This is Why I Shouldn’t Have Friends

Don’t get me wrong I like having friends – I’m not so anti-social that I want to be a complete loner my entire life. However, with friends comes guilt. It’s totally not their fault, they’re not the ones guilt tripping me, but I always feel like I should be taking them up on their offers to come sit with them or hang out with them. That wouldn’t be so bad, but I am in university and we don’t exactly get a whole lot of work done when we’re together. So I’ve been really social lately, but suddenly everything has snuck up on me pushing my stress level through the roof.

I have an International Relations midterm on Friday, the Free Tibet march on Saturday, I’ve got to finish reading Egypt: A Short History for our history discussion next week, I’ve got a paper proposal due for my inter-religious history class next week that I haven’t even figured out a topic for, I’m also going to help feed the homeless for Circle K next Tuesday, and my International Relations paper is due the week after that.

I have no idea how I’m going to do it all and maintain my sanity. Last year I would have just gone into hyper-hybernation mode, but if I did that now I would feel guilty for abandoning my friends. I guess I could try to put together some sort of plan – which will have to include going to Dr. W’s office hours… AGAIN. I have a maybe idea for that class, but I’m worried that it will be either A) too poli-ish for a history class, or B) wouldn’t be long enough. I’ll figure it all out somehow I’m sure – I always do.

On the plus side though, we made more buttons at our SFT meeting yesterday. And I was able to plan Rachel’s schedule for next year (not my own though since none of my classes have been announced yet). Also, I guess at least I have friends even if they are sucking up all my time. Every cloud has a silver lining as they say – I’ll be only too happy when I finish all this work though.

Hope you’re all having a good leap year,

– Kali

Reading Break: Never as Productive you Hope

Every Reading Break I say I’m going to be productive. I make lists and plans and schedules, but then, inevitably, I’m never as productive as I plan to be. During the Reading Break in first semester I generally get all of nothing done since it’s so short that I usually end up procrastinating through the whole thing, but second semester we actually get a whole week and so I plan.

I did get some stuff done, but not nearly as much as I had hoped. I wanted to:

  • Get caught up in the reading for my classes (CHECK)
  • Figure out my topic and find some sources for my International Relations class (CHECK)
  • Talk to the Religious Studies advisor (CHECK)
  • Write two cover letters for co-op jobs
  • Figure out my paper topic for my Inter-religious History class

So, I got about half of the stuff I planned to do done. To be fair, it’s better than I usually do, but it’s still annoying. Now I have to finish both those cover letters today or tomorrow at the latest, and I still need to figure out a topic for my history class. I spent way too much time fangirling over the trailer for The Hunger Games (yes, yet another fandom of mine) movie and posting to/reading Free Jinger.

Oh well. In better news though, I got a B+ on my History of the Modern Middle East midterm – considering I had thought it went terribly it was a pleasant surprise.

At least I got something done I suppose.

– Kali

Lesson Learned: Less Food Dye

Now, if it hasn’t been obvious, we’re not exactly classic party people. If first year had gone a little differently Rachel probably could have been, after all she likes dancing and has seemingly endless energy. Kali, on the other hand, was never meant to be a party person as she has no coordination (hence she doesn’t dance) and doesn’t really like large crowds. So, if Rachel had befriended someone different her life could be completely different. As it stands though we did go to a party on Thursday night – a Doctor Who themed party.

It was our friend Aaron’s birthday, and since he likes Doctor Who, and so do most of us, we decided that would be the theme of the night. Rachel even promised to make TARDIS cookies.

Rachel brought the ingredients for the cookies to make them at the party. Unfortunately she hadn’t made sugar cookies since she was 6 so she wasn’t quite sure what she was doing. She did know that it needed more food dye – a decision she would come to regret. She kept adding food dye until the whole bottle she had just bought was all gone. The color was amazing – it was really quite close to TARDIS blue, but unfortunately although it looked good it apparently didn’t taste so good. Neither of us tried it, but the girls who did were… less than impressed. They were also left with blue mouths.

Mixing Up the Batter... This is probably where Rachel should have stopped adding food colouring.

Even though the cookies were a bust there was still cake. And it had a TARDIS too. Luckily none of us tried to make it so it actually tasted good.

TARDIS Cake!

After cake we adjourned to the living room. Our hostess got a bit worked up because her landlord reprimanded her because we were too loud. We tried to keep it down after that, but she was still nervous – and with good reason too, a few of the guests didn’t have a whole lot of volume control so we had to keep shushing them.

Rachel and one of the guests (I’ll call him The Entertainer) noticed a game of Scrabble and decided to play. 4 people played – The Entertainer, Rachel, Stephanie (The Hostess), and Aaron (The Birthday Boy) – all of whom had had alcohol. It started off with the word Ralth (which was apparently supposed to be Ralph), and didn’t get that much better. I do think most of the other words were real words though, and if nothing else it was pretty hilarious to watch. Now that I think about it they should have tried to make it Doctor Who Scrabble. That might have been too difficult at that point though…

We ended up ordering some pizza and Kali left soon after that with a few of the girls who had to get going. Rachel stayed a bit later though and they actually ended up watching an episode of Doctor Who. They watched the first episode of the reboot (“Rose”) because The Entertainer had never seen any new Who – only the older stuff.

