I found some posts on tumblr that inspired me to write this piece.

This is my advice on how to make the most out of your time in university.

1.

tumblr_myabtqV1CB1r4ueyro1_500You should re-evaluate your expectations of university/your life.

If I’ve learned anything in university, its that I don’t really know anything and that expectations vs reality will never entirely match up.

Drop your expectations and let your university experience shape you and who you will become.

it’s not about finding yourself. it’s about losing yourself completely and trusting that the world around you is going to shape who you are and that it’s okay. (advice to a friend many years ago).

Appreciate this opportunity.

Even when you have 3 papers due and you’ve procrastinated until the night before and you want to kill someone because you’re over caffeinated and over tired, you’re still getting an opportunity many dream of and its important to be grateful.

Appreciate everyone you meet in university: the older students who take you under their wings, the professors (even the ones you hate) and your friends in your first year.

University will be a trying time.

You will have sad days, angry days, stressful days, happy days and some days you’ll feel like giving up. Just keep going.

2.

tumblr_mxk4eq9Lbh1qjm9bpo1_500You are now responsible for yourself.

This means:

Your happiness.

Your cleanliness.

Your education.

Your path.

All of those things are 100% on you.

You are an adult, a very young one, but an adult no less.

It’s time to cut the cord and sail off on your adventure.

Things will not always go your way and you will face many barriers.

They could be as difficult as failing a course, dealing with bullies in residence and/or falling in love with the wrong person(/people).

You’re going to make some bad choices, but that’s okay – its about learning from those mistakes and moving forward.

Forgive yourself and forgive your friends for not always saying the right thing.

We’re all in this together.

3.

You will be the most loved when you smile and are happy.

I’ve battled with depression and anxiety.

I’ve had many other very difficult situations happen.

But, I survived.

I look to make other people smile and make them laugh. I still have very dark days and can often be very negative (call it a disposition if you must).

When I did Frosh week this year and tried to share my joy and love for my friends and this school – I had an awakening.

You can change and you can be happy and you can fill yourself with love.

You can create love in yourself.

When you begin to share love, and share it intentionally it will come back to you tenfold.

4.

1982020_10154071533570107_1921064368_nOne day you’re going to wake up and realize 2009 wasn’t yesterday, it was 5 years ago.

It was fast but it was packed full of memories of happiness, heartbreak, love, stress and growth.

You will see who you’ve become.

Try not to rush to grow up; give yourself the time you need.

You life will hopefully be long and its not a race.

It’s life.

There is no metaphor, analogy or simile that can adequately describe the journey you are on.

Just live it and be.

Breathe.

You are not alone.

 

I have a massive pet peeve – its people who don’t understand that anything they post online is available to anyone at any time.

I know you’ve already read the stories, that woman who tweeted about her worry of catching AIDS when she went to Africa for a business trip and lost her job to young girls sharing nude photos, the cops seeing your tweet asking to buy recreational drugs and this leading to international news coverage.

This is what you’re doing.

Or maybe you have a friend who took a screenshot of something funny at work, posted it on Facebook and lost their job.

It’s like people magically forget that this happens weekly!

Nothing online is protected or private. 

I love sharing my life online with the people I care about and even strangers who may be able to relate with me, but I’m aware of what I post.

Here are my 3 internet rules:

1. Don’t ever post anything you wouldn’t want someone to read/see.

Don’t be an idiot.

Don’t complain about your job, your boss, your co-workers, etc. You’re just asking to be fired (and no what you post online isn’t protected by privacy laws) and even if they are – it doesn’t matter. You are not as invaluable as you’d like to think you are and if they can’t fire you for that, they’ll find something else to use an excuse, that’s the harsh truth.

Don’t post any confidential information, at all. You will get fired because what you’re doing is illegal.

Do you do drugs? Are you drinking underage/somewhere illegal? Don’t post it on the internet, ever. It will come back to haunt you.

PS: Subtweeting totally counts as complaining, people are not stupid and they will find you.

Future employers absolutely will look into your online life, especially if its a high security or high paying job. Companies do not want to be embarrassed and they will not hire you if your online personality is idiotic.

If you want to make a private tumblr to whine and complain, here are a few tips:

Don’t tag your stuff.

Don’t put your face on it.

Don’t use any specific information/identifiable photographs, etc. People aren’t stupid.

Google has an image search option, remember that.

Don’t use your Gmail that’s on your resume, create a non-descriptive one that you can put all of your stupid social media stuff on.

