Tuesday, April 28, 2009

the money i dont have is burning a hole in my pocket!

Read this:

and then read this:

WHAT THE HELL. as if university fees werent shitty enough, the U of T has decided that regardless of the number of courses you're taking (which currently dictates a portion of what tuition goes towards) theres just going to be ONE fee. the fee for FIVE courses. 

so what? the university just doesnt want to do as much math now?

the best part of the article is that they admit the point is to make money. if i have to hear one more thing about "these troubling economic times..." im going to scream. i recognize that university is not a charity (my financial aid rejection letter definitely says that loud and clear) but they could have atleast come up with a few feeble lines about how this helps students. even they realize in no way would a student be happy with the change. unless they're one of those crazy wunderkinds who take six courses a semester, in which case, score! you are more hated now that ever before!

its annoying. plain and simple. annoying that a school would forget that it was established to pass on knowledge, not the stress of debt. annoying that students would be disregarded by the administration. annoying that a university is DUMB ENOUGH to think its ok for someone to pay for services they DONT WANT. 

and why do you ask am i concerned, as i do not attend u of t? because, like the swine flu, stupid seems to be catching in the post-secondary world. 

Friday, April 17, 2009

fueling globalization, one mug at a time

ahhh glorious coffee... there is nothing quite like a good cup of coffee. growing up downtown smalltown my dad and i would walk in the mornings to the bean cellar or tim hortons, get a cup, and talk, people watch, or have a stroll 'round to do various errands. i thought it was the coolest thing. and still do. there is still no other way i would rather spend a saturday. it was quality time together. i am intimately acquainted with the local stores. and today, being the responsible citizen that i am, i take pride in being able to be a patron to local businesses.

i guess its just one of those things you can take from your childhood and build on. like tea in the afternoon, thank you nana. or family dinners where everyone bustles around the kitchen shouting news, thank you ridiculously huge extended family. its like comfort food, but better, because its something you can take anywhere. those couches, random assortment of books, the local artwork up, and the guitar specifically there to have a good jam with. its all apart of home. i may not be able to make it to the bean cellar every weekend, but where ever i am i can call up a friend and go to the nearest coffee spot and sit for a bit.

in this semesters politics class we talked about coffee and what exactly that chain of production looked like. how its possible because of globalization, and how there is an amazing discrepancy between what we as consumers see and what the workers who actually grow the beans see. granted the information was off-putting, and made me reconsider my coffee habit, but for me coffee is more than coffee. so i can make informed decisions and choose to get fair trade, or stop going to chains that obviously abuse the system (cough starbucks cough), but nothing, absolutely nothing, will let me de-value my coffee experience.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Undeveloped Story

Re: "Profs Blast Lazy First-Year Students"

As a first year student at the University of Ottawa, I can't help but be offended at the gross generalization presented in this article. I am shocked to see that students and professors alike would assume that, en-masse, first year students are lazy and unprepared for university.
Throughout high school I knew I would be attending university and from that certainty was the understanding that there would years of hard work ahead. Not only did the school re-enforce this understanding, but so did my peers. The reading, writing, and research skills necessary to succeed in first year were drilled into me in high school, and yes while the transition was difficult to begin with, I would not want anyone to say that it was a result of lack of preparation on my part.

For those professors and students who would make such an assumption, I wonder if they considered what their university does for its new students within the first weeks of school. Consider the traditions of frosh week where socializing seems to be the primary focus as opposed to tours of the libraries or an effort on the part of teachers to discuss expectations with students. Had we a better grasp on the ACTUAL reality of university, perhaps professors and older student would see the maturity and seriousness I recognize in my peers every day.

As midterms and final projects come to a close here, students have already begun preparations for final exams. We draw up study plans, cancel evenings at the pub, and crack down on ourselves to ensure that we complete our first year with a sense of pride. What should be noted is that no matter what a high school does, or does not do, to prepare its students for university, once said students enters the halls of higher education it is that institutions responsibility to mold them into what is needed for their role in the world in years to come. Never should first year be a "sink or swim" experience, though I would say, this is slowly what first year at university is becoming. What the profs and students in the article have noticed is not a failure on the part of first-year students or on the part of their high schools, it is the inflated ego and expectations of post-secondary institutions that leads them to believe that its ok to throw students in to the whirlwind of university without first informing them of what exactly the institution requires of them.