Dear Brescia Blogger…

“Dear Brescia Blogger,

I’m a first year student and after a semester of work I’ve come to the realization that I really don’t like the program I’m in. I took similar courses in high school that I really liked and excelled at, however my current courses are really hard. I am overwhelmed with the amount of information that I have to memorize and understand. I feel left behind by my peers and I am struggling to find motivation to keep up with my studies. I need advice.

Sincerely,
Seriously Struggling”
Dear Seriously Struggling,

This is totally understandable position. Many people have experienced this, even people in their last year. University is about self discovery. You come here to learn not just about the program you are in but also about yourself. If you ask any advisor, your first year is about having those 5 credits, all different courses, no more than 1 credit in the same courses. This is because in your first year you’re more likely to change your mind than any other year. During high school, I absolutely hated the subject that is now my program in university. Once I got to university, by pure chance I was put into this course, but after the first semester I realized I loved it. So, my second year I changed my program to this program. As a recommendation, at least course and program wise, I would say book an appointment with your academic advisor, through the Hive, or the online booking website. Here, you can talk to your advisor about your current program and discuss your options. Or, if your have an idea about what program you would like to switch into, they can discuss that program in detail with you and about how to switch over to that program.

However, the second part of this question was about your lost love of the program, and how you’re struggling. One tidbit of advice from my perspective: even when you love your program, you can sometimes hate it with a passion. When you finally pick your program, you search for something you love but also will challenge you, just keep this in mind throughout the year when it gets this hard.
I think the best way to overcome struggles with your program is to use the resources Western and Brescia give you. You can even find resources within your classes; your peers are your friends. You can start a study group, where you can find help with your big questions, and you might find you are able to answer some questions others have. Teaching others is a great way to learn the material for yourself. Through Facebook groups, creating study groups is surprisingly easy. Alternatively, you can always talk to your professor, who is there to help. If you are just looking for review or follow-up, I recommend finding things you don’t understand or questions you have about prior assignments and ask about them during office hours.

My last piece of advice is to take a step back from time to time and examine where you are in your university career. You may find that you love your program, but you’re getting bogged down by the coursework. Maybe the program you had your heart set on when you entered university is just not the best fit. Whatever the case, you need to take time to examine your situation and determine what your next move should be. After all, university is also for learning about yourself; struggles like these are part of that journey, and working through them in your own way is helping you build your future.

All my best,
The Brescia blogger

3 Steps for Improved Mental Health

An article by Melissa Jacobs, first year English literature student

Following Bell Let’s Talk Day on Wednesday of this week, everyone has mental health on the mind. Brescia’s Let’s Talk event has sparked conversation on campus, to help raise awareness about mental health. Now is a great time to look at how you can better cater to your own mental health. Here are three steps you can take to achieve more improved mental health.

1. Plan your Supports
One of the most important things to do for your wellbeing is to have a support system in place. A strong support system is crucial. This can include friends, family, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, wellbeing coordinators at your school, teachers, crisis phone numbers etc. This can also include places that you feel safe and supported in, such as: your bedroom, a library, a favourite store or a friend’s place. Reaching out to these people and visiting these places can make a world of difference, whether you are in crisis or not. Make a list of all the people and places you can turn to when things become too overwhelming. Stay tuned to the end for an extensive list of resources available to you on and off campus.

2. Prevention Planning
Taking care of yourself is imperative in improving your mind and your body’s resilience. The more you practice taking care of yourself the easier it will be to handle the stress that will inevitably come your way. Self care is vital in prevention planning. When you are well rested, nourished, hydrated, and hygienic, it will allow you to better handle any triggers you encounter on a daily basis. You will also be able to bounce back faster after difficult events in life.

3. Contingency Planning
Okay, you have followed steps one and two, now what? Now you plan for the worst. Having a plan that allows you to take care of yourself in life’s most challenging moments is extremely helpful. Personally, I like to keep a small travel pouch of essential items with me at all times. Inside this emergency kit could include: numbers to your support system, a cue card of any coping mechanisms that work for you, a stress ball or putty, essential oils, tissues, eye drops, headphones, a small object that inspires a sense of calm, a journal and pen to work through thoughts, chocolate, candy, gum, a facial spray, prescribed medication, etc. This is where you can get creative for your personal needs and cater to them accordingly.

Following these steps is a huge step in the right direction. If you are ever feeling that you are in crisis, you can always use Brescia’s mental health resources or call SERT at (519) 661-3300, or the Coast Crisis Line is open 24 Hours: 905-972-8338. Above all, be sure to take care of yourself and do not be afraid to reach out.

Brescia’s Centennial Opening Ceremonies

January 27th is always an important date for Brescia; It is the feast day of St. Angela Merici, foundress of the Ursuline order which created Brescia University College. This year, her feast day was celebrated in outstanding fashion, as it also became the date of Brescia’s centennial opening ceremonies 100 years ago, Brescia began educating young women and building a story that continues to grow today. This year, Brescia celebrates Brescia’s history, and its many stories which have not yet been written.

