Friday, 29 June 2012

Classes That Are Fun? I Thought I Was in University?!

So, here you are. At University. An institution of higher education and research. A community of scholars, and teachers. A place where the courses are prestigious, hard, and boring... wait... rewind. That is not all completely true.

There are classes here at York University that you can take that are interesting, (maybe) easier, and have less paperwork. I know, I know your thinking "What?! How could this be?!""Fun course at a University? Unheard of!", but with thousands of different courses that you can take as an elective, it makes sense that there are some crazy courses out there!

I've asked some of my friends what courses they took that were fun, and interesting, and I have also looked through the course timetables, and have compiled a list of some potential "cool" courses you can take while your here! (Courses with a "*" beside it note a first-year level course).

Books and Bookmaking in the 21st Century (AP/WRITE 3720 6.0)
- Perfect for those interested in reading, books, and how it all comes to be!
- This class looks at the role of books now and in the future
- How publishers affect the content, appearance, and reception of the books that are published

American Sign Language: Level 1 Intro to Sign Language Studies (AP/ASL 1000 6.0)*
- Yup, a class where you learn sign language- found out about it this summer!
- Activities in this class focus on the movement of hands, mouth, and other body parts to represent aspects of the American Sign Language (ASL)
- There is also ASL Level 2 and ASL Level 3 if you wish to continue learning more!

Sport in Canadian Society (GL/CDNS 2612 3.00)
- Calling all athletes (or even those interested!)
- A class where you examine the cultural, social, economic, and political trends the influenced the evolution of sport in Canada
- Also explores how Canada has been shaped by sports and physical activity

Elementary Modern Standard Chinese (AP/CH 1000 6.00)*
- Don't know about you, but I've always been interested in different languages, and been amused at how others communicate in a way I can not understand!
- A class for those who are English speaking and have no knowledge in the language of Cantonese
- Similar "elementary level" courses in different languages are also offered if you were interested in another language!

Porn Studies: An Introduction to Cultures of Sexual Representation (AP/SXST 3604 3.0)
- Now I know what your thinking, but no you don't just watch porn in this class
- This class explores debates, texts, and moments in this time in history surrounding porn

Minds, Brains, and Machines (AP/COGS 2160 3.0)
- Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto! (this is awkward for those not familiar with the song...)
- This course explores questions such as "What is artificial intelligence?" and "Is it possible that we will someday create machines that think?"

Retailing, Shopping, Society, and Space (AP/GEOG 3140 3.0)
- No, unfortunately you don't get marks for finding the best deals!
- This class does explore shopping behavior, process of retail location, and the geographic, economic, and social issues associated with retail

Guitar for Non- Majors (FA/MUSI 2012 3.0)
- Those who never got the chance to learn the guitar, here's your chance now!
- Learn the basic techniques, introductory theory, etc.
- No previous experience required
- Other instruments are also available for non-majors
- Lindsey took Caribbean Ensemble, and Gospel Choir (yupp, another 2 cool courses). Feel free to ask her about her experiences with these classes!

Life Beyond Earth (SC/NATS 1880 6.0)*
-X -Files anyone?
- Yes, this class essentially explores aliens!
- Explores various factors required for life to exist beyond Earth, both life that may have evolved elsewhere, and what would be necessary for humans to live beyond Earth!

Sexuality, Social Practices, and Modernity (AP/SOCI 4075 3.0)
- This course explores sexuality in the context of society processes and practices, and critically examines a number of major contemporary social theories concerning sexuality

Acting for Non-Majors ( FA/THEA 1520 3.0)*
- For those who have a passion for acting, and wish to pursue it further, but aren't in Theatre have no fear!
- This course introduces students to to concepts like breathing, voice work, improvisation, monologues, and other basic techniques associated with acting

So, there you have it. Keep in mind this was only a small list of the hundreds other courses that are offered! Hope you all enjoyed it and keep in mind of these courses (and more) when enrolling throughout your University years! Why not have fun with your courses, and take something more "out there", and not commonly associated as a University course.

