Hamilton Waterfront

Ever since I've started attending school in Hamilton, I've wanted to go and explore the area. Knowing that I'll be here for at least the four years of my undergraduate program (and hopefully another year for my graduate studies!), I have really felt like I should be connected to not only the university but also the community which surrounds it.

This past weekend, my parents, my boyfriend, and I took a trip out to Hamilton's waterfront area to explore and get to know the area better. I was completely amazed at how such a beautiful area could be such a short jaunt from where I having been taking classes every day for four weeks now. In this little nook of Lake Ontario, there is a beautiful harbour where countless boats are docked, with a few lookout points with rocky pathways lined by trees and a massive outdoor playground where dozens of kids were enjoying the day. Just a few minutes walk down the way, our trail ended up at Bayfront Park which is just this amazing luscious area where people were biking, walking their dogs, and playing sports. It was so nice to see families gathered here on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, spending the day away from hectic work schedules or homework or the tv just to spend time together.

I also absolutely loved that there is a old-fashioned trolley that goes along the waterfront, stopping periodically along the way. I'm such a sucker for that kind of thing, I pretty much talked about it for the rest of the day! haha

It is so nice to know that I'm attending university in such a wonderful, family-friendly area, one I could see myself in long after my studies are complete. Walking (and driving) around, seeing a bit of what Hamilton has to offer, really helped to reinforce the thought that I have definitely picked the perfect university for myself.

A Caribbean Adventure

As my first week of university has now come and gone, I look behind me at the summer that's gone by and realise just how great the past months were. My two-month-long holiday - which started in the final days of June in Memphis, Tennessee - went by so quickly that it seems like a distant, albeit amazing memory. In all of the whirlwind months in the sun, I lost track of time and neglected this blog, despite making a promise to myself to get back to regularly uploading posts. But when it comes down to it, there is, in my opinion, no better way to refresh my blog than with a picture-post (and short video) documenting my favourite part of my summer: the two-week Caribbean cruise that wrapped up my travels.

I've been on around 15 cruises in the twelve years since I took my first one, but this one made a case for being my favourite. The Carnival Magic lived up to the name and was enchanting the entire fourteen days that my family and Steven's family were aboard her. It's a been quite some time since I have taken a two-week cruise and despite being a frequent (and long-time) cruiser, there were still some ports on the itinerary I had yet to visit which made it exciting for everyone in our group.

To add to the fun, I celebrated my eighteenth birthday mid-way through the two weeks. At the stroke of midnight the entire bar sang me "Happy Birthday", the chorus lead by the bartenders behind the counter. Then on the way back to the cabin, I was approached by the cruise director, Good Reverend Dr. E (whom my family has become close with over past cruises) who had remembered to wish me a happy birthday. Those are just two of the ways that Carnival crew members go above and beyond to make a cruise special for you, which is why my family keep coming back to the same cruise line over and over again after all these years. Carnival doesn't just treat you like guests; they treat you like family, which makes the line so beloved to my family.

Over the course of the two weeks, Steven and I worked together to collect as many videos of our memories as we could, using a GoPro for a large portion of it. Now that summer has come to an end, I've put little bits of our film footage into a short video for a keepsake of our travels to share with friends, family and all of you. It was a tremendously exciting and adventurous two weeks, and I hope to be able to cruise again soon!

https://youtu.be/bHXX-Gr3EIw

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

Good morning everyone! After spending the day yesterday decorating my house to reflect my Christmas spirit and watching all three of Tim Allen's Santa Clause films, I am in a very festive mood and decided to share my wonderful day - through photographs - with all of you!

I love Christmas time. It's such a lovely time of year, with the snow falling and fire crackling and baked sweets galore. And decorating is definitely the best part of the whole season. I love putting up the tree and looking through all our decorations. Now, though I love the look of trees with a specific colour scheme of ornaments, I prefer when the ornaments are more personal and somewhat of an organized mess of colours. Some of my favourite ornaments on my tree are red ones that say my family's names on them, an ornament of a reindeer couple with mine and my boyfriend's names on it, and a snowman with a photograph of my family when I was first born. I think having personal ornaments on the tree just makes the whole atmosphere mean more to the individual, despite how messy it may look!