The most prominent event of the ceremonies was a mass, held to celebrate Brescia’s Catholic life and Ursuline origins. Bishop Ronald Fabbro of the Diocese of London presided, though many Brescia members of the Brescia community played important roles throughout the mass. The Brescia choir led and performed songs, while students and members of the faculty led prayers and did readings for the mass. A procession that brought to the altar various images to symbolize Brescia’s charism was filled with students, faculty, staff, and other members of the Brescia community. Brescia’s community was well represented, but representatives from the other affiliate colleges, Londoners, friends and family, and visitors to the mass via livestream joined in the celebration as well.

Following the Centennial mass, attendees were welcome to refreshments before arriving at the Beryl Ivey Library for another important ceremony. An art exhibit greeted visitors to the library, with pieces selected for the theme, Right Relationship of Peace. The artworks featured all exemplified Ontarian art, but perhaps the most important piece was unveiled in honor of the centennial. A painting of Ursuline Hall by Group of Seven artist A.J. Casson was made early in the building’s history, and has now been donated to Brescia. The painting is gifted by the Pignott family, whose construction company built Ursuline Hall and commissioned the painting in the 1920s. This art exhibition is only the start of a four-part series of exhibitions, which will continue through the year as Brescia celebrates its 100-year anniversary.

The Brescia community looks forward to more celebrations and milestones throughout this centennial year. This was merely the opening ceremony of a full year of festivities, celebrating Brescia’s centennial, as well as its excellence, community, and role as Canada’s only women’s university.

BUCSC Presidential Elections

It is hard to ignore that election season has arrived at Brescia. The BUCSC’s elections will select next year’s council over the course of the next couple months, and it is important to keep updated on elections and candidates in order to cast well-informed votes. The election in progress now is for the BUCSC president, with three candidates are running: Mikaila Hunter, Jamie Keltz, and Ainsley Leguard. The campaigns have been running for roughly a week now, and many people have come to the candidates’ booths in the St. James foyer. The candidates will be at the booths until the 30th, and are happy to talk to Brescia students. Campaigning will continue until the candidate speeches on January 30, at 10:30 in the Oak room. Then, voting begins on January 31 at 8 am, running to February 1st at 8 pm. Students may expect a link to the online voting site sent to their student emails. The election results will be released on February 2nd.

Each of the candidates have experience with the BUCSC, and all hold a position on council this year. Hunter is the current BUCSC president, Leguard is the USC representative, and Keltz is AVP treasurer, however each candidate has stepped down from their position temporarily for the election. The candidates have announced their candidacies on campaign pages on Facebook; their platforms and campaign updates may be found there (Leguard, Hunter, Keltz).

While looking at the BUCSC presidential candidates, it is worthwhile to look also at the USC candidates, campaigning now on main campus. Two slates have announced: Team ForYe (Frank Ye and Jared Forman), and Bardia + Cat 2019 (Bardia Jalayer and Catherine Dunne) have announced candidacy. The election occurs shortly after Brescia’s own; polling occurs on February 4th and 5th.

Although the presidential elections occurring now are very important, the elections that are coming up are too. The election season is long, but it is important to stay up-to-date and informed throughout, because the choices made now will shape next year’s council and beyond. Please remember to make your voice heard!

 

Brescia Ball and Wine & Cheese 2019

Last weekend Brescia celebrated two of its most important annual social events, Brescia Ball and Wine & Cheese. The weekend of festivities kicked off on Friday with Wine & Cheese, hosted at the Mercato. Attendees enjoyed a buffet of cheeses to accompany the selection of wines available. A voting booth for the following night’s Brescia Ball royalty saw many visitors, as did the photo booth. Live performers played acoustic covers throughout the evening to set the mood, as well.

Each year, Brescia Ball and Wine & Cheese are important events for student life, but this year they were particularly special. This year’s centennial was celebrated during the events- during Wine & Cheese, attendees were welcome to peruse Brescia yearbooks from decades past, and look at the alumni association’s commemorative wine glass collection. At the end of the evening, lucky attendees went home with the commemorative glass from this year- complete with Brescia’s centennial celebration logo. The official launch of the centennial at Brescia is January 27th, 2019 at 1:00pm which marks the Feast of St. Angela Merici.

Then, during Brescia Ball, the Junior Princess, Princess, and Queen were crowned not only as this year’s royalty, but also as the centennial royalty. Alison Lengyell, the BUCSC’s chief returning officer, was crowned Junior Princess while Amy Karpenko, a Clare Hall residence assistant, was crowned Princess in absentia and Esmé Panarello, who had been crowned Junior Princess in 2017, was crowned Brescia Ball Queen. The crowning began a whole evening of celebrations; after dinner, attendees enjoyed taking photos at the photo booth, a candy bar, and dancing on the dance floor to the DJ, Osso Good. A raffle drawing gave prizes to two winners who had come to the event in masks, just two of the many attendees who celebrated the evening’s theme- a masquerade.

