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!

Stronger Together!

Stronger Together!

Over this past Family Day Weekend, I spent a lot of time reflecting both about the challenges we face, but also about the incredible strength and resiliency of this community. Jewish students are often at the forefront of hate and discrimination on campus and online, but we are at our most powerful – and most effective – when we work together as one.

With that in mind, I want to provide several important advocacy updates.

First, I am excited to share that Hillel Ontario has begun convening meetings to coordinate advocacy initiatives amongst Jewish campus organizations across the country. The time has come for Hillel Ontario to lead the way in encouraging cooperation to accomplish the goals we collectively share. Joining us in these monthly discussions are Hillel Montreal, Hillel BC, Hillel Ottawa, CJPAC, Hasbara Fellowships and StandWithUs. We appreciate their willingness to engage with us in these important conversations.

Second, I want to update you on the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) matter that galvanized much community discussion last week. In addition to endorsing a motion to divest from companies doing business in Israel, the union misrepresented the recently released report of the Antisemitism Working Group and its approach to what does or does not constitute antisemitism. Hillel views these type of divestment motions as part of a wider issue of antisemitism on campus, and we have made that point clearly and consistently to university leadership and members of the Working Group for the better part of the past year.

Late Friday, Working Group members released an important statement, which both criticized the rhetoric of union leaders, and vindicated our belief that hate speech directed at Israel, Israelis or Jews based on actions (real or imagined) of the Israeli government is antisemitism. This is an important moment; one that underscores why our approach to these issues, and the allies we foster across campus are so critical. While we may not be able to stop every divestment motion from passing, we can – and we will continue to – have our voices heard by university leadership to ensure antisemitism remains on the margins. This is precisely what happened last week at the UofT.

Jewish students deserve to study, live and socialize in an environment free from harassment and discrimination. Hillel will continue to condemn antisemitism, defend Israel and our right to self-determination, and build essential relationships on campus to secure the well-being of the students we so proudly serve.

And, we will do so in concert with our allies; because we believe we are stronger together.

Sincerely,

Jay Solomon
Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer

Nature vs. Nurture, and Nate Deserves Our Anger

Nature vs. Nurture, and Nate Deserves Our Anger

Weekly D’var: Toldot 5782 by Scott Goldstein

[Warning: Ted Lasso show spoiler] I just finished watching the second season of Ted Lasso, and I cannot get the image of the finale out of my head. Haven’t seen it yet? That’s ok, I’ll recap part of this week’s Torah portion as you go catch up and then tie it in at the end for when you get back.

When not detailing the intricate politics of well-digging and water rights, this week’s Torah portion takes some time to highlight our favourite biblical twins – Jacob and Esav (a.k.a. Esau). Some may even refer to this as the first twin study on “Nature vs. Nurture” (shoutout to my psychology peeps) ever recorded. We are presented with brothers that were raised in the same environment but turned out to be polar opposites. I’ll let you read the riveting stories of birthright transactions and elaborate deceptions on your own, but the narrative we are presented with is clear: Jacob is good, and Esav is bad. Here’s the problem I had with this narrative: If Esav was raised in a good environment, but still did bad things, then is the Torah telling us that our destiny is sealed by nature?

I just finished watching Ted Lasso, and I cannot help but think about how loveable Nate (played by Nick Mohammed) is a perfect example of what I think our Torah portion is trying to tell us. Ted Lasso (played masterfully by Jason Sudeikis) created a nurturing environment where Nate could grow from invisible kit manager to assistant coach that everyone loves. Despite all that, it comes down to the decisions Nate made to allow jealousy to influence his actions, leading him to leave Richmond FC and betray his teammates by joining West Ham United.

I think the story we read in the Torah is reminding us that both nature and nurture are really important (just as science does), but our decisions, ultimately, are our own. Whether it’s Esav going down in history as the ultimate example of bad decision-making or Nate likely being the reason we see Ted cry next season, the lesson is clear… be like Jacob because we can make good decisions no matter the circumstances.

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