Archives for posts with tag: york university

A Tribe Called Red just put out their video for “Sisters” and I felt inspired (/I’m feeling like Creator wanted me) to write about my Métis sister Tera Beaulieu.


Graduating from York University’s Psychology BA Honours in 2007, she went on to do her Masters in Psychology at the University of Toronto.

Tera is now in the final stretch of her academic path, working on her PhD in Clinical/Counselling Psychology at U of T since 2010 and her area of research is on the role of Métis traditional knowledge in addressing the life transition needs of urban Métis homeless people.

She was the recipient of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, awarded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. (This means she is both incredibly smart and hardworking).

She is the recipient of the 2014 Minaake Award for Leadership presented by the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto.

She has also been an Infinite Reach Facilitator at University of Toronto for the last 3 years and that is how I had the pleasure of meeting her.

Through her work as an Infinite Reach Facilitator and as the Women’s Representative, MNO Toronto and York Region Métis Council she has carved out a place for Métis people living in Toronto and provided many of the city’s Métis folks the space to self declare and to own their identities.

She did all of this while navigating through her own Métis identity.

She is in the process of submitting her nomination to be President of the Toronto & York Region Métis Council (so if you can vote in the Toronto council elections, you should DEFINITELY vote for her, they will be held in June).



Contributing author and MNO Toronto Region Métis Council Women’s Representative Tera Beaulieu providing a reading during the launch. Photo credit: Aimee Rochard (Click on this photo for the full story)

Tera is Thunder clan, which is unsurprising to those of us who have the privilege of knowing her, because she is absolutely a force of nature.

A proud Métis woman, her grandfather was born in St Laurent, Manitoba and he served in the Canadian Forces. Her father was born in B.C. and Tera has always called Toronto home.

I had a chat with Tera about her identity, how it defines her and also what she hopes to accomplish in the future:

Does your identity as a Métis woman impact your studies? 

Absolutely my identity has impacted my work. My doctoral research focuses on examining the role of Metis traditional knowledge in addressing the life transition needs (education, employment and mental health) of urban Metis homeless people. I knew very early on that I wanted to focus my research on Metis mental health, for several reasons. The area of Metis peoples health and well-being is an incredibly under researched area. We know far more about First Nations and Inuit peoples mental health than we do about Metis people, however, Metis people have experienced colonization, residential school, intergenerational trauma, and so on, just as the other Indigenous peoples of North America have. Knowing this, I felt a great sense of responsibility and desire to add to the knowledge base that details our peoples health so that we may be better informed about the needs of our people and how we might begin to go about addressing our healing needs.


Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs David Zimmer, and Carla Robinson

Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs David Zimmer, and Carla Robinson

Did/do you struggle with identifying as Métis?

My identity as a Metis woman has significantly evolved over time. My family often made references to being “Native” or having “Indian blood” when I was a child, but I didn’t understand this or know how to make sense of it for most of my childhood and adolescence. Over time I learned of our ancestry as Metis, and began to research and look into our history in my early adulthood. Being comfortable with identifying as Metis was a long process that involved much reflection and healing. I spent a lot of time reflecting on whether I was entitled to identify as Metis, given that I didn’t grow up in the culture, and thinking about my responsibility to my community and culture if I took up the identity of being Aboriginal.  As I began to immerse myself in the culture and become more active with the community, identifying as Metis became an important way for me to honour my Metis ancestors and positively contribute to our community.

Have you found strength in identifying as Métis?

I have found strength in identifying as Metis but it has not come without its challenges. I had a particularly difficult experience as an undergraduate student prior to identifying as Metis, but knowing of my ancestry. When I inquired about learning about traditional ways of healing and attending ceremony in the city, my professor at that time was very non-supportive and I experienced a great deal of shame. While she likely was trying to protect Indigenous culture and healing practices, for a young person who was struggling to make sense of their Indigenous identity, her response was quite damaging. I later realized that as a result of that experience, I suppressed my interest and connection with Aboriginal culture and felt unworthy of inquiring about and participating in the community. I can remember the first time that I publicly identified as Metis as a graduate student: my heart was pumping, I was sweating, almost waiting for someone to scream out at me “Liar! Imposter! We know the truth!!” To my surprise, my supervisor and fellow students were incredibly supportive and encouraged me to continue identifying and following this path of healing and reflection. As a result of identifying as Metis, becoming connected and integrated with the community and culture, I have experienced, and continue to experience, a great deal of healing, nurturance and support.

