Verily Verity

The Musings of a Canadian University Student

3 Realizations that Changed How I Spend My Time — January 3, 2020

3 Realizations that Changed How I Spend My Time

I have a quick confession to make, folks: I am a time hoarder.

What do I mean by that? Well, if I were to follow my instincts, I would spend almost all of my free time on schoolwork… other words, I am naturally disposed toward what some would call workaholism. Maybe it’s because I’m a high achiever, but I struggle to just “chill out,” as some would say.

Even though it took a long time, I eventually figured out that spending all my free time working was really not beneficial for my mental, physical, or spiritual health. This past semester I started making changes in how I used my time, which resulted in 3 important realizations that allowed me to be more efficient and live a more balanced life.

Realization #1: Planning is nonnegotiable.

I used to just “go with the flow” when trying to get work done. Unfortunately, I found that this is a recipe for stress and inefficiency. Two things typically happen when I neglect to plan:

  1. I spend more time than needed deciding what task to work on, and then switching halfway through when I remember that there’s something more important that needs to be done.
  2. I will do really well on the first part of a project/course, and then do subpar work on the second half because I ran out of time.

When I make a list of what needs to be done and when, not only am I able to quickly move from one task to the next, but I know exactly how much time I have to spend, which allows me to consistently produce quality work.

Realization #2: Taking one day off each week can be life changing.

My past self would not believe this was possible, but with the exception of the last couple weeks of the semester, I took 24 consecutive hours off every single week for the past few months.

Not only did this eliminate the feelings of burnout that I struggled with during my first year of university, but it also forced me to work more efficiently, because I knew I had less time to spend on schoolwork.

As a side note, my grades did not suffer at all, even though I was taking a heavier course load than usual.

Realization #3: Sacrificing devotional time for schoolwork = little gain, much pain.

I don’t always act like I know this….but it’s really true. Whenever I decide that I’m going to abandon my daily routine of spending time with God, I always regret it in the long term, even if it means I temporarily get ahead in schoolwork. Why? Well, there are many reasons, but here is one example:

Instead of filling my mind with truth, like the fact that no matter with happens I have a Heavenly Father that loves me and provides for me, I start to get distracted by other things. I also start believing lies, like the idea that I can and should rely on my own strength, that I should seem “on point” all of the time, etc. etc. As a result, I steadily get more stressed and anxious over time, which means I get more irritable……I think you probably get the idea. Neglecting time spent with God results in a slippery slope of unpleasant outcomes, to say the least.

On the other hand, when I prioritize time spent reading the Bible and praying on a regular basis, I am generally a flourishing individual. A lot of the anxiety and stress that I would otherwise deal with disappears, and I have a better sense of how insignificant any current struggles are in relationship to the grand scheme of things. Overall, I am a much more relaxed and calm version of myself when I’m intentional about spending time with God.

Needless to say, I still have quite a ways to go in quelling my time hoarding habits. Hopefully I’ll figure it out with time. 😉

Verity Bellerose

Interested in more posts about time management? You might enjoy my other content on planning, creating a balanced life, and prioritizing sleep.

3 Planning and Organization Tips To Start the School Year on Track — August 26, 2019

3 Planning and Organization Tips To Start the School Year on Track

ONLY ONE MORE WEEK UNTIL SCHOOL STARTS!!! That may have been a little overly enthusiastic….but it’s an accurate reflection of how excited I am for classes to start!

Now that I have one year of university officially under my belt, I thought I would share a few ways I’ve learned to maximize my start of the year planning and preparation.

1. Record assignment deadlines all in one place.

“But why would I do this when I can just reference my syllabi?” you might ask. Because when you record all your deadlines in the same place, ideally in a planner or calendar of some sort, it becomes a lot easier to see how close those due dates are. In addition to saving time, this also helps to pinpoint busy times in the semester and plan accordingly, which leads me to my next point.

2. Make your less busy times busier, and your busier times less busy.

Let’s break this down. After you’ve (hopefully) consolidated all of your information into one place, it should be easy to distinguish the busier parts of the year when a lot of assignments are due, from less busy times when almost nothing is due. Usually the first month will have very few assignments, if any, with most assignments due around reading week, and at the end of November.

