Thursday, 3 March 2016

Don't forget: Intent to Register and applying to graduate!

Don't forget: Intent to Register and Applying to Graduate!

With the school year end fast approaching, there are some important administrative things all students need to do. Fortunately, they don't take that long and they are pretty easy to do!

Intent to Register (ITR)

All students who plan to return next year must complete an Intent to Register (ITR) by March 31st 2016. This process indicates to Huron what program you plan to study and activates you as a student for 2016-17. If you do not complete your ITR, you will not be given a registration appointment to choose next year’s courses. 

Need help deciding or general advice? Come to one of the First Year ITR Speed Advising sessions! They are on the afternoons of March 1,3,7,9 and 11 in Student Support Services, W45.

Sign up here to book a 10-minute appointment with an Academic Advisor for questions related to Intent to Register. You must have an appointment to come in at these times.

How to ITR:

STEP 1: Attend the ITR Workshop or the ITR Speed Advising Sessions.

STEP 2: Login to Student Center and complete online process.

It's that simple.

And if you have made an error in your selection, you can re-submit up until March 31, 2016. The software takes your most recent submission.

You can also visit the Intent to Register Planning Guide for instructions to complete ITR on your Student Center.

Applying to Graduate and Preparing for Convocation

For students like myself who are not returning next year, there are also some things that need to be done before the school year ends.

Firstly, you need to apply to graduate by logging into the Student Center and following the instructions there. 

Huron's Theological Convocation is on May 12th and Huron's Faculty of Arts and Social Science (FASS) Convocation is on June 21st. 

For all other important details and instructions before Convocation and on the day of Convocation, make sure you check out this section of the Huron website.

Moustafa Ezz
4th Year Honours Specialization Political Science
Huron University College

Friday, 29 January 2016

Beat the Winter Blues

Beat the Winter Blues

We got lucky here in London at the beginning of winter and over the Christmas break with unusually warmer and decent weather, but unfortunately it hasn't lasted! Winter is back this semester and has brought with it short days, grey skies, wind that hurts your face and heaps of snow. As our school work piles up and things get busier the combination of these things can bring on mood changes and make us feel down.

Fortunately, a lot of expert advice and research provide some great tips and advice to help overcome this, improve your mood and make the most of your day. Here's a summary of some of the main points from different sources:

 Spend Time Outside

This can be really hard to do on some of the more unforgiving winter days, but when it's possible there can be some great benefits to being outdoors, especially when we get those occasional days of sunshine. Even if your house is really well lit, outdoors exposure is far better than artificial lighting according to research

Lighten up your surroundings

Try and spend as much time in the areas of your home with the best exposure to sunlight such as near windows or glass patio doors. If you're studying, there are some great spots like this on campus such as the Huron library, certain sides of Weldon Library and some other buildings on campus. 

If you don't really have many spots for outdoor exposure in your house, another common way people overcome this is through using a light box. Here is a great resource that explains light boxes and their effects and benefits in great detail. In sum, the bright lights from these devices are similar in composition to sunlight and as the link explains, consistent use of them can bring some results! 


There is an abundance of research (like thisthis or this) that shows how regular exercise can be a very effective way to boost your mood and alleviate the blues in addition to providing many physical and health benefits as well.

Here on campus, there's an exciting program that was recently launched with this in mind:

Although the program is already full for the 2016/17 winter session, there are plans to run the program in upcoming semesters, so stay posted! 


It's tempting to stay at home and binge watch Netflix and sometimes it's hard for us to make time for friends when we all have midterms, essays and other school work. Trying to make sure you plan at least some time for being around friends can really help with cheering you up and taking your mind off other stresses. Check out some of the Huron events from my previous blog post and come out to them or stay active with a club you're in, there's always something fun to be done!

Eat Right

According to experts, making the right dietary choices can help alleviate the winter blues. The key here is to avoid foods that cause spikes in insulin as the resulting drop in blood sugar can cause fatigue, irritability and sometimes headaches. Complex carbs like brown rice, potatoes, lentils or even popcorn and pretzels instead of doughnuts, white rice and white bread are preferable. Additionally, rich sources of Vitamin D such as egg yolk and fortified milk are recommended, along with Omega-3 fatty acids from sources such as salmon. Limiting caffeine intake from coffee and tea is also advised. 

