Weekly Featured Article

What I’ve Been Up To At Media & Comm. (And Otherwise)

Well, it certainly has been a busy and exciting summer here at SCLD. There’s been lots to do and create, and all of us with the Media & Communications team have been working diligently on a variety of projects.

So what projects have I been working on?

I got back from Saskatchewan about a month after the rest of the team had already begun working, but thankfully I’ve managed to complete some stuff and catch up a bit since my return.

So far, I’ve completed first and second drafts of the 2014-2015 Parent & Family Calendar, a calendar that’s given out to the parents and family members of new students at the beginning of the academic year. It’s still in-progress.

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Here’s a first look at this year’s front and rear covers – but SHHHH! It’s top secret!

I’ve also completed the first 5 blog posts for the Orientation Blog Series featured on our website, a few of which feature some of my photography and videos! Nikki and I have been working hard on this series, and you can check out her posts (which help introduce new students to the presidents and O-Chairs of their respective colleges) there too!

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Here’s a sample photo of mine from the past few weeks. It’s been my first time experimenting with photography and video, and so I’m really excited to learn more and become more familiar with our team’s camera!

Want to see a sample of one of my videos? Check this out!

The best part about the series: it’s not over, so there’s still lots more about orientation to come!

I’ve also had the opportunity to work with the wonderful team over at Res Life! As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I am currently the Media & Comm. liaison for Residence Life, and so far I’ve assisted in making a video for don training (which has since been completed) and am currently in the process of filming and editing another video that will be shown during don training. We also have a giant infographic in the works too, which I’m pretty excited about.

And of course, as always, I’ve been blogging, instagramming, tweeting, and pinning to my heart’s content.

However, outside of this work stuff, I’ve had the opportunity to visit New York City, spend time with family and friends, go camping, bike around main street in my hometown of Markham, and tons of other stuff. But ‘ve had a lot of work to do, too.  I’m currently still in summer school doing one (thankfully just one) course, Applied Ethics. That’s PHIL 2075 for anyone looking to take it. It’s really cool, and the textbook for the course is extremely interesting; I’m actually doing really well in it, too, based on my midterm mark and the marks from my two papers and two debates. However, it’s going to be a busy next two weeks in school for me – I have a paper due this thursday and an in-class marked debate to be a part of, as well as a final paper worth 30% of my grade due the following week. I’ll have to go pedal to the metal for the next little while!

But I still have to remember to have some fun along the way – summer is almost over, after all!

Until next time,

~ Christopher Ford

Here's a shot of my dad and I outside the New York Times HQ in Manhattan

Here’s a shot of my dad and I outside the New York Times HQ in Manhattan

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Need to Know

May and June at the New York-er

There are a lot of exciting things in store for the New York-er over the next month.

First of all, through the month of May and part of June, I will be studying French at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. It’s a five-week French immersion program that I applied to through EXPLORE, a bursary program sponsored by the Canadian government to help students in high school and post-secondary institutions to improve in their conversational French. The program at USask is accredited by the Council of Ministers of Education Canada and it is looking to be a lot of fun – on the trip, I’ll actually get the opportunity to go camping in Banff, Alberta, which I am particularly excited for.

PHOTO: ccde.usask.ca

What that means for my blog is that for the duration of my time in Saskatchewan, all of my blog posts will be in french! I am going to practice my french as much as possible while I’m there, so I plan on updating my blog daily (or as much as possible), writing completely en français. Expect lots of photos as well!

When I return on June 12, my blog may also be undergoing a significant overhaul. I was recently hired for a new job within Student Community and Leadership Development as a Media & Communications Ambassador, and so I may need to begin tailoring my posts to more SCLD-related content. However, if I will not be using my blog as a part of my job, I will continue keeping up with it, and running it on my own time.

Regardless however, The New York-er will still be around – and this past year for my blog could not have been as successful without the help of all of my readers and followers. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

What do you have in store for May & June? Comment below, or tweet me and let me know!

~ Christopher Ford

Watching the Berlin Eisbären play (and win) at O2 World in Berlin, Germany.

Watching the Berlin Eisbären play (and win) at O2 World in Berlin, Germany.

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Weekly Featured Article

All About My Germany Trip (Part One)

Hello All!

I have been planning on writing this blog post for a looooong time, and I am so glad that I finally have the opportunity to share with you all about about my trip during reading week!

As I mentioned before in one of my previous blog posts, I went to Germany in February over reading week. I had the amazing opportunity of visiting München (Munich), located in the state of Bavaria in the south of Germany, and Berlin, Germany’s capital.