Now, instead of grumbling about how hectic the school year is going to be, you get to breathe a sigh of relief, because you have a way to make things much less stressful. That’s right folks, you have the power to give yourself your own due dates.

Simply take an assignment (or two, or three…as many as you need) with a very inconvenient deadline, and assign it an earlier due date. This allows you to space out your assignments (somewhat) equally throughout the semester and avoid the stress that can result from juggling multiple assignments that are due within a very short time span.

I highly recommend getting as much as possible done in September, especially during the first couple weeks when not much is happening. Yes, you might be in the library when everyone else is chilling out, but in the long run you’ll be the one with time to relax while they’re stressing out about papers.

Note: I know that not all profs provide access to assignment guidelines at the beginning of the year…BUT I’ve found that the profs who do provide information early on in the year usually offset those who don’t, so this method of planning can work!

3. Try UofT’s Assignment Calculator

This assignment calculator is a gem of a planning resource. All you have to do is input a start date, an end date, select the type of assignment (research paper, lab report, presentation etc.), and the calculator breaks down the assignment into manageable steps, each with their own due date. Not only can this be super helpful with planning out your time, but it can be especially great if you’re not quite sure where to start on any given assignment.

Stay tuned for more back to school advice, including how to study well, make the most of course readings, and ideas for a streamlined research process.

Looking for other uni tips and tricks in the meantime? You may be interested in my other posts on living a balanced life, and what I learned in my first semester of university.

Verity Bellerose

An Open Letter to My High School Self — August 4, 2019

An Open Letter to My High School Self

Dear high school self,

Hello from the future! Here are a few words of encouragement and caution written by, well….you, but as a university student. As someone quite familiar with your personality and habits, I am aware that taking these words of advice will not be easy (I’m still struggling with some of this myself), but if you succeed, they will serve you well.

With that rather unconventional introduction out of the way, let us get straight to business.

Now, we both know that you hate presentations, but they are, believe it or not, one of the most practical parts of high school. You will have to present multiple times at university, so keep striving to become a better presenter. Learning how to present without notes is something you won’t regret. Hint hint: spontaneous group presentations are a part of your future. And you never know, you might be required to recite poetry from memory one of these days….

With that being said, don’t be too preoccupied with the future. We both know you enjoy planning ahead, but spoiler alert: your plans will change…drastically, so don’t try to map out the next six years.

Most importantly, avoid becoming so intent on reaching your goals that you lose track of everything else. Don’t get me wrong, your ability to be focused and accomplish what needs to be done will take you far, but it can also become a source of regret if you aren’t careful. You will have many opportunities to earn good grades, but limited opportunities to participate in the story of other people’s lives.

One of the most helpful things you can do, especially during the stress of final exams and projects, is to refresh your perspective. Try looking at things from outside of yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask some existential questions. Quite often the reason for your stress is that you’re viewing your life, or even a specific moment in your life, as the entire story instead of a small part within a larger narrative.

Well, I think that’s all I can tell you without breaking any guidelines for the disclosure of information to persons in the past. Keep on honing those study skills! I for one know that you can succeed! 😉

Your future self

From Desert to Rainforest: A Tale of Growth — June 9, 2019

From Desert to Rainforest: A Tale of Growth

Have you ever had one of those moments when you set out on a mission to do one thing, and end up achieving or learning something so much better than what you originally planned? If so, (and perhaps even if you haven’t) you may be able to relate to my recent experience.

Over the past few weeks I chose to start following a bunch of bloggers on Instagram, particularly those that share a blogging niche similar to mine (faith + lifestyle), to see how they used social media to complement their blogs. Because of this choice, my Instagram feed became filled with positive, edifying, and uplifting content. I’m not talking about generic affirmations, although those are good too, but posts and statements grounded in biblical truth.

Why is this significant? Because by filling my mind with biblical truth and light, I was encouraged to invest more in my faith, and when I invested more in my faith, I was even more abundantly filled. Not only that, but a lot of negative thought-patterns I was struggling with started to give way, and were replaced with joy, peace, and other fruits of the Spirit I was missing by not continually seeking out God’s presence. The process reminds me of what Paul says in the book of Romans about being “transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

It’s almost like a tree transplanted from a desert to a rainforest…

By not filling myself up with truth, I was keeping myself in a desert ecosystem, where lack of nutrients and rain made growth difficult. But now that I’m purposely cultivating a rainforest ecosystem with abundant rain and nutrients, I can grow, bear fruit, and be a healthy tree.