What has been a teaching you’ve received that has inspired you or helped you on your path?

Goodness, there are so many. I would say that one teaching that always sticks with me is a teaching about the infinity symbol. In describing how the infinity symbol represents the coming together of the First Peoples and European settlers, and how their intermarriage and children eventually evolved into the Metis Nation, an Elder reminded me that when you untwist the infinity, it forms a circle, highlighting our relationships with our First Nations and Inuit relatives. That’s been particularly important for me as I’ve engaged in work with the Aboriginal community of Toronto, remembering that while we are distinct Nations of people, we are all related.


Were you always planning to do a PhD?

No! I had no idea that I would end up in graduate school. I knew in early adolescence that I wanted to study psychology and help people. How I was going to get there, I had no idea. I have been incredibly fortunate and blessed to have had the opportunity to attend school and gain as much knowledge as I have. As much as I have enjoyed it, I am definitely looking forward to finishing though!

What will you do once you’ve finished your PhD? 
Relax? Get 7 hours of sleep on a regular basis? Begin to wash that mountain of clothing that’s been building for the past 7 years in my closest? Definitely watch poorly rated television/Netflix for at least a few weeks (who else loves to hate Dawson’s Creek?!).
Once I move out of this stage of recuperation, I most definitely plan on practicing in the community. Whether that will be through my own private practice or while working at a hospital/community agency is yet to be determined, but the reason for completing this degree is to be of use in supporting and helping others as they make changes in their own lives. Culturally competent clinical programming and interventions for Metis people, to the best of my knowledge, are few and far between. If I had the opportunity to continue to conduct research, my main area of focus would continue to be on Metis peoples mental health and healing needs. I’ve also taught sessionally at the University level, and so would welcome the opportunity to do that as well. You know, as long as all of this doesn’t interrupt my Dawson’s Creek viewing schedule…

Tera and I in O-town for the Halfbreed Hustle.

What has been your proudest moment?

The word proudest or pride is tough for me – I’ve always been taught to remain humble and remember that you are just one small piece of Creator’s big picture. I will say that one of the most humbling and honouring experiences that I have ever had was when I was presented with my first Eagle feather. To be recognized by our community for the work that I have engaged in was pretty unbelievable, as my life has been so transformed for the better as a result of doing this work. I carry that experience very close to my heart and spirit as I continue to walk the path that I’m on.

What advice would you give young Métis students considering university? 

You can do it. I had several people at different points along my journey question my abilities and at each turn I have taken great pleasure in proving them wrong. You have to have faith and confidence in yourself that you can achieve. That doesn’t mean that everything is going to be easy or always turn out exactly the way you want it to, but persevere, remain committed and diligent, and eat lots of nachos. Seriously, nachos help. Accessing our amazing Metis community also helps exponentially. I have made the most amazing friends through connecting with the Metis Nation of Ontario and its various programs. The Infinite Reach: Metis Student Solidarity Network in particular has acted as a lifeline for me in many respects and has enhanced my own sense of identity and belief in my abilities to achieve. The love, support, nurturance, and continuous laughter that is provided by this community is unbelievable and I do not feel like my graduate education would have been anywhere near as rewarding as it has been had I not connected in this way.
Any final thoughts? 
I would like to say that I am incredibly lucky and privileged in many ways to have not only obtained the education that I have received, but for the very loving and supportive family, friends, and community that stand beside me. All of my accomplishments are 100% shared  with these people, because without them, none of it would be possible. I am so excited for the future of the Metis Nation, and am grateful that I get to work alongside this beautiful community of people.
PS: Here’s the video for Sisters.