Do all of this with caution, because you may still be found out. 

2. Password protected/locked doesn’t mean home free

Firstly, there’s this thing called screenshots, where someone can take a picture of their screen and save anything you’ve posted. So even after you’ve deleted it or if its hidden behind a password, people could still save it and prove it was you.

Also, don’t forget about hackers.

Secondly, there’s software that the police and other people have access to that can get past all of your passwords, so don’t be stupid.

3. Could this be misunderstood? If so, don’t post it.

Something you may have meant as an innocent joke could be used against you later, just don’t post it.

In conclusion, you know that expression “think before you speak” well I’d like to add “think and then think again before you post it online”.

I want to start off by saying that by no means am I ashamed of being a lesbian.

I am happy to be in love and living my life as I see fit.

My girlfriend (the cute girl in this picture) is in the red jacket, I'm in the blue scarf.  Isn't she gorgeous?

My girlfriend (the cute girl in this picture) is in the red jacket, I’m in the blue scarf. Isn’t she gorgeous?

I have an amazing, kind, beautiful, smart, funny and supportive girlfriend who brings me a ton of joy.

I am, however, ashamed of the deep fear I have of showing any kind of physical affection to my girlfriend when its just the two of us and when we aren’t in a queer space (by that I mean at a queer event, or a gay bar).

————

When I first came out, I had absolutely no fear about public displays of affection.

I was bold, it didn’t matter who saw me or what they said. I wasn’t worried about what would happen to me or my girlfriends; I didn’t think anything could.

However, that feeling of security began to wear out.

When I had first come out, I had isolated myself. I spent my time either in the village or on campus. I was always surrounded by queer folk or queer friendly folk and if an odd incident happened we could have each others’ backs.

I kind of forgot that the world isn’t quite as open or understanding.

Firstly, the stares drive me nuts. I hate being stared at. People will stare at you when you’re holding hands with a girl. They will stare at you if you’re sitting “too closely” on the subway. They will stare at you if you’ve got your arm around her waist.

Click on the picture for the source.

It’s uncomfortable to be watched, even if it isn’t necessarily for a negative reason.

Next is men making comments.

“Yeaaaah that’s so hot.”

“You want to come home with me/us?”

“Yeaaaah keep going” (That one particularly grossed me out and I would always stop).

“Now I have something to think about later.”

“Hey, we have blow – you should come over to our house.”

“Why are you with her? You should get with a man.”

“You want to make out with my girlfriend?”

“Can you two make out again? We’ll buy you drinks.”

It’s disgusting. It’s totally disgusting.

You know, its one thing if my guy friends are joking with me and I’m joking back BUT these are strangers and those are all things that have actually been said to me in public with my girlfriends.

Last year I was out with one of my friends; she was sexually assaulted and when I stepped between them I was assaulted.

A grown man punched me in the face. It was not a homophobic attack (there was no reason for him to expect me to be gay) but it did shatter my false reality that the world was a safe place. I didn’t really think that people could be so violent with strangers (and that sentiment is coming from a place of privilege).

It made me very aware that people will physically harm people and it can be for no reason at all.

When you pile up the stress of dealing with rude comments with the potential for violence, it makes the “radical” notion of showing affection towards my girlfriend much harder to do.

—————

I feel the need to change and to be less afraid.

I hold her hand at restaurants if we’re out with her mom, I will kiss her at house parties and I will dance with her if we’re at gay bars.

I don’t mind doing it if we have people around us who will help keep us safe.

But if we’re in public and alone, I get nervous. I look around before I kiss her (which kind of kills the romance).

Look at how cute she is? It's hard not to want to kiss her all the time.

Look at how cute she is! It’s hard not to want to kiss her all the time.

My girlfriend doesn’t push me, but I know she would like me to kiss her without worry.

She sent me this video and told me to go to 4:57.

Visibility is super important in our community.

I know it can be really difficult at times, but it helps to show the world that there are many of us and that it’s okay to be who you are. It can help younger queer people see that they are not alone.

It also helps make seeing queer couples more normal. It will help slow down the stares and the awkwardness if people become accustomed to seeing queer couples showing any kind of physical affection towards each other.

Last night we hosted a Coming Out Party at Glendon where we each shared our stories of coming out and our experiences. It was powerful and moving, we had over 20 people speak and it reinforced this need to continue to be visible and to be openly gay, even when its hard.

