January 2018

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.

Moving forward with our #UWaterloolife

"This is your UWaterloolife”.

Bust out your sparklers, toss that confetti and dust off your party hats, because there is so much to celebrate as we near the end of 2018. 

Counting down the last 5 years

Students from our favourite UWaterloo Life blog posts.

Whether or not you have been keeping track, the countdown to winter break has officially started. As we complete the term, we’ve decided to have our own countdown to highlight some of our favourite student success stories and tips from the UWaterloo Life Blog.

TomorrowLove inspires Alexandra to define her own path for the future

Alexandra Carruthers.

Last week, University of Waterloo students graced the stage of the Modern Languages Theatre of the Arts in the production, TomorrowLove. During November 14 to 17, students were invited to witness seven short playlets written by Rosamund Small. These seven short plays interwoven in TomorrowLove surrounded topics of technology, love, and relationships.

Making a home away from home

Jessie Lee.

This semester, more than 250 exchange students chose to travel to the University of Waterloo to study and explore. They decided to leave the familiar in search of new educational and cultural experiences. Jessie Lee is one of those students. She is an economics and business student fascinated with studying in another country. In honour of International Education Week, we talked to her about her experiences at Waterloo and learned some of the differences between the campuses. 

On the road: Engineering a journey across Canada

Abdullah Barakat outside in his coveralls.

In Abdullah Barakat’s final days before convocation, he decided to take a road trip across Canada, visiting the different engineering programs of different schools in the country. As a student graduating from the University of Waterloo with a degree in mechanical engineering, he wanted to take a chance and see what he could learn from each province and institution in April 2018.

Then, he created The Road Trip of the Travelling Covies blog, where he wrote about his day-to-day experiences travelling cross-country.

Random Acts of Kindness across Waterloo

Original template for the Random Act of Kindness #UWRAK contest.

Last Friday, November 2 students were encouraged to celebrate Random Act of Kindness Day by making thoughtful gestures throughout their day on campus. Whether you complimented someone’s presentation in class or held the door open for a group of people, the day proved that you could plant seeds of kindness anywhere you go.

Thrive Week Templates

Thrive Week logo.

As Thrive Week comes to a close, it doesn’t mean that the time to thrive is ending. The message of the week was meant to highlight the resources you can use on campus to thrive in everyday life, foster an inclusive community and show how to develop healthy habits as a student. With Thrive Week also came the launch of a new Instagram Story template each day on @UWaterlooLife. Every story template was designed to help students identify the positive actions they’re already taking to thrive all year.

UW Mates - someone to talk to

UW MATES logo.

With Thrive Week on campus this week, there has been an emphasis on developing self-care habits and learning about the resources available to students. Although there are several counselling services, resources, and seminars available, students may not be aware of them all. In a quest to find out more about one of these services, I reached out to two students from UW’s Mentor Assistance through Education and Support also known as MATES, a one-on-one confidential student support service.

Quidditch 101 for muggles

Photo of one hoop and quidditch players practicing.

To the world, Quidditch is a sport played by the beloved fictional wizard, Harry Potter. The popular books and films feature the game decked out with flying broomsticks, golden snitches and magic. But for Waterloo residents, Quidditch isn’t just what you see on the big screen, it’s so much more!

THE UNION celebrates their first sustainable fashion exhibition

Student modelling a dress made from plastic bags for the “Waste” segment.

On September 30, Project: Trashion hosted their first sustainable fashion show titled: THE UNION. The newly founded University of Waterloo club was created by students, volunteers, and friends who shared the same initiative to reduce waste and make an impact on the environment through art.

Surviving midterms: How to embrace setbacks

Homer Simpson with a stressed expression flipping through a book.

“Midterm season” is a time for any student that, more often than not, can induce instant worry. Once the season hits, it’s not unusual to see students camping out in campus libraries with a coffee in hand, surrounded by cue cards.

A guide to spending Fall Break in Waterloo

Video of Charlie Brown and Snoppy watching a leaf fall into a leaf pile.

As the days inch closer and closer to Fall Break, you may find yourself scrambling to make plans, rushing to book that last-minute carpool ride out of town or scouring the campus trying to look for any form of transportation home. But even if you end up staying put and spending your break in Waterloo, know that you still have options. This upcoming week you can focus on making time with the people you care about and taking a minute to appreciate the little things.

