January 2017

From 2013-2018, the UWaterloo Life Blog revealed many highlights of the University of Waterloo student experience. What started as one story all the way back in 2013, snowballed into over 300 unique tales of adventure and perseverance, a little failure, and a lot of success. If you liked the blog, you’ll love our Instagram! Follow @UWaterloolife to discover new stories of student success and follow along with student takeovers.

Year in review: 2017

Banner saying "Goodbye 2017, Welcome 2018"

Can you believe 2018 is just around the corner? Time flies by when we have our eyes glued to a digital screen.  Whether you were studying, working or binge watching Netflix too hard, a lot happened in 2017!  The results are in, and here are our favourite stories of the year, written by talented students just like you.

One Grid, One Community: Zihao's Story

Visualization of villagers using community areas outside for physical activity

Waterloo isn’t the only city nearby that’s bustling with UWaterloo academia.  Soon-to-be pharmacists populate the School of Pharmacy, while architecture students are settled half an hour away from our main campus, in the heart of downtown Cambridge. 

Passion, Design, Development

Selena presenting her design and development tech talk
Not everyone loves to speak in front of large audiences, especially if it’s about a topic they’re overtly passionate about.  There’s a lot of risk that comes with that. 

University of Waterloo - a charity?

Alumni Relations coop students

My name is Raquel Reyes, a third year Environment, Resource and Sustainability student finishing my co-op placement at the Office of Advancement.

Five winter excursions in the KW area for you to visit

Christkindl Market in Kitchener City Hall

The winter holidays are near, and exams and final assignments are coming to an end soon.  It’s important to treat yourself after some intense studying, churning out report after report and hectic group projects.  If you’re drawing a blank on places to check out during the holiday season, we’ve got a few ideas up our sleeves.

Portal's winning widgets

Hackfest kickoff presentation

Hackfest  – an annual hackathon hosted by Waterloo’s Portal team, which challenges students to create additional widgets that will enhance the Portal app experience.  Usually, this event starts and finishes in one day.  However, this year the hackathon went on for ten days straight!

ICSN: An international support system

ICSN at a Blue Jays game
Settling into a new place is generally a difficult adjustment.  Now, imagine moving to a new country, where everyone speaks a completely different language and you have little knowledge of its cultural history.  To top that off, you’re supposed to be starting a new semester at a brand new institution.  There’s the added pressure to get involved on campus, make friends and stay on top of your schoolwork. 

Four International Educational Week events to check out

International Education Week banner

You guessed it from the title: It’s International Education Week (IEW)!  From November 13-17, the University of Waterloo, along with over 100 countries, is celebrating the benefits of international education to the campus community.

Every day during IEW brings something new.  Below are some programs and activities that we thought you’d be interested in checking out. 

Bringing Scenery to Stage

Annaijah welding

What makes a good story? 

The first thing that might pop into your mind is the need for three-dimensional characters, and the complex relationships they have with one another.  Next, the themes throughout the story have got to draw the audience in.  It must have a compelling plot, otherwise it could lose the audience’s attention halfway. 

Behind the Scenes: Feminist Poetry Slam

An individual performing a piece from their phone

The Feminist Poetry Slam hosted by the Women’s Centre is a highly anticipated event each term in the community. It’s a platform for performers to express their identities and struggles through words, and an opportunity for the audience to dive into the themes like never before. To most, the Slam is like a warm embrace; it’s what feels like home.

Quick study snacks for everyday

Strawberry smoothie

It’s pretty easy to stray away from eating healthy.  There are so many reasons why you might not be eating a lot of homemade meals or snacks.  If you’re like me, it’s probably because of one of the following:

Meet the Sexual Violence Response Coordinator

Amanda Cook
The University of Waterloo recently welcomed Amanda Cook in the new position of Sexual Violence Response Coordinator.  Amanda is here to assist the University community with appropriate responses to sexual violence; including complainants, respondents, witnesses and front-line service providers. 

Fundraising 101: Bring Kittens

Taylor holding a cat from the fundraiser
Don’t Stress Meowt! 
No, that wasn’t a typo.  Don’t Stress Meowt was the name for a cat yoga fundraiser that Taylor Damaren, a student at UWaterloo was more than eager to host last month! 

Mindyourmind: Connecting music to mental health

mindyourmind logo

"I feel if we don't talk about mental health, the stigma will never go away."  Chelsey Hallihan, a third-year Honours Arts and Business student, majoring in Speech Communication, has always been passionate about mental health advocacy.  A few months ago, Chelsey got the opportunity to contribute to mental health advocacy in the Waterloo community!