I hope all of you are enjoying the start of the Christmas season. And if you don't celebrate Christmas, I hope you're enjoying a nice cup of cocoa :)

Exploring McMaster University

Happy Saturday, everybody! I'm not sure how the weather is worldwide as of today, though I do know for certain that here in Southern Ontario the weather is quite poor today. Especially in Hamilton, where I spent my morning and early afternoon.

Currently, I am just about to hit the point of my senior year where I begin applying to universities then spending the subsequent months crossing my fingers and praying to receive acceptance letters. Before I start applying, however, I thought it might be best to get an idea of what I'm getting myself into. By that I mean attending the Fall Preview for my top university choice: McMaster University.

I've been on a constant back and forth, up and down rollercoaster when it comes to my program of interest. I started with Creative Writing, then realized how unrealistic it is to become the next J.K. Rowling meanwhile having no job to support me. Then I switched over to Journalism and later changed my mind. I also went through English, History and Child & Youth Care, before settling on my current choice: Psychology. And out of every school, McMaster's Social Science faculty has reigned superior to me.

I travelled out to McMaster early this morning, with my parents, my boyfriend and his parents. Coincidently enough, McMaster is also my boyfriend's first choice, instead for him it's Life Sciences. After parking in the visitor's lot and taking a school bus - yup, a big yellow one - to the heart of campus, our day began.

We started at McMaster University Student Centre, where we met up with a lovely British woman in her fourth year at Mac who led a group of us through a 45-minute campus tour. It was absolutely pouring rain as we did the mostly outdoor tour though all we could do was grin and bear it. Despite the dreary weather, I was excited and eager to learn about the campus. She took us inside the Life Sciences building, past the construction site which will soon be home to the L.R. Wilson Hall - the new Liberal Arts/Social Sciences building - and inside one of the libraries as well as the on-campus athletic centre.

Afterwards, my parents and I left my boyfriend - who headed to one of the residency tours - and we went to Gilmour Hall for an information session on the Social Sciences faculty. Also around 45-minutes long, it was so informative and really helped me to get a better idea of what each program really can offer. I also learned of some really incredible opportunities such as the interdisciplinary programs - meaning combining different programs to create one completely unique to your own interests and career goals - and the paid internships they offer to help give you experience before you graduate.

They also spoke about a particular research program they are doing for the Social Sciences faculty which sparked my interest. Dogs at Mac is a program where the bond between humans and animals, and the canine's affect on humans during stressful situations is examined. This is done by using three trained therapy dogs - Lily, Liam, and Scout - to release tension due to coursework and exams in students. I absolutely love dogs and this program sold me on McMaster haha

Afterwards, my boyfriend was at an information session for Life Sciences so my parents and I headed to Starbucks. As you do. We ended up sitting down for about 20-minutes, chatting about the school and my program. I ultimately have decided I want to integrate Social Psychology and Social Work, to form my ideal program. Once I'd finished my White Chocolate Mocha & croissant, we went to the info booths for Social Psych and Social Work, plus the Financial Aid and I also got to meet Lily, one of the therapy dogs, who was the sweetest little thing ever.

We ended our day at the Campus Store. Wow. It's huge and full of incredible little goodies. I was in McMaster merch heaven. My boyfriend's family and mine regrouped and headed out, but not before I bought myself a super cute maroon (their school colour) McMaster t-shirt.

After today, I feel like a huge weight of uncertainty and stress about what to expect for university has been lifted. Now, I'm just super excited to get on with this part of my life and start applying!!

If anyone goes to McMaster or knows someone who goes there or just is applying to any other university, leave me a comment and let me know how it's going! Hope everyone has an incredible rest of their weekend :)

Felicia x