But I didn’t just visit. I explored. My partner-in-crime Noula and I promised each other that we would attempt to see everything that these cities had to offer – and although this was an extremely tough promise to keep (since we only had a total of seven days to do so), we truly made good on that promise.

So without further ado, let me begin telling you all about the trip, from the moment we stepped into Pearson airport until we touched back down again just over a week later. I’ll try to cover the trip in four parts – however I may need more than that (it was a pretty amazing trip). Continue reading

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Weekly Featured Article

A Year in Review: What Have I Learned This Year? (**Warning: Long Read**)

Another year (almost) gone by.

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Well, like I said, almost

It truly was a great one – very different from first year, in that it was much more challenging than ever, however everything that I have learned this year truly made it all worthwhile.

So what have I learned this year?

Stay organized

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Every time that I had felt organized this year, I felt in control. I wrote a post about staying organized earlier in the year, and one of my goals for the year was to try to practice what I had preached – that is, utilize some of the methods I mentioned in the post to stay organized.

Although I certainly had times this year where I was not at all organized, the times that I was, I truly felt on top of the world. And certainly I have only become more organized since getting a new smartphone!

Take sufficient breaks

I’ve always been told to take breaks while studying. But no one ever really told me how to take breaks, or for how long. 

One of the things that has helped me this year has been understanding when I need to take a break – essentially, rather than just creating a schedule and factoring a couple breaks into it, I found it most efficient to take a break when need a break. I started to learn a bit more about myself and my own work limits, and I found that when I begin to get distracted, less focused on work, or when my eyes start to tire (usually after about an hour and a half or so of solid working), that is when I need to take a break.

Not only that, but I learned to take breaks that work for me, and that will have me fresh and ready to go by their end! My average break is between 5-30 min long, and I try to pick an activity to do that will reward me for my work, but that will have me ready to go by the time it’s done. If it’s a quick break, I often use that as a snack or tea/coffee break – sometimes, a quick bite is just enough to get me ready to go for my next round of hardcore studying. If it’s a longer break, I try to go for a walk, go spend a bit of time with my sister or my parents (or my brother, if he’s in the neighbourhood), do some cleaning up, or read a book. I try my best to stay away from watching TV or playing video games, because I find that I may get too distracted (and then that 30 min break turns into a 3 hour and 30 min break!). Regardless, I learned to find the break activities that helped me most in being refreshed and prepared to start working again.

TIME MANAGEMENT

THIS. Seriously, procrastination is not fun. And in times of crisis (such as when your hard drive crashes), you’ll wish that you had finished that paper and handed it in weeks in advance (so that you won’t have to ask for an extension when you lose all of your work a week or so before it’s due)!

Time management shouldn’t be a one day event. It should be an ongoing process, which means you should constantly be trying to stay on top of your stuff, and then setting aside time to go out and have fun once you’re all done. However, you should also be realistic – don’t pretend like you’ll actually get that 15 page paper done in two days when you also have class and work. Be realistic about your abilities, and don’t overwork yourself.

Eventually, managing your time will become easy – but don’t get discouraged if you’re not at that stage yet (I know I’m not)!

Back up your work

Buy a USB or a portable hard drive (preferably the latter) or an online cloud service and back up your work. That means saving it in more than one spot, just in the case of, say, your Mac crashing twice in one year, forcing you to pay over $800 in repairs and subsequently scrambling to re-do two papers that you had already completed.

Don’t think it can’t happen to you. Because as soon as you least expect it…BAM! You’re hit with a surpass heavy work load and an even heavier receipt from Apple.

**NOTE: Just as an aside, this really did happen, and I have two words for you if you are planning on buying an Apple computer: Apple. Care. There’s nothing more frustrating than losing the entire content of your computer and then having some ‘genius’ tell you that he is “now going to educate you about why you should have bought Apple Care.” I strongly encourage you to either purchase the insurance with the computer or don’t purchase the computer at all. They are great machines, however things can and do go wrong, like with any other computer.

Scattered Desk, Scattered Mind

The cleaner my desk and/or room, the better I seem to work and feel. Weird, eh? Now, whenever I’m about to sit down to work, I try to clean up my desk, and it really helps!

Review right after class

I have found that reviewing right after class/as soon as I can following my class, the better I can remember concepts at the end of the semester. It really helps things become ingrained in my mind. Not to mention that it helps me come up with some questions to ask during tutorial.

