7 Roommates, 7 Different Paths

Seven college roommates, in seven different programs… It's their final year of undergrad, what's next?


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A week of Madness

Too Cold

Good evening everyone! Another week of undergraduate life has passed us by, and if I were to accurately describe the past seven days for our house, using just one word… it would have to be: MADNESS!

Why madness, you say? Well, I can think of three reasons to explain this:

1)   Let’s talk about this weather! As you know, we are in Canada, in southern Ontario to be exact, and for those unfamiliar with Canadian geography, we are around a 2-hour drive south-west from Toronto.  It is approaching the end of March, and yet, there is still snow on our front lawn.  We have reached a point where we are out of road salt and are both too depressed and too lazy to bring ourselves to go out and buy more at this point in the year.  We have been “fortunate” that the weather has been fluctuating enough to allow for minimal ice accumulation.  If there has been heavy precipitation on one day, it was thankfully followed by a mild-spell that has both melted and dried away the majority of the dangerous black ice in time for the next bout of snow.

Iron Ring

Cameron and his new iron ring. Congratulations!

2)   Graduation is upon us! Not counting today, there are only nine days of classes left in this academic year.  We are all feeling the pressure of final assignments and the impending stress as final exams loom around the corner.  But the madness is not only from the stress of academic burdens, but also from the passing of commemorative moments in our lives.  Some “life moments” that have passed during the last week include: Cameron (our resident engineer, if you recall) being presented with his “iron ring” on Saturday, Teresa (our aspiring accountant from Hamilton) has officially begun her search for housing in downtown Toronto for her new job, and one of our roommates (name being withheld for the time being until I learn of the outcome) has received an interview for a prestigious graduate school placement! With these new developments, plus the passing of assignment and test deadlines, means there is much to talk about and celebrate within our household.

March Madness

Our March Madness Brackets.

3)   Last, but not least, it’s that time of the year for…MARCH MADNESS!  Now, I know we are Canadian university students, but there are a number of avid sports fans within our household.   As a result, we have many followers of the American college basketball scene.  It has become an annual tradition over the past few years, for us to hold a house-wide competition.  This involves each of us filling a “bracket” for the annual “March Madness” NCAA Basketball tournament in the States.  What this means, is that we all make our “picks” for which college basketball team will win the infamous “March Madness” tournament.  The seven of us, and some of our closest friends, come together and bet $5 that our picks will score the highest points over the course of the 2-week tournament.  I am not the biggest follower of college basketball throughout the year, but I can’t help but get reeled into the thrill of following my chosen teams through the course of the next few days.  With my minuscule “bet” on the line, I’m excited to see if I’ll take home the jackpot (there are 11 of us in our “Bracket Game”… so we are talking about a whopping $55 here).  To learn a little bit more about March Madness… and I truly mean a “little” bit as my knowledge is quite limited, or to learn how to make a “Bracket Game” of your own, take a look at my story on the tournament.  Currently, the remaining teams have reached the round of 16, or “Sweet Sixteen”, as the NCAA likes to call it.  The next scheduled games will take place staring tomorrow (Thursday March 27th)! If you are following this tournament and have made a bracket of your own, Tweet Us with some of your “picks”.  Feel free to continually update us as the action unfolds tomorrow.

Until next week, bloggers. Have a great one!

 


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Let the good times roll

As promised, I’ve prepared a video to share with all of you.  I’ve been pestering my roomies all week about this, and finally, we’ve come together to document some of our favourite moments from the past few years.  Yes, of course, I needed to be a little more persistent when convincing the boys compared to the girls, but everyone eventually agreed to be apart of this two-minute video. It was incredible how many laughs and conversations got started as we filmed various clips together.  I feel a little tug at my heartstrings every time I watch it and I hope you all enjoy viewing it.

Like I mentioned at the end of the video, it is Markaysa’s birthday today and we plan on celebrating with her for the larger part of this weekend.  With the exception of Kristen, who has one last midterm on Monday, the rest of us are done with exams until finals approach in April.  This upcoming weekend will definitely be filled with fun times because, in addition to it being Markaysa’s celebration weekend, St. Patrick’s Day is this Monday.

St. Patrick's Day

A photo of our group last year on St. Patrick’s Day (2013).

As many of you may be aware, St. Pat’s is a highly celebrated occasion for university students, and we are all ready with our green outfits to roam the streets of London with fellow students for the last time together.

