, but “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me” are certainly common in everyday exchanges, and unarguably reflect politeness.
Practices are considerably different across Canada as well. To visitors from other parts of Canada, Toronto has the reputation of being a busy, impersonal, and alienating city. This reputation is pervasive enough that even as a local, I recently asked for directions in a part of the city I wasn’t familiar with, only to have the person who assisted me say, “now don’t go around saying that people from Toronto aren’t As far as reputations go, this is a positive nice.” The remark caught me off-guard. one. Oftentimes, Canada is subject to jokes about our conscientiousness, but if we are What makes Toronto an impolite place? Or,
to re-word, what makes Torontonians “un- population’s tolerance and respect for the Canadian?” Is this even a correct perception? different beliefs and customs it is exposed to. Samantha, a first-year U of T student who is living in residence but is originally from Whitby, says that “people in Toronto aren’t cold … they’re just awkward and act like you’re invisible. Nobody just talks to you and people are afraid to look at each other, especially on the TTC.” Amanda, a third-year student who lived in Winnipeg until moving to Toronto at age 13, says that “people in Winnipeg were way more friendly and polite compared to Toronto. I found this very noticeable when I first moved here, even just by observing the people on the subway, or servers in restaurants.” She added that since living in Toronto for years, she has gotten used to the differences, and adds, “I love Toronto! It’s still very polite here.”
Tamie, a fourth-year student, agrees and elaborates on this, saying that “Torontonians are very tolerant. Niceness is bred into Canadian culture, and in Toronto especially the minorities are going to outnumber the majority. This is so impressive and I like to think that Canada is one of the best examples of this progressiveness.” Fuad, a third-year student, is slightly more reluctant when asked about how tolerant Canadians are, remarking that “it is positive that everyone is exposed to different people and their cultures, but racism and prejudice still exist behind some closed doors. Even polite people aren’t comfortable until they get to know you.”
Unfortunately this is probably just as true as the fact that rude people exist everywhere. Despite all the nice people who genuinely embrace and contribute to multiculturalism, there are always dissenters. However, the city would not be as vibrant and celebratory of its mixed races if everyone thought this way, Toronto is a busy place — understandably so so hopefully the majority of positive people with a population of 2.5 million people, and a override the negative minority. very colourful mix of people at that. It is such a multicultural city, and it is difficult to imagine Sharon, a third-year student, compares the the city’s identity without the rich diversity that cultural differences between her Canadian contributes to it. Even with so many different upbringing and Persian family background, cultures and practices, there is no real culture saying, “I still feel like Persian people are clash, and if anything this speaks to the more affectionate in some ways, but everyone Daniel, a second-year student and native Torontonian, explains this so-called “impolite” behaviour as misperceived, saying that “Toronto has a busy culture. It is a rushed, fast-paced environment, but I think it is still a polite and very safe city.”
has their own distinct and different cultures. Politeness is just one of the symptoms of being Canadian.” With so many people confidently and immediately willing to agree, the general verdict seems to point towards the answer that, yes, we are a polite country. It is still a stereotype, but as a rarity among stereotypes it does not seem to cause us shame or harm, and seems to have a foundation of truth. We may say “sorry” a lot, but we also take progressive steps forward to empower minorities, gain a better understanding of vastly different cultures, and even to spread this same level of consideration across the country. Alex, a 2nd year student, offers a definitive and confident view on our national reputation: “This is a stereotype to be proud of. We are a nice country, and a polite people. That’s a great thing.” This does not mean that the next time you go to France you should expect a population of wine-drinking painters wearing berets. Or that the next time you visit the United States you should listen for patriotic country singers holding guitars decorated like the American flag. Just the same way Canadians are not all hockey-loving, poutine-eating lumberjacks who say “eh.” But apparently the next time someone visits Canada they can expect to be treated with kindness, respect, and politeness. And that is not something we should be sorry about.
view from A the inside FEATURES
The New College Student Council (NCSC) operates under the mission, “…We exist to serve you, and more importantly, make sure that New College has the potential to always be your home away from home…” There are 32 elected positions on the council and the campaigning period for the following year starts in March. All New College students are welcome to run and vote for the NCSC, but many of them do not. While the mission of the NCSC is to represent and serve all students, there are many students who do not feel associated with the council. Dhriti Whorra, a fourth year New College student who lived on residence during her first year, said that her relationship with the NCSC started and finished with her Frosh Week. “Frosh week was amazing, but after the first two weeks of first year, I didn’t really hear from [the NCSC].” She feels that the NCSC does not do a good job of including all students on campus, especially when it comes to making them feel comfortable in the NCSC office. “It seems very uninviting. One time I went to the NCSC office to purchase some tickets for an event that was coming up and first of all... I was just trying to get my tickets and leave, but they were not trying to talk,” Whorra states. “If you’re the student council, then you should probably be more friendly.”