If you want to grow, not just spiritually, but in other areas as well, you have to be intentional about what you take in. Follow people, both in real life and online, who encourage and inspire you. Consider the music you listen to, the YouTubers you watch, and the posts on your timeline and ask, is this helping or hurting me? As I discovered, you have to be proactive, not passive, if you want to succeed.

“[And] [f]inally, brother and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

Philippians 4:8
Feeling stuck? — June 1, 2019

Feeling stuck?

Are you stuck?

Maybe it’s time to walk away and take a different route. Maybe just “grinding” through isn’t the answer. Perhaps it’s even time for a break.

For the past month or so, even though my courses have finished, I’ve been stuck in a school mindset. This really became obvious when I tried to write a blog post and it turned into a quasi research paper. 👀😂

At this point, a very wise individual reminded me to take a break and think about what I’m trying to accomplish. And, that’s exactly what I did. I walked away, and came back with a renewed sense of purpose. Yes, it meant abandoning a blog series I was really excited about, but in the grand scheme of things, it was worth it.

So, are you stuck?

Creating Balance: A Different Perspective — March 18, 2019

Creating Balance: A Different Perspective

When a friend suggested that I blog about creating a reasonable balance in university, I was somewhat dismayed. Me, with my workaholic tendencies, advising others in an area that I struggle with and have only recently begun improving? This would be worse than than the blind leading the blind, it would be the blind leading the seeing masses!

Ok, so maybe my life isn’t that off-kilter. In fact, I would even say that I have recently made large improvements in this area. With this in mind, I am finally emerging from weeks of procrastination to write this post.

What is balance, and why does it matter?

balance: An even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.

Oxford Living Dictionaries

Most of us are familiar with the consequences of being physically off-balance, having fallen or tripped at least once in our lives.

But what if we took this understanding of balance, and applied it to different areas of life? Does evenly distributing the weight we give to different aspects of life, and the energy we dedicate to each area, help us to remain steady?

As someone who went from completely dismissing this idea, to considering “balance” to be my theme of the year, I agree with most of the above statement. However, I don’t think that even distribution is always necessary or ideal. I’ve found the following analogy helpful for considering the idea of overall balance as opposed to constant balance.

Whenever we walk, we have achieved balance in the sense that we are standing upright, on our own two feet, and moving forward in a somewhat orderly (or maybe not) fashion. However, the weight distribution across each foot, and on each leg, is always changing. We might stop for a few minutes, and stand with our weight mostly centred, or lean to one side. The area over which our weight is centred constantly moves and changes in the process of maintaining balance. If we attempt to stand completely still, or even on one leg, for too long, then we get tired and may even fall over.

In the same way, I believe that life is a process of alternating between different phases, when it’s necessary to put more or less weight on a different foot or area of life. Sometimes it’s necessary to put more time and effort into school or work, and other times we need to invest more energy into relationships. At some point, it’s important to sit down, take a breather, and just do nothing at all. The key is to figure out how to distribute your time and energy in a way that works for whatever season of life you’re in, and not focus exclusively on one area for too long.

Unfortunately, I had to learn this the hard way. Pouring all of my time and energy into one thing, mainly school, meant that any threats to my success in that area seemed catastrophic. Just imagine investing so much time and energy into a project that you neglect almost every other area of your life. If anything seemed to endanger that project, it would be pretty stressful, wouldn’t it? I felt that same way about school, which pushed me to work even harder to ensure success. This stress often led to burnout, which meant that from time to time, I was unable to accomplish anything at all. Creating a more balanced lifestyle was a huge factor in cutting short this constant negative cycle.

Walking Towards a More Balanced Life

Talking about the importance of balance is one thing, but what are some practical ways to be a more balanced individual? The following points are steps that helped me, especially in the university context.

1. Start necessary tasks early.

Beginning projects and assignments early gives me the flexibility to break them into super small chunks, so that I evenly distribute them across my schedule. This way, instead of having to spend entire days on assignments, I have the option to intersperse time spent on school with other, more enjoyable activities.

Bonus: If you get really good at this, exams and final papers can (I make no promises, people) become virtually stress-free.