Be strong and be brave but don’t be stupid. Getting your head kicked in by some homophobic monster is not worth it, but if you can handle the annoyance and deal with some of the BS you will make it easier for other people.

I’m working on it.

I’ve written a few posts about being Métis in the past.

There’s one about colonization and Canadian identity, another one about National Aboriginal Day this summer and lastly one about how much I hate meeting new people and how my identity impacts those meetings.

I want to address something I have found rather frustrating and a barrier I face on my campus.

I have to deal with hearing some very frustrating -ish:

“Krista isn’t really native.”

“Krista’s not like a real native person.”

“Look at her, she looks white!”

ETC.

I’m pretty tired of dealing with this issue to be perfectly frank.

I’m sick of having to explain my history and in tow, the history of Canada.

I find it exhausting to constantly feel as though I’m fighting an uphill battle with my identity and I’m no longer willing to defend my identity to people outside of my community.

 

DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT METIS PEOPLE ARE?!

HERE:

As Métis people, we are part of the fabric that formed this Canadian state. The creation of Manitoba, thanks to Louis Riel, helped shape Confederation in Canada. Our ancestors worked as fur traders, guides, warriors and interpreters.

We exist in historical limbo, we are a mix of European settlers and First Nations people.

Half breeds, Bois-Brûlés…

Not First Nations, not European. (This post)

We existed on this land and our new home and this is not to say some of our ancestors were not part of the colonial process but our ancestors roamed these lands long before Europeans began building boats and guns.

We are the offspring of a young nation and we are still finding our place between what existed here for thousands of years, what the Europeans brought with them, what we created and became and how we’re evolving within this nation.

You can drop the labels you’ve created. You can stop trying to use blood quantum to tell me who I am or what I am.

These weird “percentages” we use to describe our ethnic mix in North America is just bizarre and colonial and strange.

You are what runs through your blood but you are also what beats in your heart. You are the traditions you inherit, the ones you reclaim, and the ones you ignore.

I will no longer explain who I am or what I am or what makes me who I am.

I will not answer your questions about my “mix” or “percentage” because its none of your business and its feeding into a system I am sick of.

All you need to know is I have seen my genealogical charts and I am quite aware of who I am and where I come from.

Who you are is no one else’s business and its no one else’s job to police and this is across the board.

I don’t care if its race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexuality, gender identity OR anything else that makes you who you are or doesn’t make you are.

BACK OFF AND LEAVE ME ALONE UNLESS YOU WANT TO HAVE A POSITIVE CONVERSATION ABOUT IT.

NOW, to be positive!

If you’re coming at me from a positive or inquisitive space, I am more than happy to discuss Métis identity and culture.

I am more than happy to talk to you about who I am, but if you approach me feeling as though you can school me or tell me who I am; I won’t even engage with you.

Anyway, this is the first part of a series called “Krista Rants” where I will rant about something that frustrates me. I’m not speaking for anyone but myself (as per usual) so yeah. 

I run with a very high achieving crowd.

My friends are all nerds, fun nerds, but nerds no less and many seem to LOVE school.

In fact, many of my friends who are graduating have applied to graduate school, law school and/or teachers college.

I however, will be heading into the job market with my shiny new Bachelor of Arts in Canadian Studies.

I feel nervous about this decision but also excited.

I am insecure with finishing my education with a Bachelor of Arts because I am also a huge nerd.

Many of my friends, colleagues, bosses, cousins, family members, etc. have professional degrees – one cousin in law school, a few with MBAs, many of my family members are Engineers; I even have a friend who’s finishing up her PhD!

However, having a lesser degree doesn’t make me incapable of attaining a higher level and I am working on reassuring myself. I have to do what’s right for me.

Heading off to grad school seems like an awesome way to keep going to school, keep learning and I love university and the atmosphere but I don’t have the same passion for school and my studies as I once did.

When I was finishing high school, there was a clear next step and a goal that I wanted to attain, now things are a bit more abstract.

I was told by many of my high school teachers that the last semester of uni you just have to push through and with my senioritis kicking in hard that is proving to be quite challenging, but I will get through it.

‘You’ve got to know when to hold them, when to fold them and when to walk away’ as Kenny Rogers would say, his song was about Poker but I feel like there’s a deeper metaphor there that I’m going to let you chew on.

So what are my next steps?

I have some major life goals and they’re goals I think many people can relate to.

– Destroy all debt

As everyone in the province is aware – getting a university degree is very expensive and I have incurred a lot of debt over the past 5 years.