While she does recognize that the NCSC hosts various events, she says that she has a hard time knowing when and where they are. Lindsay Champagne, a third year student who has been involved in volunteering with New College Frosh thinks that the NCSC is very well organized and appreciates the events that they do have, even if the best turn out is not always the best, which could be because students are not made aware of events that are going on. Echoing Whorra’s previous sentiment, Champagne does not like how “…it’s like they are the cool kids. It’s just like high school; the cool kids get to be on the student council. They are so segregated.”
volunteering with them. She also adds that now that she is more involved with the NCSC as a volunteer, the current members are encouraging her to run again. She feels that this shows that the length of time you have known students on the NCSC, the greater your chance of being elected is—even if your platform does not change.
Katrina Chiu, a third year student who ran for E-communications Director and Marketing and Communications director in her first and second year respectively, feels that getting elected on the NCSC is dependent on the people that you know. “I think that you can try your best to campaign as much as you want, but at the end of the day it really is a big part of it is who you know that votes. People are more inclined to vote if they are more engrained in the New College community, you can do an excellent job campaigning to commuters, but they aren’t the ones who are going to vote. If you’ve been involved [in the NCSC] in prior years, you know more people who are willing to vote and have a better chance of getting elected.”
Students like Whorra who do not feel included by the NCSC are, obviously, less likely to vote in the elections. “I voted once in first year because my friend was running, but other than that, I’ve never voted,” Whorra says. Chiu and Champagne who although not on the NCSC are still involved in their events and commissions, say that they will continue voting and will try to vote for the best candidate, not the person who they know the best. “Of course I am going vote! I still have another year here! I don’t want them to fuck it up!” Champagne concludes.
While all three students say that they are thankful for the events that the NCSC plans throughout the year, they all feel that the NCSC could do a better job of being more open to other students. “I feel like there is a lot of work to be done in terms of reaching out to the whole New College student body,” Chiu states.
I am enamoured by this time of year partly because, as some readers may remember, I was last year’s CRO for the New College Student Council (NCSC) election. The CRO (Chief Returning Officer) runs the technical details of the elections from the online polling to the speeches and campaign regulations. The job entails a few meetings with executive members on council and the staff of New College, in addition to a few resources from UofT. With these resources you plan the election period, set up forums, speeches, and campaign regulation. Most of this is outlined in the NCSC constitution, allowing some space for creative advancements in polling or campaigning. Last year I barely ran them - I was lazy and barely got things done, but I did have my own minor advancements. While this year’s CRO was not able to give us any hints on what to expect from the campaign and election season, the sad fact is that this will only have a minor impact on the daily life for the New College student who exists outside of the NCSC circle. Historically there have been those who have hated and those who have loved council. One council member enjoyed being on council so much so that they want to run again. When asked about the bumps and hiccups within council, they expanded: “When working with about 30 other students, an obvious issue is dealing with differences of opinion, but with a council representing such a diverse group
of students, we need that tension and discussions.” While productive, this tension can be off putting for those vying for candidacy. Sometimes these 30 students are portrayed as an elite group. I began to explore what made people feel this way and one individual brought it back to frosh. She expressed the feeling that NCSC remains an exclusive club that holds a couple of events, which usually cater to themselves and their friends. To counter that argument, the NCSC holds that in order to evaluate how open an event is, students have to actually try and attend it. The way council members dismiss the claim that events are exclusive is exactly what make their attitude, and therefore the events, unappealing.
But I can’t argue that the NCSC is all bad. The council member I interviewed shared a hopeful perspective. “I think there are extremes when it comes to how much NCSC impacts students. For some students, they feel no connection to NCSC or New College for whatever reason. I don't think that is our fault or their's, we can't force anything onto anyone.” It’s also a valid point that you can’t please everyone. The council member continued, “On the other hand, NCSC is a home to some students. Unfortunately this has caused a stigma against council; however, I feel like this year we have tried and are continuously trying to change that with new marketing techniques, locations of events, and kinds of events. I think the best
A view from the outside Chiu says that even though she is not planning on running again, she is still involved in the NCSC by
By Cathlin Sullivan
By Gerrit van de Riet way to change [NCSC's negative reputation] would be with the incoming students - NCSC needs a fresh start when it comes to an audience.” Obviously this council member is aware of some of the f-actors that turn people against the council. But is the best way to engage us to hold more events where NCSC members attend in a horde and expect us to want to participate? These are just a few things for council to consider. If I have offended any NCSC members, I do not apologize. Just by being offended you recognize that there may be inaccuracies with what I am saying. Work on changing this perception of yourself as a whole council. At the end of the day, there will be some people who just will not a damn about the council, and that is unfortunate considering what you could represent for the New College community. Just don’t let them affect your entire image.