Reach out if you need to

Always remember that there are free, professional and confidential services right here on campus in both individual settings and group settings. There's no shame in seeking professional advice on how you are feeling and it can be incredibly beneficial to allow you to learn about strategies and options you have to help you feel better. 

Moustafa Ezz,
4th Year, Honours Spec. Political Science,
Huron University College

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Key Dates for Second Semester

Dates to look out for in second semester

Welcome back Huron and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing break wherever you were. As we kick off second semester, I wanted to share with you all a list of significant dates and events from across Huron and Western that we can look forward to.

Huron University College Students’ Council Events

January 24th - Fleetway Trip

Taking students to Fleetway for rock climbing, bowling, or mini golf

January 31st - Netflix and Grill

Movie in the SAC served with grilled cheese, the Beaver Dam will be open

February 7th - Superbowl Sunday

Superbowl football game with pizza and wings being served in the SAC. The Beaver Dam will be open and there will be awards for the most spirited people.

February 9th-11th

Valentine’s Day Candy Grams and Bake Sale for charity

February 27th - Huron & Kings Pub Night

March 2nd - Coffee House

Talent show for Huron students to showcase whatever they would like

March 4th - HBK Relay 4 Life

A relay for life for all the HBK (Huron, Brescia, Kings) students taking place at Kings

March 22nd - Athletic Banquet

A mini cocktail party for all the Huron intramural athletes

April 4th-9th - Dam the Stress Week

A week filled with events that help students relieve stress during exam time

Date TBD – Huron Talk

An annual event at Huron featuring a notable speaker

Date TBD – Grad Banquet

Grad Banquet will be a formal dinner and celebration for all graduating students near the end of the academic year, The date and more information will be released soon.

Huron University College Students’ Election Deadlines and Dates

Presidential Elections

January 17th, 2016 - All Candidates Meeting and nomination deadline

January 18th - January 25th - Campaign Period

January 20th, 2016 - Public Debate (details to follow)

January 24th, 2016 - In-Council Debate (during Council General Assembly meeting)

January 25th @ 11PM - Campaign Period Ends

January 26th @ 12AM - Online Voting Begins

January 27th @ 8PM - Voting Closes

January 27th @ 8:30PM - Results in the SAC

Spring Elections (Vice-President and Department Representative Positions)

February 22nd - February 28th, 2016 - Nomination Period

February 29th - March 7th, 2016 - Campaign Period

March 6th, 2016 - In-Council Debate; Internal Election (VP Communications, VP Finance)

March 7th - Campaign Period ends @ 11PM

March 8th - Voting Begins @ 12AM

March 9th - Voting Closes @ 8PM

March 9th - Results in the SAC @ 8:30PM

January 20th - Therapy Dogs - Study Day De-Stress Event

Drop in and visit with the St. John Therapy Dogs! Meet the dogs and their owners, learn about the Therapy Dog Program and the benefits they provide. Take some time out of your day to de-stress!

Date: Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Time: 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Location: University Community Centre (UCC)
Mustang Lounge

January 22nd - University Students’ Council Nomination Deadline

Nominations for the University Students’ Council’s 2016 spring elections period are now open and will close on Friday, January 22, 2016 at 4:00 p.m.

Positions include USC President, USC Vice-President, USC Councilors and Faculty Council Presidents.

For nomination forms and more information, go here.

January 23rd - Life after WesternU

Planning for life after WesternU starts now! Whether you are in first year or fourth year or beyond, thinking about your next steps and taking control of your own destiny can never start too early. The Life after WesternU Career Conference has been designed to address a variety of career-related topics that are applicable to all stages of your career planning.

Date: Saturday, January 23rd 2016
Time: 9am-5pm
Location: University Community Centre

Check out the exciting conference itinerary and registration information right here.

Learning Skills Workshops

There is a great selection of Leaning Skills Workshops put on by Western Student Services around the year, The dates vary week-to-week, so for a full listing and schedule go here.

January 29th –February 7th - Opera at Western: Falstaff

Giuseppe Verdi's great opera Falstaff is based on William Shakespeare's timeless comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor. Presented in Italian (with English surtitles), this wonderful comedy combined with Verdi's fabulous music is a great opera for all ages.

There will be five public performances on January 29, 30 (8 p.m.), February 5, 6 (8 p.m.), February 7 (2 p.m.), 2016 in Paul Davenport Theatre, Talbot College, Western University. Run time: approx. 2.5-3 hrs incl. intermission.