We are approaching our final month in London and therefore the moving-out plan is beginning to become a hot topic within our household.  With our limited budgets, ample amounts of stuff and uncertain futures, we find ourselves mulling over the details of how to get all of our belongings out of here before the start of May when our lease ends.  There are a number of household items that we purchased as a group, such as our living room couches.  They are in great condition, but now it comes down to deciding which items will go where and how to work out the amounts of any funds that are exchanged.  Other things on our list include ensuring we cancel our utility accounts, close our joint bank account and change our mailing addresses.  Finally, one of the more painstaking tasks will be sorting through the mass amounts of kitchenware that have accumulated between the seven of us.

There are so many details that can easily get overlooked, so we are trying to be as organized about our move-out as possible.  I will be sure to inform you all of any speed bumps we encounter along the way.  Does anyone have any awful moving experiences to share?

The weirdest experience of all will be when we come back to London for graduation in June.  We will likely need hotel rooms and paying for nightly accommodations in a place we so recently called home, will definitely be an odd feeling for me.  The deadline to apply for graduation is this Saturday.  It’s a decision that was straightforward for me due to a job I have secured back home, but can be a tricky one for those who are less sure of where they are headed next year.  By next week, all of us will have decided whether we are graduating or not and I will update you all on that decision outcome.  Have a wonderful week everyone!


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Our version of The Academy Awards

Mid-terms Done.

Done Mid-Terms! This meme courtesy of: memegenerator.net

Hello Everyone! A week has past and boy has it been a busy one.  Personally, I had two mid-terms to get through and a couple small quizzes and assignments throughout.  I’ve made it through and I think everything went well.  To give you all a bit of background, I am studying Business Management specializing in Consumer Behaviour.  I planned out my four years here to ensure that my last semester would be the easiest in terms of courses.  I took all of my required business courses last semester and in years prior, so this semester I am fortunately nearing the home stretch taking a number of electives that interest me.

Oscars Game

This is the point breakdown for our Oscars Game

Unfortunately, some of my roommates are not in such stress-free times as Teresa, Kristen and Cameron all have multiple mid-terms still to come.  I’m sure they’ll do well, but in the meantime, the rest of us are trying not to distract them from studying as we try to make the most of our…*wait for it*… LAST full month of undergrad.

To give you some perspective on how we’ve been making the most of every day together, let me recount our evening watching The Academy Awards this past weekend.  Those of us without upcoming exams decided to make watching the awards ceremony a little more interesting.  We selected some of the more well known award categories and made our “picks” prior to showing.  We attached various point weightings to each category and for each award, we created a “consequence” or “dare” for those who guessed incorrectly.

Sandwich

The consequence for not predicting Jared Leto as the winner: Peanut Butter and Pickle Sandwich.

For example, for the incorrectly guessing “Best Supporting Actor”, the consequence involved eating a portion of a peanut butter and pickle sandwich.  In this situation, the more losers there were, the more people would split this awful sandwich concoction.  Thankfully, neither of us participating roomies predicted Jared Leto (mostly due to the fact that we hadn’t seen Dallas Buyers Club), and therefore split the peanut butter and pickle sandwich four-ways.  On a side note: I actually enjoyed eating this sandwich… save your judgements please… I have no idea why, but it was oddly, quite delicious. 🙂

Some other “consequences” included: making a snow-angel in minus 10 degree weather in just shorts and a tank top, shots of pickle juice and eating half a clove of garlic.  All in all, I did fairly well, coming in second place, and Jenna stole away with a win after guessing “Best Picture” correctly (worth the most points based on our system).   I was also able to avoid the plunge in our packed front yard… unlike Kirk and Jenna who had to bare the cold and laughter from the rest of us.   I was browsing through a number of other blogs, reading about how others spent their Oscar Nights.  I have definitely been inspired to host a real party or dinner one year, and make a big deal out of this Awards show.  I stumbled upon the blog called “Jenn-Jenn’s Cookies and Cakes“.  Jenn, you’re clearly a foodie, much like myself, and I loved the assorted appetizers you created.  Jenn really invested a lot of time and effort into an Academy Awards Party of her own.  For anyone looking to read more, check her Academy Awards post.  I’m inspired! Did anyone else do anything special for The Academy Awards this year?

Pickle Juice

Shot glasses full of Pickle Juice for the losers of Best Animated Picture.

