Student Life

Omicron or I’m-in-class?

Exploring the impact the return to campus is having

I heard the ping of my email, and saw it was from Concordia — instantly, my heart started racing.

I read the email and my heart sank. We were returning to campus as of Feb. 3, 2022.

This was two weeks ago. Concordia has since re-opened its door to students, with most campus activities returning in person.

My initial reaction to the news of in-person classes was anger and disbelief: was Concordia seriously doing this? We are still at the height of a pandemic, and their response was to make us all go back? I instantly started to spiral — at the time, this was the worst news I could have gotten.

Truth is, going back to campus right now is scary. For one, I am the mom of a 15-month-old. He cannot get vaccinated, he cannot wear a mask. He is vulnerable to COVID. Now, twice a week, I have to go to campus and potentially expose myself to COVID even more so than before.

On top of the added risk, Concordia doesn’t seem to be implementing too many measures to ensure that the return to school is safe. I would feel so much better if there were more measures put in place. This semester is now bound to be a mess. Don’t get me wrong — I want things to feel normal again. I just don’t know if that’s going to happen.

I am frustrated and scared about being in person. I feel rushed in my return to campus. What was the real reason? Is it really just because of government directives? The reasons are varied.

Many people I know are over COVID, and think that we just need to move on. They say that at this point, we have to accept COVID is not going away, so we need to “just live life” and let things go back to normal.

I tend to fall more into the other category, where I think most of us just need a little more time. We need to remember that we have not officially entered the endemic phase here, and I think it would be better to value health and safety before other things.

With all the conflicting opinions, we will never really know the real reason Concordia decided to go back in person so quickly.

There are aspects of in person learning that I miss and am looking forward to. I miss jumping into conversations and not having to wait in the Zoom queue — it would definitely make my seminars a lot more enjoyable.

I’m even looking forward to something as simple as holding a physical book in the library again. Those things will be great, but not at the expense of me, my family, and my classmate’s health.

All that being said, I am at a place where I have accepted that this is our shared hell-hole that we call reality. I don’t have much of a choice, other than signing the petitions calling for a slower transition that have been circulating. I have to comply, and make sure that I do what I can to be safe with my return to campus.

I also realized that I don’t have to go through this alone. There are resources that I can access at Concordia that can help make this transition easier.

Concordia offers short-term psychotherapy, which can help with the transition with going back to in person learning. Of course, the experiences that each student will get may not be the same. So it’s important to note that there may be some challenges accessing these services. Regardless, it is still a resource that Concordia offers, so at least getting some information about it can be a starting point to having support during a difficult time.

While you are waiting for the professional services, there are things you can do on your own that could help. Something as simple as creating playlists with happy music might help put you in a better mood. Or cooking that dish you have been thinking about cooking for oh-so-long. Even going for a nice walk to get some fresh air, might make things a little less scary.

One of the most interesting things is that Concordia offers some self-help tools, including a wellness tracking tool, and various workbooks that students and staff can consult. Sometimes we just need some self-reflection, and that may help.

There are also text/phone support options that students can access. While most of these are external links, they are still being suggested through Concordia, like Wellness Together Canada, which has many resources and options for people to use and perhaps help them.

Sure, they’re not perfect, and people need to explore what works best for them, but this is at least a foundation that could help students.

While I am still incredibly nervous about the potential exposure, and wishing Concordia would do more, I have hope that with time and with access to resources, the semester will be the best it can be despite all the issues we are still facing.


Photo by Kaitlynn Rodney


My emotions need “breakup” songs

Reflecting on why breakup songs are the best — even if you didn’t have a recent breakup

Music has gotten me through nearly every part of my life. While I listen to many genres, “breakup songs” is the category I gravitate to the most. This was hard to accept because I am happily married with a baby, so why in the world is breakup music what I listen to the most? The answer ended up being that these songs span different emotions that I feel, despite not being breakup-related. These songs are filled with so much rawness that no matter what, they lend themselves to a fantastic sing-along. So in my private time, with a sound bar, I let the tunes fill my mind and my room. 

