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The Student Assistance Program at Durham College & UOIT

The Student Assistance Program at Durham College & UOIT offers many ways for students to get the support they need.

Read my article here

Photo by Taylor Waines
Photo by Taylor Waines

Writing Well: Magical Modifiers

Live to Write - Write to Live

road hell adverbsEvery once in a while, you come across a discovery that gives you the opportunity to transform your writing. This post is about just such a discovery.

The road to hell is paved with adverbs, so says Stephen King. And, who am I to argue with Mr. King.

In Dead Poet’s Society, Robin Williams’ character, John Keating, forbids his students to use the word very (the most heinously bland and meaningless modifier of them all), “… because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose.”

The case against adverbs is a strong one, with revered authors from every era and genre giving impassioned testimony against this eternal enemy of good writing:

  • “Adverbs are another indication of writing failure. Exactly the right verb can eliminate the need for the adverb.” William Sloane
  • “Omit needless words. Watch for adverbs that merely repeat…

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Disorder without a cure : The constant battle with mental illness

Mental illnesses are one of the hardest things to conquer.

Imagine waking up and having to fight your mind to keep yourself alive. When the voice in your head features a death wish, or other hatred of yourself. Imagine your only enemy being yourself. That’s what it’s like to live with a mental illness, and they don’t understand.

The number of times I’ve heard get over it, or stop being a baby or you’re crazy or insane is far too many. People think that we choose this life, that we choose to be different, unstable and emotional. We don’t, just like Cancer or Parkinson’s it’s not a choice. The only choice we have is to get help, which they also think is a piece of cake but it isn’t.

Mental illness is a long hard struggle that many face and overcoming it if that is an option is hard, and dealing with it is just as hard. You try therapy, friends, blogs, reaching out to those who are like you, doctors, psychiatrists, hospitalization, and medicine but here you are still struggling.

I found the video above to be a perfect way of describing it to someone. It resonated with me so I thought I’d share for any of you struggling to put it in to words. Stay strong and know that there are others like you out there .

Love: Beauty in Today’s Society

Its funny isn’t it, our perception of beauty these days. Don’t you wish we could go back to the times when someone like Marilyn Monroe was seen as a sex symbol with her hourglass figure? Now we long to be like Angelina Jolie or Nicole Richie sporting their ribs as the latest trend.

It’s a dream that we all have to be thin, but thin doesn’t mean healthy. This image society forces on us is an image of heart problems, vomiting, starving, and other major health problems. The media has created a cruel ideal for young women offering eating disorders up as a trend, the latest fad. The magazines show us unrealistic photo shopped images, when they should really just display hospital beds and the real issues that stem from these false body images. Real beauty today doesn’t just consist of diet pills though its also “skin deep” as they like to say.

In todays world the prettiest thing out there is not a human being but a small stick of concealer, a tube of foundation or lip plumping serum. How can we idolize an inanimate object when every being in this world holds beauty underneath the masks? This false image of beauty creates the need to fit in the longing for the latest mascara or face powder.

Now I in no way am stating that I don’t wear makeup, because I wear as much as the next person, but I am just wondering why. While rubbing in my fit me stick and dousing my skin in foundation I thought; wow, I hold what media portrays as the key to beauty in my hand. I stared at it and thought why, why is this an image of beauty, why must I wear this to fit in?

I’m not telling you to stop wearing makeup or start eating donuts whenever you feel like it, I am just saying we need change. The perfect body image is healthy not thin, and beauty does not cost $12.99 at Shoppers Drugmart, there’s more to being beautiful and it doesn’t cost a penny.


Live: Hardships and Troubles: How to Move Forward

One of the hardest things we as human beings have to face; is emotions. Emotions can change us, control us, and even break us if we give them the power to do so. Although losing someone is hard, going on without them is harder, and that’s what brings me to write this blog. How do we move forward in life without them here, how do we get up each day knowing they can’t, its hard. As I have faced a lot of loss I have learned ways to breakthrough the pain and I will share them with you.

1) Acceptance

The most important thing we must do after losing someone in order to move forward is accept the fact that they are gone. If we cannot accept the loss, then we will never be able to move forward . Tell yourself these things happen, it is neither yours nor their fault, and there is no way to bring them back; so we must accept the loss.

2) Finding Happiness

When we lose someone we are overcome with pain, regret, and sadness; through all this though we must find how to be happy again. Write a list of things that made you happy prior to the loss, whether it be sports, science or writing think of ways to keep your self happy and slowly move from this lull.