Despite the food dye mishap it was still a whole lot of fun. And we had three sonic screwdrivers, a TARDIS, and a Dalek in one room and the world didn’t end.

– Rachel & Kali

Baking Party

On Saturday we had a baking party at Rachel’s place. Rachel had to do pretty much all the baking and Kali “supervised”. Even so it was a whole lot of fun. Oh the things you can do during reading break.

Brownie Batter

Out of the oven & a bit crispy on the sides... oops

We made cookies too, and boy was the batter thick

Don't they look yummy!

Now we just need to eat it all!

– Rachel & Kali

They Teach You the Capital of Prince Edward Island, but Not What Sikhism Is

I went to talk to the acting Religious Studies director today. It was… nerve-wracking, but what else is new for me. His office is in the Sedgewick Building – a building on campus that I’ve never been to, and in fact I don’t think it’s a building where classes are ever held. So, naturally, I got lost trying to find his office.

Finding the building – easy. Finding the correct wing – easy. Finding his office – not so easy.

I let myself into the right space, but everyone seemed to be in a meeting so I had to look around for myself. Walking down the hallway where the offices seemed to be I found that where the room number he was supposed to be in should have been was a whole different number. Oh, and it was also an electrical closet. I continued to wander down the hallway and was fortunate enough to come across someone leaving her office who led me in the right direction. Apparently his office was beside where the meeting was going on. A peek inside told me he wasn’t actually in there, but a kind woman from the office next door told me to take a seat and that he was expecting me.

I took a seat and checked out a bunch of books they had sitting out. They seemed to have been written by the staff of the program which I thought was pretty neat (not to mention some of them sounded really interesting). After a few minutes he came out and we shook hands before he led me to his office. I noticed as I passed the door that his office number was not the same one as on the UVic website. It probably wouldn’t have changed things, but still, it would be nice if it were reliable.

Impressively, he made me feel right at ease immediately. We talked about why I wanted to pursue a course in religious studies and he answered the questions I had about the program. He also said something I found really interesting about the education system today – that religion, even though it is a major force in society, is pretty much a dead zone when it comes to education.

Even when I was in elementary school it was a known fact that our teachers couldn’t talk about religion. If they did, they could get in trouble for doing so. As a kid I never really questioned it, we didn’t talk about religion at home either after all. As I got older I realized it was like the American separation of Church and State, and my classmates and I still didn’t really think anything of it.

Now that I’m in university though, it seems odd. Since the two things I’m pursuing are things you’re explicitly not allowed to talk about before university (politics and religion) I basically had to go in blind. The only reason I took political science, and even considered taking a religious studies course is because of one of my high school teachers who suggested that I would like Political Science, and told us all that we should take at least one Religious Studies class in university.

If it weren’t for that one teacher I wonder what I would be doing now? Maybe English or History I suppose, since I always enjoyed those things in high school. Dr. B mentioned that they see it as important to teach us the capital of Prince Edward Island (which is on the other side of the country), but not even the basics of world religions (in his example Sikhism). Considering religion has more of an impact on the world than the capital of PEI, it seems odd that in 13 years of pre-university schooling religion is basically ignored.

When I did ask about why teachers weren’t allowed to talk about religion (or politics) I was told that it was because they would inevitably favor their own views and possibly taint ours. It seems disturbing to me that the people we trust to educate our next generation can’t be trusted to teach about these two world shaping subjects in an unbiased way. Is there something you learn when you get your PhD that makes teaching university students completely different? Sure I can understand not teaching it to elementary school children, but graduating high school with an educational void about these things seems like we’re doing them a disservice.

I know here in BC at least, the Ministry of Education has been changing our graduation program around again and again – especially in regards to mandatory physical exercise. Admittedly I hated this in high school, but while they’re changing everything up, maybe they should think about creating not only physically fit graduates, but socially aware ones too.

– Kali

 

Button, oh Button

Yesterday at the Students for a Free Tibet meeting we had a button making party. None of us had ever made buttons before and we were excited because, well, who doesn’t like buttons? The machine seemed pretty complicated, but once reading the instructions we figured it out. Fortunately only 4 of us were there though since there was only one machine and any more people would not have had anything to do.

One girl worked the machine, two people cut out the designs, and I was in charge of quality control. We made a lot of buttons, but there were also a few buttons that just didn’t work. They had to be added to the button graveyard that seemed to be accumulating in a bag under the machine.

All in all though it was a lot of fun – and now I have more buttons!