Anger is an emotion I wish I could avoid. When I use music to help, song choice is crucial. I don’t want anything slow and melodic, I want the neighbours to know I am pissed. My current choice is “abcdefu” by GAYLE. I came across this song when scrolling through TikTok. Instantly, I needed to listen to it in full. When I did, specifically the angrier version, it was instant love. I ended up playing it five times on repeat in one sitting.

This song has now become my anger anthem. Whenever I am pissed, be it because I am thinking about my awful ex, or because my essay sucks, this is my go-to track. Why? Because I get to say “abcde fuck you” so many times, and throw up my middle finger and sing it with all my heart. I feel so much better after singing this. If I am mad at the world in general, the closing line of the song helps too. “Everybody, but your dog, you can all fuck off” is just perfect and saying that as a final release makes me feel good again. 

Whenever I play this song in front of my husband, he will jokingly say “Wow, I didn’t think you hated me that much.” To which I laugh, and then explain that this song is my anger anthem. Honestly still not sure he really understands, but at least he knows I am not thinking about him when this song plays.

Breakup songs can even fuel up my happiness. It might sound odd to most, but to me, it works. Sometimes the music just has an upbeat feeling and it makes me smile. Sometimes, I feel a little smug when I smile at a breakup song, but I run with it, because I feel good. 

Adele’s “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” is the perfect example. The song opens with “This was all you, none of it me.” Right away, I am put in the mindset that I am on top of the world. She also sings “I’m giving you up, I’ve forgiven it all, you set me free.” The word “free” in her lyrics is what solidifies the happiness I feel listening to the song. When I am happy, I feel free from all the negative things going on and this song just gets me to feel thrilled that I am in a position where I can send the negativity elsewhere. Also, the music video of Adele simply looking stunning in that dress and singing against a plain background makes me want to reenact the video in my room. She looks so empowered and watching her makes me happy because I love seeing an empowered woman owning her badass nature. 

I never thought that breakup music would be my go-to when feeling emotions not related to breakups. Also, I haven’t had a breakup in four years, so it is still odd for me. That being said, I have decided to embrace my unusual choice and let this music guide my life. 

So, if ever you are trying to deal with varied emotions, just find the best breakup song that fits your mood and you will feel great! 


Graphic by James Fay



…who did they cast?

Exploring why casting directors make such strange choices for movies

An amazing director, writing, sets, and music are all things that make a movie great. If all those things are perfect, then the movie will be great, right? Well, not if the casting choices are awful. Why do certain movies get people who are completely wrong for the roles they are cast in? That’s a question I am trying to find the answer to.

Take the upcoming Super Mario Bros. movie, which cast Chris Pratt as the voice actor for Mario. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think Chris Pratt was a gem at one point in time, and he was the perfect casting choice for Starlord in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, but this choice feels all wrong. The last thing I can imagine is Pratt doing an Italian accent. When I heard the news about the film, my first thought was, what were they thinking? The name Chris Pratt stirs up many emotions in people, some think he is this lovable guy, and others were not pleased with his church connection, alleging they promote anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric. However, his popularity and relevance cannot be denied.

I think that Hollywood is aware of the media attention a big name like Chris Pratt will bring to the movie. In that case, I think this casting move was a cash grab, and now that there is controversy over the choice, based upon his controversial affiliations, which will just draw more attention to the film. This is a cheap attempt at garnering buzz for the movie which, alongside the awful casting choice, will get people to watch it. But despite all of these reasons, part of me wants to see the movie just to observe how Pratt fairs in the role.

Aside from an actor’s outward persona, their looks can often take precedence over their acting skills. One example is Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, a sci-fi movie released in 2017, which had one of the most amazing visual scenes I have seen in a long time. And I had high hopes that it would be a good allround move. Sadly, however, Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne cast as the leads, was about all the movie had going for it.