Athe NCSC view from
By Craig Maniscalco
features are not emanating from NCSC, but are projected onto it. It can sometimes be nerve-wracking to approach a group of people, but does that mean we ought to discourage groups of people from congregating? No, it simply means that sometimes, some people will miss out on an awesome opportunity to meet some other awesome people. Hopefully, they’ll get a chance to meet one of those people in a more comfortable setting on some other occasion. Similarly, walking into a room where you expected to be able to use a desk or computer to find them all taken can sometimes discourage people from coming to that place again. Does that mean we ought to prevent people from using those services so that other people might use them? No, it To say that NCSC is exclusive or does not readily means people should try more than once. allow others to join is simply false. I can tell you from an insider’s perspective that an inordinate In truth, every group of any sort is cliquey in amount of energy and creativity is poured into the way that NCSC is cliquey, and it ought to ensuring that this isn’t the case and into trying be. Groups, NCSC being no exception, are to change that perception. If anyone walked groups because they have a common purpose into the NCSC office at any time, and asked and exist in common spaces, and this is a any single one of the people there a question, good thing. Our group is exceptional among they would receive helpful and welcoming these because its common purpose is the answers. The NCSC is encouraging and benefit, advocacy, and service to the students welcoming to anyone looking to get involved. who consider us “cliquey.” Its common space is a space that is open and available So why all of the talk? It comes from a few places. (during all reasonable times) for the use of First, the NCSC Office does not always seem student study groups, and individual students like the most welcoming place. Sometimes it who need a kitchenette, a printer, a board isn’t particularly clean, others it is crowded game, or knowledge about their university. with activity, and others it simply seems like a cave one must know the secret password Beyond that, the rest of the talk comes from to get into. However, these “unwelcoming” those who don’t like what we are doing, or The cliquishness of NCSC is talked about so often, especially within NCSC, that it’s beginning to lose its meaning for me. I looked it up to be sure I had [the definition of a clique] right, and found that a clique has a few definitive features. It is a small group of people with shared interests or features who spend time together and do not readily allow others to join. I presume that no one really has a problem with the first three facets of the definition, since people should want their representative government to have a shared interest (governing and planning) and to spend time together (again, governing and planning). So we are left with this idea of “not readily allowing others to join.”
wish they knew more about it. Those who don’t know much about what we do hear rumors and are put off for one reason or another from approaching us, and mostly just keep their distance. Here is the cool part though. NCSC continues to do awesome things for those students nonetheless. We give [students] a voice at every level of the administration, we increase the perceived value of a New College, and through our innate mission and student legacy (that’s hundreds of student and decades in the making) we are constantly trying to increase the quality of life in every aspect of university, and increase the quality of extra curricular education. NCSC is not a clique. It is readily encouraging of new student participation, and is aware of the negative perception, and works actively to change it. Many times a year we try and change office policy, or run engagement and awareness campaigns. Late last semester for example we tried to have some lounge office hours to make it easier and less intimidating to ask us questions. Each time we seek actively to change the perception, we succeed with a few students and are unsuccessful with others. To anyone who claims that I am wrong or lying, I would encourage them to do their own check. Go to our office hours, or to any one of the NCSC members and ask, “how do I get more involved at New College,” and see if they don’t wind up being late for class telling you about the different ways to get involved.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Healing with the Humanities
by Sofia Cutler Images from health-humanities.com
here is a longstanding tradition of understanding human life as a temporalized narrative. Aristotle’s outline of tragedy has long structured Western understandings of aging as a progression from incentive beginning, to climax, to denouement. This outline often figures the aging process as a universal development toward decline. For example the Lebenstreppe (“steps of life”), the classic iconography of aging in Europe between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, the inclines in youth; climaxes at perfect age; and declines into decrepitude. Contemporary literary and political theory is deeply concerned with how political discourse inscribes the body. Today geriatric studies is increasingly interested in how narrative has the potential to heal the body as well. The new field of narrative medicine looks at how personal narrative can heal. This more humanitarian form of treatment eschews the institutionalized, one-size-fits-all approach often conducted in modern hospitals. In Canada, there is a growing discontentment with abbreviated doctor-patient interactions and the way in which patients are often treated as a set of symptoms instead of a richly complex individual. This systematic doctor/patient relationship has a long history, beginning with the invention of modern hospital medicine in eighteenth-century England. This period in medical history inaugurated an epistemic shift in medicinal science that saw the patient’s narrative of their own illness as less meaningful than the doctor’s diagnosis. Afterwards, formulaic physical diagnosis replaced the patient’s narrative and shaped medical encounters. In the 1990s specialists in philosophy, history, literary studies, and ethics entered the field of medicine in order to invigorate medical practice with what Rita Charon — the