Going abroad and moving ahead

The "Go Abroad Fair" map with different sections.

The University of Waterloo hosted their annual Go Abroad Fair last Wednesday at the Davis Centre. It gave previous Waterloo exchange students and current incoming exchange students a platform to speak about their experiences abroad. The fair was open to undergraduate and graduate students alike, and highlighted opportunities for students to study or work abroad. The fair also shed a light on how exchange can be beneficial not only in academic terms, but also in your everyday life by letting you step out of your comfort zone.

How to stretch your social comfort zone

Girl sweating with the quote “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

Have you ever been placed in a room full of strangers and felt like a tiny speck in a sea full of people?

Save more, stress less: Five student spending tips

Counting change.

With OSAP money starting to roll in, it can be hard to think ahead and start saving. As the term progresses it gets harder to save money, especially if you go on an OSAP spending spree in September. You may not be able to pinpoint the exact moment your funds begin decreasing —before it happens all at once.

Co-op Completed: One Student’s Reflections


I’m Mersedeh (pronounced Mare-se-day), an Honours Arts and Business student majoring in Psychology and minoring in Sexuality, Marriage, and Family studies. Spring 2018 was my fifth and final co-op term, and I was the Digital Communications Assistant at the Student Success Office. You may recognize my name from the other blog posts I’ve written for the UWaterloo Life blog. It was suggested that I “feature myself” in my last post and reflect on my co-op experiences, so here’s what came out of that proposition!

Terrific TED Talks

TED Talks logo.

TED Conferences LLC was founded in 1984, but TED Talks entered my radar when I was in high school. Now, pretty much everyone I know has heard of TED Talks. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, but TED Talks are given on all sorts of topics. Just go on the TED Talks website; it lists dozens for you! I love TED Talks because they make complicated topics accessible and interesting to almost anyone. They also inspire and leave you wanting to learn more. For that reason, I found six TED Talks that each fall under the umbrella of one of UWaterloo’s six faculties and connected them to UWaterloo courses. You can chase after more knowledge of the topics discussed in TED Talks right here on campus!

Inspirational Individual: Jaydum Hunt

Pile of books.

The route to post-secondary education isn’t the same for everyone, especially when it comes to graduate studies. I met Jaydum Hunt at a meeting for work, and she really caught my attention when she happened to mention that she would be entering a master’s program as a mature student this fall.

Top Tips for Tapped Out Travellers

Student on a mountaintop.

As someone who’s worked with a lot of students over five co-op terms, and as a student myself, I know that if you ask a group of students what they like to do, most of them will immediately say travel. It’s a good thing, having the desire to experience the world and open your mind. However, most of us don’t have the means to take luxurious trips. It’s also a good thing, then, that travelling can be done on a budget.

Glowing with Pride

Raised Pride flag at UWaterloo.

June may officially be Pride Month, but every month can be full of the beautiful colours of Pride! As such, I talked to the current Service Coordinators at the Federation of Students’ Glow Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity at the University of Waterloo, Gabriella Verdone and Judy Liu, about what they do on campus year round. I hope this interview helps keep the conversation about LGBTQ+ Pride going!

How to Celebrate Canada’s Birthday in Waterloo Region

Woman dancing in front of Canadian flag.

Canada turns 151 years old on Sunday, July 1, 2018! Canadian Confederation took place in 1867, and Canadians will be celebrating the country’s birthday everywhere this long weekend. Here’s how you can celebrate (for free) in Waterloo Region!

You @ Waterloo Day with Future Warriors

Two admitted Waterloo students at You @ Waterloo Day.

On June 3, accepted and admitted students came from all over to attend You @ Waterloo Day and learn more about life in university. Armed with a camera and recorder, we got to know a couple of these future Warriors; their hopes and dreams for their first year and how they came to choose Waterloo.

Celebrating National Indigenous History Month at Waterloo

Indigenous peoples.

June is National Indigenous History Month! This month is an important tribute, as well as a clear opportunity for all Canadians to reflect upon the past, present, and future of Indigenous peoples: their history, sacrifices, struggles, contributions, culture, and strength.

