Tips for Surviving Second Semester

by | Feb 29, 2020 | Hillel Ontario | 0 comments

Are you swamped with readings that you feel you will never catch up on? Are midterm exams piling up? Do you have five papers due in March? Second semester is upon us and so is the stress of surviving the rest of the school year. With just a few more months of school to go, and so many essays and exams, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose focus and motivation. With the help of students across Hillel Ontario’s campuses, here are tips to help you conquer the final few months.

Don’t Procrastinate. Start Now!

Remember last semester when you had 3 months to write a 15-page essay, but you still waited until the night before to start? You may not have a ton of work in the first couple of weeks, but before you know it, work will quickly start to pile up. The best thing to do is to start early and try to work ahead before school gets crazy busy. Going ahead in your readings, doing practice questions, and getting your notes in order are all things you can do to work ahead before you’re actually assigned anything big. Sarah, Queens Hillel

To help you stay on track, Noam from Guelph Hillel, suggest you get a planner! “Writing it all down helps you manage your time and stay organized!”

Give Yourself a Break

Reading Week is the perfect time to catch up on your school work while also taking well-deserved time for yourself. “Rather than scrolling through social media mindlessly for an hour, schedule a more substantial study break. For example, go on a walk, hit the gym, blast your favourite music and have a dance party, get creative in the kitchen, or do some art. This way you’ll feel refreshed, happier, calmer, and you’ll be much more productive and efficient once you start working again.” Rebecca, McMaster Hillel

Make Healthy Meals

When we are stressed, we are more susceptible to getting sick. Avoid colds and flu by taking care of yourself and by eating healthy meals. “ I always find I thrive when I take 30min to make a healthy balanced meal rather than buying food on campus. It helps me focus on my work and keeps me energized for the rest of the day.” – Nicole, Hillel Waterloo/Laurier.

Ask For Help

If you are struggling to keep up with your coursework and are feeling overwhelmed, seek help. Don’t let the situation escalate and go through it alone.. If you don’t know where to go for help, start with Hillel staff. They are always eager to listen and to provide students with guidance and support. Hillel is also a great place to find a community of students who support each other during stressful times at university.

Countdown to the end of the Semester

You’re almost done! Think about how good you’ll feel when you hand in your last assignment and take your final exam. Summer will arrive before you know it, so start planning now.If you haven’t registered for Birthright yet, what are you waiting for? The trip will be one of the most unforgettable experiences of your life.“Second semester can seem super long, dragging on as if summer will never come. Having something exciting planned for summer can help give you something to look forward to. Get planning on that trip, or apply for your dream internship, it will make time pass so much quicker!”- Leah, Western Hillel

We hope these tips will help you tackle the rest of the semester. What works for you? Let us know your tips; we would love to hear them. Good luck!

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2023

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2023

In their research on listening to survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides, Bronwen E. Low and Emmanuelle Sonntag note listeners’ problematic tendencies towards one of two responses.  On the one hand, they can regard the narratives as so unfamiliar and foreign that they must be pushed away as overwhelming, untouchable, and inaccessible.  On the other, the stories can be seen as familiar, to the point that the listener cannot separate their own experiences and emotional response from what they take in.

But another, preferable response exists: Roger I. Simon and Claudia Eppert talk about a “chain of testimony” and suggest that listening imposes a duty on the listener.  Listening to personal testimony at the crossroads of memory and history “imposes particular obligations on those called to receive it – obligations imbued with the exigencies of justice, compassion, and hope that define the horizon for a world yet to be realized.”  In this way, bearing witness and listening to testimony demands a number of actions and responses, including that we “transport and translate stories of past injustices beyond their moment of telling by taking these stories to another time and space where they become available to be heard or seen.”

If we take Simon and Eppert’s charge seriously, as I believe we should, those of us who have been privileged to hear the direct testimony of survivors of the Holocaust.  Their words come not just with the specific knowledge they impart or the emotional impact they have on us – sorrow, anger, fear, horror – but with a duty, an obligation of some kind.  

On many of our campuses, this week is Holocaust Education Week, and this Friday marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Given the significant number of Holocaust survivors and their descendants in Canada, the scheduled events and programs have a personal resonance for many of our students and their families, but their impact can be deep and meaningful for all of us, regardless of who we are and where we come from.  I encourage each of you to make time to participate in this week’s activities and to consider your place in the chain of testimony: what obligation does listening to narratives from the Holocaust place on you, and how do you carry those stories forward in time?

 

Weekly D’var: Shemot

Weekly D’var: Shemot

In this week’s parashah we learn the story of Moses, from his birth, through his flight from and eventual return to Egypt, to the acceptance of his role as leader of the Hebrew people.

After fleeing Egypt, for killing an Egyptian slave master, Moses was living rather peacefully as a shepherd in the land of Midian. The Torah describes for us Moses’s first interaction with G-d upon coming across a bush, “burning with a heart of fire [Exodus 3:3]”. G-d calls out to Moses and requests he take the Jewish people out of Egypt and eventually into the land of Israel. However, Moses argues with G-d, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh? Who am I that I should take the Jews out of Egypt? [Exodus 3:11]” After initially refusing four times, Moses eventually agrees to G-ds request, and as we know, the rest is history. But why was Moses so unwilling to take up the position of leader, to the extent that he would argue with G-d? And why was G-d so set on having Moses lead the Jewish people? 

Perhaps the answer can be found through the incident that led to his flight from Egypt, years earlier, when Moses, as mentioned above, killed an Egyptian slave master for beating a Hebrew slave. Immediately, he was met with opposition from some of the Hebrew slaves, “who made you chief and ruler over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian? [Exodus 2:14]” Moses felt discouraged and unsure of his ability to lead. However, it seems that G-d saw in Moses, a faithful shepherd, the ability to lead his people from slavery to freedom. Very often in Tanakh, the people that are most worthy to lead are the ones who deny that they are worthy at all. Moses may not appear to be the first choice for a leadership figure, suffering from a speech impediment and lacking charisma; however, Moses possessed certain qualities that made him the ideal leader to bring the Jewish people out of Egypt. We too possess qualities that can lead us to achieve incredible success and realize our full potential. We may often feel unmotivated or unsure of our own capabilities. Instead of feeling discouraged, I believe we can look to Moses who, despite all his doubts, stepped up to the challenge and became the greatest leader in Jewish history. 

Sam Virine
VP of Jewish Life at Hillel Waterloo & Laurier

X