Student Life

Jad Does Things! One album a day

Hi! I’m Jad Abukasm, News Editor at The Concordian, and in this segment, Kayla runs my life!

[Upbeat music] 

Before you rant on how this is no challenge, let me explain. I never listen to full albums. I spot the only song I like and play it on repeat, hence my list of Spotify-liked songs including Oum Kalsoum, Joe Dassin, Billie Eilish and Pop Smoke. I never feel the need to go through a whole album if I don’t hardcore love all the songs. I’m also that detestable person that skips songs after three minutes, NO MATTER WHAT.

So without further ado, here are the albums I listened to.

Day 1: African Giant by Burna Boy

Day 2: Black Messiah by D’Angelo

Day 3: Negro Swan by Blood Orange

Day 4: I Had a Dream that You Were Mine by Hamilton Leithauser

Day 5: Blonde by Frank Ocean

I initially thought I was going to get bored really fast. I feel that listening to a 50-minute album seems different than listening to 10 five-minute songs—but I was quickly proven wrong.

The fact that I was listening to new albums I never even heard of made me want to stick to my headphones and get the most out of the experience. I was so surprised by African Giant that I listened to the album a second time before going to bed.

Now, not all albums necessarily fit in with my type of music, but I still really loved exploring new genres. And yes, I added many songs to my Spotify-liked list.

I learned two things from this challenge. Firstly, only listening to your favourite songs from an artist will quickly make you lose interest in them. Secondly, artists offer albums with songs in a specific order for a reason. Okay, call me Mr. Oblivious, but I hadn’t realized it before. At the end of the day, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

I will definitely start listening to full albums from now on. I think this will make me explore the potential of every artist. I also really look forward to listening to albums from artists I already listen to, with the exception of Oum Kalsoum…my Arabic friends will understand the reference.

Graphic by @sundaeghost


Concordia closed for two weeks due to COVID-19

François Legault announced a two-week closure for all schools and daycares in the province.

With the number of COVID-19 cases rising in the province and around the world, the Quebec government announced that schools, CEGEPS, universities and daycares will close for at least two weeks.

This came as a relief for Montreal school boards as the previous measures set by the government were practically impossible, said Antoine El Khoury, general director of the Pointe-de-l’Île school board. The government suggested to close down schools from Friday to Sunday as they discussed alternative measures and that all gatherings of more than 250 people be cancelled.

“We have high schools with 2,000 to 3,000 students that need to have lunch,” said El Khoury. “We thought of dividing lunchtime, but that would mean up to eight different time slots. That’s impossible.”

Some teachers announced on Thursday they would not teach for the time being by fear of contracting the virus. “We can’t oblige them to come to school either,” said El Khoury. “We’re also in the middle of a labour shortage, so finding personnel is an issue.”

Horacio Arruda, director of public health at MSSS Quebec, said in a press conference that children are not at risk of the virus and that this closure is to reduce the risk of transmission.

There are 17 confirmed cases in Quebec thus far, and more than 250 under investigation.

Daycare services will be offered for children with parents in the public service domain, namely police officers and health care professionals. School boards have yet to decide which schools will remain open to accommodate these parents.

Parents outside this sector will have to find alternatives for their children.  El Khoury has said that the government has stressed that companies let their employers work from home to take care of their children.

Legault also warned parents that although this decision might inconvenience many, it is necessary to limit the spread of the virus.

Schools are tentatively expected to reopen on March 30. For now, school boards are not worried about catching up on school material.

“The same happened during the ice storm of 1998 and that was not an issue,” said El Khoury. “We are worried that the period might be extended. Then, we might have issues catching up.”

Although he’s not worried about elementary and high schools, El Khoury still believes CEGEPS and universities might have a hard time since their semesters are shorter, and have more material to cover.

A new telephone number was issued after Santé Québec’s 811 received an overwhelming number of calls yesterday. Quebecers can now call 1-877-644-4545 for more information.

Legault also confirmed that daily press conferences are to be expected in order to maintain communication and provide the population with up-to-date information.