Student Leadership Program: Warrior Leaders

Patrick Star and SpongeBob SquarePants high-fiving.

The term “leadership” can sometimes just seem like a buzzword, something to put on your resume without a clear idea of whether or not you’re really a leader. It can also seem like a quality that you’re either born with or without. The Student Leadership Program (SLP) changes that; students actually learn what leadership is and how they can develop and apply leadership skills, as they would any other skills. I spoke to Megan Durdle, a current student who has participated in the program as both a participant and a facilitator, to find out more.

Voting 101: A Guide to Thursday’s Election

A Canadian flag

Hey Warriors! Provincial Elections are happening this Thursday, and we’re here to get you ready to vote. Whether you’re in school or working this term, come out and make your voice heard in this year’s election.

Student-to-Student: How to Get Involved

Hannah Sesink with King Warrior.

I'm Hannah Sesink, and I’m in my 4A term studying for a Joint Honours in Recreation and Leisure Studies and Social Development Studies (SDS)!

When I arrived at Waterloo, my passion for community pushed me to seek out new opportunities and get involved from the very beginning.

Recognizing Research (Assistants): Seth Mahon

Homer Simpson saying "A-HA!"

Faculty and students at Waterloo have brilliant minds and conduct innovative research. As such, a number of students get involved by becoming Research Assistants (RAs). I volunteered as an RA in my first year, and one of the best parts of the position was the opportunity to learn from, and learn about, other students. Naturally, I was excited to speak to current RA Seth Mahon about his interests, his experience as an RA, and what he would like to say to other students who are interested in research positions.

Three Ways to Keep Long Distance Friendships Strong

Students hanging out on campus.

Life as a Waterloo student is unique. Students settle down in one place for four months, only to find ourselves on the move once again at the end of term. Especially during the spring term, many of our friends could be scattered across academic terms, work terms, or taking a term off back in their hometown.

While our friends may fall out of stream with us, that doesn’t mean they’re gone for good.

Creating a Conference: Alex Tummon Simmons

BioTEC logo.

Our university experiences are our own. Even so, we can stand to benefit from learning about those of our peers. We may be part of a large university with a variety of unique programs, but we can all relate to, be inspired by, and appreciate what other students are doing. With that in mind, I interviewed second-year student Alex Tummon Simmons, an internal transfer student who, in his spare time, decided to co-found an entirely new conference in his area of interest.

Birds I View: Campus Wildlife

Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

The wretched April snowstorms have passed, and we’re finally seeing campus come to life with flora and fauna! That being said, this is my fourth year at UWaterloo, and I don’t actually know a lot about the fauna around here. However, I do want to learn — birdwatching is pretty cool, you know! Thus, I’ve done a little research and found a lot of information on the birds that you should be keeping an eye out for. And no, I’m not talking about geese.

Six Podcasts to Help You Grow

Girl putting headphones on.

Podcasts have really blown up recently. At least, it seems that way to me. I was first introduced to podcasts in high school; they sounded interesting, but I wasn’t interested enough to look into them. I listened to the radio and to my iPod, I read books, I watched TV… what was the point of podcasts anyway? However, a couple months ago, so many of my favourite public figures started podcasts that I decided to give them a try, and now I love them.

Creating LGBTQ+ inclusive co-op experiences

Beck with children.

Every year the University hosts a two day conference of workshops and keynotes to encourage personal and professional growth of staff at the annual Waterloo Staff Conference. This year one of those workshops, titled “Creating Inclusive Co-operative Education Workplaces: Insights from LGBTQ+ Students,” was hosted by Beck Mallozzi, a fourth-year undergraduate student.

Taking steps to end stigma

Spotlight on Mental Health banner.

Towards the end of March, the peer health educators of Stand Up to Stigma held the Spotlight on Mental Health event in the Student Life Center. The event sought to bring mental health into the spotlight, encourage conversations about mental health, and promote mental wellness at Waterloo.

The secret perks of summers on campus

Students on the BMH Green.

If you’ve have been waiting all year for spring term, wait no longer! It’s time to emerge from the blanket of winter into the summer sun. To help you get in the mood, we’ve got seven reasons spring term on campus is the best.

Celebrate Your Successes!

