Jams for your first week back at school

The night is young, the music is loud, and before you know it, we’ll be meeting up at Con Hall

Jams for your first week back at school

Do you have that one go-to track you play almost every night? I do! Call me old school but nothing gets me dancing like a dig in the dancing queen, and nothing ever will.

Your first week of school can be bittersweet — mine usually is. While you’re happy to reunite with your friends, you reminisce about waking up late and the few responsibilities that come with the summer season.

September has creeped up on us, so you should listen to this playlist in an attempt to commemorate your summer memories.

These popular tracks are perfect for your first week back at school. The night is young, the music is loud and before you know it we’ll be meeting up at Con Hall.

“Freaky Friday” by Lil Dicky featuring Chris Brown, 2018

This is a really a hit or miss kind of song, but for me, it’s definitely a hit. Sometimes a tune is more than enough to get grooving. A little bit of base, a little bit of pop and a whole lot of rhythm. Not to mention, the music video is hilarious!

“Partition” by Beyoncé, 2013

We all need at least one Queen B song in our playlist and here is one of my favorites! Beyoncé’s nonchalantly flawless, untouchable vocals in sync with a mood changing rhythm definitely makes this a top favourite on my playlist.

“Girls Like You” by Maroon 5 featuring Cardi B, 2018

Your new inspiration is here and it comes with a sweet touch of Adam Levine’s voice! And once again, here he is with a song that I just can’t get out of my head.

“In My Feelings” by Drake, 2018

It’s only one of the most played songs of the summer. Literally. Yet somehow I’m not sick of it and so I’d rather have a song that makes me skip a step over one that makes me fall asleep before a three hour lecture.

“Shotgun” by George Ezra, 2018

Imagine your windows rolled down, the blazing sun and cool pop riding shotgun to your favorite beats. Oh, and on blasting volume of course. Here is a favorite that I play every time, and cheesy but true – most definitely when I win shotgun. You ride shotgun to class, no?

“No Brainer” by DJ Khaled featuring Justin Bieber, Chance The Rapper, Quavo, 2018

The “I’m The One” team is back with yet another one! What a reunion! It’s a no brainer that this song will keep you good company on your long walks to class.

“Level Up” by Ciara, 2018

Talk about one of the most viral and popular songs of the season! This already has me levelled up in my seat and I’m sitting on my couch still in my PJs. Need the perfect wake-up call after eight hours of class a day? Here’s one!

“1, 2, 3” by Sofia Reyes featuring Jason Derulo, De La Ghetto, 2018

I forgot all the Spanish I learned in high school until this beat came on, so it only seems right to have it back a few hours before class starts! It’s perfect for the first week back playlist.

“Capital Letters” by Hailee Steinfeld, BloodPop®, 2018

A packed social calendar in the summer calls for a night out every day. The semester, unfortunately, doesn’t bring us this luck. So here is a track for your first weekend back, a club ready, rushing pop, and smooth song for your playlist. Whether you’re dancing at a nightclub or in your PJs before bed — this is a mood changer!

“Dancing Queen” by Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again cast, 2018

This is a cover of a 1975 ABBA song. You know what they say: save the best for the last. You didn’t think I’d leave this out, did you? Summer is never complete without a little bit of “Dancing Queen”; words don’t do justice to this masterpiece. In lieu of a throwback to the 1970s, here is a Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again version of your favorite “Dancing Queen”! The first week of school may bring assignments, but with this song, at least you’ll be in a good mood when you write it.

When you can’t make it to the drive-in, the sofa is a great place to spend a lazy summer evening

A perfect movie for capturing every summer vibe

When you can’t make it to the drive-in, the sofa is a great place to spend a lazy summer evening

Here’s a list of movies for all your summer watching needs.

For beach vibes: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Honourable mention: The Descendants

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is set in balmy Hawaii, amid palm trees and dreamy ocean waves. Between Kristen Bell in a pink bikini and Mila Kunis with a white tropical flower tucked behind her ear, this movie is sure to make you wish you could leave city life behind to join the characters in a warm haze of sand, cocktails, and bathing suits. Also, Paul Rudd as a surf instructor is officially my summer chillness guru.

For thriller vibes: Jaws

Honourable mention: I Know What You Did Last Summer

Famously featuring a great white shark devastating unwitting beachgoers, this movie is ideal for those of us who want to both get in the summer spirit and are in the mood for mystery and suspense. With its marvellously tense soundtrack mingled with a summer resort aesthetic, Jaws is a great way to add a surreal creepiness to an otherwise tranquil summer day.