Note: Course codes may change.

P.S. Courses are still courses. Although they may be more interesting and seem more easy than other courses, you still have to put in the work and try your best! There is no such thing as an "easy A". 

Until next time I'll be Yorking Around, 

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Unlocking the Secret Code at York University

Have you been looking through classes, and timetables and thought "What do all these letters and number mean, and where in the world is this class going to be?".

York does have some codes, and abbreviations for buildings, courses, and locations that can be really confusing at first glance, but HAVE NO FEAR, I AM HERE! By the end of this blog post you too will know the secret code here at York.

Every building has an abbreviation for it! Having a code makes it easier to let you know what building your course will be on your timetable (instead of having the full name of the building).
Campus Map. For a better map click here

At the bottom of the campus map is where all the buildings are listed along with their "codes". You can also check out the building acronyms page for a full list. 

Your course has multiple codes, and abbreviations associated with it, so it can be a little confusing when adding courses and trying to find out more about our courses so i'll try to make it as easy as possible, using the Intro to Politics course as an example:

Intro to Politics course times
At the top we see AP/POLS 1000 6.0:
- AP indicates what faculty that course is from
- POLS indicates what subject that course is from
- 1000 indicates what year level that course is from 
- 6.0 indicates how many credits that course is worth
Using this information we can gather that AP/POLS 1000 6.0 is a First Year Level course in Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, within Political Science worth 6 credits! 

When adding a course, you would look for the combination of letters and numbers under "Cat #" for your desired time, and input that.

When you have a timetable, it can be hard to see where exactly your class will be. No worries, let's have a look:

An average timetable at York University 

Lets look at the first course being taken on Monday: SB FINE 2000 3.0 (since we just learned what this means, you should be able to "de-code" this :) ).
We also see that course is in Section T (don't worry much about this, as it's more of a department coding that separates the same course that is offered multiple times), and we see it is in Term W (which means it is a course being taken in the winter term).
Next we have, well, well, well LOCATION: [SSB W136] so using the building acronyms we can see that this class will be at the Seymour Schulich Building (number 42 on the map) and the room number is W136 (W standing for west).
TIP: The first number of a room number notes what floor that room is on! 
Therefore we know this class will be on the first floor at the Schulich Building. 

So there you have it, you are an official de-coder of York University! Remember to stop by the RED Zone if your ever stumped though (we all need help sometimes!). :)

Thursday, 21 June 2012


Yes, you read that blog title correctly! Free water at York, and I'm not talking about just free tap water. I am talking about drinkable, filtered water for free at York. In Fall 2011, York installed these touch free, fountains that dispense water for free called hydration stations!

Plastic water bottle: not environmentally friendly, and costs money

Hydration station: free, convenient, and environmentally friendly  

Just put your water bottle under the station, and away the water goes!

It's so convenient as there are multiple locations on campus, you get to save money because it is free, be environmentally friendly, and stay hydrated! I recommend bringing a reusable water bottle on the first day of school and I better not see any of you walking around with plastic water bottles. Stay hydrated my friends!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Don't Let This Concrete Jungle Fool You!

York has over 50 buildings on 457 acres of land, making us a huge concrete jungle! But don't let that fool you, as York does still have some awesome sights. I'm going to let you in on a secret: York has a pond! Now I know, I know, I know it may seem like it's "just" a Pond, but at a big campus such as York it is not to be taken for granted.

The pond that we have on campus- also known as Stong Pond- is one of my favourite places on campus. Located behind the Health Nursing & Environmental Studies Building, it's one of the only places where you can get away from the hustle and bustle on campus to:
- be alone
- relax
- take a few breaths of fresh air
- listen to the birds chirp
- de-stress
It's also my favourite place to jog by every morning!

The Stong Pond (pretty eh?)
It doesn't stop there, as there is also a HUGE family of ducks that can always be found at the Pond taking a swim, walking around, or feeding their adorable baby ducks! They can also sometimes cause a little traffic when they cross the the nearby Pond Road (I know, totally original name), but they are so cute it's hard to stay mad while your waiting for them to cross.

