Turning Point Tutoring
“The learning that happens outside of the classroom is just as important as what we learn during lectures. Involvement in student clubs and organizations allow the undergraduate student experience memorable.” Larissa Rodo Chemical Engineering, 2013 (University of Toronto)
Student life is not confined to the laboratory and the lecture hall. Your most vivid memories might well be of the clubs, teams, newspapers, performing groups and volunteer societies that enriched your years at university. These activities might be extracurricular, but they are essential. These are hugely important elements of the student experience.
There are so many options. Some students develop their outreach skills by operating radio stations and writing for newspapers. Some make the most of their talents in theatrical and musical presentations. Some realize their vision for the public good by serving in student government and engaging in public debate. Others put their humanitarian ideals to work in social advocacy groups and volunteer societies. And of course, athletics have always been vital to the spirit of the University. All these activities immeasurably enhance life at university.
Writing workshops, mentoring programs that pair students with inspirational role models, sports programs or service clubs, theatrical troupes or orchestras advance the student experience in a very real way.
Professor of English
University of Toronto
In addition to touring the university campus we attended a performance by McGill’s dance company, Mosaica, a crew of other-oriented, self-motivated and independent thinkers; captivating their audience was easy.
Each dance was personal, eccentric, complex and well performed by the whole group. This was amazing, given that the dancers themselves choreographed each. There were great movements and arrangements with which the dancers portrayed a wonderful, delighting array of talent and passion.
I think that art is neat because emotions come out for all to see, in plain sight of the viewer. Through many movements of the arm, leg and torso, the audience is able to see emotion, metaphysics and flexibility. It’s art, a physical manifestation of the deep sub-conscious thoughts that power our lives.
Along with the multitude of young women, there was one man in the spotlight at various points. He reminded me of a dear friend, so that was nice. He executed lifts with the girls and danced himself as well as directing and choreographing.
I like the most that they used contemporary music. Dubstep is a fairly new genre of music, it’s confusing, electronic, loud, multi-layered, super-bass, fast with big drops. Anxiety is created and diminished within the 5-7 minute song. Mosaica was the first time I’ve seen choreographed dance to the sounds of aliens (ie. Dubstep music). They also played other genres, and mixed the dance style as well. Hip-hop and ballet, contemporary and probably other styles with weird names that I do not understand. To me, it was a lot of really talented people doing something that I could never do.
Ranging from freshmen to seniors, the members of Mosaica have shown that through collaboration and fellowship it is possible to mix together a solid presentation. They are perfect amateurs in a world of imperfect perfectionists and dancers.
I think that the show was so good because they made it themselves. They had no “teacher”, just upper year members mentoring newbies. I am really happy that I was able to come on this trip.
By Lucas Michael Roberts
Dance, it’s a Journey worth talking about…
Dance is an expression beyond what you cannot communicate through words. The moment you have the chance to separate yourself from vocal communication, you allow yourself the privilege to dance. Yes, many may say how detailed the art of dance is. Though one can interpret what is seen on stage or in a dance routine and know exactly what the dancer is trying to say. It’s like sign language with the entire body.
What I found profound about Mosaica 2012 at McGill University was how they integrated so much emotion through so many different styles of dance. I saw the struggle of life through hip hop, as well as lyrical and ballet. Though, in other pieces I saw the persistence of hope and perseverance in the same styles. What is incredible to watch and experience is the passion that each dancer puts into the piece they perform. Whether in their genre or not, they invest the countless hours of passion and persistence to know and dissect each step to find it’s purpose and from that see a vision; a vision that allows them a channel to perform.
Each dancer in that performance had their own story and I felt like I was a part of it each time I saw them on stage. As a dancer myself, I could relate to the journey that each dancer has committed to and respect their diligence to interpret what they were given into their own lives.
