• What To Do with Your 9 Days of Freedom


    Written by Brianne McMillan

    There is a short three weeks until Reading Week and for some students this means heading home to visit their families. I am from Northern British Columbia so it takes (at least) three flights to get back home so I hang out here during the shorter breaks. If you’re like me and live far away, you may be staying on campus and wondering what to do with yourself while everyone else is gone. Here are some suggestions for occupying your time.

    Check out tourist sites: Last semester I bought some MegaBus tickets for cheap and headed out to see Niagara Falls for the first time and went to Toronto to go up the CN Tower and see the Hockey Hall of Fame. I grew up on the opposite side of the country so I didn’t have the opportunity to see these as I grew up and it was so amazing for me.

    Workout: One evening I went for a run on the track and there was barely anyone there. If you like to workout without a lot of people around this is a great time to go.

    Get stuff done: I did those little things I had been putting off, such as cleaning my oven, and I didn’t have to worry about it after that.

    Do some schoolwork: If you get some of those little assignments done now, you’ll have more time for the bigger ones later on when it comes to the end of the semester and everyone is stressing out over assignments and studying for exams you’ll be able to focus on acing your finals.

    Give Back: This reading week I am heading out to South Carolina on a Habitat for Humanity build and according to the Student Life website you can still join the South Carolina Habitat for Humanity trip. Visit for more information on signing up for this trip.

    Relax: I definitely spent some time during the October reading week just hanging out, watching lots of Friday Night Lights, and baking plenty of cookies and consuming them all.

    Whatever you do, enjoy the break, after it’s done you have six short weeks until it’s time for exams!

    Post Categorie(s): Community, Culture, Featured Event, Growth, Leadership, Spirit, Uncategorized, Volunteer
  • Alternative Reading Week? ‘…100% do it!”


    Written by: Sam MacNeil

    Thinking about going abroad for Reading Week? My advice would be 100% do it! Throughout your university career, people will tell you to set yourself apart from anyone else who could potentially be competing for your future job. The best way to develop your life resume is to experience something different from the ordinary.

    In August 2013, I took a trip with nine strangers to a remote village in Nicaragua. While this may seem like the opening plot line to a thriller movie, it was the best experience of my life. We were completely submerged into a foreign culture, surrounded by unfamiliar things. While I can admit that this notion seemed terrifying in the beginning, you eventually realize the experience presents so many opportunities to find out things about who you are as a person and what you care about in life.

    One of the most conflicting questions we are faced with in life is “who are you, and what do you want to do?” The best way to answer these questions is to get out of your comfort zone and redefine what your life means. My outreach trip did not only lead to meeting nine amazing people with similar interests and life goals, I experienced life in a developing culture with different food, language, clothing and ways of life. If any of these experiences sound like something you would be interested in, do not hesitate.

    Like the great ones always say, YOLO.

    Read about 2014 Alternative Reading Week experiences here

    Post Categorie(s): Culture, Growth, Leadership, Spirit, Volunteer
  • The Student Life Experience: Colleen


    Written by: Colleen McGuire

    I can’t believe I am already sitting here writing about my experience with Student Life. It feels like yesterday that we were working the vendor fair at O-Week and moving first year students into res! That was my first week working for Student Life, and by far the most memorable. It was overwhelming, as any new job can be, and totally awesome! I knew right away that this job was going to be the highlight of my Brock University career, and it has yet to prove me wrong.

    I originally applied for the Event & Volunteer planner position here at Student Life because I thought it would look good on a resume. I never thought it would give me so much more than that, such as numerous professional connections within Brock and the Niagara community that I will be able to connect with for years to come. The management team allows us to foster our creativity and gain hands on experience by giving us total control over our projects, which in turn has given me the confidence to plan an amazing event!

    Lastly, I can’t stress enough how great the people in the Student Life department are. I have never worked on a team that collaborates so well and truly has fun while working together! If you are considering applying for a job with Student Life, I suggest that you take the risk and just go for it! It is an experience that you will not regret.

    Post Categorie(s): Community, Culture, Growth, Leadership
  • The Student Life Experience: Brian

    brian blog pic

    Written By: Brian DiCarlo

    July 2012:
    Leap Program, Brock University

    On a warm July day back in 2012, a young man attended his first Brock event.  After accepting his admission offer, he was eager to learn more about the university he would be immersed in for the next 2.5 years.  Also in attendance at this event, were some Student Life employees.  What seemed like an insignificant relationship now will come back with more importance later in the story.

