Starting University

A week ago I officially started university. As a freshman I of course had expectations, and preconceptions based on what other had people told me. In this post I would like to write about how the experience has been so far, and about things you should prepare yourself for if you are starting college or university soon.

Studying and Assignments:

If you were that bastard that got through high school better than fine without opening a book (like me), you will probably expect college to be the same kind of joke high school was to you, but I would like to tell you outright that you will have to devote some time out of school to school (annoying, I know) so don’t go on packing your afterschool schedule, we all like to be productive, but we don’t want to over do it, leave some space for your friends and for your studies.

Textbook$: 

I always heard books were expensive but the day I went to the university bookstore only to find out the textbook total for my five classes would be an approximate of $800 I totally freaked out. On top of the already ridiculous prices of tuition, I was not planning on spending that much money on books I would only use one semester. So I did end up buying some books but I instead of spending $800, I spent $215 and a few hours online finding the PDF versions of textbooks. Some teachers do require you to buy the physical textbook, and in some instances you won’t find cheap resellers (hence the $215), but I do recommend looking for people who are selling their old books before getting them full priced at the bookstore (if you do this check if it is the edition on your syllabus, and if its not, ask your teacher whether he or she accepts it anyways).

Professors:

I’m just gonna say one thing. Check ratemyprofessors.com to make sure what you are signing up for. I didn’t know about this, and let’s just say it would have been a good idea.

Making Friends: 

If you grew up in a private school or in my case in a Jewish day school, you will notice university will be very different. Here you will see a more diverse group of people, most of whom you have never met before. I am in a very small university, so after a few days you probably  have seen the same people a lot but you never really meet even a small portion of the people. I started university with one of my best friends, but the day we arrived for orientation we thought we were going to meet all these people and be super social, which you can probably guess did not happen. Even if you seem approachable and no one thinks you are intimidating, people are usually a little shy at the beginning, so if you are hoping to meet people my recommendation is to make the first move, it might seem weird but sometimes in life you just have to introduce yourself, you never know where it might lead.

Supplies:

In case you are wondering, yes you do get to buy cute supplies like you did in high school. I love school supplies so I was very excited. These are some of my favorite websites for cute supplies (you can always get things at Target too, if you got one around)

https://www.kikki-k.com/ – loving my canvas pencil case from their boutique in Australia (out of stock by now sorry).

https://www.paperchase.co.uk/ – their stationary is divine, just saying.

https://ohhdeer.com/ – loving their planners.

http://pilotpen.us/ – G2 07 pens are my all time favorite. And their Pilot Super Grip mechanical pencils are superb as well.

Outfit Choices:

I grew up going to school in the same uniform for basically my whole school life, so having to find an outfit everyday can seem like it’s gonna be a lot of work but I honestly have been having so much fun getting dressed every morning. My tips for dressing are: balance comfort and fashion, you are allowed to dress down and comfortably and you are allowed to dress up (it’s hopefully a free country) but I definitely recommend something that isn’t uncomfortable, itchy, or so tight you can’t breathe. Also the A.C. will probably be on if it’s hot outside so don’t forget to carry a little sweater (if you live in a cold place it’s the opposite I guess). Express yourself, it will be fun.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and that it gave you an overall glimpse at what it is to be a university freshman. I would love to hear about your first week experience in the comment section below.

Have a wonderful semester!

Love, Knowledge Empress

 

 

 

My Semester in Israel

Ever since I can remember it has been a dream of mine to spend some time living in Israel. This year thanks to G-d and my parents I had the opportunity to do it for a semester. After researching seminaries and other educational institutions for a year, somehow I applied, got accepted and enrolled in Midreshet Tehillah, a small seminary in the Neve Yerushalayim campus. The program had started in September and I was arriving at the very end of December, just in time to spend Hanukkah in Israel.

Everyone had a lot of questions, and for the sake of making friends I was more than happy to answer and try to engage in friendly conversation with these girls. I didn’t know that a few months later I would be calling them sisters. It was both easy and difficult to adapt, easy because the people were so helpful and friendly and difficult because well I just couldn’t imagine any of them sticking around after the “welcome to our school” and the basic questionnaire, in all honesty I couldn’t find my place in the social life at first. It was also difficult because I had to start going to class which started at 9 AM and ended at 9 PM (with breaks obviously).