Crosswords and Economics: An Alumni Proposal Story

Justin and Daphne in their graduation gowns, on their Convocation Day

If you happened to pick up Imprint’s first edition of the new school year, and stumbled across the crossword puzzle, don’t be fooled.  That was not a regular puzzle, hence the little “disclaimer” underneath the creator credits.  A secret message was hidden in it - and if you’re a sucker for romantic university stories, get ready for this one.

Halfway across the world

Akram, Mohammad, Hatam, Amine, Sarah and Mazhar.

From the extensive range of programs we offer, to the international students who come from all around the world, Waterloo is known for being one of the most diverse schools in Canada.

7 everyday questions Portal can answer

Hand holding device with Portal open on the to-do list widget.

"What time's the bus coming?" 

"Do you know when the V1 caf is open until?" 

"Can we find somewhere else to study?  I'm tired of the library." 

Four ways studying abroad will make you more employable

A student builds a bridge in Bolivia on his study abroad experience.

For the workers of tomorrow, job security may be simply a thing of the past. This emerging sentiment suggests employees must “be ready to make career shifts and changes as easily as breathing.”

A major factor in the shift between the stable workplaces of the past and the uncertainty of today is the increasing rate at which globalization changes industries, breaking down borders that previously kept positions static.

Behind the Scenes: Orientation

Side profile of Adele speaking to students outdoors
Happy End of Orientation Warriors!

We hope you had a spectacular week meeting new people in your faculty, navigating campus, and cramming in as much fun as you can before classes begin.  Everyone involved in it certainly enjoyed every aspect of bringing Orientation to life for you. 

New term, new you: Goal-setting tips to make this your best term yet

Students walking on campus by the Tatham Centre

Welcome to the start of the new fall term!  For some of you, this may yet again just be another year, another term.  For others, this upcoming term could mean something entirely different.  This could be a brand new chapter in your life. 

Getting involved and standing out

Emily helping a student in a workshop.

In today’s competitive atmosphere, it’s no surprise that many students are trying to find ways to develop new skill sets to succeed. Especially in an environment like Waterloo, flooding with overachievers and innovators, students often find themselves searching for opportunities to help them stand out against others.

Building the bridge from Waterloo to the world

iBASE volunteers and students.

Learning comes in many different shapes and forms. Some students learn best through reading, some learn best through group study sessions, and some may learn best through hands-on experience. With exams coming up, it’s important to note that everyone has different learning styles and the University of Waterloo offers a plethora of resources for students to learn, grow, and thrive within their environment.

Summer hotspots in the region near you

Elora Gorge.

With exams coming up, it’s important to take some time out for yourself; basking in the sun and enjoying fun hobbies as much as possible, especially before you’re stuck in a cubicle with your nose in a book all day. UWaterloo students tend to stay in the campus bubble during this busy time, but remember that this city holds some amazing spots nearby for the leisure time that you need and deserve!

Evolving from mentee to mentor

Maddie Campbell

John C. Maxwell once said, “Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” No matter who you are or where you come from, everybody wants the opportunity to show off their leadership chops.

Celebrating diversity, inclusivity and the ‘SUM of us’ at Pride 2017

June marks national Pride month; a month in which we seek to eliminate discrimination and prejudice by recognizing the LGBTQ+ community worldwide. Every year, a Pride Parade is held in the heart of Downtown Toronto, where thousands march to celebrate diversity, gender variances, and the right to be whomever they may be.

In celebration of Canada’s big 150

Fireworks display at Columbia Ice Fields.

This year, July 1 marks a momentous occasion for more reasons than one. Not only is the University of Waterloo turning 60, but the Federation of Students is turning 50, and of course, the land we call home is turning the big 1-5-0! There are a ton of celebratory gatherings happening both on and off campus in light of these exciting times. After all, what’s a birthday without a little celebration?

Recognizing the Indigenous Peoples of Canada

On June 21, not only did we celebrate the summer solstice, but we also celebrated a very important occasion: National Aboriginal Day (note: the Canadian Federal Government intends to change the name from National Aboriginal Day to National Indigenous Day).

Starting your first co-op term right: How to make your mark on the company

Regan Zink

As most UWaterloo students know, starting a new co-op placement can definitely be intimidating, especially when it’s your first.

Five tips on managing your student budget

With bluer skiers and sunnier days, it becomes a lot easier to spend frivolously and lose sight of your budget. Let’s face it, once summertime rolls around, we’re all heading to our favourite patios, attending music festivals, and planning vacations. Summer activities come with high costs, and managing these costs can be overwhelming while on a student budget.

Here are five tips on how you can have a great summer while also maintaining your budget.

1. Recognize your income and expenses

Perfecting your pitch

Students gathered for a UW Toastmasters meeting.

Mark Twain once said, “There are two types of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.”