founder of the Narrative Medicine program at Colombia in 2000 — calls “human learning.” In a 2011 Atlanta TEDx talk, Charon argues that clinical practice is “fortified by the knowledge of what to do with stories.” These stories include patients’ personal accounts of themselves as well as unsaid hints, gestures, facial expressions, and what others have said about them. It is the duty of the physician, Charon argues, to try to absorb and honour the entirety of the patient’s story before taking action. The University of Toronto now contains a new Health, Arts and Humanities Program that offers an interdisciplinary community for scholars in the humanities, arts, and clinical sciences to unite and promote a deeper understanding of illness and healthcare. However, U of T’s MD/PhD curriculum in medicine makes little mention of the humanities. The program takes 8-10 years to complete. In the first year students are required to take a course named “The Art and Science of Clinical Medicine” one half-day per week. The first semester of this course is devoted to communication skills that include listening, non-verbal communication, empathic interviewing, and the ethics involved in the doctor/patient encounter. In order to cultivate a competence in interpersonal communications, students are required to read pocket guides and clinical skills handbooks on doctor/patient relations. Toronto’s Narrative Medicine program at Mt. Sinai incorporates far less systematic readings in their lessons on doctor/patient relations. Their program draws from literature such as graphic novels and includes readings like “Poisons in Opera.” In their program rationale they dismiss claims that a more intimate humanistic approach to medicine would drain doctors who often try to maintain an emotional distance from the pain and suffering they routinely encounter. They state the benefits for clinicians in this narrative approach: “healers who cultivate a humanistic
approach throughout their careers, from students to clinician or teacher, often report higher levels of professional satisfaction, vocational renewal, personal well-being and resilience to stress.” New scientific research increasingly proves that exchanging stories is an essential part of good health. Recent research on dementia at Harvard points to the harmful effects of social deterioration and the atrophied interpersonal communications this brings about. This research examines whether online social media platforms for communication can delay dementia and treat “the sickening effects of loneliness.” Today, social media increasingly provides its users with a platform to voice personal narratives. Newer social media platforms like Eon and Multiply allow older audiences to discuss substantive personal topics and to connect with faraway friends. These websites offer a solution to what Joseph F. Coughlin, the director of the AgeLab at MIT, tells the New York Times is one of the greatest challenges older adults face: “our social network [is] deteriorating on us, because our friends get sick, our spouse passes away, friends pass away, or we move.” Contemporary old-age theorist Theresa Brennan argues in her recent work that the social is not purely immaterial or divorced from biology but a veritable physical force. She defines this physical relationship between society and the body as “social physics.” A few new initiatives at the University of Toronto like the Health, Arts and Humanities Program and the relatively recent History and Philosophy of Science department reflect this inextricable relationship between the arts and sciences. Nevertheless, these initiatives remain scarce at U of T. In order to be more informed, wellrounded, and thoughtful scholars, students in both the sciences and the humanities must take interdisciplinary initiative on their own.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
ou wake up one morning to the sound of birds chirping, and you realize you slept in. You also realize you have an exam the next day at 9 AM and are nowhere near ready. You decide to eat breakfast, since having food in your system helps with studying. After finishing your quickly prepared breakfast, you have a dirty plate left on your table, and you tell yourself, “I have exams; I can wash this another time.” You also remember that you have to do laundry today, which was left unattended for nearly a week, but again studying for exams serves as an excuse to leave them on that couch. As time progresses and the days pass, germs start to accumulate, and your house becomes a bacteria-filled wasteland.
germs, By Christian D. Raharja Photograph by Caroline Teng
s m r e
Certain weeks of the school year represent a nightmare of epic proportions: exam period! As students experience this dreaded time they lose sense of many things, like getting sleep, socializing, and — most importantly — cleanliness. Instead of doing laundry, washing dirty dishes, or taking out the trash, students leave these unattended articles dwelling within their household until exams are over, especially if the students live in a dormitory or by themselves.
An anonymous student from New College provides another perspective on the dreaded experience of the messiness of exam period: “I guess my room looks like I slaughtered a monster made up of unwashed clothing[;] used mugs would knowingly appear and collect on my desk. The entire floor is a safety hazard, with high risk of stubbing toes on textbooks, slipping on pencils, and even getting paper cuts.”
Lastly, Erica Tsou, a second-year New College Natsuki Kugimiya, a fourth-year University of student, shares a helpful tip for those Toronto Scarborough student, explains her struggling to wash dishes when attempting to study: “At Ivey overnight with my friend it cleaning habits during exam season: was super cold and we were out of snacks, “When I’m studying for exams, no matter how so we waited for the café to open and we’d messy things get I know I won’t have time to take turns taking naps while we crammed. clean. If I have something to study, I just throw My roomies and I will do dishes for each other my dirty laundry at my couch and let it sit there if the other person seems busy, which helps until I finish studying … which is never. At [one] keep our place clean.” point I had so many dishes in my sink that I couldn’t wash my hands due to the tower that Foodborne diseases resulting from leftover was sitting there. Sometimes I just leave the food and unwashed kitchen utensils can cause entire mess sitting there and hide out at the millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths every year. A common type of stomach bug that library so I won’t have to see [it] anymore!” is known to cause diarrhea is food poisoning, due to the contamination of food combined with natural toxins. Bacteria can also be on household surfaces which can contaminate unrefrigerated food. The kitchens where we keep our food present a great breeding ground for opportunistic microbes. Millions of E.Coli
bacteria can be found within dirty laundry, which can cause illness. Dirty laundry can also contain germs that are found within fecal matter, including norovirus, rotavirus, E.Coli, and Salmonella.
