My name is Lexie Gallant and I’m a happy human rep going into my fourth year at Dalhousie. I’m taking psych, French, and law/justice/society. My journey with schooling has always been slightly interesting. Elementary school was not great for me in terms of actual content that I managed to absorb. I vividly remember being put in groups that needed extra help with subjects like math and science. By the time I reached middle school, things were looking better. I started to blend in a bit, and by high school I was close to the top of my class in everything but math. I thought that the explanation for this shift was an increased interest in school, however, in eleventh grade chemistry, my teacher asked me a question that genuinely changed my entire worldview.
The first unit we had done in chem was theory based, I remember studying and doing well on the test. The next unit, on the other hand, was math based. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t wrap my head around the content. I studied for hours and performed poorly on the test. I stayed late after class that day to try and explain myself. I didn’t want him to think that I just stopped putting in effort halfway through the semester. Before I could even say anything to him, he asked me if I had ever heard of a condition called dyscalculia. I looked at him blankly, so he began to explain. He said that it’s like dyslexia, but math based. This was a very basic and slightly inaccurate definition of the term, but it was also my first time hearing that word spoken.
I got home that night and began frantically googling everything about this term. I was shocked; everything described me perfectly. Though it was scary to see something that could be different about me, it was also relieving, I finally had what I thought was an explanation for why I tried so hard, but sometimes just couldn’t succeed. I mentioned it to my parents, and they thought it would be worthwhile to get me tested. Finally, I had a diagnosis, and broke down crying when I was told. Everyone thought I was sad, but I didn’t know how to explain that I was just so relieved to understand what was different about me.
Since then, not much has changed. I still struggle with anything math-based along with other tasks related to this disability, such as judging speed or time. However, knowing that there is something different about me allows me to be more patient with myself. It has also helped me develop strategies for everyday life. For example, I work as a server and sometimes I must handle a lot of cash. Even though it is possible for me to make change at the table, I always let myself step away to a server station. That way I don’t have the anxiety of trying to do math in my head in front of other people. I know now that rushing to figure it out is more likely to lead to a mistake than taking the time to walk away is.
Though this learning disability affects me every day, it is so much easier to live life being patient with myself instead of just frustrated. University poses a lot of challenges for people with learning disabilities, including the lack of accountability and structure. Compared to high school, University gives you full freedom and when you struggle to learn and engage already, it can be hard to keep motivated. I’ve found that dedicating time to a planner and dedicating time to doing things other than school is what helps me. Yet, I’ve nowhere near figured it out completely. The only piece of advice I would give, is to continue trying to find something that motivates you as an individual. And remember, you can’t always see what someone is struggling with, so just be kind!
Hello there! My name is Sare Yorukoglu, and I am a part of the Happy Human Project team this year as a representative. I will be completing my fourth year in BSc Psychology with a certificate program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This past year, I got diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder. As clueless as I was, COVID-19 has given me the chance to learn more about myself. Therefore, for those who might feel a little lost, I would like to share a story of how anxiety has impacted my life as an international student.
I come from a coastal city in Turkey called Antalya. It is a lovely place to go for vacation during summer as the weather is always warm here! When I was 15, my high school introduced me to Nova Scotia International Student Program. I was super invested in the idea of going abroad and learning about Canadian culture. After writing exams and taking part in interviews, I got selected for the program. In a chaotic process, I packed all my stuff (especially winter clothes) to travel to
Windsor, Nova Scotia. I was assigned to stay with a lovely host family for a year and attend grade 10 in a local high school.
During the experience I had in a year, I got the chance to meet a lot of Canadian and international students and familiarize myself with its culture. I loved it so much that I decided to complete my high school in Windsor while staying with my Canadian family. Since then, I get to visit my family back in Turkey once a year for two months. Even though I miss them
and back home, I felt like I found where I was meant to be in Canada.