After a fun evening like that, which transpired completely spontaneously as per usual, I begin to shift from post-vacation blues to school-is-ending-sadness.  With just days instead of months remaining together, our entire house is really starting to feel the pressure as we start making “move-out” plans.  It’s times like these that we will miss the most and I’m starting to recognize the importance of documenting all of our adventures and emotions.  Years from now, this is what we will look back on as our “youth”.  That being said, I am going to share some of this emotional journey with all of you readers!  I promise that next week I will film and post a short video clip of us roommates in action.  I’m going to ask each of my roommates to share a little bit about our journey over the past few years or mention something special that they will miss from our unique dynamic here.  I’ll compile everything and post it for your viewing pleasure.  I hope that it’ll help you all get to know us better, and maybe I can get some sympathy comments once you understand how hard it’ll be for me to leave these guys! Talk to you all next week!


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And, We’re Back!

Group Beach Picture

All 10 of us on the Beach in Varadero, Cuba

Hello World! The Roomies are back and we have survived Reading Week in Cuba.  We have been back to the cold and university classes for less than 48 hours and boy does this beach withdrawal hurt.  7 lovely days in the sun have passed us far too quickly and we find ourselves huddled around our student-house couches reminiscing on the laughs and good times.  We all have midterms or assignments this week and being back to reality really sucks.  As I was feeling down and depressed about the week ahead, I found myself browsing the posts of fellow bloggers.  I came across this post by Becky of “Becky Says Things”.  Her posts, particularly this one on ‘reasons to be cheerful’ are among the many random posts and webpages that are helping me cope with my post-vacation blues.  How do you get through the dullness that immediately follows a vacation?

Hotel Room

This was one of our lovely hotel rooms!

On to my vacation summary: We stayed at a smaller resort in Varadero, Cuba and had the time of our lives.  The resort consisted of villas instead of a high-rise hotel, which had quaint and spacious rooms with character and authenticity.  They were very well kept and our travel agent was able to reserve us a block of five rooms side-by-side in the same villa.  For a group of 10 students who would have been grateful for just a working toilet and functional showers, we were very impressed.

The resort had one large pool with a fantastic swim-up bar that we took full advantage of during our stay.  We were very close to the beach and the water was crystal clear with sandbars that stretched far into the ocean.  Our daily routines involved waking up around 9am for breakfast, grabbing a delicious Cuban coffee (Café Americano con Léche as they would say), finding a spot by the beach (of which there were plenty due to the smaller, less-crowded nature of our resort) and proceeding to play beach volleyball, swim, drink and eat until dusk.

Ocean

The girls spelling the CUBA in the crystal clear waters of Varadero.

As mentioned in my previous post, it was a goal of ours to arrange to have ‘family dinners’ as a group each night.  I can assure you we were successful in this and enjoyed the fantastic service and endless bottles of wine with our à-la-carte meals.  Every single night we were able to meet up as a group and share stories from our days and make plans for the next.

So what were some of the highlights of the trip? Well for one thing,  everyone in our group got along and nobody got sick throughout the trip.  We were weary of Cuban food due to stories we had heard, and have heard nightmares of roommates and friends fighting over the course of a vacation.  Thankfully, we were mindful of what we took from various buffets and everyone, even the significant others that tagged along on our journey, were cordial the entire way! Another highlight: Canadian travellers! We are a very patriotic bunch, and with the Olympics in full-force at the time, it was wonderful travelling to a place where the vast majority of tourists were fellow Canadians.  Finally, I absolutely loved the water.  Both the pool and beachfront were kept in pristine condition by the resort workers and it was the most fun throwing impromptu parties by the pool or dips in the ocean whenever we wanted.

DSC01452As for the negatives: my only complaints would be 1) The Food and 2) The Mosquitoes!  Though much of the food was presented beautifully, I have to say, there was far too much salt added to almost everything! We are not a picky group in terms of food, but boy, if there’s one thing I have been avoiding since I got back, it’s salt in my food as I recoup from the past week.  Also, what I didn’t expect was the mass amounts of mosquitoes that mauled my legs at night! I easily have around 40 bug bites and clearly did not think logically when bringing just a small travel-sized amount of insect repellent on my trip.  Note to self: when your legs are like walking pieces of steak for mosquitos (I have a history of being the one person to get the most bug bites on any given trip), remember to bring ample bug spray regardless of the time of year.

I have a number of exams and assignments to catch up on for this week, so that concludes this vacation summary.  But as the week progresses I’ll be sure to fill you all in on how the roomies and I have been adjusting to the cold and how we faired with the stress and studying we are about to face.


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See you in a week, Canada!

Varadero, Cuba

This is a picture on the beaches of Varadero, from my last vacation there in 2011. I cannot wait to return!

