I’m finished my degree!

Posted on April 21, 2016 under Life

Yesterday I handed in an exam for my music class. With that, I have completed my degree. It’s been an incredibly stressful semester, for reasons academic and personal. (The night before my exam I was in the ER for five hours, and that’s really not even the worst of it.) I’m very glad to put this semester behind me!

Something which was causing me a lot of stress was my grad school acceptance. I was obviously incredibly stressed about the application itself for months, and couldn’t wait to hear back. But getting in didn’t make me any less stressed, mainly for financial reasons. I’ve made the decision to defer my admission for a year, and that has cut back on a lot of the stress. I’ll have a year and a half to save up for it so I can avoid debt, and after such a stressful four months I’ll (maybe) be able to relax a bit. At least whatever stress comes my way won’t have anything to do with school!

Highlights of my degree:

  • Passing a first year science class thanks to the most generous curve in the world, giving me a B- even though I got less than 50% on an exam worth 70%.
  • My one prof who brought his cat to class twice a semester and handmade his own stone tools. He made me declare an Anthropology major, which I immediately regretted when I realized I hated every Anthropology class that wasn’t his. (It ended up being my minor, and I did not enjoy it.)
  • My evil first year roommate who decorated our common spaces absolutely hideously, which included a poster of Bob Dylan right above our toilet. This made me profoundly uncomfortable and I retaliated by adding a new 8.5×11″ poster of One Direction to a blank wall every other day for several weeks. This went completely unacknowledged.
  • Taking a Scantron quiz with a Harry Styles gel pen and being worried that the machine wouldn’t pick up on it. (It did.)
  • My entire year abroad in Scotland!
  • Cutting down a 5 foot Justin Trudeau campaign sign at 2 in the morning, accepting its presence in my apartment for six months, decorating it according to the season.
    justin
  • Studying something that I had no idea was a legitimate academic field prior to university and realizing that I absolutely loved it! (Cultural studies, if you’re wondering.)
  • Things I managed never to do in my entire 4-year undergrad:

    • Study at the library
    • Check a book out of the library
    • Send out an email to the entire class asking for notes
    • Pull an all-nighter or even come close – I stayed up until 2am finishing an assignment last semester and THAT IS IT. I have excellent time management skills and I finish, like, all my assignments several days early.

    And with that, I bid my undergrad adieu. After my exam yesterday my roommate and I went out for tacos and then went onto Mont Royal to look out at the city.

    Photo 2016-04-20, 8 32 33 PM

    Tomorrow I’m celebrating by going to see Carly Rae Jepsen live, which is pretty much the most perfect ending to my degree ever. (I won’t go quite so far as to say that she got me through the last month of my degree, but, I mean, E•MO•TION is one of the best pop albums I’ve heard in my entire life, so.) And then on Saturday I’m back in Toronto for the next year and a half!

February 2016 Behind the Scenes

Posted on March 05, 2016 under Life

You guys will have to forgive me for this very brief (and pictureless) behind the scenes post. I’ve been sick for quite a few days now, and my laptop has been out of commission for about the same time. I just got it back, but it doesn’t have any of my programmes, which means no photo editing software yet. So, here’s a brief rundown of what I got up to in February.

First, three of my good friends (Anna, Kristin, and Hayley) came to visit near the beginning of the month. We ate our way through Montreal, went to the Barbie Expo, and discovered how it feels to have your nosehairs freeze one day when we decided to go buy discounted Valentine’s Day chocolate in -40 degree weather. (I feel like when when Canadians talk about -40 degree weather, some people think we are merely exaggerated for effect, but I can assure you that it has literally dropped to -40 degrees Celcius several times this winter!)

I have spent much of February being sick, although this is true of every month since October. I have had, at most, about 3 straight weeks of full health in between bouts of sickness since midway through last semester. The fourth year stress is not allowing my immune system to put up a decent fight.

I suppose this week was the best time to get sick, since it’s reading week. I did manage to work quite a few hours over my break, although I missed out on two full shifts due to coughing incessantly for the past five days. I would have liked to be in good health over my break, but it’s easier to stay in bed all day when I don’t have to go school. I’ll be back on Monday, and then I’ll only have six weeks of the semester left – maybe that will help me relax enough to fight off all the germs that apparently think my body is a great incubator.

There’s also one piece of news that should help me relax a bit – I got into grad school about a week and a half ago! Last time I mentioned that I opted to only apply for one school, in the UK. I submitted my application on a Friday and found out I was accepted at 3:30 on a Tuesday morning. (I couldn’t sleep that night, which was pretty convenient – although nobody was awake to share my news with, so that was a bit frustrating.) The international tuition is slightly nightmarish, but I’ve accepted the offer. Everything is pending funding, but I’m just going to assume that in about six months I’ll be back in Scotland. When I abruptly changed my plan in October, this was the best-case scenario. Here we are in March, and everything I’ve been working towards since my third semester of university is coming together. I do have to maintain a certain GPA (which is well below what I currently have), but knowing that they want me does take an elephant-sized weight off my shoulders. Also, next year I will not have to suffer through a Canadian winter, which is ABSOLUTELY MARVELLOUS!

And that was my February! February, to me, is always about surviving, not about thriving. It’s my least favourite month of the year because it’s cold, dark, and gloomy. I wouldn’t say this February was the most outstanding month ever, but it was actually pretty good as Februaries go. Here’s hoping March is even better – let’s start with improved weather.