2. Schedule time for school, family, chill time, etc.

Chances are, if you’re struggling with balance, you tend toward one of two extremes. You may be more inclined to spend too much time working, or you may struggle to find motivation. I, unfortunately, have spent time on both ends of the spectrum. Either way, setting aside specific time to spend on school, with people, or simply doing things I enjoy, has been very helpful.

I like to set aside an entire day each week when I don’t do anything school related. Another thing I have found helpful is having a designated family night that happens on the same day, every week. Without forcing myself to take a break and focus on other things, my natural tendency is to spend all of my time on schoolwork. By the same token, I use most of my time on campus to work on papers, and most of my weekday evenings doing class readings, so that I can make the most of unexpected opportunities when they present themselves.

3. Find what helps you function efficiently.

If you’re functioning inefficiently, then everything, including balance, gets harder. My productivity skyrockets when I have adequate sleep, nourishment, and exercise. Other things, like figuring out that my brain seems to stop functioning after 9:00 pm, have been total game changers. Developing healthy habits that help me function well, reduces the time required to accomplish tasks, giving more time for enjoyable activities.

Experiment and see what you need to do in order to work at your best. Maybe you need to work in a completely silent space. Maybe you study best late at night, or right after lunch. Make changes until you find what works and what doesn’t.

4. Discover what motivates you.

I find that working on some goal or project related to my hobbies helps motivate me to “get my life together,” so to speak. Recently this has taken the form of my blog, but it could be anything, as long as it relates to what you enjoy. Setting a goal, such as posting once a week, is essential because it means I have to be consistently organised and efficient with other areas of my life.

5. Don’t box yourself in.

There is no one formula for living a perfectly balanced life. As time and circumstances change, you may have to adjust.

General rules and habits that work most of the time might not work during busy seasons, but don’t let this discourage you. Make changes as necessary and try resuming regularly scheduled programming once things calm down. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made is throwing out perfectly good routines, just because they didn’t work out when things got a little hectic.

In closing, here is a continuation of my walking analogy/preview of a later post:

When we walk, we don’t usually think about what’s supporting us. We take it for granted that the ground will just stay there, making it possible to do…well basically everything. Just imagine a sinkhole that spreads throughout the entire planet. What happens then?

Until next time,

Verity Bellerose

University vs. High School: 5 Differences — March 10, 2019

University vs. High School: 5 Differences

Midterms are (almost) over, and while it’s hard to believe, my first year of university is coming to a close. With this in mind, I decided it would be the perfect time to reflect on my experiences, and write about 5 differences between high school and university that really stood out to me (shoutout to one of my friends for this topic suggestion :)).

1. Time is even more of an illusion.

Compared to high school, where students spend roughly 30 hours in the same building each week, there seems to be so much more “free” time in university. Even with a full course load, I only spend about 13.5 hours in classes each week, or between 2.5-3 each day. Consequently, it’s easy to start the semester thinking you have all the time in the world. Hint: It’s a trap…just wait until after reading week if you don’t believe me.

2. How much is this worth again?

Generally speaking, my university courses require a fraction of the assignments I had to submit in high school. For example, I’m taking a course right now that consists of one research paper, a midterm, and an exam, with each assessment being weighted between 25-40%. Needless to say, small homework assignments that make up only a percentage or two of my final course averages, are few and far between.

3. An A is not an A.

In other words, do not expect to get the same marks for the same quality of work you submitted in high school. As far as written work in any of the liberal arts go (I can’t comment on the sciences/math), it is significantly more difficult to achieve an A+ (90-100%). While it depends on the professor, my impression is that most reserve the high end of the grading scale for absolutely exceptional, knock-your-socks off, out of this world work. My point? Don’t be discouraged if your average drops.

4. Research takes on a whole new meaning.

I remember the days when research meant doing a google search, skimming a few helpful websites, and copying and pasting some links into a MLA citation generator. If you are still in high school, enjoy the simplicity of these days while you can.

When it comes to research papers and assignments at the undergrad level, sources are expected to be scholarly books or journal articles, and websites are not counted as fulfilling source requirements. Depending on your program, you may have to learn the mechanics of multiple citation styles. So far I have used MLA, APA, and Chicago, which vary greatly in their rules regarding title and bibliography pages, in-text citations, and footnotes. On top of this, citation styles are changed on a regular basis, making it your responsibility to keep on top of the latest updates, which leads me to my next point.

