university

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.

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.

The university sleeps alone tonight

The university is asleep right now, dormant. It is dark outside, al least one hour after sunset. All you can hear is the hum of radiators, pop vending machines and flickering fluorescent light bulbs. The classrooms are empty. Two hundred  person lecture theatres are dead silent. It is weird that the campus lives and breathes during the day and that’s it. No more. It slumbers dreaming of sweet rest, perfect lectures delivered by the best profs, regular cleaning.

This is a place where students live, breathe, study, and hang out for four or five or even six years of their life and then leave. We are but visitors here, a short fling, never something long term. Some students aren’t even monogamous transferring and going on exchanges. They break hearts.

Hey, can you watch my stuff

I am at the library and I know that moment is coming. The person sitting two tables down from me that I have never met before in my life and will never speak to again is about to do one of the most annoying things in the world. They come over and say, “Hey, I’m gonna go grab a coffee, can you watch my stuff?”

I mentally shudder and think to myself you want me, a complete and total stranger, to protect your notes, textbooks, iPod and two thousand dollar laptop while you galavant off to another building for sustenance or whatever else you may have planned.

I feel that this is a lot of responsibility. What if something actually happens to your stuff? Am I accountable for that? Am I actually expected to duel someone or chase down a thief on your behalf? Or even worse while I am on Twitter, I mean working on my paper, and I am not actually looking at your stuff, which happens to be just on the edge of my peripheral vision somebody grabs it. If your stuff is not there when you get back what happens?

I go with the opposite approach. You leave something invaluable like a hoodie or textbook (no one would steal one of those) to save your spot, which can be as valuable as an iPod depending on the time of day, and pack up anything you are not willing to part with — i.e. your Macbook, and that delicious roast beef, cheddar and avocado sandwich you’re saving for later.

I’ve been told I have trust issues when it comes to expensive electronics, but I don’t think this is a bad thing. I will trudge my laptop to the bathroom with me if I am working at a coffee shop or studying at the library. The time required to pack it up is nothing compared to the pain of replacing it. I will not let friends touch my DSLR (I occasionally make exceptions for people who actually know how to use DSLRs). My rule of thumb is if I can’t afford to replace it then I need to protect it. This is why I do not ask strangers to guard my laptop, because it is my most expensive and most useful possession.

This was inspired by 9 Unfortunate Situations to Find Yourself In by Christopher Hudspeth on Thought Catalog: http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/9-unfortunate-situations-to-find-yourself-in/

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something used

Today I trekked to campus with a backpack filled with textbooks and engaged in one of the least satisfying parts of the academic year: selling back my textbooks. I was originally optimistic that I would be able to get some money back and clear some space of my overcrowded bookshelves — and yes I did both of these. However, my optimism was cancelled out as I piled them up on the counter and was told what I could get for them. I replied okay to each number, instead of saying are you kidding me, I paid ten times that new. Two of my textbooks, which I never so much as lifted the front cover on — I purchased them in the optimism of the beginning of semester before realizing that they would not be on the test — got me ten dollars despite coasting six or seven times that. The Discourse on Inequality by Rousseau was worth a grand total of $0.73 and The Prince was not even wanted at all.

As I go through this ritual — trying to get some money back and create a supply of used books for future students — I can’t help but feel that I have been had. How is it possible that these goods have lost so much value? Why am I so desperate for them to say yes they will take it? It is part of being a student, you accept it and take what you can get once you no longer need your textbooks. I just wonder if I can sell them back for so little why do they cost so much new?

What is your experience with selling textbooks?