First off, when I saw the leads, I thought they looked like brother and sister, which was an odd choice because they are supposed to be love interests. They lacked any connection, which was unfortunate, because otherwise cute lines like “I’ll delete my playlist for you” became nothing more than a cringe-fest. It seemed like the studio wanted two individually attractive people, which seemed to outweigh the problem of their sibling-like appearance. I kept asking myself if there truly was no one better for this role. Interestingly enough, DeHaan wasn’t all that popular at the time of the movie’s release. The studio should have focused more on acting capabilities, rather than how many heart eyes they could get from people watching.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was arguably one of the worst movies of 2016. It was a complete recipe for disaster from the writing alone. I mean, we all remember that Martha scene… However, the worst part in my opinion was choosing Jesse Eisenberg to play the role of Lex Luthor. Now, I like Jesse Eisenberg, but not to play such a cool villain. His vibe is more of a shy, quiet kid, and not that of a criminal mastermind.  He is a good actor, but again, his name has a lot of buzz around it, so I am not surprised he was cast. Also, DC has made some pretty awful choices for actors in the past, so it wasn’t much of a shock that they made such a terrible choice. His performance was forced, and it was just a boatload of awkwardness. It seemed like DC was still in their “let’s beat Marvel” phase, so they tried to shove as many big names on screen as they could. I think they tried to overload the movie with talented actors to try and garner some love for the movie, but most people I have spoken to agree that Jesse Eisenberg had no place in the movie at all.

While I am no casting director, I do think that money and namesake sometimes outweigh talent or fit for the role, which is a shame. I find myself wondering what the point of having casting directors is if anyone, no matter how mismatched, can get a role based on name and fame alone.


Photograph Collage by Kit Mergaert

What Should I Read Next?

 Five book suggestions to help you with your daily commute

If there is one thing I love to do, it’s read books, and if there is a second thing I love, it’s to recommend my favourite ones to other people. Getting to share my love of reading with other people is fantastic. I like to think I am a well-read person because I read a variety of genres. With the school year starting up, and with more classes in person, students will be commuting more — so, I figured that I would choose a variety of books to recommend to help make the commute better.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz 

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom is a book that discusses four rules we should follow in order to help better ourselves and our lives. Each rule is followed by a chapter that covers why that agreement is important, and provides information on how the rule can work in our lives, and how we can incorporate them all. The four agreements are: 1) Be impeccable with your word, 2) Don’t take anything personally, 3) Don’t make assumptions, and 4) Do your best.

With the start of back to school season, all the changes happening and the pandemic still going on, this book is amazing because it helps us to be less hard on ourselves. This is a book that focuses on making agreements with yourself. Sure, the self-help genre might be a little overrated sometimes, but Ruiz’s book is different. The Four Agreements allows you to be less hard on yourself and doesn’t sell you some fantasy about how to get rich quickly, or preach platitudes like everything happens for a reason. It is really about looking deeply into yourself and realizing that we aren’t perfect, and shouldn’t need to be perfect.

Home Body by Rupi Kaur 

Home Body is Rupi Kaur’s third poetry book, and like the other two, she captures many events and traumas that have occurred throughout her life. She writes her poems with no capital letters, and there are also her own drawings that accompany her poems.

When travelling, sometimes poetry books make the best companions. Poems get you to think, and with all the movement, sometimes reading something shorter is a little better. Rupi Kaur is an amazing poet with such interesting material; she talks a lot about her experience as a woman of colour and various traumas, and getting to step into her world even for just a short while is so moving. Even her shortest of poems will leave a lasting impact on the reader. I love this poetry collection more than words can express.

The Roommate by Rosie Danan 

The Roommate by Rosie Danan follows Josh and Clara who end up being roommates. Clara comes from a pretty high profile family, and Josh is a pretty well known porn star. At first, they seem like polar opposites, but with time, they realize they might actually be able to get along.