For romance vibes: Call Me by Your Name

Honourable mention: (500) Days of Summer

Set in the small town of Crema in northern Italy, this movie is a delicious exploration of the ups and downs of summer love. Call Me by Your Name captures the salacious heat of summertime lust, the playfulness of a fast-paced friendship, and the excitement of pursuing someone forbidden. You can witness the blissful sensuality of falling in love against a technicolour backdrop of tall grasses and shaded ponds. It also isn’t a real summer romance film unless there’s a strange sex scene involving fruit, and Call Me by Your Name certainly delivers on that front.  

For innocent Disney vibes: Moana

Honourable mention: Lilo and Stitch

It’s an animated movie about a strong young woman embracing her passion for the ocean by defying the confining boundaries of her island — you can’t watch it without developing an unshakeable desire for adventure. Featuring a dazzling but deadly crab, a beautiful grass-covered goddess who finds her heart, and songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda at his finest — Moana inspires you to take the voyage across the ocean — whatever your own metaphorical ocean may be.

For horror vibes: It

Honourable mention: Friday the 13th

This coming-of-age movie about finding friendship during a time of adversity is often punctuated by characters groaning that it’s summer break, a time for relaxing and having fun, not fighting monsters. It is perfect for those of us who disagree and think the whole point of summer break is fighting monsters.   

For showbiz glam vibes: Almost Famous

Honourable mention: La La Land

If summer is the time when you repress all the biology facts you’ve been cramming in your brain and return to your childhood fantasies of living a rock-and-roll lifestyle, this is the movie for cultivating your delusions. Almost Famous is about a young hopeful journalist on the road with a bus full of washed-up rockstars and glamorous groupies — the summer road trip of your dreams.

For childhood nostalgia vibes: High School Musical 2

Honourable mention: The Parent Trap

This movie asks “what time is it?” for us to all yell back, in perfect unison, “SUMMERTIME!” High School Musical 2 has a song for every summer scenario: summer job doldrums, perfecting that fabulous poolside aesthetic, the inevitable breakup after a summer romance fizzles, angsty soul searching on the golf course, and, for some reason, a “pineapple princess” pining after a fish with a long, complicated Hawaiian name.

For ‘80s classics vibes: Dirty Dancing

Honourable mention: National Lampoon’s Vacation

With its iconic soundtrack and killer dance numbers, this movie will make you long for those days of family vacations. Except this time, instead of wasting your holiday sunbathing and begging your older sister to sneak you mojitos from the bar, you could be falling in love with the resort’s dance instructor to the tune of your favourite ‘80s pop songs.

For teenage revelry vibes: Meatballs

Honourable mention: American Pie 2

If summer makes you nostalgic for high school (shudder), then you probably spent your teenage years partying at your friend’s beach house, or drunkenly singing songs around a bonfire. Meatballs, however, will make you wish you had spent your summers as a camp counsellor — the main duties of which are apparently playing pranks and scoring chicks. This film will make you pine for the semi-innocence of those blissful teenaged summers.

For musical vibes: Mamma Mia

Honourable mention: Grease

Amanda Seyfried’s character is a makeup-free, beachy-haired goddess who always has a bathing suit on underneath her white summery blouse, in case she needs to frantically chase after a retreating boat. Spoiler: she does. She lives on a fictional Greek island called “Kalokairi” that is essentially a slice of heaven. The crystalline ocean and Mediterranean architecture of the island would also make me want to periodically burst into song. To me, the soundtrack to this movie is the soundtrack of summer.

A love letter to Pride

A reminder that regardless of how far we have come, there is still more that needs to be done

A love letter to Pride

There are few places where one can strip themselves of any veil and express the unadulterated version of themself. Throughout the years, Pride has become one of these safe havens.

Pride highlights the LGBTQ+ community in all of its glory. The carnivalesque themes and harlequin atmosphere project and celebrate the years spent hiding from oppression and fighting for basic rights the right to love, to express, and to simply be.

LGBTQ+ individuals fight, whether in public or private, to be a part of the fabric that creates and connects societies worldwide. Pride allows members of the LGBTQ+ community to defend their feelings, protect their right to resist social stigma, and promote the rich diversity that defines the community.

There is a fearlessness to Pride, backed by a history infused with tenacity and courage, that leaves me in awe. June 16, 2017 was the first time I attended the Pride parade. People of every age, shape, and ethnicity filled the streets. The crowd was as polychromatic as the flags that they carried, and the atmosphere was filled with glitter and charged with ecstasy.