Five ways to live more sustainably

World Environment Day is quickly approaching on June 5, and this year it’s hosted by Canada! This occasion marks the largest celebration of the environment; created for the purposes of worldwide environmental awareness and reminding us why it’s so important to mobilize into action and protect the natural world we live in.

This year’s theme is “Connecting People to Nature.” In light of this, we have come up with five simple and effortless ways for you to reduce your carbon footprint and live more sustainably.

Making the most of your internship

Courtney Lang in Nepal.

The University of Waterloo is ranked as one of the top Canadian universities for hands-on and experiential learning, supported by our world-renowned co-op program, international exchange programs, and overseas field placements.

Creating global connections through campus community

Finding your place in university is one of the most difficult things about being a student, especially when Canada isn’t your native home. The University of Waterloo is home to more than 6,600 international students from more than 120 countries and we at UWaterloo strive to make the transition for international students as easy as possible. 

Balancing act: How to ride the waves of fun, work and academic success

Kendall Jenner trying to succeed at life meme

University students are rarely ever just students. Most of them are also part-time workers, avid volunteers, social butterflies - the list goes on. Finding the right balance to manage all these roles seems to be one of the biggest challenges that students tend to face.

Get connected: Meet the student whose passion for networking is connecting students to new opportunities

Tiana Eghdam

In March 2017, fourth-year Global Business and Digital Arts student, Tiana Eghdam, held a UWaterloo Communitech Ambassador event centered on digital marketing and branding. This conference was called, “Get Connected.” It hosted a variety of experienced speakers, workshops and panels who sought to engage UWaterloo students on everything from personal branding to building your network and content marketing.

The Water Boys sing their way to historic success

The Water Boys pose with an award.

In 2008, eight engineers from the University of Waterloo joined together to create a platform from which they could actively pursue one of their many passions – singing! It was then that the Water Boys, UWaterloo’s first all-male a cappella group, was officially formed.

How homework becomes entrepreneurship

It’s no secret that students tend to turn to alternative marketplaces to find, trade or sell their textbooks to other students.

Hello sunshine!

The spring semester is a great time to be on campus. The sun is shining, the flowers are in full bloom and the weather is warm.

weCONNECTu: An opportunity to give back to the community

Alyssa Ruby

weCONNECTu is a program that is run by the Applied Health Sciences (AHS) faculty to facilitate relationships and mentorship between first-year and upper-year AHS students. It is a one-to-one mentorship program that provides both personal and academic support to individuals in their first-year, as well as refers them to services and resources available on campus.

Four tips to help you excel this exam season

It is no secret that exam time can be stressful. With classes winding down and everyone excited to go home, the idea of having to sit down and study, as well as finish final projects, is a lot to handle. We understand this struggle and have searched the campus high and low in order to provide you with some resources to ensure your success during this exam season.

1. Peer Success Coaching sessions at the Student Success Office

Dunking Down on the Competition: A closer look at the rookies changing our basketball program

boys basketball team group shot

Waterloo is a community that takes great pride in it’s students amazing accomplishments that range everywhere from co-op positions to academic triumphs. Due to this culture, sports at UWaterloo can sometimes be seen as an underdog in terms of getting the attention it deserves.

Making the most of the UWaterloo grad experience

Meghan Riley is a doctoral student in English language and literature currently studying descriptions of race and gender in speculative fiction at Waterloo. As a graduate student who is extremely passionate about aiding the academic success of others, Meghan has become extremely involved in the Waterloo community.  

When Passion Meets Opportunity

headhsot of shaq

Waterloo is home to many exemplary students. Between Velocity and the many other opportunities for young entrepreneurs to get the support they need in order to launch their careers and ideas, Waterloo has seen the birth of many amazing businesses. Among these entrepreneurial warriors is a young man by the name of Shak Lakhani.

And So, We Unravel: Standing In and Against Rape Culture

members of group project

Every year the SPCOM 440 class explores and grapples with a controversial topic. Their discussion is then showcased through various artistic mediums in an attempt to spark a campus-wide conversation.

A new way to improve yourself

Workshop in progress.

Recently, I attended two workshops held by the Student Success Office. It was a new experience for me, since I have never attended any workshops before, and I know many international students rarely sign up for workshops just like me. 

Closing the gap between women and technology

contest winners with their shmoney

In November 2016, Devs Without Borders organized the Break Inequality Hackathon in partnership with Plan Canada. This two-day event took place in the Google headquarters in Kitchener-Waterloo, bringing developers together to create solutions for disadvantaged women in the rural communities of Bangladesh.

How to fuel your body and your mind! (In 15 minutes or less)

fruit collage

Eating is an extremely important part of our everyday lives and unfortunately all too often it’s treated as a dreaded chore rather than a vital necessity, especially among students. Given that we already have so much on our plate, carving out a chunk of time to prepare a healthy meal is often the last thing we want to do.

