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Super Chill Coffee Shops To Study At

Tired of always doing your homework in the saaaaame spot? If you’re feeling like the answer is “YES”, it’s time to ditch your typical digs and grab a change of scenery by hitting one of our fave coffee shops! Diversifying your study station makes studying a little more new and exciting and is one of the best ways to keep motivated. Tasty snacks? Check! Fancy drinks? Check! Chill vibes? Check! These five local coffee shops will keep your thirst quenched and your brain fueled!

  1. Istanbul Café

Located right at Eglinton & Redpath (right near you NSS kids!), Instanbul Café transports you straight to the super chill Middle East with its décor, traditional Turkish food and coffee. Creating a warm and cozy atmosphere for its customers, this space will make you feel totally at home without actually being AT home. Comfy chairs, big tables, and a laptop friendly environment, this is one of our fave coffee shops to study at!

  1. Boxcar Social (Summerhill)

Conveniently located right outside the Summerhill subway station, Boxcar Social is super-easy to access even if you’re not within walking distance. The interior’s rustic vibes make the space feel lived in and comfortable. Fitted with an upstairs, this shop has ample seating, making it easy for you to study with or without your squad!

  1. Crosstown Coffee Bar

A hidden gem off of Eglinton near Avenue road, Crosstown Coffee Bar is simply adorable. The shop’s comfy window seat receives tons of natural light that will definitely make your study sesh pleasantly bright. The shop’s three c’s – cookies, coffee and cuteness - make this tiny shop one to visit sometime soon!

  1. Rachel’s Coffee House

On Yonge street just steps away from Davisville station, Rachel's Coffee House is another cozy coffee shop that you should definitely check out! Equipped with coffee and snacks of all kinds, this shop will keep you well-nourished while you’re cozying up in their ultra-comfy armchairs.

  1. De Mello Palheta Coffee Roasters

Located just down the street from TMG, this is the perfect place to kill some time studying before or after your tutoring sesh. Walls covered in artsy murals, this spot is super-hipster but like, not in a bad way:) All of their pastries made in house, De Mello Palheta Coffee Roasters has some seriously yummy (and healthy!) snack options to fuel your homework session!

 

SUPER Study Spaces

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With exam season around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about strategies you can implement into your study routine to help you ace those finals. Sometimes a lot more is needed than just a desk with some pencils and paper. Being in a space that is comfortable, but conducive to studying will help you work more efficiently, while also keeping you chilled out and focused. Below we’ve listed some key things you should look for in a good study space. IMG_0696

1. Good Lighting

How are you going to study if you can’t read your textbook?! A well-lit space is so important if you want to avoid straining your eyes. Not only is it bad for them, but it’s usually the cause of that horrible study headache we’ve all experienced. If you’re studying at your desk, make sure you have a good desk lamp and position it in the top left corner so the light falls in the same direction that you read. If you’re at a coffee shop or library try to snag a spot next to a window so you can take in as much natural daylight as possible!

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2. Comfy Chair

As far as we know, no one’s ever studied on a stool and lasted more than 20 minutes. Comfort is key when studying and you want to make sure your back is being well supported so you don’t get any painful aches! However, if you’re sitting on something too plushy, like a couch, you might find yourself fighting the urge to doze off. Try and find a chair that keeps you upright, has a comfortable seat and a solid backrest.

IMG_07003. Minimal Noise

This one may be controversial, but we do recommend you don’t try and memorize your biology terminology with hard core hip hop blasting. Although lots of students find that studying with music in the background helps them focus, make sure you aren’t getting distracted by singing along. Instrumental music sometimes actually helps - try electro, or even some classical. Although coffee shops are great places to study, sometimes they can be a little too noisy. Try and scope out spots where you know the music and the atmosphere are chilled out enough that you’ll be able to focus.

IMG_07014. Brain Food

Nothing builds up an appetite like a long study sesh. If you find your energy has started to dip but you’re determined to finish that last problem set, grabbing a quick (and HEALTHY) snack will re-energize you so you can push on. Nuts and granola are a great option, as are crackers with hummus or cheese. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, try out these healthy energy balls that are packed with protein but have a hint of chocolate. We are of course also in favour of sitting down with a soothing cup of tea, and replenishing as often as you like!unnamed5. No Distractions

GUYS. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat will not disappear forever if you don’t check them every 10 minutes. Put your phone out of sight - we suggest leaving it in a different room altogether, preferably one in which you have to climb 2 flights of stairs to get to ;) You know even if you tell yourself you’ll only scroll for 5 minutes, it’s easy to get wrapped into a cyber vortex and waste half an hour without even realizing it. If you really need your laptop or phone with you, download an app like Forest. It grows a virtual tree while you leave the work-related app you’re using open, but kills it once you leave - don’t be a tree killer!!

