If you had a free plane ticket, where would you go? Why?
“I would fly to Croatia! In 2019, I visited there for 10 days and wish I had been able to stay longer. My time there was a brief stop on a much longer European adventure, but Croatia ended up being one of my favourite places and somewhere I hope to return to soon. I think I loved exploring Croatia because it had so much beautiful scenery. My favourite spots were a small mountain town called Korenica, the Plitvice National Parks, and the city of Dubrovnik. I also had one of the best meals of my life in Skradin before visiting Krka National Park.”
Mackenzie Mercuri-Rivers, Communications Coordinator
What does your dream life look like?
My dream life consists of a lot of things together. For starters, it’s me being happy doing something I’m truly passionate about instead of being stuck in a career field I don’t want. It also has to do with me being able to live a comfortable life, travel, and support my family in any way possible because I have so much gratitude for the things my parents do for me. Lastly, it has to do with me being able to help people to the best of my abilities; I’ve always been involved in social/environmental causes and wanted to be able to invest in and start up programs and shelters to give back to the people who need it. Above all, my dream life is me being truly happy.
Lilainie Adjei – Addo, Communications Assistant
What do you want to learn more about?
“Everything! I hope I never stop learning and growing. Something that I’m currently very interested in learning about is history – generally speaking, but also my family’s history in particular. My grandparents were Tibetan refugees who settled in Pakistan, and I’ve been discovering the wealth of experience and wisdom they hold in their memories and their stories. The more I learn about them and their lives, the more I learn about myself and the world.”
Zeinab Khawaja, Health Promoter
What words of wisdom would you pass on to your younger self?
Be patient, you’re going to get the life you want. It will just take a little longer. Adulting is going to be hard sometimes but be patient. Everyone else is also winging it! Don’t compare yourself to your peers, as everyone’s journey is different. Don’t forget to enjoy the ride. Breathe, go easy on yourself, you got this!
Ps. Don’t forget to dance like no one is watching as often as you can because your knees will betray you later.
Noxy Goto, Health Promoter
What things make you happy?
I am happy with a good walk, good food, and a good book. I love (most of the times) when it is a group hike, a great potluck, or a fun book club.
I am happiest whenever I see people around me happy! I am happiest whenever I get to be in a space where people are treated with respect; when people are given the chance to grow and pursue excellence. The things that make me happy are when everyone feels whole, and they feel like they’re adding to the group or to themselves.
Taylor Mertens, Health Promoter
How do you practice self-care?
I need some alone time! It’s so important for me to unwind after a long day of work or classes. I will slap on a face mask, take a shower, do some skincare, and snuggle up in bed with comfy PJs and my favorite tv show at the time. During this process, I definitely need a nice-smelling candle to be lit for optimal ambiance. There are a myriad of ways to listen to your body after wrapping up daily tasks and responsibilities. Walks are very grounding for me. Being in touch with the scenic nature around this neighborhood and fresh air makes my soul genuinely happy. Usually, I’ll listen to some music or be away with my thoughts, regardless, the process is always so regenerative. Neglecting our own well-being is truly easy to do. I’ve come to learn it’s essential to accept there is no guilt in investing time to be kinder to ourselves and making it a priority.
Ayla Ahad, Programs Assistant
What is something you are passionate about?
Something that I am passionate about is dance, as it has played a significant role in shaping my life. I have been trained in the Indian classical dance form, Bharatanatyam, since the age of five. To me, an active lifestyle can go beyond working out at the gym; it can encompass a diverse range of movement-based activities. Through my dance endeavors, I am able to pursue both physical and emotional wellness. It has become an integral part of my active lifestyle and has allowed me to embrace my cultural heritage and seek personal fulfillment.
Mythili Thatparananthan, Programs Assistant
What is one small thing that makes me happy?
Lots of things make me happy! Here is a non-comprehensive list of things/activities that brings me joy, maybe it can bring you joy too! Snuggling/pestering my cat Bella after a long day (I do give her treats for the services she provides) Laying down under a tree in a quiet park (no children) A sandwich with very toasted sourdough bread from Weil’s Bakery in Westdale, dijon mustard, a lot of mayo, lettuce, pickles, and veggie ham A glass of apple juice with a lot of ice, so much so that it dilutes the drink Moving my body! Running, weight training, swimming, rock climbing, and yoga are fun Masala express’ vegetarian combo meals, trust me. My picture was taken there
Fei Mu, Programs, Assistant
What’s the best part about your job?
“I love working in a university. I love working with students. It keeps me young quite honestly, and I really like that. These are young people who are at a critical point in their lives where they are making their transition coming from high school to university or leaving university to go out into the world. It is such an honour for me and a privilege to work with them and hear their stories and help them navigate some of the challenges they face. For me, it is why I get up everyday.”
Debbie Nifakis, Psychologist and Associate Director of Counselling
What inspires you to keep working here?
“The students absolutely inspire me to keep working here! University students are so passionate about everything that matters including how to live life, be yourself, social justice, and creating a better world for all! Their enthusiasm spurs me on to be a better person by learning about critical issues and injustices, and to continue my passion for life-long learning! I even went back to school over this past couple of years to get my MSN. Something I never thought I could do!”
Cathy Jager, Manager, Nursing/Education