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!

To get really cheesy on y’all – listen to Bon Jovi killing it.

Last week I took a nice trip back to my high school – for my readers who are currently in high school, the idea seems perfectly normal HOWEVER I graduated back in 2009 so I’ve been out of high school since before you started it (there’s a scary thought).

I made a similar trip last year where I went and sat with their Alliance Gai-Hétéro (Gay-Straight Alliance [I went to a French high school woot!]) for a chat with the students involved about my coming out experience and gave some tips on TV shows with lesbians for the one out queer girl in the group.

Anyway, what I did this year was much bigger!

The AGH organized an entire afternoon of workshops and a panel discussion, so I headed back to good old Penetanguishene to join in.


The first thing I noticed was many of the teachers and some of the 12th grade students were wearing these really rad tie-dye shirts with an equality sign on them – just seeing the support for the day from the teachers and students was really powerful.

In the afternoon I helped out with a session called “Plac-quoi?”.

It was about “sortir du placard” OR as we say en anglais “Coming out of the closet”. We discussed how to be a good ally and be supportive. I shared a bunch of my experiences with the students.

Our session included a skit of a student reacting very poorly to their friend coming out. The scene was a frozen and then we had a discussion on how to better react in the situation.

We asked the students to share what they would actually say if one of their friends came out to them.

It was interesting because one of the first things every single group said to ask was “How long have you known you were gay?” and what I had recommended is if you are the first person they’re coming out to – it’s probably best to leave that question for a later date, since it can be a very difficult time emotionally. BUT it wasn’t a bad question.

Many of their comments were about how none of them would really care, many said it may take them a minute to adjust but there was nothing wrong with being gay and they didn’t have a problem with it.

One of the guys said “If you care then you are not really a friend”.

My heart pretty much exploded.

We just reinforced the point of asking who knows and if its okay to talk about it. In my situation, gossip lead to me being forced out of my home – I made sure to be clear on the importance of keeping your mouth shut when someone is coming out.

It was really heart warming to see all of the students and the way they reacted to the situation – none of them snickered or said it was gross or bad.

Sure they were bored, but it was a forced afternoon of sessions (I was one of those nerds who LOVED these kinds of activities, but I know some of my friends would have hated it) so its to be expected.

After doing the sessions, all 160(ish) of the students piled into the cafeteria and we did a panel. It was myself, a guy named Joel (super cool franco-ontarien dude) and then a divorced couple that had 2 children together.

What makes the divorced couple interesting is they were in a heterosexual relationship but the male partner came out as gay at 43 years old and while they had briefly a strained relationship (they were after all, married and then had to go through a divorce), they’ve become friends.

Anyway, once introductions had finished we were asked a few questions and we began by sharing our coming out experiences.

Luckily for Joel and the ex-husband, they shared that they had mostly positive coming out experiences and they said they have not faced any serious discrimination.

His ex-wife shared her difficulty in coming to terms with it, especially because they had been together, shared a life and two children. As she said to him “You had been hiding behind my skirt”. She said what made her realize she had to begin to forgive him was when her son cried and asked if he was going to end up gay and she didn’t want him to think being gay was a bad thing, so she began the healing process.

She shared some of the struggles, including her daughter being unsure of how to tell her boyfriend her dad was gay, so she initially avoided it by staying with her rather than her father who she lived with.

These are some of the struggles of a modern family.

Joel shared that he came out in his third year of university and when he went to speak with his mom she said “I know and I love you” but still cried about it. She was sad not because he was gay but because she thought being gay meant your life would be much harder (as many parents imagine it will be [including my own mother]).

My story is a little different, but since my youngest brother is still a student at the high school, I felt it best to not include everything.

I tried to maintain a realistic balance between good and bad. I wanted the students to be aware of the difficulty of coming out but also to realize how much of a positive and awesome experience it will be down the road.

I wanted them to understand the importance of acceptance, forgiveness and healing in what can be an incredibly difficult time. But this was also just my story, and there are many other roads that are far better and far worse.