Photo by Alex Hutchins


Fee levy members kicked out from council meeting due to fire hazards

A coalition of 40 people representing fee levy groups were forced to wait in JMSB hallways after the CSU booked 34-person room 

More than 40 people from various fee levy groups were kicked out of the CSU council meeting by Concordia security as the student union’s executive team only booked a 34-person capacity meeting room. 

The fee levy group members were gathered in solidarity as they demanded the CSU properly consult fee levy groups about the implementation of online opt-outs. Fee levy group members allege that the CSU have started working on the project without conducting proper consultations. The CSU set in place an ad hoc committee to start working on the online opt-out procedures earlier this year. An email from to book consultation sessions with the CSU was sent to fee levy groups on Feb. 5.

Switching to online opt outs could mean a massive reduction in funding for fee levy groups.

CSU meetings usually hold around 40 individuals–30 councillors, eight executive members, one chairperson, one minute keeper and the student media. This already breaches the 34-person maximum set by Concordia security for this room.

Members were allowed to peek through the doors as the motion was discussed.

“It’s bullshit,” said Paul Baloukas, an intern at Concordia’s radio station, CJLO 1690AM. “It’s ridiculous making us wait outside when they’re discussing something about us.”

A Concordia security officer yelled for people to exit as the exceeding number of people was a “fire hazard.” There were roughly 70 people in the room at the time.

“We got kicked out because of a fire hazard, which makes total sense,” said Danny Gold, a DJ at CJLO. “But 34 people seems small for that room.”

For the majority of fee levy group members gathered at the meeting, their groups offer opportunities to put in practice what students learn in class. Philippe l’Espérance, a CJLO radio host,  said online opt-outs could put at harm those opportunities.

“For some people, it’s a way to get experience journalistically outside of class,” L’Espérance said. “For others, it’s also a medium to live their passion.”

Those asked to leave the meeting were asked to stay around the JMSB’s 14th floor near the room where the council meeting was held.

Editor’s note: The Concordian is a fee levy group, but did not participate in the solidarity gathering present at this meeting.


Photo by Jad Abukasm

Student Life

Jad does things! Wearing all black

Hi! I’m Jad Abukasm, News Editor at The Concordian, and in this segment, Kayla runs my life!

[Upbeat music]

Kayla did not tell me why I was supposed to wear all black until the very last day of the challenge.

“It’s an experiment. I want to see something,” she texted me.

“So, I’m your guinea pig?” I replied.


I think that from now on, Kayla won’t hesitate to try weird stuff on me and I’m kind of questioning why I got involved in this…

I own a total of two black shirts and one pair of black jeans. Do the math and you quickly realize that 1) I will be wearing the same jeans all week, and 2) that I quickly need to find three shirts or else I will end up smelling like my running shoes. My dad was kind enough to lend me two of his shirts—that, by the way, look bomb on me—resulting in re-wearing the same shirt only once. At least I have a bunch of black socks and a new pair of black Vans.

During the week, I tried finding out why the hell Kayla would ask me to do this. I went online and discovered some not-so-reliable scientific websites that mentioned people wearing black either experienced high levels of anxiety and sadness or that they have mysterious and “sexy” personalities (whatever that means). Am I surprised? Yes. Am I more so confused? Yes.

During the week, I noticed that I got a lot of compliments on my outfits and people told me I looked on top of my sh*t. I was only wearing a black shirt tucked into black pants—but I didn’t complain **insert sassy emoji.**

Friday comes and Kayla texts me “I wanted to know if wearing all black would affect your mood, especially with the socks because I know you use those as a form of self-expression,” and this was when everything started to make sense. I realized that throughout the week, I was feeling so much more confident and less self-conscious, to Kayla’s surprise. I think that I used to try matching my personality to my outfits which would only result in me stressing about what others thought about my appearance. Wearing all black in contrast to my vibrant personality really made for an interesting duality.

