As informatiive – and enthralling – as student textbooks are, in order to be a truly knowledgeable student in Montreal, it is important to read the city newspapers (no, the Tribune doesn’t count). Although McGill is situated in the heart of one of the most socially and politically active cities in Canada, many students are unaware of what happens beyond the campus gates.
Montreal is a politically charged city in a politically charged province; even the most insulated McGill ghetto resident knows that. When put to the task, it is a good bet that most students could also tell you a bit about Quebec’s beef with Canada, Canada’s beef with Quebec, and do a half-decent impression of Jean Chretien (hint: as you’re talking, move your mouth like you are, in fact, chewing beef).
During a drunken night out on the town, no one thinks to question the political affiliation of his or her favourite street. Enjoying the bars on St-Denis? You might be promoting a military regime. Walking along Stanley? You could be a potential colonizing bastard.
The shiny brochures in the Welcome Centre may romanticize student life, but they cannot exaggerate this fact: McGill is a unique institution. As an internationally renowned, English university located in the centre of a French-speaking province, most McGill students come in contact with a tongue that they do not understand every day, whether it be French, Arabic or Japanese.
Most students wouldn’t mind taking a day off from school, Ã la Ferris Bueller, but beating the system in university requires more complex tactics than those used by the quintissential high school slacker. For some undergraduates, a medical note is academic paydirt; a device through which they score extensions on – or even exemptions from – completing assignments, exams and other academic responsibilities.
A foremost concern among many first-year students in Rez is, besides getting used to the awkwardness of peeing in co-ed bathrooms, the safety of their living facility. Freshmen at McGill, many of whom are away from home for the first time in their lives, often need an extra hand at keeping threats to their safety at bay.
As the so-called “Harvard of the north,” McGill is well known both within Canada and internationally for its high academic standards. Students of this lauded institution like to think that their diploma will grant them an edge over other recent grads in the Canadian job market and place them somewhere near the top of the graduate school application pile.
It would only have taken a single spark on the wooden fire escape for an entire block in downtown Sackville, New Brunswick, to go up in flames. A primarily student-inhabited apartment building near Mount Allison, Canada’s leading liberal-arts University, burned for over 24 hours on Friday, Aug 11, 2006.
Most people think that getting ahead in business requires brains, hard work or good connections and sometimes more than one of them. But if you’re not the sharpest tool in the shed or you’re just plain lazy, there are ways to cheat your way to the top. The biggest advantage to cheating is that there is a lot of freedom in how you do it.
Growing up in Los Angeles, I found it difficult to envision life in Montreal. It’s similar to how my fellow Canadians who haven’t been to Southern California imagine Hollywood as a strictly glamorous haunt, with California girls gallivanting in their bikinis while Abercrombie models surf to class.