Poetry vs. Patriarchy

slam poem organizers  group shot

March 8 is International Women’s Day, and in order to commemorate this, the Women’s Centre will be hosting various events throughout the week.

Elisa Umuhoza: Strengthening the black community on campus

cover girl

The end of  February wraps up Black History Month. In Canadian history, this celebration was officially recognized in 2008, thanks to the efforts of a former senator by the name of Donald Oliver.

The Nine Things You Learn on Exchange

girl holding kuala

Originally prepared by Kristina Overbeek with edits by Fabiola Alvarez and Nirvona Sorayo-Galo

Five insider tips and tricks for Waterloo students

Waterloo students may come from different programs, hometowns, age groups or backgrounds, yet one thing all students can come to a consensus on is this: Student life can be challenging.

Whether it’s living on a tight budget, dealing with long, cold commutes or not getting into the class you really wanted, the life of a student can be a trying time for most. Well, here are five insider tips and tricks to make life even a bit easier for all Waterloo students!

Free UWaterloo Shuttle Services

How to make the most out of reading week in Waterloo for under $100

Staying in Waterloo over reading week? Worried about not having anything to do? We have you covered! Here at the SSO we have searched far and wide to bring you a list of activities that won’t break the bank and are guaranteed to be an amazing time.

February 17

Enjoy a night of mitten making with Darleen! In this cold weather you can never have too many gloves, so why not make your own? Join Darleen at Thrift on Kent for a night of fun and creativity. The best part? It’s free.

How to make the most out of reading week in Waterloo for under $100

Staying in Waterloo over reading week? Worried about not having anything to do? We have you covered! Here at the SSO we have searched far and wide to bring you a list of activities that won’t break the bank and are guaranteed to be an amazing time.

February 17

Enjoy a night of mitten making with Darleen! In this cold weather you can never have too many gloves, so why not make your own? Join Darleen at Thrift on Kent for a night of fun and creativity. The best part? It’s free.

Go Green or Go Home

tia infront of greenwall

Preserving our environment and doing the best we can to keep our surroundings green and sustainable is potentially one of the most pressing issues of our time. I caught up with one of UWaterloo’s green activists, Tia Brierley, to get a better understanding of the initiatives she has taken in order to make UWaterloo a more sustainable space. UWaterloo a more sustainable space. 

Six Tips for Finding Co-op Success

students walking in hallway

It is no secret that co-op season can be stressful. Trying to balance job applications and an academic workload is by no means an easy task. The stress of this whole process can be amplified significantly if you are not hearing anything from employers.

A Behind the Scenes Look at one of the Biggest Events on Campus

smiling gio

Fashion for change is a club on campus that for seven years has combined a passion for the arts and philanthropy to create change in the global community.

5 Interesting Facts About the Lunar New Year

chinese new year celebration

The Lunar New Year is an annually celebrated tradition that brings together thousands of people in a celebration of life, light and family. This past Saturday, January 28 marked the official beginning of the Year of the Rooster. Here are five interesting things you may not have known about the Lunar New Year.

Waterloo athletes share their thoughts on the importance of mental health on campus

Yesterday marked an impressive demonstration by not only our nation but also our own student body here at the University of Waterloo. Countless students rallied together in support of a cause that deserved our utmost attention, as mental illness affects one out of every five Canadians in their lifetime. The #BellLetsTalk campaign is remarkable in the way that it spreads awareness and strives to create a unified space based on understanding and respect. The campaign encourages people to feel comfortable voicing their experiences with mental health and breaking down the associated stigma.

Five tips for maintaining a healthy mind and a happy heart

boy eating chocolate

I recently attended a panel discussion hosted by the University of Waterloo on Mental Health and Racism. Featured on the panel were three extremely accomplished and educated individuals: Dr. Sherene Rezack, Dr. Kwame Mckenzie and Patrick Case. Dr. Mckenzie the CEO of the Wellesley Institute and an avid activist for race equality and mental wellness spoke about the intriguing idea of Mental Capital. He described this idea as the equation that makes up our ability to be prosperous human beings.

Clumsy Cactus: Spinning tragedy into success

jill n jill

Receiving bad news is often hard and overwhelming, but sometimes it is in our darkest hours that we are inspired to create something wonderful. This was the case for good friends Jill Barlow, a coop student in Arts and Business and Laurier student Jill Zitars, who were inspired to start Clumsy Cactus when Jill Z. was diagnosed with lymphoma.

Six tips on how to start the term off with a BANG


Whether you are in your first or fifth year at the university, the first few weeks of a new semester can always be a little challenging. We understand the struggle of the early morning classes and everyday grind and we are here to help! Here are some tips for you Warriors to start the term off on the best foot possible.

Tip 1: Make a plan

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