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What is your go-to restaurant?
Hi everyone! I'm Alyssa, one of your yconic Student Ambassadors. 

As a university student in the heart of downtown Toronto, I am surrounded by SO MANY restaurants that offer a wide-variety of food options and different cuisines. Though I bring lunches (It's a great way to save money aha!), I would eat out once in a while.

And so...

When you eat out during your lunches or breaks, where do you go? 
Is there a specific place that students from your school go to? 
If you could recommend one item from the menu to someone going to your favourite restaurant for the first time, what would it be?

Maybe through this discussion, we can all visit a new restaurant and try something new. My fellow foodies, I look forward to hearing from you! :)
AMA: Student Council President, Rowing Coxswain, High School Senior, UVic Applicant
Hi! I'm Chanel, one of the Yconic Student Ambassadors for 2017-2018. As a student in high school, I can easily relate to any questions you may have and am readily available to help you. So feel free to ask me anything and I answer back speedily! 

About me:
- Student Athlete: joined many sports from basketball to volleyball but transited onto the water for rowing 
- On Student Council for two years as Fine Arts Rep and School President 
- AP English Student with courses aimed towards the Sciences (Bio, Physics, Chem) 
- Arts Student in Visual Arts (published illustrator), Choir and Drama 
- Guide International Students from numerous countries like Japan, China, Korea, Brazil, Spain, etc. 
- Volunteer at Women In Need, aiding women in transition homes
- Attended Private school and Catholic school
-  Applying at the University of Victoria in British Columbia in the Faculty of Science
University Of Guelph Student Answering Your Questions
Hi, I'm a first year student, finishing up my second semester at the University Of Guelph! If you guys have any questions about the university (social life, food, residence, academics, programs; specifically biomed, resources, etc.) feel free to ask me and I'll try and answer. Side note: I have midterms right now so it might take me a day or two to get back to you, but I will eventually get back to you :)
Halal food at UWaterloo?
Do meal plans at Waterloo have halal options? If not, can you find (preferably cheap) halal food near campus? 
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National Nutrition Month for a Busy Student
Did you know that March is national nutrition month? Dieticians Canada has started a campaign dedicated to supporting Canadians “take the fight out of food.” Here are some helpful tips to help take the fight out of food this March break and stay healthy for the rest of the school year:

1. Download an app to help you out: Dieticians Canada recommends Cookspiration which contains over 300 healthy recipes that are easy to make! If you live off ramen noodles, I recommend downloading the Rockin Ramen app which has a number of recipes that sneak in some nutritious ingredients. Carrot is another app I would recommend which finds easy recipes to make with ingredients you already have in your fridge!

  2. Pack a healthy lunch: Packing your own lunch is the best way to control what goes in your body and is also a great way to save money!

3. Carry snacks with you: As a busy student, it is convenient to grab a bag of chips from a vending machine for a mid-afternoon snack. However, vending machines and school cafeterias don’t always offer the healthiest of options. Instead, try planning ahead and pack some healthy snacks such as an apple or protein bar to give you some extra energy on the go. 

4. Cook once, eat multiple times: Most students don’t have the time to prep before every meal. Instead, make a big batch of your favorite meal and divide it up into multiple Tupperware containers. Now you have healthy meals for the next couple of days! Dividing up your meal into servings is also a good way to prevent yourself from overeating.

  5. Choose foods that you like: Healthy eating doesn’t have to be something you dread. Try making meals with foods you like instead of forcing yourself to eat kale just because it is a healthy choice.

  -Michelle Young, yconic student ambassador
Osap (Status and Residency)
High school students who are dependent on their parents, which option do they click on the osap status & residency page?
Are you addicted to caffeine?
Did you know that March is national caffeine awareness month?

  Caffeine has its place and time and has several benefits for students including:

  -Increased alertness: If you are up all night studying, caffeine can help keep you awake during your 8 am class
  -Focus: Caffeine can help you keep focus during a long study session
-Caffeine has some health benefits 

  However, these benefits only hold true when consuming caffeine in moderation. From past experience, I have found that the longer you take caffeine, the less effect it will have on you in terms of a study aid. Also, consuming caffeine in large doses or during the wrong time of the day can have detrimental effects. Some drawbacks of caffeine consumption include:

-Insomnia: Caffeine can take up to eight hours to wear off. If you drink an energy drink before your late night study session, chances are you will have a hard time falling asleep. I got into the habit of drinking caffeine before I race. When I race in the evening, I will not sleep that night if I have caffeine before I run. A night of missed sleep can ruin your whole week which will affect your studies. I recommend keeping your caffeine consumption to the morning hours if needed.
  -Addiction: I know many people who are addicted to coffee and get severe headaches, anxiety, and are irritable without their daily dose of caffeine. I have even heard that caffeine addiction can also lead to depression.