What amazed me most about this performance was the intensity each dancer gave during each moment they were on stage. As well as the respect I had for them, individually but as well as a group. The only male dancer endured routines that were otherwise deemed as feminine but yet he conveyed a raw emotion through them that no one else could convey but him. I was amazed at how each dancer took their body to a new level of physicality and through it gave the audience a performance that could not be interpreted as just a performance, but otherwise an experience.
I was grateful for the chance to experience Mosaica and I am blessed to be reminded as a dancer myself about the intense journey each dancer goes through to perform. It brought me back to my days as a performer and gave me chills each time the lights were about to appear as dancers prepped for that first count of eight. The feeling of saying, 5,6,7,8 on stage as you prepare for your first move can sometimes be the most exhilarating moment! I highly respect and credit these dancers and the entire experience as being amazing. I am forever grateful I have had the experience of seeing the McGill Dance Company.
By Curtis Tindale, 2012
“Why dance?” You might ask and to that I would respond, “Why breathe?” I am probably no different than the countless other people for whom movement with rhythm is second nature. Before the baby takes its first breath, it has been moving and to move in a structured manner that represents one’s own personal rhythm, is life. Why does dance hold this allure? Could it be because in a world where we are so easily lost, it allows us to stay true to our inner core, to discover our being and to find and hold a connection with existence however it is contrived? It probably is all these things and even more.
What is dance but a form of expression? Yes, there are art forms. Yes, there are disciplines within it and yes, it has been civilized and attained a level of sophistication. But still, the dancer’s expression comes from within. However the interpretation is made, it is the dancer’s interpretation. The dancer finds a personal interpretation that belongs only to the dancer. And outside of the sophisticated art forms, the amateur will move to whoever he or she is. Watch closely, how each dancer, polished or unpolished, gets lost within the soul to bring about what only this particular dancer can be, only what this dancer is.
What is the dancer exhibiting? Could it be an uncovering? Is it that each time she performs a step, however rudimentary, however repetitive; she finds something she hasn’t found before? Is it that within this seeming repetition, there is a discovery, a new way to do what seems so difficult and so easy, a knowledge that comes from learning about who the dancer is? Is it a new understanding of the relationship between the dancer and her body? Is it the discovery of a unification of the body and the soul that results in an insight that only this unification can know?
And only then, as the dancer arrives at a new discovery, no longer a he or a she, that the existence outside of the dancer takes on a meaning sometimes limited but most times Über full. (1) The dancer’s entrance becomes a merging of taking and giving that diminishes all other relating. The life outside of the being is touched, is connected, is held momentarily. Dancing encompasses the dancer and the world that is.
And so, you will understand, why you never ask, “Why dance?” You never ask, because the answer is within you. The dance speaks for itself and holds the response. The dancer and the dance are one.
1.Über - The ultimate, above all, the best, top, something that nothing is better than.
Finding a university
'As I approach my 78th birthday and reflect upon my long and beautiful life I am so thankful for family and friends who have enriched my life and given it so much meaning. There are however, some things I would have liked to have done that my children and grandchildren have been able to accomplish. I would have loved to go to university and I would have loved to learn to speak French fluently. Last weekend I was able to visit my granddaughter who is attending University of McGill in the French-speaking city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Upon reflection, I realize how fortunate she is to be living in a French-speaking city and attending the university of her choice. Likewise my other grandchildren have been able to attend other universities in Canada where they have been able to pursue their dreams and their education. Each university offers students the opportunity to study a discipline in which they are interested, the chance to meet other like minded people with whom they may establish lifelong friendships, to be challenged in their academic pursuit by professional and wise professors who come from varied backgrounds and bring a wealth of knowledge to their teaching and to experience 'school' in a new way as they become independent learners.
I have been privileged to observe young people in the university years from being the very involved parent to the arms length involvement of a grandparent. Both experiences have been a joy as well as a challenge at times, as I have seen them grow into self confident, independent thinkers and mature persons who are now able to contribute to their world and make a difference in and to it.
My heartfelt message to parents with young children who care deeply about their children's future education is to be patient and open to new experiences for your children.
By Jan Gledhill
Who goes to University?
