Monday, February 2, 2009

York U stress with students

No school for almost three months! A childhood dream maybe but a stark reality for over 50,000 students of York University.

CUPE 3903, the union that represents the teaching assistants and part time staff, walked off the job on Nov 6 2008. Requests for job security and a steady wage increase of 11% over the next two years were put forward to the York University president. However, York was unable to meet their needs and offered a significantly less increase of 9.25% over the next three years.

Fortunately for all the YorkU students inconvenienced by the strike, school has commenced on Feb 2 2009. Due to back-to-work legislation, over 3,000 teaching assistants were forced back to work.

Students of York University were initially overjoyed about the supposed temporary delay in classes. According to Bridgette Wilson, “at first I was somewhat happy because I felt like my body needed a break from the 7 hour dance days. I am a dance major at York. And maybe a week or two off would be the perfect way to relax, catch my breath and then get right back into school in full force. Little did I know November 6th-Febuary 2nd was their version of 1 or 2 weeks.”

We can see that no one expected the strike to be this lengthy. CUPE 3903 and York have been battling back and forth in nasty disputes to say the least. After the walkout, picket lines started promptly. The semester ended uneventfully and students returned to their homes for the Christmas break, some happily, some extremely worried with dozens of questions hovering in the air with no immediate direct answers.

How much longer will this be going on? When are we going to finish the semester? What is going to happen to our money? What about summer courses? What about my summer job?

Fourth Year student Casey Chu Cheong was also faced with some hard-hitting questions. She tells us that she knows she is not alone in this battle. She stresses that she does not know whether or not to fight through the compressed semesters or take the time off and return in September or maybe Summer to complete her education.
“Of course one decision affects everything else including rent, travel plans, jobs and post graduation plans. It is all too complicated and unfair that so many life changing decisions have had to be made by so many people due to something that was completely out of our control,” says Casey

Fortunately for student Bridgette, she managed to save her tuition money by doing something that she would normally be penalized for. “Thankfully my father hadn't gotten around to paying off my winter tuition and I had completed all my academic courses in the previous summer semester so the impact of the strike in this way probably has not affected me as it has most other students with timely paying parents.”

Jan 5 2009. The proposed beginning date of the winter semester at York University if the strike had never occurred. Unfortunately, it was still in full swing. CUPE 3903 continued to man the picket lines and York continued to stand its grounds on their offer. A few weeks later, York attempted to end the strike by forcing all members of the union to participate in a forced ratification vote. Some members of the union were appalled at the move.

Tyler Shipley, official spokesperson for the CUPE 3903 who was on the picket line told us, “We want to get our members together. We want people to vote against this forced ratification. This is an inadequate offer. The offer that they are putting forward is an offer they proposed already and we already voted no.”
Tyler must have been thrilled when his associates voted a no to this vote. However, the students were progressively getting more irate

“I was and still am very annoyed. You cannot compress a term, cover less work than normally covered, charge people the same amount of money as if the term were the same and then allow people to graduate feeling as if they were cheated of some part of their education,” said adamant student Bridgette. “It is ridiculous and absolutely unfair. On the other hand, it is necessary in order to ensure the effects of the strike does not drag on into the fall/winter 2009-2010 academic year.”

York has been experiencing a considerable 15% decline in the number of students applying to the university for Fall 2009. Students seem to be wary of a school that is experiencing so much friction with their administration and teaching staff. There may be a possibility of another strike within the next four years. York should be taking all moves to reassure current as well as potential students that the situation is under control Instilling confidence in the university’s system is imperative.

Bridgette believes that York is taking advantage of its students because they know “we have no choice.” She stated, “The reputation of York has a lot of making up to do because there is no telling where an angry student body of 50,000 plus can spread the news.” She also offers a final thought to us about the dilemma that they face, especially as graduating students.

“Many things have changed, many plans [are] now non existent or completely shifted gears and the once confident soon to be "real people" of a society are back to the drawing board wondering what the hell to do next.”

*Disclaimer: Casey...yeh..I used some of Bridgette's quote as yours ANDDD i wrote this in 40 mins so spare me!

Energy drinks: good for us or deadly?