The experience of living with roommates is not all that new to many students, so I thought it would be fun to include a book that explores that as the main premise. This book is fun and presents sex in an interesting way, as the two main characters try to make porn more accessible to women, by making it for women. In my reading, I felt that the way the relationships between characters were described were much more realistic than most of those romance novels with the muscle man on the cover. If you are expecting more than a lighthearted and cute, romantic comedy, then perhaps this is not the book for you. That being said, if you want a cute book to distract you from all the people surrounding you on public transit, then I think this is a great choice!

The Last Time I Lied By Riley Sager 

The Last Time I Lied features Emma, a rising NYC socialite, who goes back to a summer camp fifteen years after an awful event occurred. Back when Emma was at the camp, her roommates left the room one night, and she was the last person who saw them alive. How she remembers things, and what happened are the main questions. Emma uses painting as a means of remembering, and she is asked back to the camp to help with teaching art.

Riley Sager has recently become one of my favourite authors. And of all of his books, this one was the most fitting for going back to school, as it takes place over a summer, and that love of summer goes away once the back to school period starts. This book kept me questioning what was happening the whole time. It’s one of those books that you just cannot seem to put down. The Last Time I Lied is such a good book because it has all the elements of a great suspense novel. It has the thrills, the action, and a lovely little twist that most readers would not expect. What’s better than a book that can captivate you when dealing with a long commute? Just don’t forget to look up once in a while because this is the kind of book that will make you miss your stop.

William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Mean Girls by Ian Doescher

What if Mean Girls took place in Shakespearean times? That is what William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Mean Girls tries to answer. The play takes various elements of Much Ado About Nothing and Mean Girls, and creates a whole new way of appreciating both the movie and Shakespeare’s play because it stays true to the Shakespearen style, and includes how this adaptation uses the variety of techniques that Shakespeare uses. The book focuses on the style and ways in which characters interact with each other in Shakespeare’s play, and applies that to the context of a teen high school flic.

Mean Girls is essentially one of the most quotable movies of my time, and Shakespeare is the most known playwright of all time. So, when Doescher combines them it makes for such an unexpectedly exciting and funny read. Also, with it being back to school season, why not go back and relive such a classic movie in a new way. Furthermore, the way William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Mean Girls is written is so seamless, it feels like the two worlds truly belong together. This play made me laugh so much — it is a fun read and makes for a great commuting companion.


Feature graphic by Madeline Schmidt


Not all music needs to be categorized in single genres, and that’s okay

The idea of putting different types of music in specific genres is a disservice to the art musicians make

Back in high school, when my friends and I would talk about the kind of music we liked, I always felt ashamed to admit I listened to pop music. Because of that, I always focused on other genres like indie and alternative music. I didn’t fully understand what those labels meant, but they felt better than saying I liked pop. Looking back on it, these judgements that we make surrounding  genre are odd and limit our enjoyment of the music we consume.

When you tell someone you listen to a specific genre, it may elicit many different reactions. I noticed that when I mention to older family members that I like pop music, they tend to react more adversely than if I were to mention enjoying rock music. One of my aunts said that only rock music should be considered real music. I asked her why and her response was simply, “Well because rock music is better than the stupid stuff on the radio now.” However, when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of it, how do we define the differences between rock and the subgenres it spawned, like alternative rock?

There seems to be, in my experience, a lot of disdain for “mainstream” music. In a lot of ways, I feel ashamed that I like a lot of it. It seems as though people take issue with how successful many artists who get radio play are, as opposed to lesser-known artists. However, it comes off as a value-based judgement rather than an appreciation for the music. In my experience, people viewed themselves as better, or more cultured than the average listener, if they had knowledge of lesser-known artists because they needed to work harder to find the music. I have also heard  people say they are “real” fans because they knew the artist before they became popular either on the radio or on streaming services — I’ve even been guilty of this myself. I realized that putting down popular artists wasn’t a fair way to assess whether or not I liked a specific song.