Coffee isn’t the only product with large amounts of caffeine. Tea, soda, energy drinks, and chocolate also contain caffeine. Even small amounts can add up quickly. Want to stop your caffeine addiction? Here are some alternative ways to get energized:

  - Gradually cut back on your caffeine intake. If you love your daily cup of coffee, try ordering decaf instead.
  -Exercise: Exercising in the morning is a great way to wake up your body and get energized for the day ahead.
-Stay hydrated 
-Sleep: Rest is the best way to get energized

  -Michelle Young, yconic student ambassador
Calling all yconic members!
We know it’s hard to think about but it’s almost that time of year again. Tell us your top 3 “Must Haves” for back to school and you could be featured in yconic's newest article.

Example:              1. My trusty Herschel backpack
                               2. Red TOMS shoes
                               3. My lucky pen
                              ~Jon, first year Queen’s student in Economics

Reply to this thread now for your chance to be featured!
What should you eat before exams?
Did you know, what you eat before an exam can impact how well you will do on the exam? Here are my top nutrition tips to help you ace your next exam:

1. Do not skip breakfast: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and your brain needs energy to reach its full potential. If you are nervous and have a hard time eating before an exam, try sipping on a smoothie.

2. Eat a balanced meal: Try eating a healthy balance of protein, carbs, and fats. Grabbing a muffin for breakfast will leave you hungry in no time as you need protein and healthy fats to sustain your hunger. Healthy fats are also great for brain health! I recommend having a couple of eggs with a side of fruit and whole grain toast! 

3. Eat foods that benefit brain health: Healthy fats and fruits and veggies are known to boost memory and focus! Have a sweet tooth? Dark chocolate is a healthy brain food as it is full of antioxidants.

4. Don’t Eat foods, that don’t sit well with your stomach: If you have a history of foods that upset your stomach, avoid them the day of your exam to prevent having to run to the bathroom mid-exam. 

5. Stay away from processed and sugary foods: Besides being bad for your health, sugar is actually known to impair your memory and learning skills. Beware of that double-double you order from Tim’s if you like getting that last minute caffeine fix to keep you awake after a long night of studying.

  6. Pack a snack: If you find yourself focusing on your growling stomach instead of your exam, a small snack may come in handy as fast fuel to get you through your exam. Just remember to pack something that won’t be distracting to other. Crunchy carrots may not be the best option. Instead, try packing a banana or a granola bar.

7. Stay hydrated: Water is essential for your whole body to function properly so sip up! I hope this helps as you eat your way to your next A on your exam! 

-Michelle Young, yconic student ambassador
uOttawa Residences
I received an email from uOttawa today, reminding me that I can now apply for housing for the 2017/18 school year, even before I've accepted my offer of admission. The problem is I don't really know anyone who goes there so I have no idea where to start. I was just wondering if anyone has any suggestions for what would be the best res for me! 

The things that are important to me are:
- On campus
- I would prefer a traditional plus or suite style room (but if the social scene is better in a traditional res I would be open to it)
- I know uOttawa isn't a big party school but I would like to live in a res with a bit more of a party atmosphere if possible
- Close/good food

Thanks!

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Planning Valentine’s Day on a Student Budget?
Valentine’s day doesn’t have to be full of grand gestures to celebrate with your significant other or loved ones. Here are 5 tips to prevent breaking the bank on the cliché fancy dinners or gifts:

  1. Make heart-shaped treats with friends: One valentine’s day, none of my friends had plans so we all got together and made heart shaped pizzas and had a movie night. You don’t need to have a valentine in order to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day can be an excuse to hang out with some friends and have some fun (Having fun is also a good way to reduce your stress during midterms- Unless you have an exam the next day). If you’re not into cooking, you can also hit up Boston Pizza as they make heart shaped Pizzas on Valentine’s Day.

2. Cook a nice meal with your significant other: On Valentine’s day, restaurants tend to offer fixed price menus instead of the regular menu which can be quite pricey! Instead, try cooking up a fancy dinner with your significant other. You can also set the table nice for a change or put out some candles if you want to make it more romantic! 

3. Hit up cheap movie night: Since Valentine’s Day lands on a Tuesday this year, going to the movies is a more affordable choice! 

4. Be active: Take your date skating, sledding, or bowling for a fun yet affordable night out. Staying active is also great for your health/ stress levels while burning off the Valentine’s chocolate you may treat yourself to.

  5. Have a study date: This may not be the most appealing option but it is a great way to spend time with your significant other during the madness of midterms and doesn’t cost a penny!

How do you plan to spend your Valentine’s Day as a student? 

