Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Initial Impressions

I was never too big on the orientations during the "Week of Welcome" held at my University. I remember my first year was filled with half-hearted cheers and chants within our arbitrary groups. We toured around the campus all day as the coordinators tried to get us excited for the upcoming term.

Then the following week all the "cheer" and "enthusiasm" is gone and everyone goes their separate ways to their own classes, never to interact with each other again. You don't feel any sense of unity or pride being a student at this University. I was pretty meh about the upcoming term.


I really didn't expect anything different for the Business orientation but I opted to go anyways. You're supposed to network as much as possible so I thought it be a good headstart for myself. Get to know a few people maybe, figure out if anything could be useful for me in the upcoming year.

The orientation certainly started out differently than I was accustomed to. I really didn't expect the Dean of Business to come in, call everyone in the room "One giant dysfunctional family", and then proceed to wear a green t-shirt over his suit.

Then he got all of us to wear our complimentary green Business t-shirts. Now we had a way to identify other Business students throughout the day. We were special, we had earned the right to wear this green t-shirt. No one else on Campus did.

Pride. Check.

The Dean wasn't the only person of interest during the opening speeches. A few people talked about the co-op program that I  recently got accepted into. I knew the general basis of what was going, I mean I got in.

The next couple of weeks for me will have a lot of seminars and workshops to help me prepare and optimize my chances of getting hired by a potential company. But I don't think I could have prepared for the stats they threw at me such as:

  • Co-op students have a ~100% hire rate upon graduation.
  • Co-op students earn 5-10% more than the average graduating business student.
  • There is an abundance of Human Resources positions and not enough people applying to these positions (I'm a Human Resources major).

Excited for upcoming term. Check.

Next we were broken up into arbitrary groups, introductions, what's your major, blah blah, standard orientation stuff. What differs though is that immediately afterwards we started competing against other groups.

Like trying to market innocent objects as highly inappropriate adult toys for a panel of judges.

I think my group should have won, but apparently we got disqualified because we used additional props. I guess binding up one of our presenters with our belts was a bad idea.

But in this way I got to interact with other people, actually want to know their names. After the orientation I joined a random group of other business students (which I identified by their green shirts) and we went for drinks. 

Just like that, I was a part of their group and laughing like I'd known them my entire life.

Unity. Check.

If there's anything bad about this I have to re-enabled Facebook. It's the only way I can maintain this growing network of new associates and potential meet-ups, events, drinking nights, etc. etc.. in the future.

It also means no more stupid cat pictures as my profile picture. Or rather, I have to tone it down, significantly.

But it's a small price to pay. A week later I'm still greeting and spending small amounts of time with the people I met during orientation. I'm looking into joining a few clubs as well to help bolster my resume, my volunteer experience is abysmal.

Things are looking good so far, I hope it keeps up.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Back to Classes

Anyone who has followed my blog for the last few months know I've been trying to figure out whether to go back to classes in the Fall or search for work. While I had applied for the Business After-Degree program, my friends warned me that it would take until mid-August until I would get accepted or rejected. It could be wise to job hunt in the scenario where I wouldn't be going back to school.

But while I was in Vancouver, I woke up to an email on my phone, an acceptance email. Huh, while I had no idea why they had sent this to me so early I wasn't complaining.

And then I rewarded myself by sleeping in way into the afternoon.

What's nice about the After-Degree is that all my courses are laid out. Take this, take this, shove this here, no thinking needed on my part. But I'm only able to take 4 courses. A majority of the courses I need to take have this one prerequisite, that's only offered in the fall.So that's just great.

So in standard Damian fashion I arranged my schedule haphazardly and came out fine otherwise on the other end. No classes before 11, and I never stay any later than 4PM.  It'll do. I mean, I'm used to having 4 day weekends from my previous terms but it's time to stop being so spoiled.

A big reason why I wanted to get into Business was because of the Co-op program. I wasn't able to get a Psychology internship due to a certain administrator and I'm still very bitter about it. I contacted the Business people and learned that I would only have one chance to apply because I was an After-Degree student due to my credit limits, my old nemesis.

Not a problem, let's get this done, I mean when is this thing due?

Oh crap the deadline is next week.

My resume hadn't been updated in months, I wasn't confident in the structure of my cover letter, and who could I find in time to look these over to make sure things were ok? I scrambled, deleting and rewriting entire chunks. I managed to get a friend to look things over the day before I had to submit but I wasn't confident in most of it.