Now, the big question: will I keep doing this? Obviously, wearing all black every day was fun and empowering, but I also own three times as many other clothes that I love. However, what I really learned here is that clothes don’t define who you are and you shouldn’t use them as self-expression if it is a source of stress. From now on, I will think less about matching my clothes to my character and just be myself. And yes, I did go to Marshalls and Winners on Friday to buy more black shirts.

Graphic by @sundaeghost

Briefs News

World in Brief: COVID-19, avalanche in Austria, at least ten dead in Quanzhou hotel collapse

As COVID-19 cases keep rising in the United States, health officials warned older individuals to avoid large gathering places and travelling on planes. Reuters confirmed that the number of cases was nearing 550 with 22 deaths on Sunday in the US alone. New measures were implemented in European countries as well; with Italy having the second-most cases of COVID-19 after China, the government quarantined nearly a quarter of its population. This weekend saw 133 new deaths in Italy alone, reported the Agence France Presse. France also banned gatherings of 1,000 people or more as yet another preventative measure to counter the spread of the virus. The first death in Africa was also reported last weekend. In Canada, there are 31 cases in Ontario, 27 in British Columbia, three in Quebec, and the first case in Alberta, as of Sunday.

Two avalanches in the Austrian alps killed at least six last Sunday. Five individuals who were believed to be Czech died during a snowshoeing trip while a 33-year-old police officer died in a separate incident, presumably while doing training. Around 100 rescuers were sent to the sites by helicopter. Both avalanches happened in the Dachstein mountain range, around 80 kilometres south-east of Salzburg.

At least 10 people died last Sunday in a hotel in China that was used as an isolation hub for people infected by COVID-19. The seven-story building located in the southeast city of Quanzhou suddenly collapsed, trapping 71 people in the ruins. China’s Ministry of Emergency Management reported that 38 individuals had been rescued and 23 were still missing. The cause of the collapse is still under investigation but the CBC reported that the building was undergoing construction and a pillar was reportedly deformed a few minutes before the incident.


Graphic by @sundaeghost

Student Life

Jad Does Things: Journaling

Hi! I’m Jad Abukasm, News Editor at The Concordian, and in this segment, Kayla runs my life!

[Upbeat music] 

Before I start, I need to confess that I always thought journaling was lame before this week. When Kayla told me to do it, I was more pissed than the cold showers. Fifteen minutes a day writing what happened during my day? No thank you; I’ve lived it once and I don’t need to rub in my face how I made a fool of myself once again.

Surprisingly enough–just like with every other Jad Does Things challenges–journaling taught me plenty of things!

Day 1:

I genuinely had no idea what to write about, so I decided to just write my whole day down. I also ended up writing down all the meals I ate and calculating if I ate enough calories. Kayla never told me exactly what she meant by journaling!

Day 2:

I did the same as day one but in a medieval setting. My family and I were in Quebec city so the old city made for a good mise en scène.

Day 3:

I was feeling down that day so I decided to write about it. I didn’t mention my day, just what I was feeling and why. It actually made me feel a lot better.

Day 4:

As the person with the emotional capacity of a teaspoon that I am, I found an old journal I had lost a few years ago and changed it to my personal “Jad Figures Out Stuff (Finally)” journal. In it, I started jotting down recurring behaviours I had that were either funny, problematic or had to work on.

Day 5:

Jad Figures Out Stuff (Finally) has now a good ten pages…

Overall, journaling has shown me that it can be about anything. It’s putting aside a little time of the day to think about yourself and facing situations you otherwise wouldn’t think about. Feeling happy, sad, overwhelmed, anxious; journaling is an easy starting point in talking about it. Will I keep doing it? Maybe not every day but definitely a few times a week. In fact, as I’m writing this, I’m already thinking of the new addition to Jad Figures Out Stuff (Finally)!

Graphic by @sundaeghost


Simply Scientific: Leap Year

Every four years, a leap year occurs. No, it’s not a worldwide event where people take a leap by changing a habit nor is it a fun activity where everyone jumps at the same time. Instead, a leap year is when there is an extra day to the shortest month, February, and 2020 happens to be one. But why exactly do we have leap years?