There are many things you can do to prevent the invasion of germs in your household. The sinks and food preparations areas must remain clean. A good way to do this is to clean the area while waiting for food to cook; you will get two jobs out of the way without wasting study time. Dirty dishes and their utensils should be washed within two hours of usage to prevent the contamination of germs, and should also be air dried. Sponges and dishcloths tend to harbour excessive amount of bacteria after usage, and should be washed weekly, replaced after use, or cleaned with bleach. The amount of germs within dirty laundry, especially when it accumulates after a long period of time, increases greatly, which can cause the water within the laundry machine to be a bacterial bath. Doing laundry can be used as a study break after hours of readings. Using bleach to kill the bacteria within a certain concentration would be a way to kill the bacteria, if the clothing articles are not coloured. Cleaning the washing machine with bleach and water could also rid it of the excess germs which reside after a wash. As tedious as cleaning seems, cleaning can help prevent you from getting sick, which would definitely affect your study schedule. Whether cleaning during a study break or before going to sleep, it should definitely be placed in your daily routine.
e r e h w y r e
SPORTS & HEALTH
yoga outlaw who refuses to teach at major yoga studios like Yyoga, began practising in Toronto in 1970; he practised in the Soto Zen tradition with the dharma successor of the late Houn Jiqu Kennett Rochi. While today’s yoga instructors begin with an anecdote or short speech outlining the day’s theme or moral philosophy, Florence began with some gentle hip openers. There is a new fad of theme-centered yoga classes in North America. Studios often urge their instructors to outline a theme in the beginning of the class — whether a category of pose or an idea — and then weave it into the rest of their class. John Schumacher, director of Unity Woods in Bethesda, Maryland, tells the Yoga Journal website that “people generally absorb experiences and information much more readily when it is presented in an organized, thematic manner.”
Finding the Soul in Yoga By Sofia Cutler Artwork by Janice Lee
In the last ten years the yoga industry has experienced an unprecedented growth in Toronto. With more studios per capita than anywhere else in North America, yoga defines our cityscape. According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association this growth fits into a greater North American trend: in the US, yoga participation grew by 23% between 2008 and 2013. This recent surge has expanded yoga in Toronto from a countercultural practice to a big business venture.
Yoga practices for any audience including kids’ yoga, Yride, and jock yoga. Cynthia Cooperstone, a Yyoga instructor, discusses the proliferation of new yoga practices in North America during the last century as a largely capitalistic enterprise. “They package these practices and ship them out,” she said, referring to billion-dollar patent yoga practices like Bikram. Yogi businessman Bikram Choudhury patented techniques found in ancient Indian treatises into a set of 26 poses in the 1970s. Choudhury, who lives in Beverly Hills with a collection of over 100 luxury cars, is the object of great criticism over the commodification of yoga.
Last May, Vancouverite Terry McBride opened the first Yyoga Toronto branch on Queen St. West. Yyoga, which is Canada’s largest corporate studio chain, caters to a wealthier audience that seeks the therapeutic benefits of yoga without the new-aginess. With a spa and Many Torontonian yoga instructors witness tea lounge, Yyoga has the posh atmosphere of yoga’s growing corporatization with suspicion. a private club. The studio offers a multitude of Alan Jakuan Gensho Florence, a long-time
Charlene Yeh, an instructor at Kula Yoga in humble and acknowledge our own privilege. Let the Annex, outlines the goals of traditional us pay tribute to where things come from before yoga practice: “the old spiritual seekers were we alter them for our own use. interested in attaining immortality, not just better health and happiness. Their practices were not therapeutic; if anything, they were often dangerous [and] all-consuming, and [they] required the full-time guidance of a guru.” This is in stark contrast to what yoga now looks like in the west. Kula Yoga, the most successful studio in the Annex, thinks hard about the problem of corporatization in yoga. Founder Christi-an Slomka is committed to creating a positive and inclusive space to practise yoga. On the front door a sign declares, “We aim to be an antiracist and fat, queer and trans positive space.”