Fast forward two weeks, and I get another email.

Another acceptance.

Man, everything is rolling my favour this summer.

Bella, I owe you another drink, you're a life saver.

Oh and while I'm at it, I'd like to leave a few words for that Psych admin that screwed me over many years ago.






Well, I haven't quite gotten an internship yet, but a series of orientations, seminars, and workshops being held in the next two weeks should help me prepare. The soonest I can get a placement is January. And one thing that they stress is that you may not get a placement within the city, I could end up going anywhere in the province.

Hence, it may be time for Damian to (temporarily) move out. Wouldn't that be nice? I mean, my sister Bree has moved out for the next 4 years. Surely as the older brother I should make an effort to leave the nest as well, even if it would only be for a year.

I have a clean slate, my old grades don't matter, it's a new year, full of opportunities, new people, and for the first time for as long as I can remember I'm looking forward to the future.

Come at me.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014


Ever since she was little, my sister Bree wanted to become a vet. She loved animals and when she finally got into University she started to do her pre-vet courses and worked part-time at a vet clinic. Unfortunately our University only had pre-vet courses and upon graduation she would have to travel elsewhere to complete her studies.

And that time was now as she recently got accepted into the University of Saskatchewan. She and my parents have been down there enough to find her an apartment, but as a familial gesture I thought it would be a good idea to go down there at least once to help her move in and see her off.

Who's a good big brother? I'm a good big brother.

While the apartment came partially furnished my parents were of the belief that my sister would need things like blankets, toilet paper, food, and other non-essential items to survive in her harsh new environment. We crammed the family van with as much stuff as possible and left early in the morning, it would be a long drive.

Did I mention I hate road trips? I get carsick easily, and as much as I try to sleep on these rides it's generally not very comfortable. The van was filled with boxes so I had even less leg room than normal. Also, my old nemesis of having a sore butt returned. But that's what happens when you lose 20 pounds from not working out as frequently.

Did I mention that there was nowhere in Bree's apartment complex for me to workout either? Good times.

Saskatchewan is... How do we put this... Boring. Dead. Empty. Saskatoon has less than 1/3rd the population of my hometown and I already find my city fairly devoid of life. And while I'm not satisfied with the campus of my University, a quick look at the University of Saskatchewan's campus and I felt more appreciative instantly.

At least Bree's apartment is nice enough. My parents actually straight up purchased the thing for her so that she only has to pay condo fees. Needless to say I'm a bit jealous. It has two bedrooms so she's hoping to find a roommate to rent out the spare bedroom to.

My parents have been making plenty of suggestions for me to consider working or studying at the UoS and give Bree some company. I respectfully declined.

I'm not that good of a big brother.

This also led to some interesting and uncomfortable sleeping arrangements. My parents got one bed, Bree loves sofas so she instantly opted to sleep on it, and my brother Brian and I got the other bed. Which we slept in using separate sleeping bags.

I sleep quite poorly as it is. And perhaps I've been spoiled with my King sized water bed back at home. But those few nights we slept in Bree's apartment were terrible for me. It took me hours to fall asleep, I don't think the AC was working properly, and sharing a queen sized mattress with your brother leads to space issues.

One night I actually just stood up, moved to a chair in the kitchen and slept sitting up. Another night I moved my sleeping bag and just slept on the floor. But no matter what I did I kept waking up more groggy than usual.

But we're not going to see Bree for a while and it's unlikely that she'll be in touch often due to her studies. So it was nice spending time as a family even if there wasn't much to see, do, or eat in Saskatchewan. Its become a running joke in our family to suggest that we eat Japanese food down in Saskatoon (hint, don't do it).

We'll still see her on long weekends and holidays, and she'll only be there for 4 years. Trust me, she has no intentions of staying in Saskatchewan if she can help it. If Calgary or that other school in Ontario had contacted her back, she would have went there instead. The house does feel more quiet though. Even if I spent most of my time in my room it doesn't feel right coming upstairs and not seeing my sister in the kitchen on her laptop.

And now the pressure is on me to move out too. I mean come on, I'm almost 25 and my sister left the nest before I did? Disgraceful. However, that could quickly change. I could be (temporarily) living on my own in as soon as January. But my study plans are for another blog post.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Stalker

It was another shift of work at my part-time fast food job. I was in the front, taking orders, doing cashier stuff, etc. etc. not really paying much attention to things. I mean, it was fairly dead and was turning out to be another boring shift.