A health phenomenon has taken the Western world by storm and comes in the guise of ‘the energy drink.’ Chances are you have probably tasted at least one of the hundreds of energy drinks available on today’s market. From Red Bull to Monster to Rockstar, they all plead the same case: we’re the best one out there and we will be the one to make you strong and even increase your sexual stamina.

One may wonder how consumers even decide which energy drink they want since most energy drinks are merely carbonated drinks that contain large doses of caffeine and sugar. Some may have a few variable ingredients such as B vitamins, amino acids or herbal stimulants.

“The packaging and price of the drink has a lot to do with what I end up buying, ” admitted Michael Sanchez, a Sheridan graduate student.

There is a new energy drink on the market now made from white grape juice, Mexican limes, carbonated water, artificial flavours and six botanical herbs. It’s called Pussy. The name has nothing to do with the contents of the drink but it definitely gets your attention. It seems to be the new way to get a drink sold in a market flooded by these sex-appealing products.

It is all about the marketing. Give your product a name that is going to get people talking. Create a commercial and marketing campaign that stirs up the right level of controversy. Pair your product with another well-known and established item. In this case, well, it’s self-explanatory.

Sheridan College currently only carries ‘Rockstar’ and ‘Full Throttle’ energy drinks. When the Sheridan Sun asked the Food and Services Manager, Mary Lu, why the cafeteria chose that specific brand, she simply replied, “ Rockstar is distributed by Coca-Cola, and we receive supplies from them, so that is what we chose to carry.”

Red Bull promotes its products with alcohol. Unfortunately, their marketing scheme could be a recipe for disaster. Popular choices are Red Bull and vodka for the ladies and Red Bull and Hennessy for the gentlemen. These lethal combinations, however, can cause someone to experience a heart attack. According to Reuters, the combination of the alcohol and energy drinks could be deadly as it impairs proper blood vessel function and possibly lifts the risk of blood clotting.

Therefore, when choosing which energy drink you crave after a long day at school or as your chaser when going to your favourite nightspot, remember the negative implications of consuming it in an irresponsible way and go for the healthiest option, not the one with the best attention-grabbing ad.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

College life can be lots of fun, but as the semester unfolds, and assignments, exams and deadlines pile up it can be a real nightmare too. In fact, it is a common trend for new college students to find that they are struggling with their first semester or first year of their studies.

The pressures of the extra workload in comparison to high school and trying to keep up a healthy social life may prove to be too much for some. We do not advise that you maroon yourself into the new and trendy Learning Commons reading all your textbooks back to front however. The perfect remedy for surviving college life is balance. It may take some time but acquiring the skill of time management is vital.

One of the best things about college life is finally being free of the restraints of parental control. There are many campus events put on by the Student Union from 19+ pub nights to all ages concerts. Find some time to participate in some of these events as it is a great way to meet your fellow college-mates and possibly make some lifelong friends. It’s also a great way to de-stress from your overwhelming first few weeks of school.

Unfortunately however, some students may still find themselves struggling with this experience. Some may be soon falling prey to peer pressure. They may not be enjoying their choice of program or just might be having trouble adapting to the transition of college life. Do not despair though. We have an amazing teaching staff here at Sheridan College who always strive to assist all students in achieving success . Do not be wary in approaching your teacher if you are struggling in class. They will gladly lend assistance if it is needed. We also have the staff at the Student Advisement Centre who has seen and dealt with it all.

The Student Advisement Centre is available for all Sheridan College students who are unclear of next steps or to discuss options and prepare an action plan.
Always remember that there is someone who you can speak to or get advice from and they will willingly help you muddle through this dilemma. To reach the Student Advisement Centre at the Trafalgar Campus, you can call 905-845-9430 ext 2557, e-mail or Room B104 or call 905-459-7533 ext 5400 or room B231 at the Davis Campus.

Cavalcade of Lights

Thousands braved the blistering cold to attend Toronto’s Cavalcade of Lights at Nathan Phillips Square on Nov 29. This is the 42nd year Toronto has featured the holiday tradition, a glittering display of a 60’ Christmas tree and over 300,000 lights. It is truly a sight to see. The square is fully lit from dusk until 11 pm every night during the holiday season.