In February Kula Yoga held a two-hour long talk called “You Are Here: Cultural Appropriation and Yoga.” That Saturday night their giant Florence refrains from over-instruction studio was packed with over seventy people. whenever he can, and cites the Buddha’s Dharma as necessarily free from a dependence “Does this talk make anyone feel awkward or on words. “We have to find the path ourselves,” uncomfortable right now?” Nisha Ahuja, the he explains, criticizing the overly structured discussion facilitator, asked a room of largely white, Lululemon-attired yogis. A score of routines of “cookie cutter” yoga classes. people raised their hands, including Slomka Eleanor Berenson, a recent University of and myself. The discussion got passionate Toronto graduate who teaches yoga at the and personal very quickly, as people shared Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, also their own experiences of exclusion or cultural expressed criticism about the instructional appropriation. handholding that happens at Western yoga studios today. Berenson says that most studios Yeh says she negotiates these complex issues purposefully do not cultivate self-dependence in her own classes by not attempting to view in their students: “If they tell you how to do their cultural appropriation as an entirely bad thing: job, that job is now useless.” Berenson reflects “Some people may criticize me for this, but a kind of Marxist distrust of the yoga industry on a daily basis I benefit so much from a yoga as an elite group that keeps the masses down practice, as do countless others.” Yeh argues it is entirely possible to maintain a fidelity and in order to line their pockets. respect for the ancient practice of yoga in a Much of today’s North American gymnastic contemporary western setting if yogis make a yoga reduces an ancient eastern practice to a serious effort to learn about the classical texts, set of postures without regard for its greater chants, and poses: “You need to know the rules religious practice. To the ancients, however, before you can break them. Once you have a poses were a small part of a greater spiritual good base of information, then you can go off practice based on what Swami Jnaneshvara and decide what really serves you, but in the Bharati calls “the union of the individual self beginning, you’ve got to start with your scales and the universal self.” The Bhagavad Gita, for and etudes.” example, outlines a multitude of different paths to attain this union, including bhakti, karma Yogis are still finding their bearings in our fledgling western yoga world. While some yoga, karma sannyas, and jnana. appropriation may be inevitable, let us be
“some people may criticise
me for this, but on a daily basis, I benefit so much from a yoga practice, as do countless others.”
Navigating Health & Wellness in the Bureaucracy that is U of T
By Taylor Stinson
“At times of high stress, students can't think straight. I believe
that having someone to calm you down and direct you to the right help would lead to a more mentally healthy campus. The levels of bureaucracy at the university add a degree of stress that could lead to the breaking point of any student,”
The University of Toronto is a highly respected institution that churns out academic excellence, but it can also operate in a rigid nature, sometimes cutting its students off from other aspects of life. The bureaucratic and seemingly impenetrable nature of the university is not only isolating, but it may also exacerbate mental health difficulties in students who are already overwhelmed because they believe resources for mental health are not readily available.
effort than visiting CAPS because of its required doctor referral policy, Accessibility Services does more for students once signed up. “We do a lot of advocacy work. A large part of my job is reaching out to professors and working with other university administration to get specific help for any issues a student may be experiencing while completing their education,” explained White. “Generally most of our students are already seeing family doctors in the surrounding community for mental health issues, but we do With a high demand for its few resources get some referrals from CAPS.” given the student population, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at U of T is known Health and Wellness lists a variety of universityas an undesirable option for students seeking offered alternatives to CAPS on their website serious and immediate treatment. to compensate for long waiting times, which includes the newest initiative, Counseline, “While you need mental health facilities on formed by the Faculty of Arts & Science and campus, there are other things the University the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. could be doing to reduce stress for students, Counseline offers face-to-face and online starting with increased advertising for different counseling for undergraduates by students mental health resources. ‘Here to Help’ type taking graduate studies in Social Work. signs are not obvious to me on campus,” said a fourth-year economics major who wished to “CAPS endeavours to provide the right care at the remain anonymous. “Simply having a number right time. Clinicians determine the appropriate to call for direct assistance when students service during a clinical intake interview, and need answers to general questions would add a while some services are more immediate than degree of mental reassurance and a feeling of others, some students may wait longer,” clarified inclusion.” Dr. Andrea Levinson, Psychiatrist-in-Chief of CAPS and Staff Psychiatrist at CAMH. “For nonThis student’s concerns represent a larger urgent clinical situations, CAPS provides ongoing issue about how U of T’s Health and Wellness skills-based coping skills workshops — psychopromotes its services, as the website lists a educational workshops, not group therapy — that variety of helpful resources that many students students can access immediately following the are not familiar with. “We are starting to see intake interview.” more students with mental health issues using our services; people forget that they can be just Other options for help come in the form of as immobilizing as physical disabilities,” said student-organized drop-in group therapy like Patti White, Disability Accommodation Specialist Peers are Here, and promotional campaigns at Accessibility Services. such as Blue Spaces, where the general idea is to break down the stigma surrounding mental While the process of admission requires more health and solicit open conversation. However,
resources outside the U of T community also prove themselves useful. “At times of high stress, students can’t think straight. I believe that having someone to calm you down and direct you to the right help would lead to a more mentally healthy campus. The levels of bureaucracy at the university add a degree of stress that could lead to the breaking point of any student,” said the student who wished to remain anonymous. “If I want to see a campus psychologist, I have to be screened to find out if I’m even eligible to receive help. When I’m already stressed, I don’t want to wait indefinitely to be seen.” Good2Talk seems to be the Government of Ontario’s solution to this problem, operating in partnership with Kids Help Phone, among others. This recently introduced 24-hour support line is designated specifically for post-secondary students experiencing mental health difficulties and in need of immediate counseling or referrals to services in the surrounding area. When asked about waiting times for CAPS, Dr. Levinson pointed to help outside U of T: “CAPS will provide students with crisis resources in the surrounding community, such as the Gerstein Crisis Line, CAMH Support Line, and Good2Talk for immediate phone counseling with a mental health professional.” There is a wealth of resources for the U of T community; the downtown campus is situated in an urban core dedicated to health and wellness. The university may need to widen its scope of awareness and promotional campaigns, but for what CAPS cannot handle other services provide a good substitute.