-Michelle Young, yconic student ambassador
Best Residence at Western
Residence is a really big deal and I want to make sure I pick the right one. I think that I want Ontario Hall, it seems like the perfect mix of privacy while still having a social atmosphere, and it's really new looking. I also heard the food is really good lol, what's your opinions on the best residences?
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Best res @ Laurier?
Just wondering which of the Laurier residences are better than others? And if apartment vs dorm really makes a difference? Cause I was leaning towards dorms but I heard the dining hall food sucks...

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Why Making Goals for the New Year Might be a Good Idea
Life gets hectic, especially for students. Sometimes it feels like we can get stuck in a hectic cycle of never-ending work, sleep, and classes. It’s important to establish a few goals to fully understand what you want to accomplish on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis. The new year is right around the corner, so it’s about time to pull out that new calendar and mark a few things into your schedule. 

1. Daily Goals: Setting a goal for your daily life is a big undertaking. It takes determination and perseverance to stick to a daily goal. I would recommend that if you do make a daily goal for the new year, don’t make it too big. For example, maybe you want to start keeping a daily journal. Even just spending 10 minutes doing this each day is an accomplishment.

2. Weekly Goals: Dedicate a bit of time each week, whether it be on the weekend or mid-week, on relaxing or doing something you enjoy. Even if you’re stressed and have lots to do, your mental health is important! Block off a special hour or two every week to curl up with a book, take a nap, listen to music, or another relaxing activity. (I would recommend staying away from your phone and have more of an inward focus during this time.)

3. Monthly Goals: These goals can be a bit larger. What’s something you want to accomplish by the end of one month? Maybe you want to write a song. Maybe you want to complete a new piece of art. Maybe you want to learn origami, or write some letters for relatives or friends. It could be anything. You can work on your monthly goal whenever you have some spare time. 

4. A Goal For the Year: This could be a large-scale goal. It could even be related to your monthly goals. (For example, if you write a song every month, you could have an album by the end of the year.) Maybe your annual goal is to learn a new language. It could also be a more simple goal, like meeting 10 new people, or doing 10 random acts of kindness for strangers.

Personally, I’ve found that making goals and following through with them has been a very enriching experience, as it gives you a feeling of accomplishment and it gives your days more meaning. In fact, having things to work towards has pushed me to get my schoolwork done more efficiently too.

Let us know what goals you’re setting for the New Year in the comments below!


 -Rachel H, yconic student ambassador
6 Tips to Surviving the Holiday Season on a Student Budget
It’s the most wonderful (and expensive) time of the year. It is always fun getting festive and celebrating the holiday season with family and friends. However, if you are anything like me it makes me nervous thinking about all the people I would like to buy gifts for, decorating my place nicely, and celebrating on a very tight student budget. Here are 6 tips that help me make the most of the Christmas holidays without blowing all my school savings:

  1. Get Creative with DIY: Try making your own gifts or holiday decorations this holiday season. My go to when I am trying to save money is finding something I am good at and turning it into a gift! For example, I really like to bake and do art in my spare time. Last Christmas I packaged up some of my baking nicely as gifts and painted a large canvas for my mom’s living room. In my experience people appreciate the thought of the gift rather than the value. Be sure to check out my fellow student ambassador, Rachel’s video next Monday on DIY projects for the holiday season. 

2. Plan Ahead: Make a gift list ahead of time and budget for hidden expenses such as decorating, Christmas parties, eating out, and travel plans. Having a shopping list helps me stay on budget and prevents me from impulse purchases. Planning ahead and anticipating expenses that may arise throughout the holidays prevents me from blowing my budget from unexpected costs.

3. Plan a Secret Santa: Instead of buying a gift for each of your friends and family members, try getting a group together for a Secret Santa gift exchange. For example, my boyfriend has a large family so his siblings all get together for a Secret Santa gift exchange so they only have to buy one present instead of a gift for every sibling.

  4. Give an experience: Spending quality time with your loved ones is what the holiday season is all about. Instead of buying a pricey material gift for someone, give the gift of time! Did you ever give a coupon book for your mom when you were little filled with chores and hugs? Following that concept, spend some time with your loved one by promising them a movie night or a massage. This is another opportunity to get creative. 

5. Keep it small: It’s the thought that counts right? Even though you would like to spend a lot on your loved ones, your friends and family know you are a student and probably don’t have the biggest budget when it comes to gift giving. Buying something small or looking for coupons/ sales helps me if I would like to buy something rather than make a gift.

6. Have fun with free festivities: Be sure to check out the different holiday events happening in your city. For example, in Toronto there is a Christmas Market free of charge during the week (you have to pay on weekends), you can view Canada’s largest Christmas tree at the Eaton Center, or go ice skating at the harbor front!

  I hope these tips are helpful when it comes to budgeting your holiday season. Feel free to share your ideas on how you plan to save money during your festivities this winter! Happy Holidays!