5. It’s really up to you.

At university, your parents have no way of knowing what or how you’re doing unless you tell them. Report cards do not exist. Some profs might clarify test format/content, or assignment requirements a few days in advance, but there’s no one chasing after you to submit things, do the assigned readings, or to start studying for a test. It’s completely up to you, the student, to keep on top of things and meticulously complete coursework like a ninja timekeeper.

The Takeaway

If you’re planning on starting university in the near future, don’t be intimidated. Use this information as motivation to hone your study, organisational, and time-management skills. These skills will be essential to your success as a student.

If you’re a fellow first-year student, I hope this encourages you as the semester draws to a close. The fact that you are still enrolled means you have survived all of these adjustments, and the many others that I didn’t mention!

If you are an innocent bystander who has no intention of ever touching anything even related to post-secondary education, well, I really don’t know why you’re here. But anyway, thank you for visiting. I appreciate you reading my ramblings!

Until next time!

Verity Bellerose

The Case for Sleep: It’s Bigger than You (Think) — February 19, 2019

The Case for Sleep: It’s Bigger than You (Think)

Due to lack of sleep, I spent a good part of my last semester of Grade 12 as a zombie. The worst part? I didn’t fully realise the extent to which I existed as part-zombie part-human mixture until after I had graduated. Up until graduation, I figured that as long as I was able to maintain my overall average, stay awake in class (almost failed at that one a few times), continue to actively participate in extracurriculars, and be a reasonably functional human, there was no reason to change my sleep-shunning ways. Or at least I didn’t think there were any reasons that justified the potential jeopardization of future scholarships.

In retrospect, however, there are a few significant cases I would like to make in sleep’s favour.

1. Sleep deprivation affects more than just the sleep deprived.

While I liked to believe that I was the only person that was negatively impacted by my sleep deprivation, this is far from the truth.

Anyone in my family can tell you that I would get significantly irritated by small and relatively unimportant happenings. Things that I would normally shrug off, or to which I would usually apply the “grin and bear it” approach, became major disruptions to my plans for world domination academic success. Unfortunately, I was no exception to the studies that show lack of sleep as increasing emotional reactivity. 😦

When I wasn’t expressing frustration, my groggy-eyed self actually found it much more draining, and even difficult to interact with others. As an extreme introvert, while I love connecting with people, at the end of the day it often leaves me quite drained of energy. In a situation where I started off the day already de-energized from lack of sleep, social interactions that I would have previously welcomed, suddenly presented themselves as threats to my already preciously low energy levels. In other words, my abilities to be a contributing, positive member of society were not what they could have been.

Yes, I was still a part of many cool experiences and events during this phase of my life, but I will never really know what things could have been like if I had been at my full potential, which leads me to my next point.

2. Sleep can be symbolic.

Sleep is an opportunity to relinquish control, to acknowledge the more than sufficient capabilities of the Creator, and to make a point of trusting Him.

There once was a time when I would have looked at this statement and thought it was a little radical. It was a period of my life when I only looked for God in obvious, miraculous occurrences, and just took everyday occurrences (like sleeping) for granted. However, shifting my mindset to a place where I can see God in the everyday has had a huge impact on the way I experience life, and apparently, the way I approach sleep.

In school, it can be tempting to grind until it’s impossible to grind anymore. As a result, basic aspects of self-care, like getting enough sleep are often pushed to the wayside. But is this really the way we were created to be?

Biblically, sleep has been described as a part of trusting in God’s provision and protection:

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Psalm 4:8, ESV

Psalm 127:1-2 describes how it is vain to “eat the bread of anxious toil,” while getting up early and going to bed late (this describes a solid chunk of my existence by the way). Unless God plays a part in whatever work is being done, human efforts are described as being in vain.

With this in mind, I have been forced to ask myself, is a lifestyle that is unmaintainable outside of a sleep-deprived existence really God-honouring? If we view the sacrifice of sleep and it’s associated benefits as necessary in order to succeed (whether in work or in school), then are we really trusting in God’s provision? Or, are we relying on our own efforts, will-power, and self-sustenance for success? Does God really want His children wandering around at a fraction of their potential, unable to fully shine in the darkness, or does He want them to be charged up on full battery strength? Ok, so maybe that last question was a little too allegorical, but hopefully you get my point.