A happy toddler in the sand with the words "Me after my last exam" super imposed

At the end of a study term, so many of us are looking forward to exams being over so we can start our summer. For some, that means heading off on a work term, while others are taking time off and some are already planning to stick around campus for another study term. Before you close the door on winter 2018 though, take the time to celebrate all you’ve accomplished this term!

How to study during exam season

gru meme: panel 1 decide to study, panel 2 open learn, panel 4 actually study, panl 5 gru looks confusedly at actually study

Exam season! The term has come to a close and it’s time to show your courses what you’re made of. If you’ve been hard at work all term or kicked it into high gear after midterms, here are some tips to help you study for your exams.

Behind the Scenes of the Student Leadership Program

Emma, our coop student, holding Stundent Leadership Program Booklets

Hi, my name is Emma Schroeder and I’ve completed my 3B term of Kinesiology, with a minor in rehabilitation. I’m the Student Leadership Program Assistant here at the Student Success Office. As a co-op student, I feel very fortunate to help run the Student Leadership Program. Although I am working in the background to ensure that workshops run smoothly, I still receive a lot of positive feedback from students. This is rewarding to me because I am able to make a difference in students’ professional development and help my peers reach their full potential.

Most Instagrammable Spots on Campus

Photo of STC

If you’re like me when it comes to Instagram, you spend time dreaming of #modelstatus photos and magazine-worthy shots filling your grid. However, if you think about it, there are endless opportunities to capture the perfect photo around campus.

From the classic #UWaterloo photos, to the most familiar locations seen from an alternate perspective, the most Instagrammable spots on campus really showcase the UWaterloo spirit.

Making campus a little brighter: A double feature

Lyle Kam Playing Guitar in the open space between DP and PHYS, a small crowd has gathered to watch

Today we’re bringing you something different; a double feature about two artistic students at opposite ends of their university careers, making campus a little brighter with what they bring to and leave behind with the University.

Our first story is about Lyle Kam, a hopeful first-year in love with music. You may have seen him between Dana Porter and the Physics building this past Valentine’s Day, or another day this term, busking.

Varsity Skate Gala Celebrates the Season

UW Varsity Skating Team poses for a photo

This past weekend, the UW Varsity Skating team hosted a gala to celebrate their successes and showcase their hard work this season. We spoke with Jillian Weaver, a fourth year Social Development Studies student who is one of two of the captains of the team.

Seven Underutilized Online Resources for Waterloo Students

As a student, there is so much information and opportunities out there that it can be hard to keep track of all that is available to you. To help you cut through the noise, we’ve made a list of some of the online resources that you may not know about — and should definitely take advantage of.

In Full Colour in the Spotlight: A Look at the ICCA Quarterfinal Winners

The In Full Colour acapella team pose for a photograph in Hagey Hall

If you’re not following the world of a capella right now, know one thing: Waterloo’s teams are the ones to look out for. The International Championship of Colligate A Capella (ICCA) Quarterfinal has been covered at length, celebrating the accomplishments and historic feats of Waterloo’s a capella community. Last year, a historic first was set by the Waterboys, the first Canadian team to win the semi-finals. This year, the University swept the competition on home terf – which is the first time the ICCA’s came north — with “In Full Colour” coming up as the quarterfinal winners. So who is this team, and what do they stand for?

The long road ahead: Waterloo’s fencing team begins their journey

A gif of fencers fencing

Two years ago the Student Success Office met Marc Lo, a student taking a stab at the competition alone. Now as he reaches the final stretch of his Waterloo career, Marc stands alongside a talented team of fencers representing the University of Waterloo in the Ontario Universities Athletics (OUA) Men’s Fencing Competition for first time since its founding. By competing at the together, they hope to establish a presence for fencing here at Waterloo and eventually be recognized as a varsity sport.

5 Interview Tips for Continuous Round Applicants

Student is interviewed

So main-round interviews have passed and you either have a job or you don’t… Yet!

Continuous round interviews can feel like a month-long flurry of sending applications between studying, interviewing, and completing papers and projects. By the end of it you’re hoping to have obtained that long-desired co-op position.