I shared that it had been one of the worst years of my life but 4 years later, I am grateful every single day to be who I am, to be out and proud.

My many labels shape me, but they do not define me.

My many “labels” shape me, but they do not define me.

If you know me, then you would know I can get a little passionate (read: intense) when I talk about issues I care deeply about, luckily Joel was there to balance it out and make the students laugh.

It felt really good to come home and be reminded that it was a really great place to grow up and the spirit of inclusion in my high school still existed.

After the day was over, my 20 year old brother came and picked me up from the school. He teased me about the day and grabbed one of the 4 homemade cookies I’d received in my gift bag (perks of coming from a small town – you can trust the baked goods!).



Once I was home, I went straight into my room to process the warm fuzzies I was having about the day. I was thinking about how scared I really am of strangers and how my own assumption that the world is a scary and homophobic place may not be entirely true.

Then my brother, who is a student at the school, came in to chat with me.

Him: “Was today like awkward for you?”

Me: “Not really, was it for you? I was trying not to share too much about the family.”

Him: “No, I don’t really care. When they asked what your worst reaction was, I remembered what happened because I was there – but I figured you weren’t going to share it.”

Me: “Yeah, I thought it was best not to. Did you enjoy the day?”

Him: “Yeah, I mean like it was kinda boring to sit in the cafe for an hour and listen to you talk and stuff. Plus none of us really care anyway, the guys kept saying how they didn’t care as long as it didn’t affect them.”

Me: “True, that makes sense.”

Him: “By the way, what’s your girlfriend’s name? You should have told me sooner I shouldn’t be finding out a month later!”

Here’s a list of stuff you need for University.


Bed stuff:

– Pillows

– Blankets

– Sheets (fit to a twin)

– A memory foam mat or something like that (mine saved my back)

*NOTE bring 2 sets of stuff so you can change them periodically*

Closet :

– Clothing

– Hangers

– Laundry hamper, since you’ve got to do your laundry yourself now 😉

– Shoe Rack (gotta keep your kicks in order, so when you’re friends come over they aren’t in a giant pile on the floor)

Shower :

– A Bathrobe (good for getting to/from the shower)

– Flip Flops (trust, you don’t want to be bare foot in the shower)

– Towels (bring a few)

– A small basket to carry your bathroom supplies in (

– Bathroom supplies:  shampoo, conditioner, SOAP, deodorant… you know stuff to make you smell nice

– Any make-up, hair straightening/curling contraptions, hair products, etc.

– Feminine Hygiene stuff


– Laundry soap (you need to have your own for doing laundry on res)

– Dryer sheets

– Some small cleaning supplies (it’s good to have Windex to wipe down your mirror, some kind of cleaning spray for your desk/dresser)

– Small garbage bags

– Febreeze or some other kind of nice smelling thing that isn’t a candle (PS you’re not allowed to have fire in your room, so no candles)

– Paper towels are not a bad idea either

– Dish soap

– Tide to Go (for those late night pizza spills)

*The porter’s office has vacuums, but it may not be a bad idea to have a little Dirt Devil or something for small spills*

Things that use electricity:

– A power bar (you’ll need enough sockets to charge all of your electronics and everything else)

– A mini fridge (I bought my own, but you can rent one as well)

– Ethernet Cable (you need one to use the internet in residence)

– A kettle/coffee maker/Magic Bullet
(if you’re awesome)

– Small speakers (you aren’t allowed subwoofers in Res)

– Headphones (if you’re watching movies late at night or you like it loud, its good to have some out of respect for your floormates)

Important documents:

– A photocopy of your birth certificate

– SIN card (if you’re applying for jobs down here)

– Your health card

– Copies of your resume

– Your Passport (if you plan on heading to the USA or maybe taking an impromptu trip with friends)

– An Emergency contact sheet (you’ll have a contact on file, but its never a bad idea to keep one in your room)

– If you are looking for any academic accommodation its important to have any documents pertaining to this at your disposal (Think IEP, Doctor’s notes, etc.)