If you’re behind, don’t get discouraged

Let’s face it – I’m not perfect. I get behind in school sometimes. And unless you are perfect (and if you are, please tell me how you do it), you probably get behind on your readings or studying sometimes, just like me.

But fear not, my friends – if you are behind, it’s not the end of the world. What’s more, I have found an easy trick that you can use when you’re behind in your studies, and it works great:

  • Just like you can skip a question if you’re stuck and then return to it on an exam for the sake of time, you can put aside a reading or put aside reviewing your notes if you fall behind. If you don’t get a chance to study one week for whatever reason, just skip it and move on to the next week so that you are moving in time with the course – this way, you can keep up with the course as it moves along without falling behind more and more each week by trying to catch up. Try and use any extra time you have along the way to go over this old stuff, and spend extra time on it later on before your exam to be sure that you know it well.

Just remember that you can get caught up. However, trying to get caught up right away can often lead to you getting even more behind. Keep this in mind, going forward.

Travel Lots

Noula & I in front of Nikolaikirche, Germany's oldest church, in Berlin

My girlfriend & I in front of Nikolaikirche, Germany’s oldest church, in Berlin

Going to Germany this year has truly opened my mind up to the fact that they are places all across the world that I still have yet to explore – whole worlds and ways of life that I have yet to experience and appreciate. The trip this year has sparked my interest in traveling, and I now have a thirst for world experience that I hope to quench in the near future!

Be unsure – But don’t be unprepared

I had a really great conversation with a TA of mine this year about the future. I told him how I, like many students, am genuinely concerned about what I’m going to do after graduating. Not only that, I told him about how I am concerned that I am not in the right program, and that was adding to my stress about what my life would be like post-university.

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So what do you do when you are unsure? What do you do when you are unsure of your program, and unsure of yourself?

What he told me was simple, and yet I had never really thought of it before. It’s okay to be unsure, he told me. Being unsure is about of growing and learning about yourself. However, make sure that, by the time you are done, you will have a direction.

What do you mean by that? I asked him. What he had meant was to use my time in university to explore my academic interests, and to learn what I like. But, in cases like my own where I have found almost everything I have learned interesting, I should choose a general direction for my schooling – with a specific goal in mind – in order to avoid being lost later. Therefore, as the title states, it is certainly okay to be unsure of yourself – however, come up with a goal and a plan to reach it, and this can provide you with a bit of security in case you can’t figure yourself out in time.

There’s lots more that I have learned this year, so stay tuned for Part 2 later on – I will publish it post exams!

Best of luck to all of you on your exams!

~ Christopher Ford

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Just a couple of beauties out for a day on the town…Little sunny out, though!

 

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Need to Know, Weekly Featured Article

YOU NEED TO KNOW My Go-To Breakfasts on Campus

Being a commuter student, I don’t eat on campus as often as your average resident. However sometimes I am in a rush and I don’t get the chance to eat breakfast at home. Sometimes (**knock on wood**) I DON’T EVEN HAVE TIME FOR A COFFEE IN THE MORNING.

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And breakfast, of course!

So what do you do if you’re on campus in the morning and you’re looking for a quick (and reasonably priced) breakfast to tide you over? You check out my Go-To Breakfasts, that’s what!

Go-To Breakfast #1: THE SPECIAL (TREATS COFFEE @ YORK U STUDENT CENTRE)

This is my absolute favourite of all. The special (also called the Breakfast Special, but it’s served all day) consists of a bagel sandwich (you choose the type of bagel with egg and your choice of bacon, sausage, or ham. It also contains a HOT & DELICIOUS MEDIUM COFFEE!

Price: $5.00 (All taxes included)

Go-To Breakfast #2: THE BIG BREAKFAST (BERRIES & BLOOMS @ YORK LANES)

It’s a big breakfast… but on a sandwich! Everything that you would get in your average value breakfast is packed beneath the bread of your choice, and it usually comes with a small coffee.

Price: Approximately $4 (Taxes not included)

Go-To Breakfast #3: GLUTEN-FREE TRIPLE GRILLED CHEESE (CAFETERIA @ CENTRAL SQUARE)

This breakfast tastes great, and is a great option for anyone with a gluten-free dietary restriction. It’s pretty well priced, too!

Price: $3.29 (tax not included -> about 4 bucks with tax)

Follow @YorkUFood on Instagram and Twitter to hear about food trucks on campus, le deal du jour, and all the latest and greatest on what to eat at York U!

~ Christopher Ford

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Weekly Featured Article

Why York’s Birthday Will Be Your Favourite Day Of The Year

York University turns 55 this year on March 26th, 2014. And you know what that means?

