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How to Achieve Work-Life Balance

Tips with Erin Co and Karen Chen

Have you ever found yourself scrambling to complete all the items on that seemingly endless to-do list? Feeling like you are on a hamster wheel, fighting for alone time or time to spend with friends?

What you feel is completely valid, and we have all been there at one point or another. Today, Erin Co, the VP of External Affairs, shares her best tips for work-life balance with us!

Erin Co, 2022-23 AMS VP External Affairs

1. Always make time for your hobbies

Set aside time for your passion projects, even if it is just 10 minutes of your day. This could range anything from reading a book, going on a walk (cherish this sunny weather), or even shopping at Aritzia (Erin’s personal fave)!

These little things really add to your overall quality of life!

Karen’s thoughts: other easy and affordable ideas for hobbies include

  • Journaling (starting a bullet journal if you are feeling creative) 
  • Going to the gym/going for runs 
  • Baking and trying out new recipes 
  • Brushing up on your cooking skills 
  • Content creation – whether it is starting a YouTube channel, working on a book with friends
  • Going around the city and taking scenery photos
  • Exploring new hikes and trails
  • Hit up the thrift stores in the city and find unique pieces 
  • Learn to code and put together your own website 
  • Volunteer for a cause you are passionate about around the city

2. Have a social support system

Erin feels lucky to be surrounded by a fantastic group of people who support her. They are always there to remind her to take time for herself, which is something we all need to hear every now and then.

Erin also appreciates her student staff, who work around the clock to not only get things done but to get things done well for students.

Ultimately, your struggles are never really your own, and other people are happy to take on the burden with you as you are willing for them! That being said, do not be afraid to reach out for help or a little extra assistance if needed.

Tip: The AMS offers Peer Support (operating September to April) where you can book a support session or even volunteer to help out! This is a free service for students, whenever you need a little extra support. For a list of resources available during the summer, check out this page on SASC’s website.

3. Setting boundaries with work

A trick Erin likes to employ in her personal life is to mark emails sent during the weekend or past office hours as unread if it is not pressing. Her rule of thumb is as long as nothing is burning down or strictly urgent, she will check it out to stay informed, but attend to it the next work day.

She even did this in her academic life, when if she had a midterm or a paper coming up, that took priority in her life. After the urgent matter was done, she would allocate time to reply to things, work on other assignments, and tend to everything else.

Karen’s thoughts: some other practices I do in my daily life include

  • Doing a batch reply for texts and notifications every couple of hours so I am not occupied on my phone all throughout the day 
  • Stop responding to emails after a certain time and on weekends – especially working in a job whose nature is sporadic or needs you to be on the clock all the time 
  • Allocate time to do certain things – whether it is hangouts, work projects, going to the gym, practically everything! If it is not down on the Notion calendar, it is likely to slip my mind – so I put everything in as soon as it is planned!

Conclusion

We hope you have a productive summer, but also remember to take time to rest! 

Open Letter to UBC on student concerns about returning to campus

Dear UBC Executives and the Board of Governors,

On behalf of the Alma Mater Society (AMS) of UBC, we are writing in regards to the health, safety, and well-being of the UBC Community as we return to campus this fall. On July 21st, 2021, the AMS Council unanimously passed a motion to call on the University of British Columbia to do more to ensure the safety and security of members of the UBC Community by mandating vaccinations in student residences and mandating masks in lecture halls.

According to the AMS Return to Campus Survey, to which 7933 UBC students (enrolled and incoming) responded, there is significant discomfort around the current messaging and measures being taken by the university. There is no doubt that the university is aligned with the Public Health Office (PHO). There is also no doubt that it is unacceptable for UBC, an institution that prides itself as a leader across the country, to only be doing the bare minimum in ensuring the safety and security of its students, staff, and faculty.

The student union, representing all 56,000+ undergraduate and graduate students, strongly believes that the University must do more than the bare minimum to ensure that we have a safe return to campus and that students feel comfortable attending UBC. The Alma Mater Society calls on the administration and the Board of Governors to address the concerns brought forth by the community through clear and comprehensive communication, mandating masks in lecture halls, and requiring vaccinations in student residences at UBC.

82% of students (with the knowledge that there are no mandatory vaccinations in Canada) would be in support of a policy to mandate vaccinations in student residences. As raised by us in previous correspondence, there is an increasing number of universities in North America that have mandated at least one dose of vaccination to be on campus, as well as, to reside in student residences (with exemptions). It is disappointing to see UBC fall behind as other Canadian institutions take the lead in this arena and implement extra measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their respective communities. UBC has shown exemplary leadership in the past by mandating masks on campus before the PHO mandate in 2020, and it is difficult to understand why the University is hesitant to show the kind of leadership that’s desired and needed by the community now. 60% of students have concerns about being exposed to COVID-19 in classrooms and lecture halls. With thousands of students coming back to campus who will be seated in packed lecture halls alongside hundreds of students, we ask that the University implement measures in those high-risk areas. This could be through a mask mandate in lecture halls, or other measures that the University deems will truly address the concerns of the UBC community.

UBC students are looking to their University’s leadership to go beyond the bare minimum by taking the extra measures of mandating vaccinations in student residences, mandating masks in lecture halls, and clearly addressing community concerns to ensure the place students call home feels safe enough to be their home. The reverberant message of the students we represent can no longer be ignored or dismissed by the University as it has been so far – this is an opportunity to demonstrate to students that the University’s leadership is genuine in their efforts to listen to and work for students.

Sincerely

Cole Evans
President, Alma Mater Society

Eshana Bhangu
VP Academic and University Affairs, Alma Mater Society

The Academic Experience Survey

Each year the AMS asks students to tell us what they like/dislike about UBC and their areas of stress. The Academic Experience Survey (AES) gives us a chance to take a pulse of the trends, concerns and desires of UBC students, and we use the results to inform our advocacy work the coming year.

The AES 2020 is set to launch mid-February. In the meantime take a read through the AES 2019 Summary Report.