Grow Up with Gap Years

Photo provided by Marissa Bryans

Photo provided by Marissa Bryans

I’ve always been obsessed with the idea of mountains. In high school, I researched colleges in British Columbia, and fantasized about doing homework on a balcony, sipping tea, and enjoying the gorgeous view. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any writing programs out west that fit my needs, so I applied to Algonquin and accepted that I’d be stuck in Ottawa.
Pretty quickly, I became frustrated at myself as a writer because I felt that I didn’t have experiences to write about. I still felt like a suburban teenager who wasn’t ready for the next steps toward a career.
With this existential crisis in by back pocket, I dropped out of college and signed up for a temporary employment program in Alberta. Before long, I was cleaning hotel rooms in St. Albert, a small town right outside Edmonton. This was a lot of fun, but I still needed mountains. After a few months in St. Albert, I decided to move to Calgary. This posed as a challenge because I would have to find a new job and a place to live, all in a city that I had never experienced.
I looked for rooms on Kijiji and secured a place before buying an overnight bus ticket to get me there.
On Halloween night, I took the Greyhound and I was terrified by more than just the costumes. This was it, I was entirely alone. I had no idea what to expect.
I arrived at my new home early in the morning, and put my bags in my windowless room. I started to change into some nice clothes for applying to jobs, but before I could choose an outfit, I flopped onto the mattress on the floor and just cried uncontrollably. I finally got myself together and took my resume to the malls in my area after getting lost on the buses. I applied to every store and got a job within a week. So far, everything was working out.

I got to travel around Alberta and British Columbia, and it was incredible. 
It didn’t take long for the anxiety to return though. After a few months, my job had less hours to give, so I was only working 20 hours a week and I had landlords steal from my deposits. I had no money. I spent all my time seeking new jobs and selling all of my old clothes and books. I eventually got a second job as a barista and was able to put enough money away to move back to Ottawa and come back to school
My experiences in Calgary were often terrifying, but I learned so much. I grew-up more quickly in a year than I did in my whole life, and finally felt that I was an adult and that I was ready for college. I would recommend gap-years to many high-schoolers because putting yourself in uncomfortable and unknown situations will teach you things that a classroom never can.


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Marissa Bryans is a witty vegan who likes to question the rules of life. She uses humour to point out behaviours that shouldn't be dogmatically followed and hopes to make you think about new ways to live your life. 

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Marissa Bryans

Marissa Bryans is a witty vegan who likes to question the rules of life. She uses humour to point out behaviours that shouldn't be dogmatically followed and hopes to make you think about new ways to live your life. 

Hypnosis: Fake Party Trick or Powerful Alternative Medicine?

Take a deep breath and relax your body.

You're feeling sleepy; very sleepy.

When I count to three, you’ll learn about hypnosis and its benefits.

One...

Two...

Three.

Photo courtesy of unsplash.com

Photo courtesy of unsplash.com

What the heck is it?

Have you ever been mowing the lawn or washing the dishes, completely unaware of your surroundings, only to look up fifteen minutes later with no memory of what happened?

Congratulations, you’ve experienced hypnosis.

Similar to the effects of meditation, hypnotic states block out external stimuli and conscious thought and focus on the subconscious. While in this trance, subjects are extremely suggestible, relaxed, uninhibited and imaginative. Hypnotists (people who hypnotize subjects for a living, typically as a comedic act) can take advantage of this suggestible and uninhibited state, which is why even shy adults will do the funky-chicken on stage in front of their colleagues. However, in order for hypnosis to work, the subject must be fully willing to be hypnotized. Subjects are aware that the feelings and sensations they’re experiencing are imaginary and have the ability to resist the hypnotist's suggestions if they want to.

Photo courtesy of unsplash.com

Photo courtesy of unsplash.com

How can we use this power for good?

Hypnosis has been around for centuries, but scientists didn’t begin studying its potential as a treatment until the 1700s. Today, hypnotherapy is considered a legitimate way to to treat all kinds of things, such as: mental illness, bad habits or physical pain.