In closing this section, I leave you with a thought I was first introduced to in university:

Sleep can be a countercultural way of acknowledging our own vulnerability in a way that points to the Creator’s sovereignty.

Getting enough rest can be so much more than just taking more of ourselves, it can actually point to our faith in God.

Disclaimer: please note my use of the word lifestyle. It is unlikely that any of us will ever go through life without having to experience sleeplessness to some degree. It is the intentional and prolonged neglect of sleep for a sustained, or even permanent amount of time that I am questioning the wisdom of, not a few late nights around midterms. I would even say that it was through God’s strength that I was able to get through some of the more sleep-deprived periods of my life, but anyways, I digress.

3. The 50,000 other reasons that you have probably heard.

If you Google “benefits of sleep,” there will be pages of articles on this topic, but here’s an abbreviated version of points that are particularly important from the student perspective.

  1. Sleep allows for memory consolidation.
  2. Sleep lessens your chances of getting sick.
  3. Students who get enough sleep/have a regular sleep schedule tend to do better than those who don’t.
  4. Sleep lessens the effects of stress, anxiety, depression etc.
  5. Well-rested people tend to waste less time on the internet.

And finally, please don’t be like my previous self and assume that because most people seem to be fine with 7 or less hours of sleep, you should too. I function best with 9 hours of sleep, so experiment and see what your body needs in order to perform at its max potential.

Sweet (day)dreams (depending on when y’all are reading this),

Verity Bellerose

Inspiration/further reading (aka disorganised sources):

Shigematsu talks more about the topic in the book which I’ve linked below (this is not sponsored, I just found the book very helpful)

General sleep info:

I haven’t had a chance to read the whole book, but I would still highly recommend checking it out.

Is Christian Post-Secondary Worth the Money? — February 11, 2019

Is Christian Post-Secondary Worth the Money?

If someone had answered this question for me as I was deciding which university to attend….well….my previous self would be….not my previous self. Especially since I was selected as a recipient of the York (university) Science Scholars Award, a $10,000 scholarship including a paid summer research position, after I had already confirmed my acceptance to Tyndale University. Even after I made the decision to reject the scholarship and pursue psychology at Tyndale, I still wondered if I had made the right choice.

Today, I am convinced that this was the right course of action, but would I advise others to consider pursuing a degree at a Christian university? I have compiled a list based on my experience at Tyndale, which will hopefully prevent someone from going through the rather unpleasant period of indecision that I underwent.

You may want to consider this option if…..

1. You like small class sizes.

All of the courses I have taken so far had very small class sizes. The biggest class might have contained about 60 students, and the smallest had closer to 20. As a result there’s a lot more opportunity for class discussion and interaction with instructors, which leads me to my next point….

2. You want the benefits of getting to know your professors.

I would describe myself as one of the quietest people on the planet, so the fact that I have multiple professors who actually know me by name still continues to astound me. If I was attending a bigger university, I doubt that this would still be the case. Another bonus is that most of my profs have been excellent, not just in terms of presenting the material well, but in expressing their desire for students to do well, not just academically, but outside the classroom as well.

3. You appreciate a positive, edifying, and uplifting environment.

This one is a huge point for me, especially as someone studying psychology, a field where the nature vs. nurture debate, of whether genetics or the environment plays a larger role in development, well-being, and various other aspects of life, is often discussed. I believe that the environment we surround ourselves with has a profound effect on our psychological and spiritual well-being, which is why I strongly suggest paying attention to one’s surroundings. Obviously there will never be an institution where every single interaction, conversation, and undertone is uplifting. However, I would say that Tyndale generally emits some pretty positive vibes, if you catch my drift. 😉

4. You are serious about deepening your faith.

Disclaimer: I am not saying that it is impossible to build your faith at a secular university. However, it is a lot easier to do so at a university where the integration of faith and learning is both taught and encouraged.

For example, I have benefited from the pattern of not just studying subjects for the mere sake of learning, but actually considering what significance the material has to me as a Christian. For example, in an introductory philosophy course, after learning about Aristotle’s law of non-contradiction, we considered how it applies to the Trinity. I am currently taking a history course where we are tracking the influences of Enlightenment thinking on the ways different historical groups and figures have viewed traditionally held religious beliefs. As a psychology class, we often discuss what it means to deal with often controversial issues as followers of Christ. Instead of separating faith and learning, the two are integrated in a nearly seamless manner, which I have found to be incredibly helpful as I attempt to approach every aspect of life in a Christlike manner.

