Sing It Out: We’ll Get By

On this post for Sing It Out, we will be taking a look at the song We’ll Get By (The Autism Song) performed by the Johnny Orr Band.

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Offering Help to a Friend

Please note: this post was written by a student who wished to remain anonymous

Before I get into the specifics about a time I reached out to a friend in need, I wanted to share a time that I did nothing.  In grade 8, one of my peers committed suicide. I was absolutely devastated, how could anyone so young lose the will to live? It was so hard to process and I felt sick thinking that if just one person had reached out to her she may have had a very different outcome!

Many people feel very alone in their struggle and letting them know you are there to help can make all the difference. It can be a very nerve-racking experience to approach a friend that you are concerned about, which I completely understand. I cared a lot about this person but I didn’t know how they would react to me telling them that I was concerned about their mental health.

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Anxiety & My Crash

Please note: this post was written by a UOIT student who wished to remain anonymous

One thing I seem to deal with on a pretty regular basis nowadays is anxiety. The ways in which it ‘pops’ up have changed in the 2 years I have been at UOIT and it has become more prevalent (I think because of the pressure I put on myself to do well at university which was not as big a problem at my previous post-secondary institutions – boy how I would like go back to that frame of mind!). It got very bad in the winter semester where for the last month and a half of the semester I basically stopped eating and sleeping and even my fluid intake went down. Almost every week there was 36-42 hrs where I was up doing school work, thinking about school work, freaking out about how much school work I had to do, how much school work I was not doing by starting this very second, how much time I was wasting not doing school work but being ‘lazy’ (e.g. watching some TV) and so on and so forth. By the end I felt the stereotypical crazy person you would see on the street in any movie or TV show. Nutty as a squirrel.

I did finally crash. And it wasn’t just a BAM! I hit a brick wall crash, but many major and minor crashes over a little more than a month period. I would get up only to run into another brick wall that would send me reeling. And while recovering from that I would trip over big stone to start falling down a hill and getting hit debris along the way down. After writing all that, I feel that I have made this post more depressing than I meant to. But I wanted to share a glimpse of what it was like in case anyone out there can relate. I only really feel like I started to begin to recover in the last month. That more or less came by finally giving up on the standards I had for myself academically and replaced it with more of “I just want to pass” or “I just want to give this my best effort and see what happens”. It was very hard for me to give that up and truly embrace/believe in doing just what I could and gain from it what I could with no concern for the grade. Once I allowed myself to relax and not beat myself up for taking a break when other were not things got a little easier. I was more receptive to learning in class and suddenly the professor wasn’t speaking Latin anymore, but English! Blessed, understandable English! Taking the pressure off allowed me to actually do what I was in school to do – learn.

I’m not saying any of it was easy or works for everyone – I went to both extremes while trying to find a balance. I cared too much, had too much pressure on myself, expected too much. On the other side, I went to not caring at all about anything – just kind of a slug on a log attitude of letting everything go by without a care of any of it. Now that it’s summer I don’t have to worry about any of it at the moment but I am fearful of what will happen in the fall. Will I start back where I was before the whole mess happened? Will I be refreshed like it never happened? Or will I just pick up where I left off? I don’t know.

It seems like I can’t ever not worry. Now that I am done school for the semester I am worrying about the fall. And even if that goes well, I worry about what happens when I finish, which could be as early as this fall or in the winter. What will I do then? Will there be jobs available, will I get an interview, and if I get an interview will I do well or be an anxious mess? I want to graduate but I am scared to leave what I know to go into such unpredictability. I understand now why so many with disabilities stay in school and deal with the generally laid out expectations of classes. It’s ‘safer’ and familiar and so is easier to deal with then what lies ‘out there’. The unknown is, for me anyway, one of the scariest things to deal with. And yet it is impossible to escape as there is uncertainty in every day. It can get exhausting dealing with it.

Sexual Assault on Campuses

Imagine the following:

You’ve decided to go to an event being thrown on campus, maybe with some friends or with someone you just met. You think they’re cute, and spend some time with them throughout the event. When they make advances toward you that indicate that they would like your relationship to get physical, you explain that you aren’t comfortable with a sexual relationship so early on. The morning after, you realize that you were taken advantage of and that you did not give your consent to the sexual activity. You reach out to fellow students, maybe through social media, looking for an outlet to share your feelings. Instead of being met with warmth and praise for speaking out about the sexual assault, you experience what sexual assault victims are too often met with: victim blaming.

The issue of sexual assaults on college and university campuses has become a huge new stories in recent months, as it’s a problem that is clearly happening; but, otherwise wasn’t being spoken about.

The biggest issue faced by victims of sexual assault on campuses is the outdated, and sometimes non-existent, ways of supporting them when a sexual assault is reported. Some schools, such as the University of Toronto have had to investigate how reports had been handled when students come forward, because of how a report was handled.

According to a report released by the YWCA Canada, there are 460,000 sexual assaults in Canada every year.

UOIT is in the process of updating the 2010 Student Conduct Policy with a focus on victims rights, and has held workshops with students to get an idea of what students want to see in the update. The focus is to not have a victim become re victimized if they come forward, and to take the issues facing students today and have the procedures meet these issues.

By posting this, we are attempting to create an open forum for UOIT’s community. Are you aware of UOITs current policies? Do you know what would occur if you made a formal complaint against someone? Mostly important, what do you want to see UOIT do?

Feel free to start that conversation in the comments, or you are also welcome to come in and speak with us about this issue.

We want to hear from you.

Continue the Conversation: John Green

In movies, when someone is struggling for whatever reason it’s usually shown that they have a epiphany that immediately gets their life back on track and things immediately get better. In reality, when you hit bottom it takes a lot to not only get healthy. But, also to start your journey to get a little better. John Green, a popular author and vlogger, sums that journey up pretty nicely in the video featured this week on Continue the Conversation.

In response to his brother’s, Hank, question about how long ago was 1 million seconds ago. Even though his answer of 12 years was wrong (the actual answer was 12 days), John’s answer got him thinking about where he was 12 years ago. John then tells the story of 12 imagined years ago for him in 2013 when he made the video, when he was 24 when he had just gotten out of a long term relationship and still living in the apartment he had shared with his ex girlfriend. He thought at the time that the break up was the reason for his depression, but in reality it was likely because he was depressed that caused the break up.

John took a sabbatical from work, and went home with his parents. His boss encouraged him to watch a movie called Harvey, which was an old white and black movie that John did eventually watch, and began to make changes. He went to daily therapy, and took better medication for him. After watching Harvey, and he felt “a little bit better.” He thanks the movie for giving him perspective, and later he handed in his manuscript for what would eventually be his first novel, Looking for Alaska.

The message behind John’s story is that right now you have no idea what the significance of a certain moment may mean to future you, and you won’t figure that out until you get to be future you.

Done in the typical Vlogbrothers fashion, meaning that Hank and John say a lot of information quickly, John manages to tell his story of a serious time in his life with some humour.It’s a rateable post, for people who’ve struggled and were able to start their journey to getting better slowly and taking things a day at a time.

John Green is a well known author of young fiction, with two of his books (The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns) recently being turned into movies. Along with his brother Hank, John runs a Youtube channel titled Vlogbrothers. The two make videos where they talk about their personal lives, opinions, and anything else that they want to share with their fans, who are called Nerdfighters. John’s also a historian, and a creators of education videos.

For further information on John and Hank, visit their Youtube channel for Vlogbrothers.