That means your soon-to-be most favourite day of the year is almost here!

Reasons why it’s awesome:

1) FREE Cupcakes, Snow Cones, & Popcorn

Because who doesn’t love stuffing their face for the sake of celebration? giphy

2) Annual Photo Competition (Win Free Coffee for Your WHOLE CLASS)

Faculty of Health Professor Walter Dyba’s class photo, Coaching- KIN 2475, was selected in 2013 as having “Best in Class Spirit” – his class received FREE Coffee!

3) Red & White Spirit Rally! (Tons of Energy and School Spirit Throughout The Day)

Seen here is Rhonda Lenton, vice-provost academic, and Steve Dranitsaris, senior executive officer in the Office of Vice-President, Finance & Administration, who dressed in their best York gear for Spirit Day 2012

Lots of people are showing their support – check out all of this year’s York Spirit Partners!

4)Discounts at the Bookstore and Pride Shop

Get 10% off selected items at the Pride Shop at Tait Mackenzie and 25% off all York gear at the Bookstore!

5) $10 Tees

I got my York shit the summer before my first day... Should have waited until Red & White Day

TEN. DOLLAR. YORK. TEES. I bought my (first) York Tee in first year for, like 25 bucks, if I remember correctly. I think you get my point…

6) Great Food

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Food trucks on food trucks on food trucks.

7) Red & White EVERYWHERE

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A group of York is U volunteers from last year’s Red & White Day

8) Because Another Year of York University is Definitely Something To Celebrate!

Maybe there will be another fireworks display, like at this year’s frosh week? One can dream, I suppose!

See you at Red & White Day!

~ Christopher Ford

Taken in Berlin, Germany

Taken in Berlin, Germany

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Weekly Featured Article

My Favourite Resource on Campus…Is Online!

 YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SPARK!

It’s no secret that I access A LOT of resources on campus. From my college to the bookstore, I try to take advantage of as much of the stuff that is provided for me as a student – it is there to help me after all, right?

However there is one campus resource – which is actually brand new to York, having only been officially released this year – that has been an absolute lifesaver for me this year.

The best part about it is that I don’t actually have to be on campus to access it – It’s Online! 

That resource is SPARK. For those who are unfamiliar, SPARK is short for Student Papers and Academic Resource Kit – basically, these are two synonyms for everything you have ever wanted in your life as a student. 

But what is it exactly? To put simply, it (among other things) is a set of online tutorials that are designed to help coach you through difficult assignments, such as research proposals or analytical papers. According to it’s About page, “SPARK…is an e-learning resource designed to help students succeed at written academic assignments…. [It] focuses on the development of academic literacies, such as research, writing and learning skills.”

It is divided up into three sections – Getting Started, Exploring, & Pulling It Together. Each of these sections have a number of modules within. Every module has a different purpose, from Understanding Assignment Requirements to Writing Strategies; has a great deal of supplementary information, such as a printable sheet with a list of procrastination solutions or important and helpful links to other sites; and – most conveniently of all – only takes about 5-10 minutes each. For me, each usually takes only about a maximum of 5 minutes, realistically.

The Procrastination Solutions sheet is one of many very helpful resources – outside of the regular modules – that is provided through SPARK

As previously mentioned, SPARK was only released earlier this academic year on October 16th, 2013, making it even more exceptional that it has – already – had such a profound on students here at York, myself included. It has by far been the one resource that I have accessed most this year, and I continue to access it more in the future.

Still not convinced? Well, maybe 5 of my most-used SPARK modules will help show you just how incredibly useful it is!

5) Types of Written Assignments

Sometimes the hardest part about getting down to writing is not knowing how to approach an assignment. This really helped me with that, and I guarantee it can help you, too!

4) Creating Bibliographies

I used to get by in high school with easybib.com. Life was so simple. Then university happened, and I realized that I didn’t know the difference between MLA and my left MCL. It was disastrous, to say this least. So this came in handy this year. (RefWorks is also a great resource, on a side note – Monika wrote a blog post about it, once upon a time).

3) Gathering & Noting Ideas

Effective note taking. It’s easy to tell why I quite like this one.

3) Choosing a Topic

Know who’s indecisive almost all the time? This guy. This tutorial helps me narrow down what I want the topic of my assignment to be, and it helps me make a plan as to how to attack it, so to speak.

2) Effective Reading Strategies

I sometimes have trouble absorbing material when I read it – especially when researching something that I have never had the opportunity to learn about before. Using this tutorial helped me avoid going back through the same paragraph fifty times by showing me how to make the most out of what I read. Very effectively, and wonderfully helpful. C’est formidable!