Yes you’re on a meal plan, but its a good idea to have some food things in your room. I recommend getting:

– Cereal + Milk

– Fresh Fruit

– Granola bars

– Snacks

– Juice/Pop (you can buy those with your meal plan and keep them in your fridge)

– Tea/Coffee

– A Brita filter for water

*Bring one set of dishes and some Tupperware that you can have for yourself in res*

General room things:

Sarah says bring pretty things

Check out Esther’s blog for inspiration!

– Some small storage bins to hide under your bed/in your closet

This is your space for the next 8 months, show it/yourself some love.

Stuff for everyone:


– Paper

– Something to hold the paper in (read: binder, folder, etc.)

– A few pens and highlighters

– A laptop (check Sarah’s post for deets)

– An external hard-drive/thumbdrive (if you don’t have drop box)

– A backpack or book bag

– A printer (if you can get a cheap one, its super useful to have it – but not necessary, there’s printing in the library as well as the GCSU)

– Post-It notes and flashcards for those who go HAM on organization

– **If you’re a commuter, its a good idea to look into getting a locker, contact info for lockers is: Patricia Cassan, C114 York Hall, tel: 416.487.6720,**


– A metro pass (if you’re a commuter or planning on working off campus as a resident)

– A handful of TTC tokens are always good if you’re living in res

– A parking pass if you’re driving to school

– A bike lock (if you have a bike, obvs)


– An umbrella (good to keep in your locker for unexpected rain storms)

– Snacks (for your locker)

– A lunch! (Save yourself some money and pack lunches to come to school)

– A TTC App (I personally love Transit Now)

In conclusion, don’t stress! It’s going to be okay 🙂

If you want to add anything, comment below!!

Here’s the 4-1-1 on the 416 (or 647… ew).

Toronto is my adopted city, I grew up on a dirt road with no public transit and decided that TO was the city for me.


However, it’s been almost 5 years since I arrived in Toronto (pronounced Tronno) and I feel like I have a bit more of a grasp on the TTC, cool neighbourhoods and things to do.

I love this city (on most days) BUT there are definitely some key points that new Torontonians should not miss.

1. When you are on the escalator, either walk up or stand the right

Passing on the left like a boss.

You know how I know you aren’t from Toronto? Because you’re leaning on the left side making it impossible for me to walk past you and to my bus that’s leaving in 2 minutes.

Seriously, if you’re going to stand on the escalator. You’re probably tired and doing it for a real reason, but move.

Here’s a full post on escalator etiquette.

2. Learn your cardinal points

“Yo, I’m on the North East corner of College and Bathurst”

Me. All the time.

I like landmarks, but most Torontonians will use cardinal points to explain what bar they’re at or how to find that venue City and Colour is playing a secret show at.

Just so you know, there’s Yonge street that runs North – South, figure out East and West from there and you’re good.

Or just give up and download Google Maps onto your phone like I did and use it to walk places.

3. You’re going to think its funny when people run for the subway, and then you’ll become one of those people.

When I first moved to Toronto, I thought it was hilarious when people ran to catch the subway trains.

“The next train will be here in 3 minutes guys”

And the next thing you know – I’m all like


It’s going to happen… you will be one of THOSE people.

Pro tip: Go to Sheppard Station and watch people take the purple line, everyone does this awkward jog/run/walk thing that’s hilarious.

4. Never EVER trust TTC estimators, it will almost always take longer.

It may say that you’re 60 minutes away from your destination, but due to missed buses, delays or traffic it could end up taking you an hour and a half.

SO.FULL. Credit to this guy for the gif: (click on the gif for a link to his tumblr)

I highly recommend that if its not a route you’re used to taking, ask your friends how long its going to take.

I’d also recommend downloading the Transit Now app, its super reliable and will tell you how far away the bus actually is – I have yet to be disappointed by it.


Real Talk.

We have great restaurants here, do Korean BBQ with your friends or discover that shawarma is the food of gods and late nights.