When I think about the artists that I like, compared to the genres I don’t like, I find myself wondering if I believe the labels as much as I thought I did. For example, I always talk about how much I dislike rap and hip hop, yet I enjoy many songs by Dax and a few by Cardi B. For a while, I was adamant that I didn’t like the music because I shouldn’t like it. I was focused on my decision that I didn’t like this music genre, so I wrote off the music without giving it a fair chance. While I enjoy both Dax and Cardi B’s music their music doesn’t sound remotely the same despite them both being rap/hip-hop artists.

My interest in this topic was sparked while I was watching a YouTube video about two people discussing Semler, a Christian artist and the creation of their album Preacher’s Kid. While the YouTubers share many views that I disagree with and find harmful to members of the LGBTQ+ community, or those who are not Christians, their discussion here was based on music genres. Christian music cannot contain swear words per Distrokid regulations, a site that is used to upload music to platforms like iTunes and Spotify, and Semler has swear words in their songs, yet still classified their  music as Christian.

This got me thinking about the way music genres work, and if their rules could and should be bent. As much as I wanted to be in support of artistic freedom and rule breaking with the music, I find myself being on the side of the genre in this instance. I found myself wondering if there is a rule on what rules can be broken. It brought attention to just how debatable music and the classification method can be. For example, Justin Bieber was not pleased with the Grammy award category that his album Changes was nominated for. He was expecting his album to be nominated in the R&B category, as he felt that he put out an album in that genre. Yet, Changes was nominated for Pop Vocal Album of the Year.

Music genres and classifications are still necessary to a degree. It makes sense to have a system of categorization because it can create a good stepping stone for understanding music and the tropes that come with a respective category. In order to break the rules, you also need to know them, and genres provide just that.

However, there is too much focus on genres.  When Taylor Swift released 1989, some fans were disappointed that she had mostly converted from country music to pop music. There was also a lot of talk about how Mumford & Sons sold out because some of their songs didn’t have the same folk feel as they once did. When genres become the source of the issue, the rigidity they cause ends up being the focus and the actual music is cast to the side.


Graphic by Julie Rose Gauthier


Are we out of original ideas?

Discussing the issues with reboots or remakes in the entertainment industry

Whenever I’m watching an entertainment news show such as Entertainment Tonight, or listening to podcasts like The Ralph Report, I am constantly hearing about the latest remake or reboot of a show or movie. Most of the time, I end up rolling my eyes because I am kind of sick of it. From the reboot of “Saved by The Bell” to the who-knows-what iteration and reimagining of Batman, there is always something. While yes, I understand and agree that nearly every story has been told and what matters is how the story is told, I find myself thinking about why there is this huge craze to bring back old shows and movies, or to just remake them entirely.

My first thought about this is that film executives are just lazy and don’t want to put as much work into telling stories. It seems like there is no real attempt anymore to try to make something original.

After some thought, I asked myself if it’s easier to reboot or remake a piece of media or if it’s more challenging because there is a directly comparable source. I think that it depends on if it’s being marketed as a reboot or a remake. If a franchise is being rebooted, then there is the potential for things to be a little more challenging because the story has to continue, or because it may only feature some of the original cast.

Whereas with a remake, it seems like there is less need to take artistic liberties because the base is there and only certain things are being changed.

Take the 2013 remake of the 1976 horror film Carrie with Chloë Grace Moretz. Not much differed from the original except for the lack of nudity, as Moretz was only 16 at the time, and the use of cell phones. Did the movie need to be remade? In my opinion, no. The Sissy Spacek version of the movie was really impactful, and remaking it without many changes just felt like it was a waste of time.

There have been times where I have been interested in the reboot or the remake of a show that I grew up watching and was left quite disappointed. For example, the Disney Channel show “Raven’s Home,” which airs on the network as well as on Disney+, was taking “That’s So Raven” and making it new. I loved “That’s So Raven” growing up, and when I watched “Raven’s Home,” I was left feeling bored. The jokes weren’t as funny, and there wasn’t the same energy present that “That’s So Raven” had. I was hoping to feel a sense of nostalgia, but instead I was left feeling let down because it didn’t have the same elements that made the original series fun and entertaining. “That’s So Raven” was so original, funny and quite wacky with the plot, and “Raven’s Home” just toned it down way too much to be enjoyable.