    February 2013:

    If you would’ve told me in first year to get a job I would’ve laughed.  I loved the relaxing life of staying up all night, sleeping in all day, and only having afternoon classes.  However, as the year came to a close, my marks were lower than I wanted them to be, and my messed up sleep schedule left me constantly tired.  I realized something needed to change that could put me back on track.
    Remember when I told you about the Student Life employee I met at Leap?  On a chance meeting in the hallway, she mentioned a job opening.  A job opening for Brock Student Life.

    January 2014:
    Fast forward to the present.

    I’ve been working for Student Life for 5 months.  My job more specifically, is as a Marketer.  The Student Life Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and blog, is in my hands (and a team of 2 other marketers).  I use those media outlets to promote events that allow students to extract the most out of their Brock experience.  I would love to continue to work with Student Life, but seeing as I only have 1 semester left at Brock, it is not possible.
    As my time with the Student Life team winds down, I look back on a year that I’ve really enjoyed.  This job has allowed me to take so much from the school, all while giving back, and encouraging others to do the same.

    If there is one thing I’ve learned in this job it would be to…


    Sure that’s a pretty blunt statement, but it is some of the best advice I can give to current or future students.

    Looking for…

    Credible work experience?

    Connections on campus?

    Flexible schedule?

    New friends?

    Time management skills?

    The most out of your university?

    All of these things are perks of a job with Student Life.  Take a few minutes to look at the job descriptions in the link.  If one catches your interest, apply for it.  You won’t regret it!

    Post Categorie(s): Community, Culture, Leadership, Spirit, Volunteer
  • The Student Life Experience: Hilary


    Written by: Hilary Canivet

    This April closes one of the best chapters I have had as a student here at Brock University. I have had the wonderful experience of working with the Student Life & Community Experience department for three years, holding three different positions and it all comes to a close this April as I transition to the Brock Hamilton Campus for my fifth and final year.

    The Student Life department has provided me with the opportunity to get involved here at Brock University, develop new and engaging programs for students and collaborate with amazing people!

    One of my favorite experiences was working as the Volunteer & Event Management Coordinator in the summer of 2012. It was a full time summer position that worked collaboratively with the community and campus partners, such as BUSU and Career Services, to organize events such as Relay for Life, Dragon Boat Festival and Random Act of Kindness Day.  Brock University is a small community, especially in the summer; I got to know many of the other summer student staff in various departments and got to experience the Niagara region during the summer months.

    The best part of my summer was the day of the Dragon Boat Festival on Henley Island. There are a number of teams that consist of 20-25 people, who pile into a large boat to compete in races.  Our team consisted of students, staff, faculty and alumni, creating a unique team dynamic to work together and learn from each other’s experiences at Brock and in Niagara. The key to success at the Dragon Boat Festival is to have all team members paddling the boat at the same time, and this is facilitated by a drummer. The drummer is sitting at the front of the boat, on a TINY seat, facing the paddlers. I had the nerve racking but thoroughly enjoyable experience of being the drummer, pushing our team to engage a little bit more and push our boat a sliver ahead of our competitors. At the end of the day we had shared stories, and engaged in a fun experience together.

    The memories are ones I will never forget and that day remains a favorite with the Student Life department.  As a bonus we came in first in our division and have metals to recognize our efforts. I thank the Student Life department for providing me the experience and opportunities that have developed my sense of belonging at Brock and fostered my creativity and passion for community engagement.

    If you would like to make a different to the Brock Community and work for the Student Life & Community Experience department I encourage you to apply for the coordinator or assistant positions, it will not be a decision you regret!  (Applications are available at and due on Friday January 24th by 4:00pm)

    Post Categorie(s): Community, Growth, Leadership, Spirit, Volunteer
  • The Student Life Experience: Cara


    Written by: Cara Eaton

    As the second semester starts it is hard to not feel nostalgic about marketing the open positions for Student Life in the upcoming 2014/2015 year. Less than a year ago I felt the stress of finding a summer job, attending the Student Life hiring information session, and submitting my resume and cover letter to the Student Life management team.

    As I reflect on my year as Marketing Coordinator, I cannot wait to be on the other side of the hiring process. The most fulfilling part of working for Student Life was gaining hands on experience in my field, and being able to share what I’ve learned with others. Whether it was sharing on our social media, with the other marketers, or now with future Student Lifers, I really enjoy helping others make the best out of their time at Brock.

    I feel like I lucked out landing the Marketing Coordinator position at Student Life. When I was applying, I can’t say I knew a whole lot about what the department did, or what opportunities this job could provide. The best part of my job would have to be the autonomy and growth the job and the management team fosters. I was able to decide what projects I wanted to expand on, explore new marketing tools, and gain professional experience and connections in a University department. The freedom to post your own content, to work with community partners, and to gain experience in all aspects of the marketing field are what is so unique to working with Student Life.