Date: Friday, January 29, 2016
Time: 8:00 pm
Location: Talbot College (TC)
Room: Paul Davenport Theatre

$30 general admission
$20 children, students and seniors
To purchase tickets in advance, CLICK HERE to visit The Grand Theatre website, or call 519-672-8800 to purchase over the phone.

A limited number of tickets will be available for purchase at the door on a first-come-first-serve (CASH ONLY).

For more information and tickets, go here.

January 30th 2015 - Charity ball

Charity Ball is a long-standing, annual tradition at Western University that offers students of all faculties and affiliate colleges an opportunity to gather for a night of fun in support of an excellent cause.

All proceeds from this year's event go towards funding the initiatives of the First Episode Mood and Anxiety Program (FEMAP). FEMAP is a program under the London Health Sciences Centre that aims to address the unique needs of transition-aged youth between 16 and 25 years who are experiencing the early onset of mood and/or anxiety disorders.

Date: Saturday, January 30, 2016
Time: 8:00 pm
Location: University Community Centre (UCC)
Room: Mustang Lounge
Cost: $25

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the event page here.

February 3rd - The Honourable Madam Justice Andromache Karakatsanis

Distinguished Speaker Series presents The Honourable Madam Justice Andromache Karakatsanis. Justice Andromache Karakatsanis was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in October 2011. She had been appointed a judge of the Court of Appeal for Ontario in March 2010 and a judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in December 2002. Justice Karakatsanis is a graduate of the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School.

As the province's senior public servant, she provided leadership to the Ontario Public Service and to the deputy ministers. While in the public service, Justice Karakatsanis was actively involved in issues related to education and reform in the field of administrative justice. She was a recipient of the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators (SOAR) Medal in 1996 for outstanding service to Ontario's administrative justice system.

Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Time: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Location: Josephine Spencer Niblett Law Building (LB) Room: Moot Court Room
Cost: Free

Click here for more information.

March 2nd - Student 2 Business Conference

Student 2 Business (S2B) is the marquee event that connects post-secondary talent to career opportunities in London, Canada. Employers, keen to connect with their future workforce, share their advice, needs and opportunities with tomorrow’s talent.

Who: 500 post secondary students from many faculties and programs connect with 250 local business and community representatives from a variety of sectors

When: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 3:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
(Registration opens at 1:30 p.m)

Where: The London Convention Centre, 300 York Street

Cost: $10 for students, $25 for each business & community representative

Transportation: From Fanshawe & Western Campuses

For full information on this great event, visit the official website here

April 13th - Huron Scholarship Application Deadline

Huron offers a variety of in-course and senior scholarships that are available to apply to. A full list of scholarships and details is available here and the deadline is on April 13th.

May 12th - Huron Theology Convocation

June 21st - Huron FASS Convocation

Moustafa Ezz
4th Year, Honours Specialization Political Science
Huron University College

Friday, 4 December 2015

Handy Apps for Students

Handy Apps for Students

As well as being one of our biggest distractions, our phones and other electronics can also serve several useful purposes. With so many apps available these days, I thought I would share with you all some apps that I have personally found to be pretty helpful in my life as a student.


FreakyAlarm is the solution if you continuously press the snooze button or want to guarantee that you won’t sleep through an important commitment. You set the time for the alarm clock and it won’t stop ringing until you answer a series of logic and math games. If that’s not enough for you, you can also set the alarm so that it won’t go off until you scan a predetermined object in your house. For example, you could choose your fridge magnet and the alarm will not turn off until you scan it with your camera which is great because that forces you to get out of bed. Did I mention that the alarm sounds include sirens and screaming babies? The app will also log statistics on your ability to wake up on time.

StayFocusd or SelfControl

StayFocusd (available as a Google Chrome extension)  or SelfControl (available as a Mac Application or on Android) can be really helpful when trying to focus on studying or getting that paper done. You can block your own access to certain websites or apps for a certain amount of time to avoid distractions!


myHomework is a multi platform student planner. You can add homework, tests, projects and lessons, get reminded when assignments are due, enter your class times and schedules and more. It has a clean, modern interface and is available on Android, Chrome, iOS and Windows 8.

