Thursday, October 27, 2011

Last Day, Next 7 Days

It was my last day volunteering for the Toronto Zoo's Rouge Park road ecology survey. I'm going to miss those 3-hour morning walks around the park. Turns out the park has a good population of leopard frogs. Though I've picked up more than 500 dead frogs off the road over the last 6 months, at least they're doing better than the snakes and snapping turtles. There are many animals in the park that cannot be found in the city or the suburban area I live in, so it was quite refreshing. Will have to visit the park once in awhile.

Now to tackle my midterms and reports.

I regret wasting 20 hours on a mask I didn't want to do in the first place. I don't even know how I ended up promising that person a mask. I could have used those hours to study and work on assignments... and now I'm late with my study schedule. I guess I'll be getting only an hour of sleep per day in the next 7 days. Everything is my fault: I should stop worrying about causing another person to want to commit suicide. Time to put up a mean wall again.

I will be uploading a few pictures I took at Rouge Park in this album by November 5:
Rouge Park

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Environmental Studies at York University: Year 2

Year 2: 2009-2010

After receiving a number of C's in my last year's report card, I felt ashamed of myself and wanted to drop out of school. I didn't want to leave all the money I spent in first year to be in vain though, so I decided to stay in school to see if I could improve my learning and writing on my own.

I became an executive of YAMA, which took up most of my time. I joined the archery club, but I didn't show up to the practices often.

My grades and work initiative improved a little. I still left a most of assignments to the last minute though, which caused huge amount of stress on my organs. There were a lot of assignments and reading logs to do! Year 2 was when I received my first A, but also my lowest final grade: a D+ (I was never suited for administrative studies). My GPA didn't improve by the end of the year, which was disappointing, but I learned a lot about how the government, economy, and various societies affect the environment from the second year environmental studies fundamental courses.

Year 2.5: Summer 2010

I took two summer ecology courses that had field trips around Toronto every week. It was a great experience, because we had the chance to do hands-on work. The courses were inspiring and it brought light to the subject of environmental studies. It was sad how they were only a month long.

After the summer term ended, I was sent to British Columbia to work in a restaurant. I took note of restaurant operations and how their impact to the environment could be reduced. I left British Columbia right before the start of my third year.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Environmental Studies at York University: Year 1

In the last 3 years, I've grown to appreciate the environmental studies program at York University and enjoy what I learn in the variety of interdisciplinary courses. It's hard to believe I was frustrated with the program when I first started it.

This post will be one of three mementos of my last 3 years in environmental studies and at York University. I will also share a bit of information on what I'm studying in fourth year. My experiences with university clubs and residence will be included.

Year 1: 2008-2009

Most of my courses were under the faculty of environmental studies. Some common themes in each of those courses were environmental disasters, human contributions to climate change, consumerism, social issues in small and large communities, and the division of power between subject x and y. They were enough to make one feel depressed because the lessons always gave a 'people won't do anything that would actually benefit the environment if it means sacrificing a little wealth' vibe. One of my courses was a geography course which taught history and discourse. It was a little more enlightening than the environmental courses.

I thought that passing my classes was enough to make me happy but I learned it did not. The level of work and writing was much higher than I expected, so I struggled a lot. I used to be great with presentations in high school, but I screwed up group presentations with a sudden stage fright. After receiving a zero on an oral exam, one of my professors suggested I may have a learning disability and I should get help from one of the school's learning services. I didn't go because I believed I could improve my learning capabilities on my own.

I lived on residence in my first year, but I spent most of my time sleeping and hanging out with fellow residence friends. We would stay up until the next morning watching the food network, drinking, or talking about something related to anime, manga, or gaming. My parents called me almost every day in the first few months but gave up after I stopped picking up the phone. They used to give me surprise visits on Fridays to take me home and even sent their friends to pick me up a few times. I told them I wanted to stay at residence on weekends, but they insisted that I wanted to go home. What was the point of pressuring me into living on residence and spending that $7,000? At least I got to meet great people there and I had enough time to explore the whole campus.

I checked out a few clubs on campus throughout the year. I submitted a few comics and attended general meetings of the campus' newspaper group Excalibur, sat through a few of the astronomy club's awesome weekly activities, and eventually joined Yama anime and manga association. One of the members from YAMA showed a fellow first year and I around the campus's underground pathways. He didn't tell us that people usually get raped there until he led us to a sketchy tunnel. (I learned the next year that there's a worse rape tunnel somewhere else on campus.) The groups took a lot of my time every week because of their long meetings, but I don't regret taking the time to participate in their activities.

Throughout the year, I had a habit of falling asleep everywhere. I slept through my classes [in the front row], slept in random common rooms around campus, slept in cafeterias, and even while walking to classes. The bad part was that I wasn't aware I fell asleep until I woke up. I took a blood test during a doctor's appointment halfway into my second term and learned that I had iron deficiency anemia. I asked the doctor if I had to eat more food with iron in it, but she suggested I take supplements instead. I had to take iron tablets everyday after that but I still felt tired. (I feel much better now so the tablets must have worked.)

What I didn't like most about my first year was the long strike: it lasted from the beginning of November until the end of January. I spent most of my strike days looking for news on York University, reading comics and novels, and sleeping at home instead of finishing all my readings and assignments.

Year 1.5: Summer 2009

I wanted to experience summer school back in high school, but I never got the chance to because I had to take care of my younger sister. I figured I could try it out in university and maybe pick up the habit to do assignments ahead of time. The summer term was shorter because of the strike, so everything in the course was crammed. There wasn't that much resting time between assignments, but I didn't mind. My habits of keeping things to the last day continued though.

I think the only bad thing that happened that summer was spraining my ankle and having to use crutches. I sprained my ankle after jumping off a curb and landing on my ankle. It was painful.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Nuit Blache 2011

There's probably a bunch of blog posts on the Internet today (or will be sometime during the rest of the week) on last night's Nuit Blanche. Here are a few blurry shots I took last night.

Taken at city hall, an image of the lights.

Taken at the same place at city hall.

There were protests going on around downtown Toronto.

People were crowded around these two caution tape walls.

Stacks of wooden boards, colored at the end.

A robot that is suppose to be able to identify people's faces. There's a monitor off the robot's red area that shows people the robot's vision.

I kept around Younge and Dundas, so I didn't see much. The projects I did see were interesting though. I left Toronto by 10 PM.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dreams V

I once had a dream of a zombie apocalypse. I was riding my bicycle to a place unknown and stopped when I spotted a person lying on the street. I watched them from a distance and thought they were dead until the body started to crawl towards my bicycle. I freaked out and tried to get away from the body as quickly as I could.
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