    As my time with Student Life comes to an end, so does my time at Brock. This is my last semester before I enter the ‘real world’ as a graduate. However, I feel comforted that I have had a year with Student Life completing a dynamic portfolio and making connections that will stay with me for years to come.

    The experience, the opportunities, and the people at Student Life are what really have made this final year so amazing. Now, I can only hope to pass the opportunity on and let other students gain their own experiences with Student Life.

    Post Categorie(s): Community, Culture, Growth, Leadership, Spirit
  • Juggle Your Resolutions


    Written by: Marion Goreski

    Go to the gym. Drink more water. Eat healthier. Quit smoking. We all know it’s that time of year where we are pressured to commit to a New Year’s Resolution that encourages health and well-being. Sure, the aforementioned resolutions can contribute to a better physical well-being, but how are they shaping up to your mental health? Forbes says just 8% of people actually reach their New Year’s Resolutions, which leaves a whopping 92% of us feeling like failures. So instead of setting myself up for failure, this year I am saying ‘no’ to setting a New Year’s Resolution, and yes, to learning a new skill- juggling blindfolded. Some may scoff at my skill choice, or think it is a joke but I have my reasons why it is going to benefit me: It won’t impact my self image or other aspects of my life if I do not achieve it. It’s fun, a little silly, and makes myself and others smile. It’s a great study break, relieves stress and increases brain size.

    So instead of making a New Year’s Resolution that highlights negative self-image, demands self-improvement or forces intense lifestyle changes, why not choose to learn something new for fun in 2014? We all have enough stress with school already, so it’s time to take time to learn something for yourself. It’s my challenge to you.

    Post Categorie(s): Community, Culture, Growth
  • A Case of the Exam Blues


    Written by: Laura Schellenberger

    It’s coming close to that time of year where we undo a belt notch, put on our stretchy pants and indulge in some classic home cook meals, and Christmas goodies. Before we have the pleasure to indulge in the bulge we have to some how survive our last minute assignments, and final exams.

    This time of year is usually a stressful one for many students. Being in fourth year and having been through my fair share of exam seasons, I have mastered how to stay sane during this hectic time. 

    It usually seems that you have so much work to do in so little time and that you should probably just bring your pillow to the library because you practically live there. However, the key to surviving exams is to take mindful study breaks.

    Taking an hour or two out of your day to have some fun and relax your mind can do wonders. So, here are some suggestions that I have found helpful to reduce my stress during exam time over the years.


    1. Go to the gym

    Going to the gym not only helps to reduce stress, but it’s a great way to release some energy. We all know sitting at a cubicle all day can make anyone feel like they have ants in their pants.

    2. Christmas Shopping

    I often feel like exam season takes away from the jolly feeling of Christmas. Taking some time to go shopping for gifts gets you out of the house and in the spirit of giving. Besides, who doesn’t like shopping? 

    3. Playing Wii

    I have developed an addiction to Supermario, my roommates on the other hand personally like Guitar Hero. Whatever your preference may be, engaging in some health competition with your roommates over a video game never hurt anyone. Just be careful you know when to call it quits.

    4. Coffee Dates

    Going out for coffee or lunch with some friends is a great way to escape the books. Having some time set aside for socialization can always leave you in a good mood.


    No, checking how many likes you have our most recent Instagram photo or creeping your Facebook newsfeed is not considered a study break. It really doesn’t matter what you do on your study break, just as long as you do something that you enjoy and your somehow interacting with others. Just remember that being mindful during your study breaks is just as important as taking one. Really think about what it is that you are doing on your study break and enjoy it. Leave the thought of school in the library and enjoy your hour or two of freedom. Once you are at home stuffing your belly full of delicious food on Christmas break, your exams and final assignments won’t matter anymore. So don’t let the stress of exams ruin your peace of mind or the Christmas season.

    Post Categorie(s): Community, Culture, Spirit, Uncategorized
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  • Holiday Gifting Do’s and Dont’s

    Christmas presents piled underneath a christmas tree.

    Written by: Cara Eaton

    It’s lingering in all of our minds with only 1 week left of classes, the holidays are coming. Are you ready?

    Although it seems hard to focus on anything other than school, the Who in me is bursting with Christmas spirit and ideas for celebrating this holiday season. What Christmas parties will I be attending? Who will be home for Christmas? And more pressing, what will I be gifting to my loved ones?

    As a self-proclaimed professional shopper I look ahead to the Christmas season and plan my purchases for months in advance. It’s a talent to learn, and a transferrable skill to be able to buy the perfect present for the perfect person. So here I am to share my gifting wisdom for all of your giftees including friends, family and those hard to buy for people.