3)  Remembering, not forgetting

One of the most important parts of loss that many people do wrong is the act of remembrance. When we are in pain we try to make it go away and some people think the best way to do this is by getting rid of what causes us pain. For example throwing out clothes, pictures or souvenirs related to the loss. The worst way to move forward is by getting rid of everything, this will not bring the person back or rid of the memories, you must accept the loss and by clearing what remains of that being away, you are not accepting it.

4)  Moving forward, not moving on

When I wrote the rough draft of this blog I used the words moving on, it was not until I read it through that I realized that was a poor word choice on my part. We do not want to move on, moving on means throwing it away, putting it in the past and leaving it there; whereas moving forward it more positive, accepting what has happened and finding a way to deal.

“move on: to stop doing or dealing with something and start doing something else” (bing/encarta dictionaries)

“move forward:develop in a positive way” (

Now moving forward does not mean erasing that persons existence, as they did live and thrive, but it means not letting the loss demobilize you any longer. Find ways to continue your life not dwelling in the past but not erasing it either. Slowly add things to your daily life to keep you busy, happy and focused

5) ‘You’ time

Dedicate time to making yourself feel better whether it be a bath, spa day, or even just buying that item you’ve been wanting for a while, by doing things for you to make you happy is not selfish it is sometimes needed.

6) Be Patient

Moving forward is not an easy thing to do at all it will not take a day it can take years but as long as you are trying, moving forward is possible.

If any of you have any other advice on getting through hard times feel free to share what helped you.

“Grief is like an ocean; it comes on in waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” -Vicki Harrison.


Love: Avoiding Conformity

All of us just want to fit in, but fitting in does not mean conforming. Many believe that the only way to fit in is to be the same as everyone else, creating this army of robots. However, the reality is, the world would not run properly if everyone was the same. Think of it this way if we all were sports junkies, we would have no variety. There would be no music, no art, no stories, and no food because all we like is sports. By conforming we are really just hiding our wonderful talents from the world and creating a boring place. So you cant afford the latest and greatest trends of UGGS and Lulu’s, that’s perfectly fine start your own trend. If the entire world dressed completely the same there would only be a few trends, a few stores and a few designers, and well we would all be broke. By allowing our uniqueness to show and adding our own flare in not only how we dress, but act, talk, write or create we allow for a more accepting and diverse world. By standing out we offer room for others to fit in, through acceptance.

How to ensure to avoid conforming.

  • Stand out: don’t try so hard to be like everyone else
  • Be yourself: don’t let looks, opinions, or whispers change who you are
  • Be confident: if you are confident in who you are no one will try to bring you down
  • Have Pride: pride yourself in getting up each morning and being who you are
  • Feel Beautiful: like Christina said, “you are beautiful no matter what they say”
  • Avoid Peer Pressure: just because your friends act or dress one way does not mean you have to, and if they force you to, they aren’t that great of friends in the first place.

If you have any other tips on how to avoid conformity feel free to comment, Id love to hear what you guys think.


How to be Successful

There are many ways to be successful and many branches in which you can succeed. I will go through some of them today and offer you a platform to add your own suggestions, tips, and ideas in how to be successful.

Before we start though, we must begin by explaining what is meant by the word success.

Success in my eyes is doing something or getting somewhere you wanted to be through goal achievement or just doing something that you believe makes your existence worthwhile.



Taking from my last blog goals are something that should be included in everyone’s lives. Goals do not only help to organize ones life but the aid in the success. By completing goals you have set for yourself you are succeed.


In order to become successful in anything practice is a must. By putting time aside to train and or practice whatever you want to be successful in you’re skills and knowledge will grow.

Take Risks

You wont get far in life by playing it safe. By taking risks you allow more opportunities to come your way, and if you fail well you can learn from your mistakes, but you never know until you try.


Facing Fears

Everyone has fears whether it be talking in front of a crowd to the dark, we all have them. When you finally decide to conquer these fears you become stronger for it, and it can lead you further down the road to success.

Overcoming Obstacles

Every journey comes with its own obstacles from pain to disappointment we all deal and face things that are hard for us. By overcoming these obstacles it shows us not only how strong we are but as well that we will do anything in our power to get to where we want to be. This is a key to succeeding.


Free yourself of Negativity & Excuses

No, can’t, won’t, never and but are words that only hold us back. By eliminating these words from our vocabulary we will not only become more positive people, but we will as well get closer to success.

Surround Yourself with Positive People

Not only should we avoid negativity in words, but as well in people. By surrounding yourself completely in positivity you will be more motivated to succeed and the people surrounding you will help you to succeed.

Comment with other ideas, tips, or suggestions.