A day is calculated by the number of hours it takes for the Earth to make a full rotation on its axis, and a year is

Meme by 8shit

calculated by the number of days it takes for the Earth to orbit the sun. In practice, it was established that the Earth takes 365 days to orbit the sun, with each day taking 24 hours. However, it actually takes 365.24 days to orbit the sun, or roughly a quarter of a day longer. Quick math shows that every four years, this little addition equates to almost a full day, which is added as Feb. 29.

However, this doesn’t occur every single fourth year. The slight difference of 0.24 days every year is not exactly a quarter of a day (that would be 0.25 days), and this difference eventually adds up. In fact, we lose three days every 400 years from this and skip a leap year every now and then as a result.

There are rules as to when to skip leap years. First, a year to add an extra day to has to be divisible by four. Second, a leap year cannot occur in a year divisible by 100. However, there is an exception to that rule: that would be the third rule. If a year can be divided by 400, a leap day can be added. This is why the two last leap years in years divisible by 100 happened in 1600 and 2000.

And there it is! Leap years and their exceptions!


Graphic by @sundaeghost

Student Life

Jad Does Things! Cold showers

Hi! I’m Jad Abukasm, News Editor at The Concordian, and in this segment, Kayla runs my life!

[Upbeat music]

When it comes to being comfortable, I am the pinnacle of sassy. Some might say I resemble Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man. In other words, I am a lazy bean that is fully satisfied with all the superficial stuff I own. Laying on the sofa with hot tea and a warm blanket all day? YES PLEASE! So, when I heard Kayla tell me the next challenge is ice cold showers for a week, my first instinct was “EFF THAT!” 

Results from thorough online research showed me the benefits of bathing in freezing water. Apparently, cold showers promote blood circulation, better focus, better immune response and increased alertness, to name a few.

As a lazy person with the attention span of a goldfish, this sounded like a crazy good solution for me. But were the costs that beneficial? Let’s find out.

Day 1 and 2:

The first two days were horrible. I jumped into the challenge by starting under the lowest water temperature which resulted in my skin turning red and hurting for the next few hours. Other editors told me to stop the challenge, but my ego took over. I couldn’t stand this challenge. I was kind of pissed all the time. I kept counting the days remaining, already looking forward to the challenge being over. 

Day 3 onwards:

After my first two failed attempts, I took a new approach. I started under a slightly uncomfortable temperature and slowly reduced the heat every 10 or so seconds with the last minute at the coldest setting. This changed my whole perspective on ice cold showers. Just like that, I felt well awake, ready to tackle the day full of energy and, as weird as it might sound, I felt empowered. 

I think the fact that humans created their habitat with comfort as their bedrock made us rationalize comfort and despise everything else. Forcing me to put myself in a situation of discomfort made me appreciate my surroundings. I kept repeating to myself, it’s just cold water. It’s not like I’m being chased by an enraged mammoth, under a snowstorm with splinters all over my feet. After all, this was what our bodies were originally meant to do.

I immediately called Kayla and said: “Change of plans, I’m doing ice cold showers for two weeks!” I wanted to push myself to find out how I was suddenly loving something that I hated only a day before. 

A lot of things changed. The most noticeable was my relationship to the cold. Prior to the challenge, I couldn’t stand it one bit. However, I quickly realized that I was now enjoying the feeling of cold air breezing on my shaved head and little tingles in my fingers. I wasn’t as cold as before, and I hardly felt uncomfortable outside, even for long periods of time. My runny nose and sore throat went away for good. I started feeling way more focused and mindful of my surroundings. Finally, my recovery time from training reduced quite a bit. 

My takeaways from this challenge are that, as much as we like our everyday comfort, regularly inducing slight discomfort can go a long way. We learn to appreciate the little things that have become second nature.

I highly recommend taking ice cold showers to anyone who wants to give it a shot. Go at your own rhythm and find your groove and get informed before starting the challenge. Many people quit after their first attempt because they do not proceed properly and get discouraged—like my first two attempts. Who knows? You might add it to your daily routine like I’ve started doing!