The student becomes the teacher

Cindy Wei doing yoga

My name is Cindy Wei and I’m in my in my third year of Kinesiology in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences. I had an incredible co-op term at Centennial College, where I worked as an Anatomy/Physiology Tutor. My experience was eye-opening and very rewarding. I interacted with nursing students from all around the world in 400 one-on-one appointments, had the opportunity to initiate a weekly yoga class, and facilitated group Learning Circles, engaging over 170 students with innovative learning activities. I was even able to launch two teaching websites.

Wat to Do during Reading Week in Waterloo

Students walking across BMH green in the winter

Whether you’re busy catching up on coursework or bathing in the glory of not having classes or midterms for a week, we want you to enjoy your Reading Week. Here are some great events happening in the Kitchener-Waterloo region throughout the break. Put studying on pause, or push yourself out of your comfort zone and check these things off your to-do list!

Improving Computer Science in and outside of Waterloo

Fatema presents next ot a presentation slide that defines an algorithm

Last month the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group (WPIRG) held the “Getting Organized: Tools for Resisting White Supremacy” conference, comprised of many workshops, talks and events, among them the “Manifestations of Racism in STEM” event. Fourth-year student Fatema Boxwala had the opportunity to speak as a panelist as part of this discussion. Today we’re interviewing her about her experiences as a Computer Science student working in the technology sector, and the activism she brings to it.

Midterm motivation tips

Success baby meme, Hey, You can do it

Midterm season is upon us! Motivation is the literal drive to continue working on a task. With all the stress and waves of evaluation, how can you prevent the fatigue that comes with studying? How can you possibly stay motivated throughout the whole season? Well, here are some tips for just that.

Reflecting on my co-op journey

Coop student Sanchit Gera stands with his hands crossed at E5 bridge

My name is Sanchit Gera, and last term I completed my sixth and final co-op work term as part of the Electrical and Computer Engineering program. The co-op process at UWaterloo has been one of the most defining — and grueling — aspects of my university experience. The six work terms scattered over the last five years have taught me a lot and given me quite a bit to be grateful for.

On-campus or off, nevertheless, she persists

Activist and Feminist Sarah Wiley as Master of Ceremonies at the KW Women's March

Image credit: snapd Kitchener/Waterloo

During the Waterloo Region Women’s March this past weekend, you may have recognized a familiar face leading the crowd onstage as MC. Today, we interviewed Sarah Wiley about her experience at the Women’s March, her career as an active feminist, and where she is going in the future.

From struggling to Success Coaching

A peer success coach meets with a student

Peer Success Coaching is an academic development service run by the SSO to connect experienced upper-year students to individual students who are looking for strategies to improve their academic skills and reach their personal goals. These success coaches can offer strategies and resources to you and what’s more, works together with you in a collaborative learning process to personalize a plan to best suit your needs.

We interviewed Nina and Emily about their academic experiences and what it’s like to be a Peer Success Coach, and they shared their perspectives on the challenges that students face.

How to deal with failure

A stressed student with his head in his hands

No one is perfect. Inevitably, there will come a time when reality does not meet with your expectations. What’s important is that we know how to move past these moments.

The Art of Denim

Kara walking info Balzac’s coffee wearing Lila Lavereau’s design

Question number one: Have you by any chance seen someone with extra-large holes in her jeans on campus? 

Question number two: Were you surprised to notice that she had some interesting art adorning those holes and think to yourself, “Wow, that’s pretty neat?”

Meet an SSO Co-op: Fabiola

Fabiola sitting at her desk

I’m Fabiola Alvarez, and I am a 4A Legal Studies & Sociology co-op student. In fall 2017, I worked at the Student Success Office as the Global Learning Associate. I worked with a lovely team of Global Learning Coordinators (GLCs) who work so incredibly hard to make the exchange program possible.

Lights, Camera, Pageant!

Selina standing beside the President of Kingscross Hyundai as she gets awarded Miss Photogenic

November was a pretty big month for the Chinese-Canadian community in the Greater Toronto Area. That’s when the news and excitement of the Miss Chinese Toronto Pageant is buzzing in the media the most. 

And, this year’s pageant is extra special for the Waterloo community, because a fellow Warrior was a top 10 finalist! 

Resolutions 101: Let's be realistic

A “happy new year 2018” banner

Welcome to the start of winter term! We hope your holidays were as cozy and festive as you imagined they could be. And on that note…Happy New Year!

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