1) TIME MANAGEMENT!!!

No words can explain how much use I have gotten out of this tutorial, nor how many times this year I have been saved by having managed my time (relatively) well. That was all thanks to this lil’ beauty right here.

Looking for more information on SPARK? Check out the website at yorku.ca/spark! As always, feel free to comment below with thoughts or questions!

~ Christopher Ford

Me, just upriver of the Dom in Berlin, Germany

Me, just upriver of the Dom in Berlin, Germany (with coffee in hand, of course)

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Need to Know, Weekly Featured Article

Summer School – Is It For You? You NEED TO KNOW!

The summer school schedule is now up and ready for you to check out.

Yes, I know you all must be mentally jumping for joy right now.

In all seriousness though, there are a wide variety of courses offered from all faculties. So you’re bound to find one that you can take, if you’re up for it!

But should you take summer school?

Before you decide, there are a couple of questions that you really need to ask yourself. Read on, and find out what they are!

Continue reading

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Weekly Featured Article

The Best. Reading Week. Ever.

I am bursting with excitement about my reading week plans this year. Last year, I studied hard and used the time to get caught up in my courses (sort of, at least); however, this year, my reading week is going to be a lot different.

For those of you who I have not already told, I will be taking a trip across the world this reading week to the wonderful country of GERMANY. 

Germany borders France, Poland, Netherlands, Belgium, and a couple other countries, and it is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful countries in the world!

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Why am I going there, you ask? 

Well, why not? 

I’ll be visiting my cousins, Daniel & Kris, who live and play hockey in Germany. I’ll be heading first to Munich (München), and then to Berlin, and some of the landmarks that I will check out along the way are…

Hofbraühaus

“The Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, Munich’s famous “hofbrauhaus” was founded in 1589 by the Duke of Bavaria, Wilhelm V. It is one of Munich’s oldest beer halls.” (Wikipedia)

Checkpoint Charlie

“Checkpoint Charlie (or “Checkpoint C”) was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War.” (Wikipedia)
Today, it is a tourist attraction, and the original booth is located in a museum not far from the original checkpoint.

Brandenburg Gate

“The Brandenburg Gate is a former city gate, rebuilt in the late 18th century as a neoclassical triumphal arch, and now one of the most well-known landmarks of Germany”

And, Of Course, HOCKEY GAMES!

My cousin Daniel plays for the Munich Red Bull…

And Kris plays for the Berlin Bears

Nice Mo there, bud

Needless to say, there will be lots of things to see – expect a full report after I return on February 23rd!

~ Christopher Ford

P.s. Make sure to comment below if you know of any other great places to see in Berlin and Munich!

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Looking For Jobs? Get Online!

Finding a job, whether it’s a summer job or a full-time job, can be tough. You have to make a resume, get a few references, get all dressed up, and then walk around every store or restaurant you know of to find your future employer (because, let’s face it, you are the best potential employee ever).

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All in all, it’s tough work.

But what if I told you that there was an easier way? Sure, you’ll still have to make a resume, but what if I told you that can go on a job hunt from the comfort of your own home?

Well, the truth is, YOU CAN! Probably one of the best ways to find a job today as a student is via the web. You can connect with different employers (including different departments at York University who offer work/study positions) through social media and through their websites – you simply have to know where to look!

  1. Before you begin, have a look at York’s Career Centre’s My Career Plan Checklist
    Set yourself up for success – whether looking for a summer job or looking to jumpstart your career, make sure that you’re ready! 
  2. Create accounts on Facebook & Twitter
    It’s amazing how many companies today – and how many departments at York – post about available positions on their social media accounts. Furthermore, social media (when used correctly) is a great tool to find information and network with people – including your future employer(s)! 
  3. Create a Linkedin profile
    If you are going to choose one social media platform to use, choose Linkedin. Your Linkedin Profile is essentially your online resume (with some awesome extra features, of course), and many employers have been known to hire their employees exclusively off of Linkedin!
  4. Watch some Job searching and Career Exploration videos from the Career Centre
  5. Use an online job posting site, including the Career Centre’s Online Job Posting System
    The Career Centre’s Job Posting system has many available positions ON CAMPUS! Check it out!
  6. Check out the Career Exploration & Job Search Tools, as well as the many other online resources from York’s Career Centre

So get on the web – your dream career/summer job awaits!

Photo on 11-27-2013 at 10.07 PM #2

~ Christopher

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