Graphic by @sundaeghost


Poli Savvy: Canada seeks seat on UN Security Council

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had been travelling the world last week seeking approval from African countries in his campaign for Canada’s hope of a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The UNSC is comprised of five permanent members–China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States–and 10 non-permanent members elected for two years, which currently includes Belgium, Germany and South Africa. For the remaining countries, they are allowed to participate in debates, though without the benefits of having a vote.

The UNSC is the principal body of the United Nations with the goal of maintaining international peace and establishing what is a threat to international security. In a situation where two states are in conflict, for example Israel and Palestine, the security council is in charge of setting the terms of settlement.

But would Canada, a non-council member state–i.e. doesn’t have a vote–actually get a permanent seat on the security council?

It is important to note that all permanent member states are nuclear powers. Now, whether the UNSC represents an international distribution of power is up to a political science debate, but Canada is not a nuclear state because it doesn’t have nuclear weapons. In fact, it is reliant on US anti-missile systems. Furthermore, if Canada was to launch an all-out nuclear buildup, the country would lose all international credibility as it signed and ratified the Non-Proliferation Treaty, an international treaty that prohibits countries from developing nuclear weapons. After all, there are many countries with nuclear power who would have the lead on attaining a spot on the UNSC before Canada does like India, Pakistan or Israel.

Being a member state also holds big responsibilities since they become the main actors of international peace. Is the US’s little northern brother really going to make a difference and stand its grounds on certain issues when it cannot even address its own? I’ll let you be the judge of that.


Graphic by Victoria Blair

Student Life

Jad Does Things! Quitting coffee cold turkey

Hi! I’m Jad Abukasm, News Editor at The Concordian, and in this new segment, Kayla runs my life!

[Upbeat music]

This week, Kayla challenged me to quit coffee during my midterms. Here is how it went down.

It’s important to note that I love coffee. There’s nothing better than the first sip of liquid gold on a chilly February morning. You feel your senses wake up and a rush of energy shoot through your veins. In short, I love coffee, and I’m addicted.

Day 1:

I never really understood what people meant by “I have a headache because I didn’t have my coffee yet.” Well on Monday, I learned the hard way. After a long weekend of studying on about five to seven coffees a day, on Monday I crashed like a truck on a highway. I couldn’t concentrate on anything, felt nauseous, sleepy, and mostly, I had the worst headache of my life. Popping Tylenol and Advil every few hours, I was just looking forward to going to bed.

Day 2-4:

I feel AWESOME. From then on, I might have become a superhuman. My attention span (of usually about three seconds) drastically increased. For the very first time during my undergrad, I was able to multitask on more than two basic things at a time. I felt happy and full of energy. I became way more productive; instead of downing cups to battle the daily lows, I took the time to breathe, take a break and actually rest for a bit before I kept going.

Day 5-7:

Maybe the first rush mellowed down since I wasn’t as excited all the time, but I was still feeling great. The only issue was that I craved the taste of coffee. I was at my friend’s place on Friday morning and he made coffee for everyone. I found myself sniffing everyone’s cup for some kind of comfort. 

Overall, I realized that coffee is not necessary in my life, and really shouldn’t be. Why drink something that gives you short-term benefits, and only troubles in the long run? But things aren’t all-or-nothing either. Instead, I will start drinking coffee in moderation whenever I’m craving it for the taste! After all, we all have our weaknesses and mine, when coping with stress, is drinking coffee. So, my early February resolution is to take time for myself whenever I need to, consume stress-related foods and drinks in moderation, and think twice before brewing a hot cup of Joe.


Graphic by @sundaeghost


$18-million building for affordable student housing

“Not only are rental prices hiking every year but also the vacancy rates are currently at a 15-year low,” Megan Quigley said.

As vacancy rates hit record lows in Montreal, the Concordia Student Union (CSU) and the Unité de travail pour l’implantation du logement étudiant (UTILE) strike back for student rent by opening the Woodnote Collaboration.