There have been instances where I have been incredibly annoyed with the thought of something being remade. For example, recently it was announced that the movie Face/Off was getting remade, and I was angry to hear this. I thought that the original film was this perfect mess because of how unrealistic the premise was and just how much overacting both Nicholas Cage and John Travolta did. So, trying to remake it seems like a waste of time. I don’t see any purpose other than money as a valid reason to remake this movie.

Nostalgia could be a motivation for this reboot and remake craze. In current times, I can understand the want to escape from our reality and try and bring back things that brought joy in the past. However, at the same time, I think that trying to shove forced nostalgia in everyone’s face removes the natural feeling of being nostalgic. Also, if the movie or show is made new, does it still hold the same importance or feeling as the original? I would argue that no, it loses what made it special in the first place.

I can also see how this trend of reboots is a cash grab, honestly. A lot of the time, certain shows and movies that did well in the past or had a decent following are seen as easy money. If a story is familiar, then it might draw a larger crowd than a story that is entirely new.

I think that if there wasn’t such a push for all this rehashing then it might be less annoying. A lot of major studios, with the right amount of funds and new technology, can take many more creative liberties than before, yet they keep reaching into the past to make things again. It frustrates me because there are many stories that could be told, and many ideas that are not being pursued because something that was popular twenty years ago needs another shot in 2021. Nearly every time I hear about a new movie announcement, it’s always some movie or show that was made before. I just want to hear about something that is original, that hasn’t been done before.


Graphic by Taylor Reddam

Music Quickspins

QUICKSPINS: Zara Larsson – Poster Girl

 Zara Larsson’s third studio album is a fun, breezy listen that will surely put you in a good mood

Upon listening to the first few tracks on Poster Girl, you can tell that Zara Larsson has departed from her ballad-style songs. With this being her third studio album, she went for a fully upbeat and lighthearted tone. Some of her most popular songs have been slower ones, and Poster Girl is anything but. Zara Larsson has provided her listeners with an album that is full of tracks that can get anyone up and dancing around their rooms.

Thematically, the album is sound; each song has its rightful place in the tracklist. Most of the songs are based on love, relationships and feelings overall. The titles of each song, for the most part, give a clear indication of what a listener can expect.

The three singles, “Love Me Land,” “WOW,” and “Talk About Love,” are by far the catchiest songs on the tracklist.

“Love Me Land” has an opening siren that sounds like it’s from a Purge movie, which, compared to the lightheartedness of the rest of the album, seems quite dark. However, once the song’s main melody begins, it fits in with the rest of the album.

“WOW” is a bit of a tongue twister to sing along to because of the constant repetition of words with the overall pacing of the song — although it does make the song quite catchy to listen to. It’s one of those songs that you put on repeat, and before you know it, you’ve listened to it about ten times.

“Talk About Love” is the only song that has a featured artist. Young Thug’s appearance creates a different dynamic to the tone of the song, compared to the rest of the tracks. Larsson proves how sticky her lyrics can be on this track (“I don’t wanna talk about love / I don’t got time to be lying like a rug / Hot as Taki, Kawasaki, I ride it, ride it”).  The line always offers a laugh, comparing a popular snack to how hot Larsson is, and uses a seemingly popular snack to emulate how hot the speaker is.

Larsson’s songs are constant hits. They’re not overly complex to understand, and they’re relatable. She is able to convey strong messages about female empowerment across the 12 tracks. Even a song like “Ruin My Life” focuses on the woman’s role within the song and what she wants. Perhaps the song’s lyrics aren’t positive, as she says “I want you to ruin my life / I want you to fuck up my nights,” however, the woman herself is seemingly in control here. The idea is that what an empowered woman looks like can take on many forms.