Managing your personal finances is an important part of university. You have tuition fees, rent, other bills and general expenses that you’re always paying so it’s important to find a way to track and manage it all. That’s where Mint comes in. It compiles your financial accounts in one place, allows you to set budgets and organizes/categorizes your spending for you. It connects to your account in any major Canadian bank and uses bank-level security and SSL encryption to ensure your data isn’t compromised.


RefMe helps you create citations, references and bibliographies in over 7500 reference styles. You can use their website, add it as a chrome extension, or use their app to scan book or journal barcodes and have the reference generated. All your projects and references are also synced across your devices. Very convenient!


Wunderlist is a great virtual, multi-platform to-do list and personal organizer. You can assign due dates and reminders for various tasks, work or fun, whether the tasks are about school, groceries, hang outs or house chores. Not only does it sync between iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Android, Windows, Kindle Fire and the good old web, but you can share and collaborate on lists and work which makes this app perfect for group projects or organizing tasks between you and your roommates.


Dropbox is a really important app to have as a student. We’ve all been there, or at least know someone who has, when that paper you’ve been working really hard on vanishes in a computer hard disk crash or some other malfunction. Dropbox, a cloud application lets you upload documents, photos, videos and access them online whenever you need either through a web browser or an app on your device. Back up your hard work to ensure that no matter what happens, you won’t lose it. You can also share files with others which makes it a good way to collaborate with classmates on projects or notes.


Tilt is a mobile-money app that lets you transfer money between peers and groups at no cost. Anyone can set a target amount of money to be raised for any purpose really, once the preset amount is reached (“tilts”), only then is each contributor charged. This app has become really popular with students everywhere because it’s a great way to pool the funds for things like rent or house expenses, events or parties. It’s a secure platform and is also commonly used for community fundraising.


Duolingo is a free language app that can be helpful for students studying foreign languages. This app and website is free, has a clean and pleasant user-interface and is available on iOS, Android and Windows 8 and 10. The app offers several courses in 24 languages and its game-like approach using pictures, your smart phone’s microphone and video clips to help you learn words, recite and write them out has been well praised. According to their website an independent study determined that an average 34 hours of Duolingo is equivalent to a full university semester of language studies. Learning a new language is definitely a productive and convenient way of spending time on your phone, or helping you with your current language course.

Have any other Apps that you find really useful? Comment below and let us know!

Moustafa Ezz
4th Year, Honours Specialization Political Science
Huron University College

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Campus Eats: some personal favourites

Campus Eats: some personal favourites

If good food is important to you and you don’t like to settle for mediocre meals, this post is for you. In today’s post I’m going to talk about some of my personal favorite campus eateries that I’ve been to during my time on campus, some of which I go to often and some which I’ve been to occasionally. 

Disclosure: These are based solely on my personal views, I was not offered free burritos or sushi rolls to include any establishments on this list.

Green Leaf Café at Western

Out of all the places on this post, this one is in my opinion one of the least known and most underrated. Located at Room 3340 in Somerville House, Green Leaf Café offers a chic, but casual, lunch buffet from 11:30am – 2:00pm from Tuesday to Friday for a modest price of $12 (+ tax). What makes Green Leaf special in my opinion is the fact that it is the only buffet (that I am aware of) on campus and the quality of their food is pretty high too. They source their meats, produce and cheeses from local farmers and growers. Their menu is different day to day and features Tapas, Soups, Salads and Main Courses (you pay $4.50+tax extra if you want desert though). You can always see this week’s full menu on their website here.. One constant they do have is their weekly special: Fish & Chips Friday. Each daily menu has vegetarian, lactose-free and gluten-free options and they’re pretty responsive to specific requests as long as you give them a min. 48 hours notice. If you haven't been here yet, I would highly recommend you do. 

Food Trucks

A relatively new phenomenon on campus (I believe they’ve been only around for under a year), these are must tries for all the foodies out there. 

Goodah Gastro Truck

Specializing in gourmet grilled cheese, you can find this truck on campus in front of the UCC usually near the bus shelter from 11:00am – 6:00pm on Mondays and Tuesdays. Here is a picture of a sample menu that from their Facebook page :

Fresh, premium ingredients make this a really good eat especially if you’re looking for some warm, gooey comfort food on a chilly day. Follow them on Facebook for regular updates on service and daily menu offerings. 