The masquerade was a huge success, but perhaps the more important theme of the weekend was Wine & Cheese’s, which focused on Brescia’s centennial. Both Brescia Ball and Wine & Cheese are a huge part of the Brescia tradition, and the support of Brescia’s alumni association makes them more wonderful each year. Celebrating the centennial during these two important nights helped to start out Brescia’s centennial year properly. Next weekend, the official start of the Centennial year will begin- on St. Angela Merici’s feast day, For a second week in a row, the community will come together to celebrate this banner year in Brescia’s history, and begin a full year of bold celebrations.

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HBK Frost Week

Each year, Western celebrates frost week during the first week back to classes after winter break. Frost week is all about welcoming new students to university. For students arriving at school for the first time and beginning their classes in the winter semester, O week has passed by. However, frost week is filled with social events to introduce these students to university and get to know their community. HBK’s frost week in particular helps foster the sense of community, commitment, and engagement between Western’s affiliates.

The first HBK event of frost week was a karaoke night at Huron’s beaver dam. Huron’s karaoke nights are always a hit, and this one was no different. On January 7, students from Huron, Brescia, and King’s gathered at Huron’s popular lounge for an evening of singing and socializing. The proceeds from the event even went to a good cause, the HBK Relay for Life, which will be held later in the semester. Later in the week, Frost week wrapped up with another HBK event on January 10. HBK students gathered again at the beaver dam to begin the all-ages bar night. Everyone was welcome to get to know some friendly faces from all the affiliate campuses.

For some students, frost week is all about meeting new people, and for others it is about reuniting after a long winter break. All sorts of HBK students had fun during the week with old and new friends from different campuses. Huron, Brescia, and King’s have always had a special relationship as Western’s affiliates, so it is particularly fun when they celebrate together.

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Brescia at Champ’s Cup

After a season of training, Brescia’s flag football team finally had the chance to perform on the field last weekend. The annual Champs Cup is a league-wide tournament, and the biggest of the year. Brescia looks forward to the weekend-long tournament each year and although the team did not win any games this year, the players had a great time.

The weather on the morning of December 1 was very difficult for the players. The field was coated with ice, making gameplay very slow and slippery. Ultimately that game against the off-campus team ended in a no-score tie, but Brescia’s defense played especially well during the game. Following that, Brescia played King’s in an very friendly game. Although Brescia lost, the HBK spirit made for a very fun game. The day wrapped up in an evening game against Delaware. Again the weather was difficult, this time due to rain. Brescia’s loss to Delaware ended the tournament for the team, but Brescia still had a lot of fun.

Team coach Hien Thi once again led the team through the tournament. Her work helped to make Brescia the team that it is. Although the team did not have any big wins during the tournament, other teams congratulated the players on their good sportsmanship. Brescia’s team is known each year as one of the most fun teams in the league, and this year was no different. The team was tied with Elgin for smallest this year, but even so Brescia packed a big punch. As always, Brescia’s success was in its enthusiasm and good sportsmanship which carried them through the tournament.

BUCSC’s Bold Moments

Brescia is an excellent university with a unique community, and that is something to celebrate! Our BUCSC members are sharing their most empowering Brescia experiences.

 

“I loved having my professor in my Business class refer to me by name in just the second week, that was powerful because I felt important in my contribution.” – Brooke Huffman, First Year Residence Rep

“My favorite Brescia moment so far has been Foundress Day during my first year. When all the first years write their names in the book it signifies that Brescia will become their home for four years.” – Kate Wood, Mature and Transfer Students Rep

“Just being surrounded by so many empowering and supportive young women here at Brescia has me feeling so motivated and ready to take on the world!” – Madison Sweet, Charity Commissioner

“I loved the Brescia cheers at O Week’s closing ceremony!” – Emily Petch, First Year Off-Campus Rep

“I attended Dr. Margaret Chan’s talk last year during Homecoming. When I found out she has a degree from Brescia it felt great! You never know where your degree will take you.” – Michelle Lau, Wellness Commissioner

“I think the first time I got to send a very professional email was a bold moment for me. I really felt like I was being prepared for a future as a powerful woman!” – Katie Vezina, USC Rep

“During the Summer I helped out with convocation. In the time leading up to the event I really got to see all of the memories and connections that the grads had and it made me reflect on my own time here at Brescia. While reflecting, I felt really warm and grateful for my own memories and connections.” – Vanessa So, Website Commissioner

“After transferring from another university, I really appreciate Brescia. I love being able to recognize and say hello to people while I walk to classes!” – Monique Lewis, AVP Promotions