After I completed high school, I got accepted into Dalhousie and moved into the Risley hall during my first year. Living in residence and meeting my friends was amazing. Although during my years of studies, I have faced some issues that were personal to me. For instance, as an international student, I was feeling lost. At some point, I felt like I didn't have a certain identity where I wasn't enough Canadian to live in Canada while not feeling enough Turkish to live in Turkey. This feeling
especially took place during the challenging times of COVID-19. Because of the pandemic, I felt like simple interactions with people were the end of the world, and I didn't know what to do. There was also this constant fear of not ever being able to go back home, or if I would, I would never be able to come back to my home in Halifax.
Of course, these thoughts were not colorful, but I'm glad that I lived through them. Even though the isolation of covid was quite scary, it also allowed me to look into my life and decide on what is the best for me. Accepting my situation was the biggest first step for me. When I decided to reach for help and diagnosis, my friend group and people in the community were all so supportive. Now that I am aware of the presence of my anxiety, I feel more comfortable talking about it to others and it has become easier to live with.
Life is not all rainbows and sunshine, and that is okay! It's okay to feel down and exhausted sometimes. What's important is to know that these feelings are normal to have, and there might be a lot of people who might feel the same way as you. We all come from unique backgrounds, and I believe that's what makes this community great. Always keep in mind that you are not in this alone, and we are here for each other! Happy Human Project :)
My name is William Flood. I am a second-year representative and part of the outreach team here at Happy Human Project. I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 12 years old. ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which means studying and paying attention in class etc., is extremely difficult specifically for me. ADHD shows itself differently for different people, and this bulletin only covers my experiences with ADHD. For as long as I can remember, I have always told myself that I only had issues with school and focusing in class, and I never learned that I was officially diagnosed with ADHD until my senior year of high school. My mom, in my opinion, didn’t want me to think that I was at a disadvantage compared to others at my school by telling me I had ADHD when I was too young to understand what it meant, so she told me I had issues focusing.
Some of my friends describe my kind of ADHD as "not too bad"; however, it still comes with challenges that I am honestly still working on overcoming. These challenges include becoming highly distracted by the slightest distraction; for example, if I wanted to focus on any academic task, I would require to be in a space where I had no distractions, which extend to any outdoor noises, even the sound of anything action could distract me to the points where I had been off the task for over an hour. I found that the easiest way for me not to be distracted by these elements is to listen to music extremely loud to the point where I cannot hear any distractions. Unfortunately, this trick tends to blur my memory, making it increasingly challenging to retain and recall information learned while listening to music.
Therefore I also struggle with verbal learning; the famous “in one ear and out the other” line is very serious in my scenario. The best way for me to retain information, thankfully, is by writing notes in class. I was not the student who would take in-class notes throughout high school. Fortunately, I still performed very well in all my types. This ability to not take notes did not transfer to University as I had hoped because the amount of information was significantly more. For the first term of University, I seriously struggled to find what worked for me to study, and it took me serval months to truly see the most efficient ways to research and get my assignments done.
The benefit of ADHD is that it's straightforward to move on from a bad grade or missed assignment and focus on the next task because it's a healthy distraction to move on to the next project. Overall having ADHD is challenging in the education industry and trying to learn; however, there is always a way to find ways or tricks to help yourself succeed. Most importantly, no matter who you are and if you have any disabilities that make life more challenging, remember always to stay positive and be happy!
Hi! My name is Meg Maxner, and this is my first year being a part of Happy Human Project! I am a Happy Human Rep and am going into my second year of Commerce at Dal.
The summer of 2020 I joined my hometown’s CrossFit gym, Northern Grit Fitness, in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Over the years of being a member at this gym I have developed new relationships with different people across my community that I would not have had the opportunity to meet if I had not joined this gym family.
I joined the local CrossFit gym, North Endurance, in Halifax last fall during my first semester of university. Coming from such an amazing CrossFit community at home, I thought my experience was unique to Northern Grit Fitness, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my new gym had the same environment as my one at home. Welcoming people and faces make CrossFit one of my favourite things.
Everyone goes to the gym to get better, and at CrossFit everyone wants everyone to get better. Whether that’s getting a new personal best on a lift, finally getting your first pull up, or running faster than you did the week before, every member at my gym is proud to see everyone succeed. The environment of a CrossFit gym is what keeps me coming back every week.