Shelby’s Food Express

This food truck serves up authentic Middle Eastern Shawarma and other mouth-watering delicacies such as Falafel and even their fusion dish called “Shawarma Poutine”. A Facebook post from September says they’re on campus Monday-Thursday from 11:00am to 5:00pm, although I personally don’t see them on every one of those days (but that might just be me missing them). You can message their Facebook page to ask if they’ll be on campus, they’re pretty responsive to messages.

Poutine and Shawarma are pretty much two of my favourite foods and now I don't have to make the heart breaking choice of one over the other thanks to this fusion dish. 

They also have a dine-in location with more menu options, but that’s on Horton street far from campus. Here’s their website if you’re interested. 


The BeaverTails food truck started appearing on campus in January 2015, serving hungry Western students every Wednesday since then. What are BeaverTails? Fried dough that resembles a Beaver’s tail that you can have topped with delicious sweet toppings such as Nutella, crumbled Oreos, banana slices, Reece’s Pieces, whipped cream and more. Certainly a cheat meal, but so worth it. 

My top choice: The "Triple Trip" - chocolate hazelnut spread, peanut butter and reece's pieces

Watch out, the line ups can be long though:

But if Obama went out of his way to get a BeaverTail during his state visit to Ottawa, then surely you can brave the lines and get one too:

Mucho Burrito

Every good campus needs a source of Burritos and Western certainly doesn’t disappoint. Located in the Nucleus food court in the Natural Sciences Centre, Mucho Burrito is a fresh Mexican grill with a made-to-order gourmet Mexican menu. I’ve gone there a few times and have been pretty satisfied each time, good quality and variety of meats (including chicken, steak, and pork carnitas if my memory is correct) as well as vegetables and sauces.

Nucleus food court’s hours of operation are Monday-Thursday 8:00am – 7:00pm, Friday 8:00am – 6:00pm and closed Saturday and Sunday. Protip: Do not eat these burritos while on the go, they’re huge and packed with stuffing which is awesome, but it also means it can get messy. You’re best to eat them at a table and have napkins with you. 

Bento Sushi

Being a regular at the many all-you-can eat good sushi restaurants that we have in London, I was pretty skeptical of campus sushi but I was positively surprised by this place. The sushi was fresh, tasty and they also have some good teriyaki rice bowls and udon noodle soup. Some combo options include sushi, dumplings and a portion of teriyaki rice bowls too.

I’ve only been to the one in the UCC but they also have a branch in Somerville house. UCC Bento Sushi Hours: Monday-Thursday 10:00am – 7:00pm, Friday 10:00am – 3:00pm and closed Saturday and Sunday.

Taco Tuesdays at the Huron Dining Hall

Every Tuesday on the lunch menu right here at Huron. A good portion of 3 tacos with your choice of steak, chicken or fish. Pretty delicious and filling, you can never go wrong with tacos. 

The Spoke and Wave

The Spoke and the Wave are both known by pretty much everyone on campus but I felt like it would be blasphemous if I didn’t mention them somewhere on this list. 

The Spoke: Widely regarded as the campus pub, the Spoke was established in 1969 and has both a Café menu and Kitchen Menu that you can check out on their website here. Notable mentions go out to the Café’s campus-famous bagels (Jalapeno Cheddar BLT is my personal favourite) and the Kitchen menu’s nachos, CLT wrap and their good old fries. Look out for regular special menu items on posters in the Spoke, which usually change from month-to-month and in the past has included things such as spinach & feta quesadillas, Philly cheese steaks, bacon wrapped hot dogs and pizzas (which they’ve now included as a permanent menu item).

According to their website, in the 2007-2008 school year the Spoke sold 33213 CLT’s and last year they sold 19.7 metric tons of French fries, so I guess I’m not the only one that likes them too.

The Café is open Monday to Friday from 7:30 am to 8:00 pm and Saturday/Sunday from 9:30am to 8:00pm. The Kitchen is open Monday to Friday from 11:00 am to 1:00 am and Saturday/Sunday from 11:00am to 10:00pm.

They also have cool programming every day of the week such as sport’s night, live band rockaoke, the famous Rich McGhee nights, trivia and coffee house. All info on their website.

The Wave: The Wave is more of a sit-down, casual dining restaurant than the Spoke’s pub style atmosphere and its located on the second floor of the UCC. You can see their full menu on their website here, which includes good appetizers, entrée salads, wrap and grill items, pastas, burgers and more. A popular feature is their Pad Thai Tuesday’s and Thursday’s and they regularly have different seasonal menus that supplement the regular menu (had a great Jambalaya from their Cajun seasonal menu there the other week).