This is typical and should never be a deterrent when considering university, because education is investing in  yourself, however it’s a reality. 

But I still want to get rid of that debt as quickly as possible, so this means finding a good job ASAP and setting up a payment plan to settle it quickly.

Interest is essentially burning money.

This means being a grown up and going to the bank and meeting with a financial advisor (GAH!).

It also means…

– Getting a real job

I want a career and a path. I want to work hard and prove myself. I want to be eligible for promotions and be well liked at my work place. I want something with benefits and a good retirement package.

I can’t believe I’m becoming one of those people, but if I want to do all of the fun things I want to in life, they’re going to cost money.

– Go on adventures

Life is about more than how big your house is or what kind of job you have. It’s also about what you do with this amazing gift. I want to travel and see more of the world.

I’ve been to the West Coast of Canada, Europe twice and all over the Eastern side of the USA, but I haven’t traveled other than that.

I want to see more.

I want to learn how to surf, I want to climb a mountain and I want to see amazing and awe inspiring things.

So I’m going to make that happen.

– Get married

I need to be sure to maintain a healthy work/life balance, because (as I said before) life is not all about money or work and I don’t want to spend my life transitioning between partners. Nor do I want to be unsatisfied with the relationship.

I’m not single, but posting for the “Put a ring on it” portion.

Getting married is something I want, but I won’t just settle for anyone.

– Raise a family

I want to have a kids and because I’m a lesbian it will be more expensive than someone in a heterosexual relationship (see: potentially buying sperm, legal fees, adoption fees, etc.).

So again, financial planning is going to be key, for the pre-pregnancy stuff.

After which I have to be a good mom, but that stuff can be figured out when its closer.

– Own a house

I want a house, I want to take the money I put aside for paying off school (once I pay off school) and put it into savings for a house.

A cute little house would be ideal.

“But Krista, those are massive goals and they’re so far away! Why are you even thinking about those things now, you’re only 22 years old!”

Yeah, I’m only 22 years old, but these are goals that I have to keep in mind with each step in my life. I want to live with purpose and to live with purpose means accomplishing different things on my checklist of major goals.

This is like a sketch, a rough outline that will slowly be formed and coloured in to create something very beautiful (my life).

Or maybe the lines won’t be visible to any one else.

I may erase some of the lines, create new ones or abandon them altogether, but that’s okay.

I am almost done step one of these plans, which is finishing my education.

I’m simultaneously working on step two, which is creating an awesome resume so that I can make it to the interview process and kick ass.

After I have a job secured, I will work on everything else.

It’s all about prioritizing, thinking about what you really want in life and then DOING IT.

If you’re in the same boat:

Check out on campus resources such Glendon Counselling, Career & Disability Services for free help with your resume. Also you can check the York Career Centre for job postings, online resources and other helpful tips!

Hello friends!

Since my last post was kinda emotional; I’ve decided to make this one:

In 2013 (and in no particular order):

– I went from 4th year to 5th year.

– I turned 22.

– I quit smoking.

– I got a job working full time in the student recruitment office over the summer and then part-time in the office for the rest of the academic year.

– I got dumped twice.

– After the fore mentioned events I fell really in love for the first time.

– One of my friends lost his life.

– I became coordinator of Glgbt*.

– I became the speaker for the GCSU.

AND I did some other fun stuff but I can’t really remember it.

It was not a particularly eventful year, the summer was probably the worst part of it (see: my friend dying and 2 break ups) but there were also good parts to it like a great job, meeting an amazing woman that helps me put everything into perspective and beautiful warm weather (which I am seriously missing given that it’s been down around -40).

Now onto this new year!

I’m just going to list my 14 goals for 2014 🙂

1. Give more compliments

If I think someone is wonderful, I think it in my own head and often forget to share how I feel with the person. Life’s too short to not tell your friends they’re beautiful people or that their kindness inspires you.

So I’ll be doing that.

2. Love

I centre my life in the love I feel and the love I express. I want to keep that going and mark it as a priority to me.

3. Be healthier

My goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables!

And walk a bit more, maybe pick up a sport I like.

I say this without a sense of urgency.

I’m beautiful and so is my body with the way I look right now, but being healthier is more to help treat what’s on the inside.

4. Earn money/save said money

I’d like to be a little more stable in my finances and not just blow money as freely as I have previously. I also have these two financial goals listed below that I’d like to stick to.