I have learned that CrossFit brings a range of people of all different ages and abilities, but with one common goal: to better themselves. Bettering their lifestyles, or their fitness, or to create new relationships throughout their community. CrossFit is a building block to community.
University can be tough for many individuals, living alone and managing school can easily cause burnout in many individuals. As my nursing program requires school in the summers, I first found it overwhelming and quickly began getting burnt out due to the heavy load of schoolwork and the consistency of my classes. Trying to get through feeling burnout without changing your routine is impossible and eventually I learned that I thought for my first article I would help some of you!
Firstly, recognizing burnout and monitoring your stress levels according to different tasks. More stressful tasks may require being broken up and completed in sections to reduce stress on the mind.
Support networks are essential when dealing with stress and burnout. Having a family member, roommate, friend, etc. To help work through your feelings and destress after a long day is very helpful.
Setting up a proper ratio of studying and rest is essential, I most commonly use the Pomodoro technique which entails 25 minutes of studying followed with a 5-minute break. Ensuring at-least 8 hours of sleep to rest the brain.
Most of all knowing when you need guidance and rest and acting in that urge is so important. We cannot do our best when we are not at our best. The highlight of this post is to make time for yourself and trust your body when it tells you it needs a break!
Hi! My name is Maggie Allen, and I am one of the Reps for the Happy Human Project. I am an Engineering Student finishing up my second year here at Dalhousie University. I have chosen the discipline of Environmental Engineering. I am happy to be bringing you along for a day in my life as a female engineering student.
Engineering is a degree that is a branch of science. Everything in our lives has an aspect of engineering to it. The science related to engineering involves design, building, machinery, and structures. More specifically, environmental engineering uses biology, chemistry, and soil science among other science-based ideas to develop solutions to environmental problems. At Dalhousie, Environmental Engineering is a branch of the Civil-Engineering Department which exposes students to the properties of structures and designing as well.
Today is a big and long day for environmental and civil engineering students. We are in the midst of our end of the year presentations and competition of our earth-quake proof building project. Come along with me on a fun filled day. First thing I do most mornings on a busy day is wake up at 6:00am and slowly roll out of bed and walk to the DalPlex. I try to get a good workout in before a long day to wake me up and start the day off right. I live on main campus, and all engineering classes are downtown on the Sexton Campus, so after the gym I go home and get ready for the day: pack my bag, eat breakfast, and hop on the bus. Today, I have my final design presentation and an interview for a summer job, so I get dressed business casual. By 8:00am I am on the bus to get to my 8:35am Applied Differential Equations Class. An easy way to describe this class is math without numbers. After class, I grab a coffee with some engineering friends and head to the IDEA building to do some work and preparations for my presentation later today. My next class, Mechanics of Materials, is at 11:35am. This class is all about learning how to ensure materials are safe for buildings and structures being built. After class, at 12:55pm, I meet up with peers and eat lunch and practice my presentation. My interview I have today is at 1:30pm so I head up to a quieter area and get ready to join the call. I’m super excited about this potential job and whether I will get the opportunity to join their team. My call is not super long, which is nice, so I don’t have to rush to my presentation at 2:30pm. I meet with my group outside the room and go over the presentation with them a few times and then we head in to finish up the project. Multiple groups must present today, which is super interesting to see all the designs of everyone’s building. The presentations end around 3:30pm and I am done all classes today, so I head back to the IDEA building and do some work, studying, and finish up some weekly tasks for Geology while I wait for my friend’s classes to be done. Around 4:30 pm, we walk home and quickly grab some supper before having to head back to campus for our design lab. Environmental and Civil students have a lab slot 6pm-8pm today to finish our buildings before the competition next week. I head back down to campus after supper and head to my favourite part of classes. The lab slots are always fun and interesting. The hands-on aspect of engineering is probably the most exciting. At 8:00pm I walk back home and grab a snack and head to my room to finish up some homework before calling it a day around 10:00pm. Typically, after a long day like today, I will go see what my roommates are up to which they usually are doing something fun and full of laughs. I usually try to get to bed early so when I wake up tomorrow, I can do it all again!