By Julia Meadows Artwork by Caroline Teng
f you are addicted to BuzzFeed, look away now. Actually, you’ve already turned to this page, so you might as well read this. Have you seen the other pages in this issue? They’re great. In fact, have you read other issues of The Window? You could spend hours poring over these awesome articles. You might even find yourself reading them at 4 in the morning, wondering where your essay-prep time went. Does this sound a bit ridiculous to you? These all-consuming habits can easily be transferred onto one of the Internet’s procrastination stations. Here are 5 reasons why we, as students, love BuzzFeed:
Our brains love lists. We can see the information spatially and understand it to a better degree when it is laid out in concise lists as opposed to cumbersome blocks of text. They digest easily without the need for us to perform feats of mental activity in order to garner meaning from the text on the page - a nice change from deciphering your lecture notes. I’d be surprised if every reader of this list actually read the entire first paragraph. <Insert picture of Grumpy Cat with the text “NO” superimposed across the top, an opening image designed to provoke laughter>
Combining entertaining words with gifs of cats or brief scenes from movies makes reading a page easy, especially when the list gives you one-word points and a lovely Mean Girls gif to help you understand. Understanding your lab isn’t always a given, but understanding BuzzFeed is. This isn’t anything new, though you may feel one emotion bubbling up inside of you: Despair. <Insert .gif from Mean Girls where Regina, seated at a desk, silently exclaims with what can be assumed as horrified wonder, “What is happening to the world?” - an outburst which coincidentally matches the subtitle across the bottom of the .gif>
Catchy titles draw our eyes to them without even trying. We know that we’ll be caught up when reading “Celebrity Tweets You Missed Today” - who even needs Twitter? No more tweets interrupting your efforts while you’re trying to study for your midterms! <Insert picture of a cat in front of a computer screen with an amusing expression on its face, allowing the reader to personify the cat by projecting the emotion they are currently feeling onto the face of the cat, thereby making the image funny>
They set up the related links so that you will keep clicking. They leave you wanting more, feeding an addiction you cannot stop and that demands to be quenched. There is no such thing as reading just one BuzzFeed list. You might promise yourself that you will not read multiple lists. Maybe just two ... or three ... perhaps four ... scratch that, ten lists or more and the binge begins. Once you click on a DIY wedding list, you will be bombarded with more DIY lists until you have amassed enough information to hold quirky, homemade weddings for everyone in your program. <Insert .gif of Marshall Eriksen from “How I Met Your Mother” talking into a phone and cradling his gleeful face with his hands. The subtitle reads “Well[,] when are you coming back?”>
They will always be there for you. As we descend onto BuzzFeed from different walks of life, it is guaranteed that there will be at least one list that will “do it for you”. Whether you need your faith in humanity restored, celebrity bodies to stare at, crazy facts you never knew, or things that are just plain silly, BuzzFeed’s got your back. <Insert picture of otters holding hands>
So there you have it - wait, what? BuzzFeed is a problem? Oh my, I did mention procrastination, didn’t I? You’d better turn to the next list - “7 Things You Probably Don’t Know About the Evening Activities of an Undergrad During Midterm Season.”