I really wish it stayed that way. Because from the corner of my eye I started noticing a customer looking at me. But it wasn't just normal looking, it was more like staring, maybe even gazing. And she had this wide grin on her face, was she laughing to herself? Is she laughing at me? What's going on here?

Perhaps it was just an anomaly. That's what I told myself. Don't make eye contact with this woman and continue on with my shift. Stay in the back as much as possible and let's pretend she just disappears. After 10 minutes I already felt very uncomfortable but it would take another half an hour until she got up from her table and left.

Finally, it's safe to go back to the frOh my god she's doing walk-bys of the restaurant.

Or is it run-bys? Doesn't matter, you guys know what I'm talking about. The woman had begun walking back and forth in the distance, hopefully staring at the restaurant (but probably at me) with that same massive grin as before.

And by now my coworkers had taken notice and were not-so-subtly laughing and doing their best to shove me to the front counter.

Needless to say, I hate my coworkers.

The "walk-bys" were happening every hour now, and had been going on since lunch. I don't know what would compel a person to stay in a mall food court for such an extended period of time but this woman was tenacious. Each time I thought she was gone for good she'd come waltzing back in the distance, grinning madly to herself, staring in my general direction.

And then she started approaching the counter.

At first, she'd just stand there, smiling that creepy smile. No she didn't want to order any more food, no we couldn't help her. She'd look at me, and then walk away. My coworkers by now were hysterical, and were physically blocking me from leaving the front counter.

Did I mention I hate these guys? I hate these guys. And in a moment, I'm about to hate them even more.

And the police will never find the bodies.

The woman continued to approach the counter, and she started buying random things in the mall to show us. I'm guessing she wanted to have some kind of a reason to come back to the restaurant other than to buy food, maybe start a conversation.

And that's what she did. Those are some lovely groceries you have there. A very nice net that you purchased at the Dollar Store. Oh you're leaving? Uh, bye. I guess. See ya.

About a year ago I wrote a post about some of my least favorite coworkers at this job. Darla happened to be working with me this evening and she was ecstatic. Over time I've come to the conclusion that Darla is possibly very stupid, incapable of following basic directions, and lacking a fundamental understanding of human social interactions.

Because she proceeded to not only converse with this creepy woman but also tell her MY NAME, tell her MY WORK SCHEDULE, and boldly announce that DAMIAN IS SINGLE.

And hey! Guess what? He's Chinese, just like you! Oh wow!

I don't even have a picture or gif to describe how furious I was. This will have to do.

But then I disappeared to Vancouver for that while. And a big part of me hoped that stalker woman would have forgotten about me. Unfortunately, it turns out that stalker woman had appeared numerous times during my vacation, sometimes even coming up to ask where I was.

Finally one shift she happened to drop by when I was working. The ritual began again, approach the counter, say nothing. Sit in the distance and stare at me. Do walk-bys of the restaurant. Everything seemed in order. I was uncomfortable, but at least nothing had escalated.

And then she came up and asked if she could see me outside of work.

I politely declined. She looked crestfallen and left shortly aftOh wait no, she's back again. Why are you doing walk-bys so close to the counter? Why are you muttering strange things to yourself? I don't go to church, why are you going to see me in church? What's going on? Someone please help.

And you're back again. What's that? You want a ride home? From me? 5 minutes from the mall? After work? Gangsters following you home you say? I, what?

I was so stunned, I fully expected her to be gone, never to be seen again. And in that confusion I actually agreed to give her that ride home. Yes, Damian pulled a stupid. How I suffer for this blog. I don't post as much as I used to but the stupid hurts so much in this story do you blame me for putting it off for so long?

She then stood by the counter for the rest of the evening. She "liked to watch me work" as she said. My other coworker Nigel cannot stop laughing and ridiculing me for my bad life choice. But he at least agreed to ride with me so that if she murdered me on the ride home someone would be able to call the police or something.

Unsurprisingly, Nigel is still very amused by the whole incident.

The ride to stalker woman's place was uneventful. And I haven't seen her since then. Will I ever see her again? Probably not, I hope not. I'm heading back to school in the fall with the great possibility of finding employment elsewhere.

But that's for a future blogpost.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Health and Body Issues

While I was in Vancouver I wasn't able to workout as much as I'd like. But on one day I managed to sneak into the nearby community center and do a chest workout. My shoulders felt odd, tight, and slightly pained but I just attributed it to taking it easy for too long.