    FRIENDS:  Now unlike family members when buying for your friends things can and should be a little bit more humorous. I’ve gifted my fair share of collages, photo frames and baked goods, however these items seem more generic and although thoughtful, could pretty much be replicated for all of your friends. So my advice when gifting to friends is to go for something very specific—something only that person would appreciate, and something they could or would never get for themselves. This could include art work for their walls, a homemade pair of mittens or even a basket of goodies you know they like.

    GROUP GIFTING: My friends from home and I actually have had several gift exchanges and perfected the concept of friend gifting. We’ve tried both buying smaller gifts as well as doing the expensive Secret Santa thing, but by far the most successful was Secret Santa Pinterest gifting.  Between the 6 of us we each  make a specific item for our Secret Santa based on a Pinterest or other handmade idea. Not only does this make this very personal, but it allows for a smaller budget and humorous results. Several past presents from our exchange included:

    • Crayon Art piece
    • Homemade framed cow art (Our friend loves meat)
    • A homemade Galaxy shirt
    • A sugar sculpture
    • Knitted slippers
    • A personalized painted jewelry box
    • Key chains

    FAMILY: Family gifts are often harder to buy for than friends as they should have some sort of meaning behind them. Each gift should be a representation of your love—or at least that’s what I go for. Again, I try to make these really personal, going beyond the movies they asked for or what color shirt they said they needed. The truly meaningful and best gifts will be the ones you’ve thought through, the ones you searched for, and not the ones you bought last minute at the Pen Centre.

    Based on each member of my family here are some of my gifting ideas:

    DAD: My dad is in a blues band with a few of his friends back home, playing on hobbies is a really good place to start when gifting for family. Several of my gifts make my Dad feel proud and allow him to use it for more than one day.

    • Print and design brochures for my dad’s band
    • Personalized band t-shirts ordered for the whole band
    • Creat and print a band concert poster
    • Books on the Blues
    • A Rolling Stone’s magazine subscription ($20 for the year)
    • Concert movies
    • embroidered bowling shirt
    • Fedora

    MOM: Now my mom I find the hardest to buy for as she doesn’t really have distinct hobbies like my dad. This is where I take the sappy route, gifting things that have strong meanings and will inspire my mom to keep for years to come. Things like:

    • A Pinterest Cook book, with handwritten recipes that I like
    • A make-up session at MAC
    • A midi-ring
    • An infinity scarf
    • A shirt I’ve picked out for her
    • A coupon for her favorite meal which I make (A homemade pizza in my mom’s case)

    I also play off of the fact that my mom is dying for my opinion on jewelry, make-up and clothes. Gifting something that is new or in style gives her confidence every time she wears it.

    BROTHER: My brother is also harder to buy for as we rarely see each other during the school year. I typically buy him something he would never buy himself, something like:

    • A denim shirt
    • Nice sheets/pillow covers
    • Artwork
    • Nice towels
    • A scarf
    • Slippers
    • A newspaper subscription
    • Boat shoes
    • Nice gloves
    • A leather wallet

    Overall, I’d say when buying gifts for those special people in your life make sure it is something that will mean something to that person. Sticking to wish lists are a safe bet, but giving someone something they never thought they would get, is even better. Merry Gifting!

    Post Categorie(s): Culture, Growth, Spirit, Uncategorized
  • $10,000 Goal for Brock Typhoon Relief


    Typhoon Haiyan is the second deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, killing at least 4000 people. Millions of people in the affected regions need immediate assistance with providing drinking water, food, emergency shelters, and medicines.

    Brock University, Student Life and Community Experience, Athletics Department, Sport Management and the Brock G.R.O.E. has partnered with Humanitarian Coalition to lend a hand to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

    As a further initiative to encourage support, the Canadian Government will match all donations received by December 8th 2013.

    You can help Brock reach their goal of raising $10,000 for the government to match by supporting in a few different ways:

    1. Join the Lend a Hand Campaign. This campaign will run from November 25th to December 3rd 2013 and encourages students, staff and faculty to raise awareness through social media. Change your profile picture to the poster, and hashtag #LendAHand on all of your social media platforms to show your support.

    2. Share and like photos on the Lend A Hand Facebook page. Volunteer students are going to be located throughout the hallways of Brock University engaging with students, staff and faculty to take photos and increase the coverage of the #LendAHand. Donors and supporters will be invited to take a picture with the poster of the campaign and post it on their social media profiles.

    3. Or donate directly online at www.tinyurl/BrocksupportsPhilippines or in person at the SLIC office (MCA 204)

    If you have any questions or want to be more involved contact: Bawe Nsame 


    Post Categorie(s): Community, Growth, Volunteer