Click this picture for BlogTO’s “Best Shawarma in Toronto” post.

Trust me, follow your friends and order exactly what they do until you learn what you like. I discovered that I love Ethiopian food and that cheap Pad Thai is wonderful.

6. Do all the activities!

Go to Pride and celebrate your gayness!



Check out some shows at TIFF

Go watch the Leafs with 20k of your new best friends


It’s Leafs’ Nation here… if you can’t beat them you may as well join them.

Grab your skates and head to Nathan Phillips Square (once, ya know, it’s winter)

Stroll around Kensington

Check out the AGO or the ROM on their free student days!

Or do ANY of the hundreds of activities and events that this beautiful city has to offer.

You’re a baby Torontonian, I was too.

Soon you will see that the Annex is plagued by hipsters, streetcars really aren’t THAT terrifying and that you should avoid the blue line at all costs (trust me, its worth spending the cab money).

Here we are, the end of my fourth year… have as many things changed as I’d hoped in my naive first post?

Lazy College Senior is essentially who I’ve become.


Honestly, it feels like it could have been yesterday that I was sitting on the floor in my living room trying to spit out a first post that would be equal parts funny and honest.

Now I’m lying in bed at 2:30 am doing the very same.

I have a ton of assignments, each of which I need to complete within the next 48 hours (oh procrastination, how you’ve burned me once AGAIN) but I’m slowly chipping away at them between tumblr and other necessary breaks.

I should be asleep now, but oh well, maybe I will chug that Pepsi I had my roommate bring home and just stay up for another few hours.


Considering I’m a person living with mental illness, it should be rather unsurprising that not many things have changed – seeing as I haven’t had any major “break through”s or drastic life changes. I still have difficulties sleeping at night, I still have a tendency to procrastinate and I STILL get anxiety over even attending classes.

However, there have been some things I’ve learned about myself in this insanely fast period of time they call the academic year.

1) I thrive when I’m busy.

I had to admit to myself that my work habits are my work habits. I will never be an A+ student in university, even if I think really hard about it every night, it’s not going to change because I am who I am (plus I haven’t made serious steps to change it and I will be going into my 5th year in September). But doing extra curricular activities is something I love and this year was a bit of an experiment in being less involved, however it almost worsened my study habits. When I’m busy, I just get my homework and assignments done instead of dwelling/panicking over every single potential mistake. I need to be busy.

2) Long distance relationships suck.

I’m still dating my girlfriend and I love her very much. However, it did affect my studies and my discipline. I spent far too much time visiting home and not enough time maintaining my Toronto lifestyle (work hard[ish]/play harder became go home/ignore life). Next year she is moving to Toronto sooooo problem solved! 😀

3) I really need to go to counselling regularly.

I go, sometimes. But I need a lot more than that, my anxiety is only worsening with age and I need to strike a proper balance between self care and getting stuff done. Depression is embarrassing but it’s something I will (most likely) be struggling with my entire life, so it’s time to learn how to manage it properly.

4) I’m really weird about assignments.

My work needs to be done quickly and efficiently, if not I struggle to even write it down. I need to be pressed for time to finish an assignment because if I’m not I spend far too much time worrying about each little mistake I’m making. It makes me incredibly anxious to do homework and while I’m far from a perfectionist, there is a strong part of me that needs for my assignments to be perfect, which is next to impossible for me.

5) I need to read more.

I haven’t been reading books for pleasure and that used to be my escape. I miss it. My attention span has slowly been destroyed but I used to be one of those kids who walked around with open books in high school. Also, my grammar is progressively getting worse and that needs to change ASAP.

All of this being said, it was definitely a fun year and a great learning experience. I get frustrated with myself and beat myself up about it, but all and all every year I’ve been in university has been a wonderful learning experience.

Anyway, enough  about me – what did you learn this year? It can be something about yourself or something awesome you learned in class!