Canadian designer, Brian Gluckstein succeeded in putting into effect this year’s theme “Modern Canadiana.” The lighting display of thousands of red, white and silver lights really contributes to the environment of festivity that Canadians feel during the Christmas season.

Mary Loudis, a regular patron of the Christmas event said, “This is something I love to bring my family to every year. My kids enjoy the chance to stay up late and see the lights come on while they skate. It gives our family the opportunity to spend some good quality time together.”

Ice-skating, food stands and small merchant stands are a few of the attractions planned for the months of December and January. Patrons enjoyed the ambience of a variety of music played by house DJ Tony Sutherland.

Shortly after the lighting of the tree and a jaw dropping fireworks show, the ice rink was prepped for the many skaters eager to get a taste of the fresh ice. After 15 minutes of waiting, the anxious skaters loudly counted down with DJ Tony. Then they were off to glide under the large arch of shimmering lights and stars.

Melissa Soloris, a student at the University of Toronto for the past two years said, “ I love the atmosphere of tonight. Everyone just seems so happy and at peace. The lights, the music, the people, everything is just so nice. This is my first time coming to the opening ceremony and I am so happy that I made the effort to attend. I will definitely want to make this a tradition.”

The City of Toronto promises that each Saturday there will be a free outdoor concert and fireworks production. There will also be ice-skating until 10 pm with popular dj’s of Toronto.

Lack of student life at Sheridan College

How exciting are your weekends? Do you crave for more out of your college experience?
As a former student of the downtown campus of The University of Toronto where there was very little student life, I expected when coming to a relatively small college that the student community would be large and thriving. How wrong was I!
How many of the people that you’ve met since you started here at Sheridan don’t belong to your program? Chances are, not many. If you walk through the halls of Trafalgar campus on a typical Friday afternoon, you’ll see many students walking hastily, looking straight ahead and totally focused on catching the next bus home. It is obvious that many students come to school, go to their classes and go straight home. Rarely do you find a group of students talking excitedly about their plans for the weekend or where they are going to meet later that night.

Your best bet for any form of student camaraderie in Oakville on the weekends is to go to the local sports bar across the street from campus, Monaghan’s. This student hang out spot is in no way affiliated with Sheridan College so you may find an eclectic mix of students combined and older gentlemen drinkers.

There are some students that want to socialize solely with their fellow Sheridan schoolmates. Many believe the Connexion does not offer enough activities for the average college student. There used to be all ages pub nights every Tuesday night and 19+ events on Thursday nights but these nights were cancelled indefinitely by the Student Union. The one common complaint among Sheridan College students such as Pierre Richards, a Business Marketing student, is that “ if they were open on Fridays and Saturdays, it would be sick.”

Unfortunately the only options for a weekend social life if living in Oakville is to attend house parties or leave, heading out to York, downtown Toronto or Mississauga. If you’re trying to meet new people, try your luck at talking to random groups of friendly looking students on campus between your classes because socializing at weekend campus activities is hardly an option.


Relationships and College Life

Dating distractions
By Solange des Vignes

Students attending college experience many distractions. Having to juggle school and a job, taking a long and tiring commute to and from school everyday, living in your parents’ house while trying to gain that long awaited “college independence.” One of the biggest distractions for students here at Sheridan College are relationships.

The perfect recipe for a successful relationship is spending a lot of time together. Seeing that special someone on campus on a daily basis is the key ingredient.

However, according to interior design student, Erica Reavell,“They are a distraction. If you live with somebody, it’s one thing but if you’re not and you have to make time to see them all the time, obviously your schoolwork is suffering.”
Mariya Czubak shares the same opinion. “I believe they hinder because you skip classes and there’s always the temptation to go and have lunch together especially if you’re in college together. If you’re not, then there’s the temptation to not do work when you are outside the college to get together with them.”

There are other students who believe there is something to gain out of carrying on a relationship while in college. Anya Rutkowska acknowledges they are somewhat of a distraction but “they give someone a reason to be motivated.”
Some believe it is impossible not to maintain a relationship with a college peer because you’re around so many different and diverse people you’re sure to find someone interesting or attractive.

If you think you’ve already found that perfect person, remember to give your schoolwork just as much attention as your relationship. If you are not in a relationship, stop for a minute and look at the person next to you in class. It may just be your next partner.