Feminism & Factoring: Our Fave F Words!

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In case you don't know yet, I am obsessed OBSESSED with media representations of women and math. That's my thing. The way that the media portrays women who enjoy math is, in my opinion, largely responsible for the lack of women who WANT (read: do not want) to pursue math - and that needs to be changed. I'm not the only one who feels this way, and hey, the way the media portrays women in general sucks sometimes. Just look at Mean Girls, the fan fave that teaches girls that in order to impress a guy that you need to totally dumb yourself down to the point of sacrificing academic success! Well, this fab group may not be particularly focused on the portrayal of women and MATH, but are they zoomed in on the portrayal of women and intelligence? Hell yes! A group of amazing women have started a little something called "Drunk Feminist Films" and it's a super chill (and fun) way to dissect and diss films that portray women as anything other than fabulous.

The solution to the media's nonsense isn't necessarily to just bitch and cry. Why not "get tipsy while lovingly berating (movies) for (their) depictions of female passivity and disempowerment"?

Be a part of it all and help change the way we consume the messages the media feeds us: show up to Toronto's Revue Cinema tonight for a screen & shout of Bring it On! A-mazing.

xoxo

 

New Year, New (Smarter) You: this one's for the parents!

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Okay okay, so in 2015 you yelled, you cried, you threatened – and it didn’t REALLY work – did it? You vow that 2016 will be the year that your child takes ownership over school, but you need to make sure that happens without losing your sanity! I get it, and I've got ideas! I was on Global Television's morning show last week with my top three tips on how to help your child while helping yourself. I wanted to share those tips in written form, and add a few more to the list - so here I go!

1. Give your child the independence they crave. This isn’t as scary as it sounds – I promise! Your teenager wants to feel as though you trust them, and as though they’re independent – they crave it. Cut them a deal: if they can show you a study schedule (make them SHOW you) and stick to it, you’ll stop bugging them to study. Simple – you get to stop stressing, they get to do all the work – just like you always wanted! Make sure you come up with a concrete plan with timelines. They get to try their plan for two weeks, or until their next test or assignment is due. Once you see how they've done on that evaluation, you can decide whether the schedule is working or not! Oh, and make sure you check in with their teacher to see if their homework is being done - if their schedule is as tight as they profess, they should be getting everything done on time, and it should show in class!

2. Get connected.  As a parent, it’s important to use your resources (aka precious, precious TIME!) wisely. Stressing over your kid’s homework is a futile way to spend time – but using that time to connect with your child’s teachers = useful! Get to know each and every one of them and ask the following:

  1. How is my child currently doing?
  2. How can they improve (specifically)?
  3. How can I help you help them?

We're all busy, so if you can't find time to actually hit the classroom, send them an email. Teachers want to help, and they want your child to do well. Taking a few minutes to make the connection and to find out what their expectations are will let them know that you - and your child - really care!

3. Go Feng Shui.  Okay you don't have to like, totally go Feng Shui, but you should definitely consider creating a chill study zone in your home. Often kids find it hard to get in the groove because they don't have a designated space that triggers that study-vibe lurking within. Create a designated space to be used for schoolwork ONLY - and keep it that way!

4. Emphasize effort instead of grades.  Sometimes it feels like the only purpose of doing homework, doing well on tests, and spending countless hours studying, is to achieve some sort of benchmark. A student once asked me what the point was of putting in the amount of effort she did, if she didn't ultimately get the grade she wanted. I was totally shocked - and sort of really sad! Working hard in school not only builds character and work ethic - it turns your mind into a kaleidoscope of information that never existed before! Learning is amazing and learning HOW to learn is amazing. Just because your child's marks aren't skyrocketing, that doesn't mean that they aren't working hard and gaining something from the experience. Make sure you place importance on the process so that they feel confident and productive always!

5. Help your child set and achieve THEIR goals.  We spend so much time emphasizing our goals that we forget that our kids are little humans with dreams and aspirations of their own. It's not really that inspiring trying to reach goals set by someone ELSE. And that's why this is the best idea ever.

Think about it: it’s hard for kids to get motivated when it seems as though their life is an endless pile of work. School has a purpose, and that purpose is to ultimately place your child in a position to achieve their dreams. This is the perfect time to sit down with your child and have a heart to heart – get them to write down a list of goals, short and long term. Without pressure, talk to them about how they might achieve those goals. Getting focused in a casual way can be not only anxiety-reducing, but really inspiring! Plus, you can finally stop asking them WHAT THE HECK THEY PLAN TO DO WITH THEIR LIVES!

Got a tip on how to make 2016 the year your child does academically better without driving you nuts? Let us know - comment below!