The Woodnote Collaboration project will be an $18-million building that will offer 90 units to house a total of 144 students. Though the building will only be built by July 2020, students can apply as of Feb. 5 for the first phase of available units. The building will be located on the corner of Papineau Avenue and Sherbrooke Street across from Lafontaine Park.

“The housing crisis is making finding quality housing particularly difficult for students. Not only are rental prices hiking every year but also the vacancy rates are currently at a 15-year low,” said Megan Quigley, an assistant at the Housing and Job Resource Center (HOJO), in an email to The Concordian. “It can be challenging for students to be competitive renters especially if they do not have credit histories, are new to Quebec, etc.”

Vacancy rates in Montreal dropped to 1.5 per cent in 2019 and are expected to keep tumbling to 1.3 per cent this year, as indicated in an article by the Montreal Gazette. In the meantime, the average rental pricing rate in Montreal climbed to $841 in 2019, an increase of 3.6 per cent from the previous year, reported Global News.

Quigley mentioned to many issues students are facing in regard to housing. “Sometimes we see students who are facing discrimination at the application stage due to their citizenship, immigration status, age, etc.,” Quigley said. “We often see students in precarious or even illegal housing situations, or being subjected to unlawful and predatory landlord practices.”

Other factors include short-term rental companies like Airbnb. A study published in 2019 by McGill University found that those companies take roughly 31,000 housing units out of the Canadian market with thousands in Montreal only, reported the Montreal Gazette.

General coordinator and spokesperson of UTILE Laurent Levesque thinks the Woodnote Collaboration project will help students in need; although the organization still has a long way to go.

“Obviously, 90 units are not enough, and we expect the Woodnote to fill up very quickly,” Levesque said in an email to The Concordian. “We are already working on another 120-unit project, open to students of all campuses, slated to open in Rosemont in 2022.”

The building currently under construction was initially funded by the CSU after a referendum in 2015. The initial $1.85 million from the CSU’s Popular University Student Housing Fund accounted for 10 per cent of the total costs. The City of Montreal also donated $1.6 million. Other investors included the Fond d’investissement pour le logement étudiant, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and Desjardins.

“Our objective now is to start many more projects, because with a housing crisis like the one we’re facing it’s urgent to offer students more housing options,” said Levesque.

Students can send application forms for available units on


Photo courtesy of UTILE

Student Life

Jad Does Things! 300 squats a day

Hi! I’m Jad Abukasm, News Editor at The Concordian, and in this new segment, Kayla runs my life!

[Upbeat music]

This week, Kayla challenged me to do 300 squats every day for a week. Here is how it went down.

Day 1:

Today was great! I managed to do my squats in 17 minutes which is very good considering I haven’t properly trained in two months. The workout went smoothly since I divided everything into three sets of 150, 100 and 50, respectively.

Day 2: 

I didn’t have time to do all my squats before my classes so I ended up stacking them little by little throughout the day either in Faubourg’s bathrooms or hidden somewhere in the library. Yes, there was awkward eye contact…

Day 3: 

I donated blood today and the nurse told me there’s no way I could do my squats… Kayla is kind of disappointed.

Day 4:

After the radio show, I finished my squats in The Concordian’s office, divided into four sets of 75, 75, 100 and 50 squats. Honestly, I think I should have taken the day off after my blood donation. I was breathing heavily, felt dizzy at some points, and gosh did it hurt. I managed to finish in 16 minutes though!

Day 5:

I came back home very late after covering an event so I needed to find a way to squat as fast as possible. I did 10 sets of 30 squats and finished in an amazing 15 minutes!

Day 6-7:

Squatting doesn’t hurt anymore! I’m waking up without any soreness which is great! It was way easier during these last two days.

Overall, I think squatting every day is not about the number of squats you do, nor the time it takes, but more the fact of reserving a certain time of the day to do physical activity or practice self-care. I felt well awake throughout the day and, although my legs were burning while using the stairs, I think I will keep awkwardly air squatting whenever I’m not working out. Maybe not 300 a day, but at least a few! After all, my glutes look way rounder now!

Graphic by @sundaeghost

Exit mobile version