The Wave is open from 11:00am – 9:00pm Monday-Friday and can also take special event and catering bookings.

Last tip: When the Tim Horton’s in the UCC has an endless line (which is the case most of the time), you can use the faster express Tim Horton’s line (located down the hall before Subway) to grab just coffee, teas or muffins. But if you want the full Timmie’s menu without the wait, head downstairs to the Tim Horton’s in the lower level UCC by the Bookstore or just go to the Tim Horton’s in Somerville house which is just a two minute walk from the UCC. Apart from the UCC, there is a Tim Horton’s on 7 different buildings on campus.

Of course this list doesn’t include every single eatery on campus, for a full list, check out the Hospitality Services website here.

Bon Appétit everyone.

Moustafa Ezz
4th Year Honours Specialization Political Science
Huron University College

Monday, 2 November 2015

Looking back: Advice to Freshman Year Me (Part 2)

                                            Looking back: Advice to Freshman Year Me (Part 2)

Happy Monday everyone, hope you all had a productive, relaxing and fun fall reading week and Halloween. This week's blog post will be the sequel to last week's post here

So without further ado, here are some more general tips, observations about University from the past few years. 

Clubs: Get involved! – Speaking of clubs, join them because they are fun! Western and Huron have an unbelievable diversity of clubs, whether you’re passionate about sports, social issues, music, languages, joining a pre-law, pre-med or business/investment society, or even something as specific as breakdancing, knitting, paintball or yoga, check out the super long list of clubs you can join on campus. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and take part in events, activities and sometimes trips.

Use services and help resources - Check out my previous blog post here about this. Whether you are feeling overwhelmed, having academic challenges or even if you’re not having any distressing issues at the moment and just want to maintain and perfect good study, learning, health and wellness habits, then look into it. Those workshops are great, free and I would recommend then to every student.

Summer isn’t just for doing nothing – Enjoy your summer, the warm weather, and spend lots of time with loved ones, and try and see new places. But also use the summer to find internships, volunteer or job opportunities that will help you build great out of classroom experiences, develop skills, make great connections and build your resume. Summer is a very common time to find these opportunities.

Exchange – Earlier in university, this is something I wish I had looked into a little more. International exchange opportunities can be an amazing ways to immerse yourself in a different part of the world, make friends in a different country or even learn a new language. Global experience is really valued in many career areas and graduate studies nowadays. Here are links to information on Exchange opportunities and resources offered at both Huron and Western. Not only is there a good diversity of countries and programs, but you can also chose between different time frames as well, whether you want to do a semester, year or summer abroad.

Making Friends – Coming into University, almost everyone can be nervous to some degree. “Will I like it?” “Will I make good friends?” “What are the people I’m living with like?” are all common thoughts. Just remember this: you are literally in the same boat as everyone else; everyone coming here has the same concerns, same aspirations and wants to have a good time just as much as you do. More often than not, that’s why it works out. Yes, maybe not everyone will be friendly and you may not make a regular friend group for days or weeks, but that’s totally okay. A lot of people in upper years will tell you that their friends now may be different than the friends they made in first year, or that it took them a while until they found their social circle. Just be open to people, don’t spend O-Week in your room, and try to meet one new person a day. If you’re feeling a bit shy, that’s totally okay...see my points above about clubs and other groups on campus where you can meet people with common interests in a more direct setting.

Research and Essay Writing Skills - Transitioning from high school to University and adapting to higher essay, research and writing standards can be a significant, but important, challenge for us liberal arts students. This is something that wasn't entirely clear to me when I started first year, but after investing some time into online guidelines about this as well as discussions with library and writing center staff and attending campus workshops, I felt much more confident in my essay writing and research techniques. I think this is one of the most important things to do for those of us in the liberal arts, even if you think you have a fairly good grasp of what writing expectations are. At the Huron Library, you can book a Research Consultation and read through Research Guides and Databases here. There are also an abundance of helpful online resources here at Writing Centre section of the Huron website, where you can also book an appointment with Huron's writing services assistants. The Western Libraries website also offers very helpful guides on research, citation and writing as well as Research Skills Workshops. 