And then when I got back to do chest day with one of my trainers I couldn't even push the bar off myself. Well, not without increased amounts of pain in both my shoulders. Something was very wrong here.

This is not how things are supposed to work.

I booked an appointment with my doctor and somehow I managed to pull some tendons in my shoulders. Maybe it was just a strenuous And I'm going to guess my workout in Vancouver just made it worse, a lot worse.

As in, I carry anything with my shoulders and I can feel the tendon flare up.

But it should be ok. I got some anti-inflammatories, I'm trying to reduce stress on my shoulders but it's been hard to not lift or use my arms. I mean, sometimes even shouldering the strap on my bag is too much.

This means nothing but core and leg day. And even then, no deadlifts, squats, planks, etc. etc. because shoulders are involved and we don't want to extend the recovery time any longer now do we?

Though I think this is kind of a rite of passage for gym goers. All of my trainers have injured themselves in some form or another. Mostly tendon related now that I think about it. At least I'm not out of commission for 3 months or a year like some of them.

Oh, and finally I got an appointment to check up with my sleep problems.

So then I can stop being like this.

It wasn't all that much. I managed to talk to another specialist and they did some breathing tests on me. All in all, I'm supposedly fairly healthy and normal looking, I just have sleep apnea for some reason.

Which means that I'm put at the end of a year long waiting list to get additional testing done. Barring that I can fork over a few thousand dollars to get the sleep study done. Which I'd rather not do, I'm in debt enough as it is.

There is an alternative though. A conversation with an old professor informed me of another sleep clinic. One that worked for her husband. And you know what, I've been through so many machines and sleep devices that I'm willing to try anything at this point.

I'll keep you guys updated.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

And We're Back

It's been a while, but I'm back from Vancouver. Can I take a moment to just say how much I like that city? It's great. It's just so much more alive than anywhere in my home province. Way much more to eat, to see.

And it's almost always cloudy, overcast, or raining. As a person who hates the sun and burns fast, this is a great blessing.

It's nice not having to walk around wiping your face every other second.

But seriously, that's pretty much what Erin and I did. We'd wake up, go out and find an interesting place to have lunch, go run around the city, eat some more, return back to her place, and then pass out.

One time we went and bought a box of donuts and ate that for dinner while watching TV. This is how you know you're an adult. When you can get away with eating atrocious things for dinner and not being reprimanded.

There were a few interesting things that we tried out while in Vancouver though, asides from our rampant gluttony. On the internet, there are games known as "Escape Room" games. Basically, you are trapped in a room and you need to use tools and hints within the room to break out.

Someone made real-life versions of such scenarios and they are a lot of fun. We grabbed one of Erin's friends to do one with us and we failed miserably. As in, we couldn't get beyond the second room.

If anyone else wants to try, I suggest running down to Exit if you're down there. Let me know how well you did with Lost Ship.

Erin also tried the Laboratory scenario with her family and failed.

But now that I'm back home, I have a whole slew of stories to share with you guys. Such as my health issues and how I hurt myself, my plans for the fall, and the creepy stalker from work.

Oh, and despite all my eating in Vancouver, I somehow managed to lose 5 pounds. Yay. Go me.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

On Vacation

Man, I've been bad for keeping a steady posting schedule lately and I apologize for that. Things were hectic before, during, and after the wedding. We've been having tons of dinners and outings with our new cousin and getting to know the new side of the family.

Actually, I've lost about 5 pounds simply because my eating schedule has been thrown completely out of whack. It's a bit of cognitive dissonance really because I look and I feel bigger but my scale says something completely different.


Oh, and I'm on vacation as well if you couldn't tell by the title.

And will continue to be for another week or so. I'm back visiting my friend Erin again in Vancouver. I guess I didn't pester her enough last year so she decided to invite me back for a second round. More shopping, more eating, and more relaxing.

Though not relaxing enough to allow us to do many online activities as opposed to passing out in our respective beds.

I don't look as adorable as that.

Though this time around she had a few unexpected projects from a client pop up so I'll be left to my own devices. I'm hoping to pop by a gym and get a proper workout done. Pushups, sit-ups, and lots of walking aren't the same as doing bench presses and squats. I'd rather not lose another 5 pounds while I'm here.

An unexpected benefit of having Erin be busy is that I'm meeting some of her coworkers. If things go well I may have a job offer or two lined up for me in the future. And if not, it doesn't hurt to make a few connections while I'm in the area.

I'll see you guys when I get back.