As much as engineering sounds busy, I can ensure you at the end of the day it can be very fun and lots of memories are made studying and spending time with peers! This wraps up my day. Thanks for coming along with me.
My name is Gabby Lowen-Favreau, and I am one of the Reps for Happy Human Project. I am a third-year student at Dalhousie University with a major in sociology and minor in entrepreneurship and innovation. Throughout my degree I have taken part in various Dalhousie clubs, but it has been challenging to locate programs that focused on the Halifax community outside of the student population. My experience as a student at Dalhousie has been changed by engaging beyond the Dalhousie community through the program RISE by Apathy Is Boring.
I am originally from Toronto, Ontario so moving to Halifax was a big step. It was really hard to leave my family and friends. My first semester at Dalhousie was the last normal one before COVID-19 started, which meant I was able to somewhat ground myself in the Dalhousie community through classes, friends and clubs. Once the pandemic hit, it led me to spend most of my time inside with my roommates in an isolation bubble. I found it hard to stay motivated to do anything beyond schoolwork, as many people did. After spending three semesters online, inside and isolated I wanted to do something that would reconnect me with the outside world. I was unmotivated and nervous to do this seeing as I’d spent so much time inside and with the same people. After a lot of procrastination and overthinking, I finally forced myself to apply to a variety of jobs and organizations that are community-based. After hearing back from a few of the organizations I decided to join Halifax RISE by Apathy is Boring.
RISE is a program that is both youth-run and youth-targeted. It is focused on community engagement and resilience in cities. RISE has programs across Canada and runs projects for six-month periods. It is a volunteer position that anyone between the ages of 18-30 years old can apply for and no specific experience is necessary. Each six-month period is called a cohort, and within that time period, the cohort is responsible for developing a community-based project. The cohort can choose to take their project in any direction as long as it is filling the needs of a selected demographic of youth in their area. The cohort meets every week for three hours and then usually has additional work to do outside of that. The cohorts run for six months and throughout that time they go through the phases of planning and developing their project.
My cohort is working on a project that is targeted towards local artists called Learning to Become (Works of Art). This project is going to be a half-day event that will have public speakers for the purpose of teaching artists practical skills, such as how to apply for grants, file taxes, and build a resume. We conducted focus groups and used surveys as a way to understand and learn about artists’ practical resource needs in Halifax. Once we understood the demand, we began planning our event and delegating tasks. One thing I have really enjoyed about the planning process has been my ability to learn new skills and push myself to do things I wouldn’t usually do. After so long in isolation, I was nervous to lead a focus group; I had never done it before, but I felt very supported by the rest of my cohort and we all worked together to create a script and make sure everyone felt comfortable. The next six weeks of our project will involve marketing, budgeting, administrating and community outreach. All of those skills we will be learning together as a cohort with the support of Apathy Is Boring.
Being a student can feel like a bubble; sometimes I go weeks without leaving the campus or student neighbourhood. It can start to feel like the Dalhousie community is the only part of Halifax when you are a student, and that can feel overwhelming. I really enjoy being able to leave my house and regular social circle every week to meet up with my cohort. It has helped me to connect with people who aren’t students and have chances to talk with them about their jobs, family and life. It has honestly become a highlight of my week; it makes me feel grounded and reminds me that there is still a lot more to Halifax and life than school. I know how hard it can be to join something no matter what it is. I still get overwhelmed sometimes, but it is so worth it.
Our event Learning To Become (Works Of Art) Is still in the development stages, but it should be happening the first week of June. You can follow our Instagram @aisbrise_hfx to stay updated and applications are open for Cohort 10 which you can find at this link: https://www.apathyisboring.com/joinrise.
My name is Mallory Chislett, I am the VP of Engagement at Happy Human Project. I am very happy to be sharing my story with you in hopes of bringing awareness to the disease that I was diagnosed with, suffered through, and continue to battle today. In December 2021, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis after suffering the effects of the disease for over a year. While I felt relief in knowing that with a diagnosis comes treatment, I also knew this was just the beginning of a journey I would be dealing with the rest of my life, and with that came a lot of fear and uncertainty.