Moustafa Ezz
4th Year, Honours Specialization Political Science
Huron University College

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Looking back: Advice to Freshman Year Me (Part 1)

Looking back: Advice to Freshman Year Me (Part 1)

University will be a place where you undergo unbelievable personal development and growth, where you will succeed and fail, where you can make friendships and connections that will last a life time and a great way to help you really figure out who you are and what you want to do in life. Yes, I know you might be rolling your eyes about how cliché this all might sound, but it is all very real and true.

Like all of us, there are important things I have realized since my freshman year. Today’s post is is the first part of some of those observations that I hope to share, not necessarily just to first-years but all current students.

Set deadlines before the real deadlines – Set a buffer period between when an assignment or essay is due and when you complete the final copy. Use that extra time to review your paper again, perhaps after a night of good sleep and self-critique it. Even better, if you can have a peer mentor or an upper-year friend look it over to give you their thoughts. This is of course is easier said than done, but it really will pay off. 

 Learning shouldn’t just happen in the classroom – Whilst your academics are absolutely a priority, it shouldn’t be your exclusive focus. In today’s world, to be competitive you need more than just being book smart and a good GPA and academic credentials. Employers really value “soft skills”, i.e. the ability to communicate effectively, interpersonal skills, leadership and teamwork. Balance your academic experience with experiences that allow you to develop those professional skills; you have many options that are right here on campus: student government, clubs, professional development workshops, intramural or varsity sports teams are some examples.

Network – University is a vital time (and the perfect opportunity) to network. Get to know your professors outside the classroom, attend Alumni networking and mentorships events (Huron offers those every year!) and bond with classmates and other students who have a lot of professional goals in common with you – who knows, your residence neighbour might be a future CEO. There are a lot of online resources for networking tips and how to maintain these connections for the future.   

Credit card – If you don’t have one yet, find a credit card that suits you and make monthly purchases on it but only if you are confident you can always pay your monthly balance. Doing this in University years will help you build a good credit rating, which can be helpful for your post-grad future when acquiring a mortgage etc. Discipline however is crucial here, not meeting your monthly balance will have the reverse effect on your credit rating. There are oftern free personal financial management workshops or presentations on campus, when they are scheduled, go to them. (P.s. Huron is organizing a Financial Literacy Workshop on November 12th, details here.)

 Free food on campus – On any given day, there is almost always an event with free food somewhere on campus. It may not always be easy to find, but it’s there. Coming out of a long class, walking into the SAC and seeing boxes of free pizza for some kind of event can be a highlight of your day. Just don’t be that guy that eats food and leaves the event right away (or brings Tupperware to stock up for home), if it’s there for everyone to enjoy, then indulge, check out the event a little and thank the organizers.

Calendar – You need this. Whether it’s the calendar on your Mac/iPhone, Google Calendar or the good old print calendar, schedule your classes, events, meetings or anything else you have going on. It’s easy to forget something you committed to or really want to attend. Also, having a weekly calendar where you allocate study time, fun time, exercise and other activities can really help you manage your time.

Exercise and take breaks - Looking back at my experience during university, the time periods where I exercise regularly had a much better impact on my performance, attentiveness and my mood. It can be so hard to make time for this and it’s easy to brush it off sometimes, (I’ll be the first to say I’ve been guilty of that), but you can make it work in your schedule even if it’s brief and a few times a week. Western Rec is available to you free of charge, so be sure to check out their numerous facilities and programs here.


Never trust your computer – Back. Everything. Up. Regularly. Whether it’s a USB, hard drive, or something free like DropBox (or any other Cloud service), always, always back up your files. There is nothing more devastating then working on a long essay or assignment only for your hard drive to crash and to lose all your data. Most academic/accommodation policies clearly state that doing this is your individual responsibility and often do not accept it as an excuse for missing deadlines.

Have fun – Last but not least, have fun. That’s a big part of what University is for as well. Whilst obviously keeping your academics and extracurricular/professional experiences a priority, you can find a balance. Find whatever makes you happiest and relaxed and do it, whether it’s going out with friends, going to parties or campus events, football or hockey games or spending the night in watching a movie, gaming, or playing a good old game of cards or Monopoly. Do what you like and make good memories,  because before you know it, you’ll be graduating.

Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon!

Moustafa Ezz
4th year, Honours Specialization Political Science
Huron University College