The ducks that live at the Stong Pond

Everyone NEEDS to stop by the Stong Pond at York cause it will be totally worth it, and you'll feel so great after you do. One rule though: you have to invite me! :)

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Everything RESP

R-E-S-P-E-C-T... find out what it means to me! Oh... oops, got carried away, were not going to be talking about THAT resp. What were really going to be talking about is the Registered Education Savings Plan. Many of us might have one but are not sure how to access it or might not even know what it is. Since I have one it's only fitting I pass on the knowledge to YOU. After reading this blog post you will be filled in on everything you need to know about this awesome thing from accessing it, to the lingo around it, and definitions, becoming RESP experts!

What is an RESP?
An RESP is money that has been put aside for you (incoming first year student). This money was put aside for you in hopes you would use it in the future to pay off school, and is usually put aside by your parents, family members, or even friends. This money grows, and grows (through more payments, and interest) leaving you here today with money to use for your school- how sweet is that?! (give a shout-out to the peeps who did that for you!)

How can you access money from your RESP?
In order to access money from your RESP you have to prove that you will be going to school (as this is the purpose to the RESP, and therefore the only way you can access it). You will want to do a Verification of Enrolment (VOE)

Note: The money that is coming from your RESP is called an Education Assistance Payment (EAP).

How do I verify that I will be going to school in September?
Many times, your RESP Provider (the financial institution that is essentially watching over your RESP), will send some forms (VOE) that says you need to get stamped and filled out by your university, in order to receive an EAP. This does not apply for York University students. York University does things a little more conveniently so you don't have to travel to York to get it filled out.
What you want to do is go to this website: and go to the tab that says RESP. This will provide you with access to VOE letters that you can send to your RESP Provider (as opposed to the letter they told you to fill out). The letter you get through the website will be accepted by your RESP Provider!

Note: You have to pay your $450 enrolment fee before you can get an RESP letter through the website!

RESP section under the Financial Services website.
This is where you can generate a VOE to send to you RESP Provider. 

Which letter should I send my RESP Provider?
When you go on the website that will generate an RESP letter for you, you will be faced with two options:
The two options you have for a VOE letter. 
Unless your RESP Provider has asked for specific, more detailed information (which happens rarely) the Online VOE Letter will be the one you want (this is the one I use)! Just click to access the letter, log-in with your YorkU username, and password and it will take you to a VOE letter, personalized with all your information!

What do I do with the VOE letter?
Simply print this letter, and send it to your RESP Provider! It's that easy! Your RESP Provider will usually give your EAP in 2 installments, either through your bank account (if you sent them a void cheque) or they will send a cheque!

More Questions?
If any of you guys have any questions feel free to ask it in the comment section below, or feel free to check out the Government of Canada website!

And to end it off, who doesn't like some classic 60's music (cause I sure do!)


Goodluck with your RESP everyone! :)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Your Yu-Card

I remember the day I got my Student Card. I came on campus to visit the RED Zone (back then I dreamed of working at this awesome place). I remember a RED Zone Student Ambassador sat down and talked with me about all these services, clubs, and everything thing I needed to know about being a student here at York. By each passing second I got more and more excited. By the time I knew everything came the time to get my YU Card (cue horror music).

I started to worry. It was raining that day, and I thought my hair looked horrible therefore all these questions started to run through my head such as "Will everyone see these pictures" and "Oh my, this picture is going to be so embarrassing to show my new, university friends" to "This is my UNIVERSITY CARD, and it will be with me forever".

Well friends, let me tell you something:
1. You never have to show your friends
2. The only time people will ever see your picture is at an exam/test by a tutorial leader or professor (and don't worry you'll probably never see them again!)

3. Were all pretty people, and you don't ever look as bad as you  may think

Therefore don't worry about your card, and besides, you'll be surprised at how much you'll change while your here at York!

My YU Card! Taken 3 years ago!