It is very difficult to tease out why some people attend university and others do not. Socio-economic factors and cognitive abilities are significant factors that determine who will attend university.
Socio-economic – When and where you are born as well as your parents’ education will determine to a large degree if you will attend university. An excellent example of this describe byTony Blair, former Prime Minister of England, when he said that that the coal miners in Northern England who joined the unions received an education ‘denied to them by society.’ I couldn’t agree more.
Cognitive abilities – The goal of educators is to prepare students to learn. If and when a learning disability is identified the student receives an IEP, Independent Education Plan. This document describes how this student learns best and what accommodations are to be made to ensure success.
St. Thomas University
St. Thomas University, located in Fredericton, New Brunswick, is a particularly unique school; it focuses solely on liberal arts, mandating that a liberal arts education teaches one to “argue logically, write clearly, and master new ways of thinking.” It has a particularly prestigious journalism program that works in tandem with the CBC New Brunswick Broadcast Centre. Students enrolled in the Journalism major have the opportunity to “shadow professionals in television, radio, and web writing” and to “have stories broadcast on CBC television and radio and published on the CBC website.” Students undergo extensive training to learn the complex in’s-and-out’s of sophisticated digital technology needed for media and print; the program offers “a range of skills in both print and broadcast media that will prepare them for the evolving multimedia world.” In addition, journalism students are required to take liberal arts minors and electives to accompany their practical training. Students undergo this intensive, interdisciplinary program in hopes of a career as a journalist.
With the increasing accessibility to online publishing without having so much as a high school diploma, one might question if all this laborious, time-consuming instruction and study is necessary. Web accessibility allows anyone to create blogs, posts, websites, and online feeds in which they can essentially become self-published writers. So why go to all the trouble of a journalism program’s in-depth practical and theoretical studies--not to mention the required liberal arts supplements?
St. Thomas University upholds that “journalism is the art of storytelling.” University advocates argue that journalists should be critical, independent thinkers with a “breadth of knowledge and depth of understanding.” Tom Henheffer, a 2009 graduate, argues that a degree in journalism is valuable because it “allows you to become a well-informed citizen while giving you the practical work experience you need.” The university maintains that studying journalism within a liberal arts environment gives their students the necessary preparation to become future leaders, thinkers, and global citizens. Both professors and students seem to agree that there is far more to being a writer than forming sentences; they imply that writing is a sophisticated art that must be cultivated alongside practical training, political awareness, personal commitment, and a broad understanding of the liberal arts disciplines.
It may seem like writing is becoming less valuable because of the overwhelming quantities of articles and blogs available at the click of a mouse. A closer look, however, reveals the very opposite. With the substantial increase in quantity, it is likely that quality writing will only become more valued and sought after. True writers--who have undergone intensive training, who treat their work as art, who have cultivated their minds, and who are responsible and active citizens--are only becoming more rare and esteemed amidst the myriad of voices in the over-crowded world of online writing. Increase in quantity does not mean increase in quality, and thus cultivating writing and communication skills at a program like that of St. Thomas University seems quite evidently to be a worthy investment.
For more information, visit www.stu.ca All quotations taken from the STU website.
By Jillian Cameron
The music begins, the floor is my freedom.
The beat of my heart, matches the beat of the song.
Free to feel to express what’s inside.
No one will talk, no one will judge.
My freedom is found in the beat of the song.
Attached to the beat that beats my heart.
Before I take the very first step I breathe.
From the hair on my head to the tips of my toes,
I’m finally able to move, allowing my potential to grow.
I count 5,6,7,8 and prep for the first step.
I can say once and for all… I’m free.
The anger inside is left on the floor.
Stepped on and jumped on, it is no more.
I’m free to be the person I am, for at least….
These few minutes
Allowed to run, jump and leap around, not afraid to mess up,
or even miss a step.
This feeling inside, dominates my soul. From the inside out I stand,
I exist because I…
Dance encompasses all that can be communicated through movement, from the perspective of those that perform.