January 2016 behind the scenes

Posted on January 30, 2016 under Life

My friend Aisling does monthly behind the scenes posts to catch her readers up with the parts of her life that have not otherwise been featured on her blog. I thought I’d take a leaf out of her book in an effort to branch slightly out of the beauty blog niche. I’m unsure if I’ll do these every month (perhaps every two months would work better for my blog?), but for now here’s January!

School

school

Can you tell I’m a liberal arts student?

Early in the month, I started back at school after a month of break in Toronto. As a lot of you probably know, I’m in my last semester of my undergrad. Obviously my workload is pretty intense – I’ve barely gone a day this month without doing at least an hour of reading for school and I’m only just barely on top of everything. Luckily I find most of the material very engaging!

I’m also (very far) in the process of applying for grad school – I’ve prepared everything and solicited reference letters, and I’m just waiting on one letter before I can submit. Up until the beginning of October I was planning on going back to my home province for grad school, and was going to apply for 3 programmes in Ontario. Then I decided to apply to a few UK schools as well, then only UK schools, then a single UK school. It might seem like putting all my eggs in one basket, but I’ve felt strangely almost no stress since making that decision! (I’m also a lot richer than I would have otherwise been – UK applications are free, whereas Canadian ones cost $100 each!)

Visitors

My roommate and I had a few friends up from the US for the weekend a few weeks ago and it was very fun! We ate a lot of good food (including at St. Viateur, which I couldn’t Instagram because I’ve already Instagrammed my meals there TWICE), and we also went to Old Montreal.

old-port-imadake

The food is from Imadake, which I would highly recommend to anyone who finds themselves in Lower Westmount with a craving for ramen!

It’s kind of pretty, but it – like Montreal in general – is more tourist-friendly in the summer. It’s a far cry from how it looked when I went there at the beginning of September:

old-montreal

I really struggle when people visit me here – it’s a nice city, but more for living in than visiting, unless your purpose is to just party for an entire weekend. Then it’s great! It’s even harder at this time of year, since Montreal winters are no joke. Regardless, the five of us had a good time – and, come to think of it, we mainly spent our time eating and going out, so I suppose it was the quintessential Montreal weekend.

Donated blood

blood

Donating blood is very dear to my heart, as my brother had open-heart surgery as a newborn baby and relied on blood transfusions to survive and have the chance to grow into the healthy and very tall 18-year-old he is today! Also, my blood type is O-, which makes me a universal donor, so I feel a real duty to do it when I can.The last time I donated was in January 2014; sadly I was dehydrated (my own fault) and fainted, because I was too stubborn to admit that I was not feeling right. Later I found out that I had hit my head on the way down and sustained a mild concussion. Whoops! I finally went back almost two years to the day after that fateful incident, making sure I was very well-hydrated, and donated more. This time it went off without a hitch. I would have gone back sooner, but I was ineligible for those entire 2 years because you have to wait 6 months after getting a new tattoo or piercing and I was constantly setting the clock back on myself by adding new things to my body!

Really my only complaint with the whole blood donation process is the archaic MSM blood ban, which I hope will be eliminated soon now that it’s part of PM Trudeau’s official platform! Otherwise, I’ve only ever had a good experience with the facilities and personnel. If you’re able to donate I’d highly encourage it! Take it from this needlephobe: you barely feel the needle go in, and once it’s in, you don’t feel a damn thing. (Well, unless you’re super dehydrated and your blood flow sucks, in which case it hurts like a bitch. But that’s the least of your worries because you’re also lightheaded, experiencing spotty vision, and about to faint.)

New Hair

This is probably not news if you read my Rimmel foundation review, but here is a better shot of the colour:

hair-colour

I dyed it using Manic Panic Fuchsia Shock, which is honestly not my favourite! The colour is gorgeous and my hair feels about as good as it ever will, but it’s fading pretty quickly. Back in early 2014 I did hot pink with Directions dye and it lasted forever, so I guess I expect better of a colour in this family. It’s okay, though – I don’t think I want to have bright hair for too long. It was really just a combination of feeling like my undergrad is the time to do this, and having far less hair, making the dyeing process much easier. It’s just something to be aware of if you’re looking for longevity!

Glasses

glasses

Drinking wine in a One Direction shirt on Friday night, as you do.

I got glasses for the first time since I was 13. For about three years between 2009 and 2012 I was a contacts user, but gave those up once I got to university because I was too lazy to put in the effort. I will admit that I am not fond of the idea of myself in glasses, but I was starting to develop a forehead wrinkle from squinting so often, so off to the eye doctor I went! (Yes, my vanity saved my eyesight…) Strangely, my prescription has not budged since I was 13. Anyway, I bought the Naomi glasses from EyeBuyDirect because I’m broke! The shipping time was very fast and they seem to be a good quality considering the price. I’ve only had them for about a week, but so far so good. Being able to see things more than 2 feet in front of me is weird…

Justin’s makeover

justin

We had decorated Justin for the holidays but eventually decided that we needed to update him. Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, we gave him Cupid, a heart made out of roses, and his wife Sophie. (I love Sophie!) Also, the irony of the fact that I’m not a Liberal voter and my roommate is American and thus ineligible to vote does not escape me.

All in all, it’s been a good month – hope everyone else has enjoyed their January as well!