Precisely in the style of our group, let’s start off with a bang! To officially unveil the beginning of this blogging journey, I’d like to announce: THE GANG IS GOING TO CUBA! My six roommates and I (as you can read in our About page) met in residence during our first year of undergraduate studies here at Western University.  We have been inseparable ever since.  Throughout the last three years, we’ve been on a number of small trips, to Blue Mountain in Collingwood and to the Muskoka region to visit the boys (Kirk & Cameron) who live in and around Huntsville, Ontario.  While these have all been fantastic trips, we’ve always dreamed of heading somewhere big for our final year.

In Muskoka

Relaxing by the lake in Muskoka, visiting Kirk. This was the last time we were on a beach together.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, that time has arrived, and the roomies are headed to the lovely Varadero, Cuba! With the exception of Kristen who is unable to join us, this will be the largest trip we have gone on as a group. Including significant others and best friends, we will be travelling as a group of 10 and are incredibly excited to ditch this cold weather and have the time of our lives on the beach.

That moment when the "Wax Party" ain't so fun after all...

That moment when the “Wax Party” ain’t so fun after all…#BeautyIsPain.

As I type this post, I find myself struggling to remain awake.  It’s a Thursday morning… so you might ask, why am I so tired?Well, it wasn’t because of an assignment, nope, not an exam either… it was because the girls and I had a “Wax Party” last night that went exceptionally longer than anticipated.  Now I know you might be a little confused, so let me explain.  It’s actually quite simple: the girls and I got together in Teresa’s room, turned on a wax pot, and sat around waxing our legs together before the big trip.  I know this might be a bit of an over-share, but hey, I did say I was going to tell you all about my life living with so many roommates (For the skeptical individuals out there, many girls do partake in this sort of activity, the term even has it’s own definition on Urban Dictionary).  So after a few hours of what started out as a fun, girly experience, I quickly remember why I wax so rarely, and how laborious of a task it can be. Though we’re a bit tired this morning, half a wax pot later, the ladies are ready to hit the beach!

Being university students and going on a trip like this during “Reading Week” for our University, we have had to plan things around our study schedules.  Sadly this is a key time for university mid-term exams and Markaysa, Jenna, Teresa and myself will have midterms to face upon returning to the great, white, North.  Though we are definitely fun-loving, our inner consciences… (and the fact that many of us are trying to maintain Honours Degrees) means that there will be some studying on the beach required.  Nevertheless, I’ve personally been making my notes ahead of time and plan on spending a few hours here and there, headphones in, soaking up the sun and hitting the books in the best way possible.

As I stare at a mountain of clothes, trying to decide what to pack and ensure I don’t forget anything (namely my passport), I start thinking about all the things we plan to do as a group on this trip.  First and foremost, we are incredibly excited that our regular “family dinners” can become a nightly occurrence at our all-inclusive resort.  We have vowed to make sure we have dinner together each day.  Despite the beach activities and various shenanigans we may get caught up in during the day, we have promised to all come together for dinner each night, toast to another great day and revel in the fact that we won’t have to clean the pile of used dishes at the end of our meal!

Volleyball

Playing beach volleyball at Kirk’s house in Muskoka.

Beach volleyball is also something we’re quite fond of as a group.  Now, most of us aren’t very good at the sport, but as a group, we always end up having some very entertaining exchanges while on court. Almost two years ago when we ventured out to Muskoka to visit Kirk, we all ended up playing on his family’s beach volleyball court for hours.  With a beach at our disposal once again, we plan on taking full advantage of this on a daily basis.

Finally, we hope to take as many pictures as we can while there.  We’re starting to realize, as the months fly by, that we are mid-way through our final semester at school.  Our time at this university is soon coming to an end, and with this being one of our final big trips as students (of course, we intend to have many more as non-students) we want to document as much of it as we can.  With that being said, I hope we have invested in the correct power adapters to be able to charge our cameras while in Cuba.  Here’s to hoping I’ve got the right electronics, and that I’ll have many a story and pictures to share upon my return.

Before I close for today, I have a favour to ask: can all you Canadians cheer on every one of our Olympic athletes while we’re gone? The boys, Cameron and Kirk, are huge Olympics followers… and I have to say, it’s one of my favourite things to watch as well.  I get so excited cheering for our nation’s brightest, and I know the boys are a little disappointed that we’ll be missing much of the action while on our trip.  We’re hoping Canada can continue it’s success in Sochi and we’ll be rooting for them while we’re away.

Until next week… stay golden, Canada!