Amidst the bombastic music and vivid rainbows, all I saw was the unreserved emotion — the wide smiles that make eyes gleam, and the tears running down faces, filled with nostalgia and joy.  Coming from a country like Pakistan, where many aspects of society are censored, I had never had the privilege of experiencing something like this before.

I have always been a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, possibly even before I understood how sexuality and gender are constructed in our world, but in those moments at Pride, a newfound appreciation for the movement grew in me.

The spectacle of ‘come as you are’ is terrifying for most people, myself included. We fall into a façade that we feel will be accepted, rather than letting the world adjust to accommodate, or simply accept, us.

Although I have experienced discrimination as a Muslim woman of colour, I also identify as cisgender. I cannot claim to completely understand the struggle of being constantly mislabeled by heteronormative culture, as I have never had to justify who I’m attracted to or the identity that I adopt.

But as I marched alongside all the supporters who had come out to celebrate Pride, I realized that this community has every right to be heard. A flicker of hope sparked in my heart that one day people in my country could do the same.

Freedom of expression is a relative term in Pakistan, but so are all the other freedoms that we take for granted in the West. Pakistan is a country submerged in years of turmoil and deluded by biased religiosity. There is a lack of free will, despite citizens being charming and humble. Even social activists are often afraid to advocate for the inclusivity of various sexualities, genders, and identities.

The monochromatic city walls retain the stories of people who are desperate, but afraid, to be themselves without discrimination. I have seen my friends struggle because we come from a society laced with conservatism, which leaves them unable to live their truths.

Narrow-mindedness bred through education paves a predetermined path for every generation, before its members even realize who they are or who they love. People have to think twice before touching, and the simple act of interlocking fingers turns into hushed shadows. They begin to live in the darkness — secretly existing, but never really seen. Where I am from, this is all too often the narrative of the LGBTQ+ community.

Standing at Pride, I wanted more for my country. I wanted ruffled feathers, ostentatious costumes, hopeful slogans, and liberation. It was all right in front of me people reveling in the light as they walked through the streets of Toronto.

For me, that felt like the importance of Pride. It is not just a celebration, but a remembrance of the journey that led to these moments and the road moving forward. That is, a road for further inclusivity that dispels the latent bigotry and gives rise to equity.

While the West has made strides, there is still a vast amount of LGBTQ+ culture that needs to be taught and mainstreamed. It goes beyond a day or a month — paradigms need to be shifted worldwide.

The LGBTQ+ community has always faced adversity with love and resilience, from Stonewall to the fight for transgender rights. Members and supporters of the LGBTQ+ community keep marching to retain the rights given to them, with the hope that we can spark change in a countries where these rights do not yet exist.

This year, Pride encompassed not only the vibrant festivities, but also highlighted the violence that has recently struck the community. Pride serves as a reminder that regardless of how far we have come, there is still so much that needs to be done.

Rather than touting what I have done for the LGBTQ+ community which is little in comparison to what the community has taught me this is my love letter to Pride.  

Top 3 activities to do in Toronto this summer

Twenty degrees, a mild breeze, and Insta-worthy pics — summer in the Six has never looked better

Top 3 activities to do in Toronto this summer

Being a student in the city can be costly, which is why we’ve found three things you can do this summer in Toronto that are both fun and free. 

Miami meets Monaco in downtown’s very own Harbourfront. Where the yachts and water meet the horizon, Toronto’s Harbourfront has one of the most beautiful sceneries this city has to offer. While the Harbourfront is perfect for a pleasant yacht trip, those living on a student budget can enjoy a beautiful summer afternoon here too.

Upon arrival, you will find yourself surrounded by water vehicles of all kinds, from speed boats and sailboats, to yachts and cruises. Following Lake Ontario’s shoreline, the boardwalk is a great place to walk while seeing all the boats, both parked and coasting. Walking further to the west down the shoreline, you can enjoy the sand between your toes, as well as the beautiful view of boats sailing across the water.

Where is this sand you speak of? If you walk far enough along the coast, you will reach Lake Shore Boulevard West and Toronto’s Waterfront. Here, you will find even more boats, but also sand, bikes, and walking trails perfect for those who want to get fit in the great outdoors. 

If you want to feel like you’re in the streets of Europe, check out the Distillery District.

Located in a little pocket of east downtown, the area is known for its cobblestone laneways. At the heart of the District is the romantic love lock sign where visitors are invited to secure their feelings under lock and key. Reminiscent of the Pont Des Arts ‘Love Lock’ Bridge in Paris, the Distillery District provides students with a taste of Parisian romance.