My New Buttons

These are the buttons I took. The story behind the blank one is that we wanted to do a tester to make sure we had it all figured out, and there were a bunch of blank pieces of paper that were perfect button making size. We used them and this was the result – I’m calling it my Doctor Who themed button. It’s psychic paper – yeah, because I’m so cool.

We also have a vigil to go to this afternoon. It’s from 3:00-6:30. I’m definitely going to go for a bit, but probably not for all 3.5 hours – I really need to get writing my historiography paper. I’ve done all the research, now I just have to do the actual writing. We also discovered that UVic’s Student Union Building (SUB) has a second floor which none of us knew. It’s not that big, but it’s actually pretty cool.

Some of Our Buttons

Also, points if you get the reference in the post title.

– Kali

I. Am. Insane.

So, as it says above, I am insane. I would have to be, really, to even consider what I have decided to do. Once again, I am double majoring.

That’s right, you read it correctly, I’m double majoring. This time in Women’s Studies (hopefully Honours) and History. Now, I haven’t actually taken any history courses yet, but when Kali and I went through the courses and different departments available at UVic, the one department other then Women’s Studies that had me going “OooOoo! I wanna take that!” was History. So, my second major is now History.

With that written, I think a little history is called for.

As things are, UVic doesn’t have a Masters program for Women’s Studies. That means I would have to get an interdisciplinary degree. This means that I have to have another major, despite how much I may or may not enjoy having one. It is a well known fact that Kali enjoys planning courses, so as soon as I told her this news she came over and we spent a couple hours going through courses and degree requirements. It was finally decided that my second degree would be History. There were a lot of courses (more than I need to take for the degree) that really appealed to me.

Now, a second major isn’t my only option. I could just get a minor in History and go to grad school somewhere else. There are a couple of universities in the country that offer a Masters degree in Women’s Studies. It would be more expensive, but not totally out of the question.

Another option is to get my Bachelors in Women’s Studies and then take a year off until a Masters program is offered at UVic. The WS department is expecting that they should be getting the program between the next two to three years. If everything goes to plan, I should be graduating in two years.

This last option is the most appealing to me, but I don’t want to totally block the double major from being an option either. This basically means that I for this next summer and year, I stick to my current course plan.

Wishing I knew what to do,
Rachel.

Knock Knock Knock: Professor?

I stumbled upon the blog of one of my Political Science professors yesterday. I’m not sure why I was surprised that she had a blog since she was always telling us we should follow her on Twitter, but I was.  I’m not going to name the professor or the blog, but her blog is the inspiration for this post. While looking through her posts I found quite a few on talking to professors – not surprising since she is one of the undergraduate advisors for the Political Science department (and the one of my choice personally).

I freely admit that I’m one of those students who goes to her professor as a last resort. It’s nothing against the professor, I’ve actually been one of those lucky few who has liked all of my professors so far. My reluctance to go speak with them has nothing to do with them and everything to do with me – what can I say, I’m a wimp. I’ve been to talk to all of 3 of the professors I’ve had at university so far – out of the 16 different professors I’ve had. One I went to talk to because he required us all to discuss our paper topics with him, one was the professor who sparked this post and I talked to her in an advising capacity as I wanted to know what Political Science classes were being offered this year, and the third is my current Inter-religious History of Europe (History 388) professor and I daresay he’ll be seeing a lot of me this term.

That’s not to say I haven’t spoken to any of the others, but I’ve only approached them after class, never in their office hours. Sometimes I don’t go to their office hours just because they make everything really clear, and in classes with TAs I can often get any questions cleared up by the TAs instead of having to go to the professor, but there are times I’ve regretted not getting up the guts to go talk to them.

I’m aware they are people just like us, and that they’ve most likely stood exactly where we are right now, but I still find approaching them intimidating at times. They stand in front of me 2 or 3 times a week and lecture about concepts that I know I’m only beginning to grasp and I think that I must have my questions worded perfectly in order to go talk to them. It’s often this stage that stops me. I spend so much time trying to figure out how to word my questions so that I don’t feel like I will come off like an idiot that I never end up going.

A perfect example of this was my Political Theory class last semester. I’ve mentioned that I’m terrible at theory, in fact I got my lowest university grade yet in it. There were a few times I thought I should go talk to him about my midterm or the assignment, but I never did because I could never figure out how to ask him about my issues in the class without being vague and all I could think was that he would be thinking how did this girl even make it this far? Would he have thought that? Probably not. I know that in my head, but I worried about it anyway.

I probably would not even be going to the office hours for my History 388 professor if I thought I could get through the assignments without it. The material in that class is fine and it all makes sense, but it’s the assignments (especially this historiography due on the 10th) that are throwing me for a curve ball.

I don’t know if fear is quite the right word for what my professors inspire in me, but awe seems a bit too strong. I just always feel like if I don’t have all my questions ready to go then why should I be wasting their time? After all, their time is valuable.

I guess it’s just something I need to get over, but I’m not really sure how to go about that. Am I the only one who feels this way? And how do I get over it? Any ideas?

– Kali