5. You enjoy being part of a community that shares your beliefs.

One of my favourite things about my university experience has been the amount of inspiring stories I have heard. Hearing how God has moved in people’s lives has been incredibly encouraging to me, and being the highly distractible person that I am, often reminds me of His presence in my own life.

I have also found the option of attending chapel services during the week to be a great opportunity to refocus and destress, almost like midday food for the soul.

There are many other pros to attending a Christian university that I could discuss, however, I wanted to restrict this to my personal experience, and having never attended a secular institution, this rather limits what I can talk about. With that being said, we now approach the downsides of a private Christian education.

You may feel dissuaded by this option if….

1. Money is an object (see what I did there 🙂 🙂 🙂 ).

At first I completely dismissed the idea of attending a Christian university due to the cost of tuition. I was essentially broke at the end of highschool, having decided not to work in favour of focusing on school, which meant I was completely dependent on OSAP, bursaries, and scholarships. However, these three combined were enough to finance my first year (God is good folks, God is good). With the that being said, money, or the lack thereof, can be a surmountable obstacle in this case…

2. The “core courses” seem intimidating.

When looking at graduation requirements, I was mildly dissuaded by the list of mandatory arts and biblical studies courses that all Tyndale students are required to take. So far, however, I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I have enjoyed them, and am starting to see the advantages of having a liberal arts foundation of courses to build on (I would expand on this, but this post is getting too long :/ ).

3. There are limited course/program options.

Alas, going to smaller university can mean that there is a smaller variety of courses and programs offered… this case I will let the emojis speak for me… 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦

The Conclusion of the Matter:

I have not even finished my first year of university, therefore I cannot 100% advocate for a full 4 years of Christian university. However, in my brief time at university, the pros have far outweighed the cons, and I would definitely recommend studying at a Tyndale-esque place for at least one year.

Until next time,

Verity Bellerose

P.S. Verity Bellerose is only a pen name, just in case a Tyndale student or faculty member (that doesn’t know me personally) happens to read this one day and denies my having studied there.

P.S.S. My apologies for a rather long and somewhat rambly post, however, as previously mentioned, I am trying to post more often, AND, I wanted to get this out there for anyone looking for guidance on this topic.

So, why does this blog exist again??? — February 3, 2019

So, why does this blog exist again???

For those of you who read my previous blog post, you may already know that I find it difficult to undertake a project without having some idea of its purpose, and how it aligns with my priorities. As a result, you may be wondering exactly how my blog fits into that schema.

It all starts with the fact that I like to write. I’ve found that when I write out my ideas, I’m able to process them on a whole new level than if I were to just continue thinking about them, or even if I were to talk through them.

In fact, there have been times when I’ve gotten up from writing a blog post and come away knowing 5x as much (not even a drop of hyperbole in that statement, I’m “dead serious” 😉 ) as I did when I initially sat down to write. Writing is not merely an outlet, it brings a mental clarity that I have been hard pressed to find anywhere else.

Still, this doesn’t explain why I’ve decided to allow this rather idiosyncratic (what a fun adjective) collection of words to float around the vast realm of the interwebz…

One reason for the creation of this blog, is my hope that the process of continually creating content that is (at least somewhat) fit for public consumption will improve my writing. However, this is not the sole purpose of my blog.

On the contrary, I am much more compelled by the possibility that one day, in one form or another, my writing will benefit or amuse another. How? Well, while I’m not 100% certain what that will look like, I do have a vague idea of the blog’s future trajectory….

In essence, my goal is to produce content from the perspective of a Christian university student, meaning that while not every post will be faith-focused, my faith will be reflected in each post. As far as subject matter, y’all can expect to find posts about psychology, mental health/wellness, tips for academic success, general life lessons, and of course, faith, all written in the trademark quirky manner of yours truly.

However, the potential of achieving all of these possibilities will be greatly reduced if I continue my current output consistency of once a month. Hopefully, sharing this will help me to stick to my new goal of posting at least once a week.

Let the adventure begin….

Verity Bellerose

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