For a little taste of Japan, the famously beautiful cherry blossoms are back for another round. They can be enjoyed for free at  High Park, U of T’s Robarts Library, and Trinity Bellwoods Park amongst other locations across the GTA. These flowers only bloom once a year, so keep your eyes peeled for their bright colours. 

Toronto is such a diverse and vibrant city, and you can enjoy its many perks without breaking the bank. If you’re lucky, you’ll also get that perfect Instagram photo!

A collection of upbeat and chill tunes to delve into before class starts in the fall

There’s no time for summertime sadness when the sun is shining and your playlist is on shuffle

A collection of upbeat and chill tunes to delve into before class starts in the fall

While words can be used to describe summer, I feel that they don’t do it much justice. More than any other season, summer just feels like a collection of random anecdotes strewn together in some slurred slideshow with the speed setting turned on way too high.

In an effort to add to your own personal summer slideshow, this playlist provides, along with some surefire bops, a collection of experiences for your amusement and exploration. So get out there! Enjoy the season! We’ll be back in class before we blink.

“Boyfriend” by COIN, 2017

As this song plays, imagine you’re somewhere, dancing your heart out, out of breath, muscles aching, playing the air guitar — and drums! — and being absolutely reckless in love. As the chorus comes, you scream it triumphantly, but honestly, you couldn’t care less because you’re having the time of your life!

“No Missy” by c a n d i d !, 2018

Close your eyes and imagine the falling action-to-resolution transition of every romantic story in existence. If, when you listen to this song, you aren’t immediately transported outside someone’s window with a boombox or driving miles throughout the night to be with your unrequited love, replay the song but this time lying sprawled across the floor. Angst and/or Weltschmerz recommended.

“Daft Pretty Boys” by Bad Suns, 2016

Fair warning, when this song comes on, its funky beats will implore you to wear circular sunglasses and bop your head with reckless abandon. If your willpower can surpass even that, you will have to fight the mental image of yourself catching sight of an absolute gem at a party, going in for the kill, and realizing as you talk that they’ve got the personality of a rock. C’est la vie, mon amie!

“Lovely Day” by Bill Withers, 1977

This classic sounds the way that sunlight on your face and a nice, chilled glass of insert-summer-liquid-of-choice tastes on a warm summer’s day. It musters up feelings of just waking up after deciding that there’s nothing more to do aside from enjoying that you simply exist. Skip down the street nonchalantly and try to tell me these beats don’t just crack your battle-hardened university facade.

“Stars and Galaxies” by Carver Commodore, 2017

You are now camping, young one. The fire beside you is dying down as the smell of s’mores wafts through the air, faint smoke providing a fine silk screen between you and the glory of space and time itself. As the colors of the Milky Way wash over you, a feeling of ecstasy can’t help but spread throughout you, the stars winking back in similar appreciation of your solid mug.

“Perspective (Interlude)” by Burns Twins, 2016

You and your friends are walking from one place to another with a mischievous zeal and only enough money for a large fries between you all. The day is a little chilly, but despite the hunger and weather, you’re doing just fine. Remember, the real journey was the friends we made along the way!

“Where the Sky Hangs” by Passion Pit, 2015

I don’t know where you got that ’80s perm, but it’s now bouncing to the synth-pop beat of this jam as your head and shoulder pads follow suit. Imagine yourself performing synchronized snapping to the beat next to a pool, while a group of you pretend to want to swim in its chlorinated glory, its reflection providing great lighting for a picture by the tables.

“Rich Girl” by Hall and Oates, 1976

I triple-dog-dare you to not get up and dance to this slapper. As this plays, hark back to laying down, miserably searching for jobs on the internet while you fill out the same form seven times and lie about your job experience. What other song can provide you a feeling of fulfillment and ask its listener to call into question the ethics of sugar babying?

“What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes, 1992

You are now a royal-to-be on the top of a mountain, looking down onto the valleys below with grace and dignity. Yet, your family’s imposition of royal duties weighs on you, and you must scream to the high heavens your misfortunes. A single tear rolls down your cheek as you ask the world in its entirety, ‘HEY, what’s GOING ON?!’

“Everything is Salted Caramel” by Exam Season, 2017

You’re doing your absolutely favorite thing in the world as a ray of sunlight comes through and shines directly onto you. The monotony of summer can weigh on you, but everything will be just fine. Life might get you down, but not to worry; ‘everything has to be sweet and salty’, young one.