Repeat By Marsha Malcolm
iewing television may be something you do only when you’re bored, or religiously each week if you have a favourite show or two (or three). Sticking to plots of a more formulaic nature can be tempting. As a former House junkie, I knew what each weekly installment would consist of: a patient demonstrates strange symptoms that seem to come out of nowhere, patient passes out, patient is rushed to the hospital and subjected to a number of tests, House makes some snarky comments and bullies his medical team, House has a sudden epiphany and is able to save the patient in the nick of time after determining that the diagnosis is not lupus (unless it actually was). Shows like House are entertaining, but fall squarely into the category of the safe and predictable. Hospital dramas like House, Grey’s Anatomy, and the blockbuster ER that preceded them are highly entertaining but definitely routine and predictable. The Mindy Project is a delightfully glib offshoot of the hospital drama, combining the best parts of drama and comedy to fall neatly into the hybrid category of “dramedy.” Mindy is a young woman of Indian descent living in New York, who just happens to be a highly skilled OB/GYN. Mindy’s practice is as chic and stylish as she is, and her coworkers and fellow doctors end up in hilarious situations that often involve or have been caused by her. The only predictable thing about this show is the certainty that Mindy will supply at least one pop culture reference, most likely for the purpose of making fun of her fuddy-duddy co-worker (and possible future love interest?) Danny Castellano. As
handsome as Danny is, Mindy never lets him forget that he’s essentially an old man trapped in a young man’s sculpted body. For fourth-year life science student Anchal Ahmed, the fact that Mindy’s boyfriends are realistically handsome in a down-to-earth way (as opposed to the McDreamies and McSteamies of most series) is refreshing: “It’s cool to see that the guys Mindy dates are normal looking and not over-the-top handsome.” Third-year humanities student Farwa Abbas believes that another refreshing aspect of this show is Mindy’s obvious love of unhealthy food, her frank speech about her body, and her obsession with pop culture and celebrities. In a recent episode, Mindy is loath to turn down a whole coffee cake that a coworker baked for her, and can only be coaxed to work out by imagining that she is saving celebrities. When talking to Danny Castellano about her perceived physical flaws he only intends to suggest that she stop sucking in her stomach, but Mindy is far more brutal about her body than he is: “I know that I could lose fifteen pounds … I know that one of my boobs is crazily bigger than the other one … I know that I have upper-knee fat and I know that I have a scar on my back shaped like a swastika!” Clearly, Mindy breaks the mould because her flaws make her more endearing than anything else (House’s flaws only made him lonely and a pain to be around). In her, we get the doctor that we could actually see ourselves hanging out and pigging out with, not necessarily in that order. Updating a genre is not the only way to keep
TV engaging and exciting. Where The Mindy Project revitalizes the hospital drama with a shot of comedy, American Horror Story maintains its cult following by making use of different elements to avoid falling into the trap of routine TV. AHS is a show that is unafraid to tackle issues that we are all familiar with — abuse, slavery, and feminism among them — but in ways that are wholly unexpected and even quite shocking. The witches that are the focus of the recent third season lack redeeming qualities, yet they keep viewers coming back for more with their power struggles and personal conflicts. Fourth-year psychology student Ben Le is a big fan of this season’s incarnation of AHS: “It’s not routine and jumps from character to character and even into flashback sequences that create interesting gaps in the plot. You’re left with an overarching sense of the plot, but not a full image of it, which I find intriguing.” Ben is also a fan because, to him, viewers always leave the show with questions that make them really consider what they’ve just seen, unlike other shows. How much deep thought has a formulaic sitcom ever inspired? As much as I love Seinfeld, I can’t recall ever having had profound thoughts after watching an episode. It seems that the tide of routine TV is turning, and new shoes are capitalizing on new types of characters and storytelling in order to keep viewers engaged. Routine in life can be a good thing, but ultimately the novel and the shocking will be what keep us coming back for more when it comes to television.
Fill out the ticket on the back and submit it into The Window’s raffle box (placed at the Porter’s Desk at Wilson Hall. Each month, 3 lucky winners will win New College attire. All raffle entries submitted will have a chance to win our ultimate prize, an IPAD MINI. The iPad Mini will be rewarded after our March issue. Winners will be contacted at the end of each month. Good luck!
MARCH 2014 Last Day to Drop S Courses Without Academic Penalty or Request CR/NC When: March 9th, 11:30pm Where: ROSI
Priestley Lecture Series When: March 26-28th, 4:406:00pm Where: UC More info: Professor Joan Scott of Princeton University will discuss the socio-political issues that exist between Islam and the West: Women and the State, Family and State, and West and East. https://www.uc.utoronto.ca/ Priestley2014
New College ART/SLAM When: March 13th, 7-10pm Where: William Doo Auditorium More info: New College invites you to experience all the visual art and verbal poetry the community has to offer! Everyone is welcome to participate regardless of college affiliation.
NCSC Elections When: March 17-19 Where: ROSI More info: Vote for the new members of the New College Student Council! Do your duty and remember: the NCSC wants YOU!
Full Name: Tel. Phone: Email: Shirt Size: Sm/Md/Lg PLEASE PRINT *** Please refer to back of ticket for more information
Latitude - OHDC When: March 20-22, 8pm Where: Hart House Theatre More info: U of T Only Human Dance Collectiveâ€™s annual dance production More info: March 20 - $12, March 21-22- $15
Hart House 92nd Annual Exhibition of Photography When: March 27th, 6-8pm Where: Hart House East Common Room More info: Join the opening reception for the annual Hart House photo exhibition. Open to U of T students and Hart House members. The deadline for submissions is March 10th, 2014. http://harthouse.ca/ events/92nd-annualexhibition-of-photography/