Hypnotherapy uses a hypnotic trance to treat underlying psychological issues that are trapped in the subconscious. Much like traditional therapy, it gets to the unconscious issue that informs a person’s negative habits, and attempts to treat that issue directly.

The benefit of hypnotherapy is that while their patients are in a hypnotic trance, the hypnotherapist can replace these negative beliefs or issues with positive ones, so the patient's entire subconscious is altered. Hypnotherapy has been used to treat anxiety, depression and addiction, and it has also helped people with physical problems like quitting smoking and losing weight. Some people have even said it has positive effects for childbirth by helping the delivery and recovery time go faster and making the mother feel more calm and confident.

Unfortunately, scientists don’t know exactly how hypnosis works in the same way we don’t know exactly how the human mind works. All we know for sure is hypnosis can be far more powerful than a cool party trick.

Now, when I count to one you will like and share this post with your friends.

Three…

Two…

One.

For more information, check out the links below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWMYNTnoEyQ
http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/news/a31332/what-its-really-like-to-have-a-hypnobirth/


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A conventional girl on an unconventional blog, Sophie’s been curious about alternate lifestyles since she first stumbled across an episode of Oprah exploring polygamy. A second year Professional Writing student at Algonquin College, Sophie loves reading, writing, and learning about different people and cultures.

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Sophie Gervais

A conventional girl on an unconventional blog, Sophie’s been curious about alternate lifestyles since she first stumbled across an episode of Oprah exploring polygamy. A second-year Professional Writing student at Algonquin College, Sophie loves reading, writing, and learning about different people and cultures.

Fighting over Nothing

If you look through forums about minimalism, one thing you'll often see in the comment section is people arguing about what the definition of minimalism should be. There’ll be a discussion about a song, a book cover, a piece of modern art and someone’ll say it:

“This isn’t minimalism.”
“Dude, you couldn’t even clean your place before taking the photo?”
“I don’t understand the appeal of minimalism these days. We’re supposed to get rid of all our stuff and live in a cardboard box now?”

And thus, the argument begins.

Photo courtesy of stocksnap.io

On one hand, you have the die-hards. They live in their car or their van, they don’t have the latest iPhone. They bus to work or they don’t work at all. When they come to visit you for the week, their entire existence fits in a backpack or a duffel bag, and when you hand them a blanket, they don’t use it. They sleep under the stars.

And then there are the ‘casual’ fans of minimalism. They might like the idea of an art style based on solid colours, bold lines and efficient use of space, but their room is a mess. People tell them their basement is full of ‘junk’.

What we have is a modern-day hippie crisis on our hands. There’s a civil war between people that like different flavours of the same philosophy and nobody’s wrong.

Here’s a case study: one of these individuals makes a Reddit post. It’s a view of their bedroom, and the only items in the room are their bed, their computer desk, laptop, mouse, keyboard and a few other items. We'll say figurines. The floors are spotless.

To some, the figurines are the make or break. They’ll say: “If this was my room, I’d get rid of them. It’s an expensive hobby and I want the shelf space for something else.”

This is where you have to make a decision. Minimalism is more than a dictionary definition. It’s about asking yourself the right questions. Can I save a few bucks if I buy in bulk? If I move some stuff around in my dad’s garage, will he have more space for his tools? My room isn’t very friendly or inviting, and it’s not a great study spot. Can I change that somehow?

Personally, I’d get rid of the figurines. They’re not me. I’d probably put some books on the shelf, and if you disagree with that – if you disagree with both – that’s totally fine.

Do what’s best for you.

And remember, it’s called minimalism for a reason. Don’t sweat it so much.


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Colin Baines is a sloth masquerading as a human being in Algonquin College's two-year professional writing program. He eats a lot of vegetables, tries not to swear during class, doesn't own a phone and will often write articles loosely based on minimalism, nature, fitness, film, art, music, etc.

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Colin Baines

Colin Baines is a sloth masquerading as a human being in Algonquin College's two-year professional writing program. He eats a lot of vegetables, tries not to swear during class, doesn't own a phone and will often write articles loosely based on minimalism, nature, fitness, film, art, music, etc.