Pay off at least 1/3 of my student debt

Pay off my credit card (again)

5. Pass my driver’s license

I need a driver’s license, I’m 22 years old.

Driving scares the $#@+ out of me. I want to get over that fear and have the freedom to drive whenever I’d like.

6. Adopt a pet

I really really really want a puppy 😦 but I may get something smaller/cheaper, I just miss having a furry animal to love.

Or kittens, please.

7. Get a grown up job

I need to find a real/full time job – so yeah if you know anywhere hiring, holla at me 😉

8. Take a trip

I want to go on a trip of some sort, even just a camping trip.

Or I could live there.

9. Make new friends

I have lots of wonderful friends but I tend to close myself off and stay within that group. This year I want to stay open to meeting other wonderful people!

10. Do drag (again)

Masculine me.

Masculine me.

Drag was soooo fun. I haven’t done it in like 2 years but I’d like to do it again.

11. Explore Toronto

Over the past 5 years I’ve seen much of the city, but I still haven’t seen everything.

Especially because I may leave as soon as April, I need to try to enjoy it while I’m here.

The other night I went to the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema and it was super rad! Its dedicated to documentaries and I’m all about those! So it was a cool discovery courtesy of my friend Sarah Byrnes and her birthday. 

12. Call my grandmothers more often

I think it’s important to connect with home and this has become even more important to me.

I may be visiting home more often as well.

13. Participate in more cultural events

I haven’t been to many Metis events recently, so I’d like to participate in a few more.

14. Read more

I used to devour books and I’d like to get back into it. I mostly read online right now, but I want to switch back to finishing actual paper backs. I read thousands of pages of documents a week but its usually articles and often its lazy reading.

So that’s my list. I want to take the pressure off myself and make smaller improvements in my life. It’s important to just be happy and healthy – life is too short for stress.

If I die tomorrow I don’t want to be remembered as the girl who was constantly freaking out over things that really don’t matter.

(I would like to thank Jamilyn [my beautiful girlfriend] and Sarah [one of my closes friends] for some additional inspiration/direct ideas for goals)

I’ve been fortunate enough over the past 2+ weeks to have my girlfriend down in the city and travelling along with me in my many misadventures.

We were supposed to be in Owen Sound last night and we’re currently in the living room at my grandma’s house.

My girlfriend Jam Jam (she hates that nickname) brushing Lucky.

My girlfriend Jam Jam (she hates that nickname) brushing Lucky.

I mean, its not MY fault we wound up here – Jamilyn REALLY wanted Subway from the food court and by the time we got back across Yorkdale mall – the woman in front of me bought the last ticket to Owen Sound (on the only bus that goes to Owen Sound -[J lives in the middle of nowhere but that’s another story]).

To make the best of what is a stressful situation for my girlfriend (and her mom who probably hates me at this point)  I decided to take her for a walk!

Here are some pictures:

There's some rabbit prints in the snow :)

There’s some rabbit prints in the snow 🙂

She's so cute <3

She’s so cute ❤

Selfie

Selfie

Snow covered beach

Snow covered beach

 

So happy <3

So happy ❤

Frozen lake.

Frozen lake.

So after this adventure I managed to snag the last 2 tickets for (again) the ONLY bus heading to Owen Sound – this time leaving from Wasaga Beach. Since my grandma hates driving in the dark she dropped us off at 4:30 pm.

For folks who never take Greyhound: nearly all stops that are not in major cities are at either convenience stores or little cafes – the Greyhound stop on the East side of Wasaga Beach is at a Daisy Mart. 

We walked across the street to have dinner at Subway (the cause of our misadventures early beginnings) and killed about an hour (since the bus was supposed to arrive at 5:45 pm).

Long story short, it was an hour late and arrived at 6:45 pm along with another bus and we had to take said other bus until we reached Collingwood. In Collingwood we switched buses.

At this point I began to regret that I quit smoking – especially when the guy in front of us started playing wolf calls on his cell phone.

Once we reach Owen Sound, we have to take a taxi to Jamilyn’s car and begin the 40 minute drive from there to her house in Port Elgin (please Google Port Elgin – its literally the middle of nowhere).

Here’s a fun map of all of the travelling we’ve done in the last two days! We’ve covered 311 kilometers!

Wow. Such Travels. Much Ontario. Wow.

Wow. Such Travels. Much Ontario. Wow.

My point? Buy your bus tickets early and be early to catch your bus – oh and don’t go to Subway.