- Michelle Young, yconic student ambassador
How did you decide what program you are doing in university
Heyy people, I am a going-to-gr12 public hs kid wondering what to do in life.

A brief info about myslf:
1. Live in GTA
2. Like interior designs, fascinated by tech, love to eat, outgoing, enjoy flying and driving
3. my favourite YouTube video is "A Day Made of Glass"
4. i studied because of others, not for myself (aka I got good grades but I didnt enjoy them)
5. my ultimate goal is to retire asap (at 45) [I know it may not be feasible, but still...)

Here's my gr11 grades
English 83
Functions 99
Accounting  94
Marketing  96
Chemistry 86
Physics 82
Biology 90
Broadcasting 87

And my only grade 12 grade is physics (completed in summer school) - 94

As above, how did you decide what you are going to do in the future??? Like how do you figure out what you want??
I like interior designs, tech, food, sports, but the thing is - i can't see myself in the future
I dont know what to do? Despite trying to get good grades and apply every single university in ontario....
I really need some advice. Please give me some advice :) :) :)

Thank you very much
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5 ways to Stay Active and Eat Healthy During Exams
As final exams are quickly approaching, now is the time to start prepping for how you will stay healthy during this stressful period. When you have your head in your books, it often feels like there is no time to take care of yourself. Instead of making a healthy home-cooked meal, it is easier to grab a big mac or binge eat everything left in your refrigerator. Even though you may be tempted to eat what is most convenient and take a few days (or a month) off your typical workout schedule, maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help you get through exams feeling good and even boost your grades! Here are five tips that will help power you through exams:

1. Eat Balanced Meals and Snacks: Grabbing a pastry to go along with your coffee may taste great and be convenient as you head towards the library. However, these sugary carbs will make you crash in no time. Within an hour or two the hunger will kick in, and it will be harder to focus. Instead try for a balanced meal containing a source of protein, a healthy carb, and lots of fruits and veggies. Adding a healthy fat is also great for the brain! Here are some great meal/ snack suggestions to fuel your next study session:
a. Cheese and crackers 
b. Hummus and Veggies
c. Chicken Stir-fry with veggies and brown rice 
d. My favorite easy fast food option is the Sandwich/Wrap and Salad combo at Tim Hortons because it is a healthier fast food option, yet cheap! 

2. Meal Prep: Plan ahead! When you are studying last minute, there is no time to prepare a meal, let alone even think about eating. If you spend a few hours cooking for a busy week ahead, you will always have a healthy option available at whenever you need a quick bite. If you have a fridge full of healthy food, there is no choice but to eat healthy! 

3. Stay Hydrated: This is the best and easiest way to boost your energy levels and stay focused. Give it a try; your body needs more water than you may think!

4. Take a Break: It may be hard to make a trip to the gym when you are crammed for time. However, you cannot study for 6 hours straight. During one of your breaks, try a 15-minute yoga routine. It’s a great way to get your body moving and stay relaxed without leaving your home during this stressful time.

  5. Sweat out your nerves: When you're feeling overwhelmed or worried about an exam, getting in a good workout is a good way to take it off your mind for a while. Most schools have a gym easily accessible with great classes offered to the student body! 

Congrats, by reading this article you have taken your first step towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle during exams!

--yconic Brand Ambassador 
Residence & Meal Plan
Which Ontario universities (in your opinion) have the best set up for both residences and meal plans?

Please feel free to elaborate.
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A new laptop for university
Hello everyone as the title stated, I would like to have a new laptop for y post secondary education. I have been browsing different models and puzzled by all the options. Right now, I am using ASUS S56C... and it only lasts for 4 hours (without internal browsing) .... 

So here's some specs I would like to have in my future laptop, and hopefully tech gurus can help me  :)

MUST HAVE:
1. Long lasting battery (at least 6 hours, the more the better , if possible)
2. Graphic Card
3. Intel i7
4. HDMI
5. DVD drive
6. Window Operation (I still don't know how to use Apple laptops)
7. At least 8 GB memory
8. 3+ USB Ports and 1+ USB-C port(s)
9. 256 GB+ Hard drive
10. 17" screen
11. Bluetooth

May have: 
1. Touchscreen
2. Good sound system
3. Glowing keyboard (cuz I think this is cool but it's not necessary at all)

Major usage:
1. Normal tasks (PowerPoint, Word, Publisher, Excel)
2. Video editing (Premiere Pro - it freezes when I use my current laptop)
3. Photoshop
4. Tons of internet browsing at the same time (can up to 100 pages at the same time)
5. Graphic Design (Inventor and AutoCAD)

Price: As long as it is under $3000

Thank you very much :)
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Laurier Meal Plans
Hey, I was wondering if there are any Laurier students that can tell me about the food at Laurier; is it good? is it bad? was the meal plan worth it for you?
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