A blessing for the new semester

In the style of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text — an awesome podcast y’all should go out and listen to — I present a blessing for the new semester.

May your computer work. May your software not be glitchy. May the plotters smile upon you and be cooperative. 

May you have time for breaks, for rest, for meandering, for loitering, to pause, to wander, to get lost, to try things out.

May you be rewarded for your effort as much as your execution.

May you enjoy these moments. May you think I get to about this endless work on occasion in place of I have to.

May you remember why you wanted to do this.

May you lean into the discomfort of not knowing how to do it, of being a beginner, of learning. May I replace hesitation and research with diving in.

May you enjoy this time in this place with these people for there will be so little of it. As the song goes the years have seemed short by the days go slowly by.

May you remember this feeling of possibility and excitement at the midterm review when you mostly just want to sleep.

May it be a good semester, a good year.  

I pause to welcome a new beginning and reconnect with how I felt upon arriving at SALA a year ago.

Welcome back.

If you don't manage your files they manage you

I continue the file management life. I'm actually making progress so it feels hopeful and less like an abyss of bad choices accumulated over many years.

It's a weird way of reliving the past. Some of it's interesting. Some of it I'm like oh hey that group project was a really awful experience. I am making peace with the fact that large parts of school are actually pretty painful.

Once I'm done my documents I think about doing the thousands of photos. They were my life for a long time so I should go through and take care of them instead of feeling sad thinking about the chaos.

I also wonder about how sad going through them will make me. I miss my life as a wandering street and landscape photographer who could go for hours. Now I'm not totally sure I can use a manual camera -- I am taking a break and letting future Rhi figure that out.

It's weird going through these files and thinking about who I used to be. I miss being that person, I miss the places photography took me. I don't miss the pressure and I never worked out what to do with the files. But I do miss the exploring and the way I used to be in the world.

Writing on my phone

I’ve been going through stuff I wrote on my phone either in Notes or Google Docs and putting it up as blog posts. It’s working well for me.

The writing stuff out by hand days are behind me and I rarely feel compelled to sit down and write a post. Writing on the go was jiving with me. As I waste time on the b-line (yes making students bus to UBC from the other side of the city because of terrible zoning is a huge waste of my time) I might start writing blog posts.

I want to post more. I want to be more on top of shit.

I’m not gonna be a student forever so documenting and sharing this moment seems worthwhile I’m just usually too exhausted to do it.

Cumbersome outdoor laptops

If there's one thing in the world that makes me crazy it's leaving my house with my laptop. It's weird and doesn't make sense but I really hate taking it with me when I'm doing stuff. I don't even really like walking a few blocks to a cafe with it.

Now that I have the stand and the keyboard and the mouse and am trying hard to take care of my back and shoulders and neck better it is even more cumbersome. There's a lot of stuff.

I am at a cafe, going out into the world, because it's nice to leave home and be near other humans. I also know that at times I need to take my laptop outside. And by at times I mean every day for the next three years. I know it's going to bug me and that I need to get better at dealing with that.

Faces, places and my higher education

I am finishing the last semester of undergraduate degree at my home university — I will be spending my last semester on exchange. Education is a great many things, many of which have been said in quotes used by Rory Gilmore at various extracurricular events. It is papers, boredom, frustration, reading, confusion, learning new things, finding out that you like something you never would’ve expected to, feeling overwhelmed and staying at the library until 3 a.m. More than the things you learn in your classes — which I did actually learn some things in my classes — are the things you did outside of classes. I learned more from the things I did outside of my classes and all those things I was doing while I should’ve been studying. After all my favourite places on campus are not classrooms.


There is a green space that runs through the middle of campus from the education building to the students union building. It is clear and beautiful during fall and spring, which usually happen during the first three weeks and the last three weeks of the fall and winter semesters. There is a tree that I covet nestled on the side of it. This is the most beautiful place on campus. I have written letters, read books and occasionally even gotten work done.


At our orientation week — which is not a big deal at my university and does not involve any kind of organized parties but rather is an ever dwindling collection of students being lead around campus, told where things are and given free stuff — we were told repeatedly to get involved and join a club. I am glad I followed this advice. There is one such club office, high in the darkness of the social science building where I have gone to kill time, hangout and when it was working microwave food. The couches have shifted and moved over the years, as has the crowd of people, with some people graduating and first years taking their place, but it has always been a good place to waste time. And as John Lennon said, “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.”


I have always been a serial people watcher and the science building provides a perfect place to people watch — and it has lots of outlets. It has a nice open plan and is great for providing distractions. It is also the perfect kind of noisy. When one person talks in a quite study space it is a tsunami of distraction but when there are lots of people around it is perfect.