“It was great to be a member of FRESH representing Brescia, sharing information about nutrition, and educating peers about Brescia on main campus.” – Stephanie Tom, Residence Rep

“Attending the Foundress Day ceremony as a BUCSC executive member was a big moment for me. It made me think of how I have grown since my first Foundress Day.” – Joy Huynh, Chief Communications Officer

“It was so exciting when I was voted into my positions on last year’s BUCRC and the BUCSC this year. I showed that people know me and want me to be their voice.” – Cassidy Blunt, Off-Campus Rep

“The classroom setting every day makes me feel confident and comfortable.” – Julia Sun, AVP Student Support

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Holidays at Brescia

The holiday season has begun at Brescia. Already, holiday decorations have sprung up all over campus and despite the stress that comes with the end of the semester, students are getting into the spirit of the season. There are plenty of holiday events going on at Brescia, so the Buzz is taking a look at how Brescia celebrates the holidays.

Holiday celebrations are often all about community, so it makes sense that the first place on campus to light up with holiday cheer was Clare Hall. Visitors to the residence or the Mercato have probably noticed that the living rooms on each floor are decorated with snowflakes, garlands, and Christmas trees. Many floors held decoration parties to get the residence in the mood of the season. The first year in residence can feel lonely around the holidays for some students, so this year the First Year Stocking Decoration Party helped to build new connections and traditions. First years gathered to socialize, sip hot cocoa, and decorate their own stockings in a celebration of the holidays. It was a great bonding opportunity, where students were invited to share their family’s holiday traditions.

Brescia has many of its own holiday traditions, thanks to the campus ministry. The Christian season of Advent is beginning, which means ‘tis the season to get ready for Christmas. Already, Brescia Chapel and the Ursuline Hall foyer are decorated for the season. On December 6, the Brescia Chapel will be the venue of the annual Lessons of Love & Songs of Hope Carol Service. This is an evening of beautiful music performed by the Brescia Choir to celebrate the goodwill of the Christmas season. The campus ministry will also hold its annual Brescia Family Christmas Party on December 2 in the St. James auditorium. The event promises to be tons of fun, with refreshments, gingerbread decorating, and even a visit from Santa!

With all the festivities happening around campus, the BUCSC is sure to join in. Already, the council members have held their holiday potluck and secret santa exchange, but there are still events to come. The BUCSC’s environmental commissioner Adrienne Aguechi is holding a Holiday gift wrap making event, where attendees can learn the value of recycled holiday gift wrap, tags, and cards as they reuse them to wrap presents and make holiday decorations for this year. The council has recently hosted a holiday card-writing event for the residents of London’s Chelsey Park retirement center, but it is not too late to participate! Anyone is welcome to stop by the council office and pick up a blank card to write a nice holiday message for the Chelsey Park residents.

There is plenty going on at Brescia these days, so it is especially nice when the Brescia community takes the time to celebrate the holidays. There are many celebrations going on around campus, so however you like to celebrate the holidays you have a chance to do it with your Brescia community. As this semester winds down and the winter break approaches, the BUCSC wishes you a Happy Holidays!

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Dear Brescia Blogger…

“Dear Brescia Blogger,

This is my first year as an off-campus student, and I miss the community of residence life. How can I  stay involved on campus even though I live somewhere else?

From, Lonesome Off-Campus”

Dear Off-Campus,

As a first year off – campus student, I know how rough it can be to be living off campus and away from the welcoming atmosphere of the Clare Hall residence.  At Clare hall you made your first friend, spent most of your time and went to all kinds of fun events, and it’s hard to live without that now. What I realized is that just because you’re not at Clare Hall doesn’t mean you can’t do all these things. If you miss that atmosphere, all you have to do is be proactive and find that atmosphere for yourself elsewhere.

As an off-campus student, I made goals to keep myself active and involved in the school. I joined clubs on campus and at the western campus. You can take a look at Brescia’s clubs here, or the Western clubs here. Joining clubs means you can make more new friends, with the same interests as you. There are still many clubs that are looking for members. This way you stay active in the community.

There are also many events that as a Brescia student you can attend. You are able to attend Brescia events put on by the BUCSC, by the clubs themselves, and by the school. With Brescia’s centennial coming up, there will be a plenty of events you can attend. You can keep a lookout for upcoming Brescia events with Brescia’s  events calendar. Plus, as a Brescia student you are part of the HBK family; you can attend events on the other affiliate campuses. Of course, you can always take a trip down the hill to main campus, there are endless possibilities of how you can spend your time, having fun and engaging with new communities of students.

So, you don’t have to resign yourself to missing the residence life, just bring it into the present, be proactive and go find the clubs or events that interest you. You have endless opportunities to make friends and have fun.

All my best,
The Brescia Blogger