I had gone on many trips before but this was the first time I was living abroad and that meant respecting a budget. What I didn’t know was that the food was going to be difficult to eat (that’s as nice as I can put it). So on my second day there I went on a shopping spree and spent more than half my budget. Then when it was time to afford food and other basic necessities I found myself using all my birthday money at the groceries store. Thankfully by the start of the next month when the budget renewed I had a much better financial plan.

On the first few weeks I noticed that this was going to be my most difficult health challenge I had ever had. Junk food followed me, and we barely had any way to cook. I ate close to nothing from the dining room, and I was starting to get really sick from the quality of “food” I was consuming. Snacks drenched in monosodium glutamate, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, food coloring, GMOs and other weird chemicals I can’t even pronounce. I was violating all my food standards and I was suffering the consequences I was becoming bloated, constipated and all my energy was drained. On top of everything I was not working out and that’s just like a recipe for doom.

Week three came and I decided I hadn’t come to Israel to become a slug, and as addictive as those Cheetos and Doritos were I had to cut it out. I replaced the nasty junk with delicious and healthy snacks like peanuts, walnuts and pistachios. I found an electric burner in the dining room and I bought a pan and some eggs (and a can of canola oil I thankfully lost and replaced with coconut oil and olive oil). I started buying whole roasted chicken from the groceries store and eating it with the rice from the dining room. I bought a lot (like a lot) or fruit. I started getting into fruit shakes until I became addicted. All this changes made my days drastically better. I was more energetic and could wake up easier for class. The fiber from all that fruit helped with the bloating and the constipation. I did at some points have chocolate, ice cream and other sweets, but I did so in moderation and with care.

My classes were amazing and mentally stimulating, I had very good teachers and I really cannot complain in that area. I did miss class sometimes, I tried not to but as much as I love learning it got a little too much sometimes. My favorite part of the week was when Thursday came and it was time to go to volunteer. Ever since the first time I set foot inside Zichron Menachem I knew that was the place I wanted to go to every week. Despite the fact I have very poor Hebrew and there was a communication barrier with the children, I had an amazing time every single week. Zichron Menachem is a foundation that works with children that are battling Cancer and their families. I went for a few hours in the afternoon and just basically played with the siblings of the ill kids. It is known that every child requires a lot of attention and I know the wonderful parents of this children would love to give them all their attention but it is really hard when you have a kid that needs to go through chemo and surgeries. It was very fulfilling and it made me really happy just being there.

The most important part of my seminary experience were no doubt my gorgeous friends. I never knew I could meet such amazing people and get to call them my friends, it was beautiful to see how different we all were and how we managed to go beyond tolerating each other and creating loving bonds. I felt very encouraged, respected, loved and cared for. And I deeply thank all the people who were there for me during this whole journey, you made it incredible. Thank you for inspiring me to grow and chase my dreams, and thank you for supporting me in everything I do, you are now part of my family and I hope to see you all very soon.

I’m so happy I took a chance on seminary, and I’m so happy I ended up in Midreshet Tehillah. I encourage you to take a chance on your dreams, don’t let the people around you put you down because it is different and out of what you are used to. The best things in life happen to you the minute you step out of your comfort zone.

Love, Knowledge Empress.

 

 

Depuis le Debut

When not sure where to start, start from the beginning. My name is Tania Zakay. I’m that quiet girl that you will see in the corner of the room lost in a book. I’m also that plot twist that just happens to never shut up once you get me started. I am life’s perpetual student, and since I find it’s lessons utterly fascinating I decided to start this blog.

Oscar Wilde once said “you can never be overdressed or overeducated”, and I can’t agree more, that is why as well as sharing with you the things I learn and the books I read, I will be sharing with you some of my favorite outfits I come up with.

One of my main goals for this blog is to have it encourage self love and a more sustainable and healthy way of life. I will be sharing with you the new ways I find to keep a healthy balance, to achieve my body goals and to feel energetic, happy and productive.

Lastly but perhaps most importantly, I feel that there is no way to achieve ultimate happiness without giving. This blog will become a platform for advocacy. In the words of Elie Wiesel “the opposite of love is not hatred, but indifference”. I refuse to live my life ignoring the suffering that goes on around the world. I will speak up, and we will work together to spread love and kindness to all the corners of this earth.

All that being said I welcome you to this happy place of mine and I hope you enjoy what I have to share. I hope I can help as many of you as possible, or at least write something that will brighten your day. Good luck with your own journey, bon voyage!

Love, Knowledge Empress