“Canadian studies is the in-depth study of the Canadian experience. Understand the country in its various dimensions — its history, its political and legal systems, its languages and cultures, its geographical location, its regions, and its other unique features. You’ll consider how all of this shapes Canada’s position in the global arena.” (Check out the Canadian Studies webpage)

Rick Mercer, breaking it down like a champ.

I think there’s a common misconception that Canada is boring and that there is no history (I’ll blame that on Eurocentrism but that’s a different topic).

Whether we like it or not we live here, we should know our stuff.

So here’s a little Canada quiz!

Do you know who Aboriginal people are?

We are the Inuit, First Nations and Metis people of Canada. I am Métis, so I already knew this but if you don’t maybe you should consider a course like Aboriginal Peoples of Canada, which I took with Dr. Jennifer E. Dalton.

Who was Tecumseh?

The absolute greatest warrior of the War of 1812. A serious BAMF. Research him, or take a War of 1812 related course.

Who won the war of 1812?
Well, I like to see it as the First Nations and Metis warriors were probably the main reason the British got to keep the territory. But they were also completely left out of the negotiation process between Britain and the USA and were essentially screwed out of their rightful territory (as they continue to be). Briefly during the negociations the Brits tried to get a “Indian country” put where Michigan now is, but for various reasons it didn’t happen.

Do you know about residential schools?

I did, but I watched as a room full of (primarily) Canadian students started to tear up while my Anishinaabemowin professor, Maya Chacaby, showed us a video explaining it.

Why is British Columbia a thing?

A million reasons, including the ever famous Hudson’s Bay Company, as well as the Brits’ desire to have a naval base on the Pacific Ocean. Esquimalt is still host to a Canadian naval fleet. I didn’t learn that until my course with Professor Horn, honestly I knew shamefully little about the histories of Canada outside of Ontario/Québec until my courses with him.

What’s a Lieutenant governor? 

Here’s the Wikipedia definition, because you should probably start doing a bit research!

If you knew all of those things, great! A+ for you! But have you studied them in depth?

  • Have you questioned why Confederation happened? Whether or not it was a good thing?
  • How about Newfoundland – they didn’t even get a choice in joining Canada! Should they be a part of it?
  • But neither did the First Nations and Inuit people who were here first and got colonised, abused and are still being severely oppressed. Why must we continue to live under post-colonial/still colonial rule?
  • The Charter of Rights and Freedoms; what does that even mean?
  • What? There are Canadian artist?!? There are Canadian films?!

This is why I chose Canadian Studies as my major, to learn all of the little known basics of Canadian Heritage. To understand this place I grew up in, that I am both originally a part of and also an immigrant to.

In university we learn about this thing called “intersectionality“, and as a queer, aboriginal, woman, raised in small town Ontario, living in Toronto – I have a different scope when it comes to my experiences. My program has given me a better understanding of my day to day life.

Canada is evolving and needs to change. I am far from a nationalist and I struggle with the concept of “Canadian-ness” but I think it’s important to have people who are well educated to challenge established states – take the house down from the inside if you would.

Studying at Glendon has developed my critical thinking and improved my odds at winning bar arguments with my friends. It’s given me the chance to look at what “Canada” is and what it means to so many different people.

I have no idea what I’m going to do When I Grow Up – but it will be helping out Aboriginal youth or working with the queer community. To give some opportunities to young people that I didn’t have growing up and to continue to preserve the rights and opportunities we now share. Maya Chacaby, my teacher for Case Studies in Aboriginal Languages was one of the most inspiring women I’ve ever met and definitely why I’m happy to be in this program.

If you want to read about of my most recent interpretation of Canada, check out this post.

My most recommended courses are: Aboriginal Peoples of Canada, Case Studies in Aboriginal Languages and Northwest & Atlantic Canada. They were wonderful, insightful courses where I feel I learned more than I could possibly share in one blog post.

PS. Take Case Studies in Aboriginal Languages, no matter your future major or interests, ESPECIALLY if you’re interested in teaching, I told Juan to take it and this was his experience.

Do you have any questions about courses or the program itself?

Feel free to ask me any questions below!