While Zara Larsson’s songs do discuss some deeper subject matter, some of that gets lost behind the overproduced and upbeat nature of the songs. There are songs that discuss relationships and have poignant messages, but the focus tends to be on the beat, rather than the lyrics.

That being said, Poster Girl is a great album to put you in a better mood. It’s unfortunate that the album doesn’t have much variety in terms of beat and style, which creates a lack of balance for the listener. However, if someone wants a dance-based, upbeat album, then Poster Girl will satisfy them.

Rating: 7/10


How the pandemic changed the way we listen to music

As the world changed around me, I had music to get me through it

Listening to music is a crucial part of my life. Before the pandemic, my headphones were on before I was out of the door. I would hit play on my music soon after. I would lip-sync throughout the entire length of my commute, and sometimes I would get odd looks, but I felt happy and that was all that mattered.

However, as much as music was there every day, I started to lose that deep connection with it. Music just became the typical part of my life, and it still impacted my moods, but I no longer felt inspired by music anymore. Songs like Billie Eilish’s “bad guy” and Kesha’s “Praying” were no longer special to me — I was just a product of the repeat and shuffle buttons.

March 2020 was the start of two incredible new chapters in my life. On March 12, I found out I was pregnant. On March 13, strict COVID-19 measures were put in place — and nothing has been the same since. So within two days, I got amazing news and some of the scariest news of my life to date.

For the first month after hearing about the pandemic, I didn’t bother listening to music at all. I took away a source of pleasure and entertainment because I didn’t think I deserved to have anything enjoyable. My life was consumed by the news. I would hear the introduction music for Global News Morning, and my days turned to dread really quickly. That sound meant non-stop COVID-19 news, and it would send me into a spiral of fear.

There was one day in late April where my husband and I decided to limit our news intake and take a break from the information. That’s when I decided to listen to music again; because if I was going to  feel a whirlwind of emotions, I would rather it be because of music.

My first idea was to search music from the early 2000s, because it was music that was so far removed from the pandemic. Songs like “Sorry, Blame It On Me” by Akon and “Beautiful Soul” by Jesse McCartney made me feel nostalgic. I was able to sing them from start to finish with no missed lyrics, and I felt accomplished. During a time where I was still suffering from morning sickness and not being able to leave my apartment, something as simple as singing a song made me feel amazing.

While the pandemic had me feeling down, I didn’t want to limit my intake of sad music. Sometimes I just needed a good cry and music was a safe way to do that. I listened to “Take Me Home, Country Roads” because it was sung in a death scene in an otherwise silly action movie that struck me. The reason I wanted to do this was because I wanted to be in control of my sadness, even if it was just for a few minutes.

Playing a music guessing game was something my husband and I decided to bring back to our games list, but this time around, we had had a lot more fun with it. We would each pick a pre-made playlist on Spotify and have the other person guess what song was playing. He and I are both competitive people, so games like these are fun for us. By reintroducing this game into our lives, we got to disconnect from all the ugliness the pandemic had caused. We started to play it more often because we had nothing else to do, but we also got to bond more. We decided to pick more obscure lists like wrestling entry music. Getting to experience the snippets of music, most of which ended up being unfamiliar, allowed me to feel happily frustrated when I didn’t know the answer.

Since I had a lot of time, I would sometimes put music channels on our TV, and through that, I got to experience everything from happiness to disbelief. I found a lot of new music through those channels, like Ashe. Some of the best songs I have heard from her are “Moral of the Story,” “Save Myself” and “Shitty Places, Pretty Faces.” Her music speaks to me on such a profound level.

I felt confused sometimes when I heard some new music that I found to be awful. Whether the discoveries made me feel positive or negative, I felt fortunate to be able to rebuild my relationship with music. 

Now that my son is here, and nearly a year since the lockdown started, music has become even more important to me. Music is now my source of energy and calm. I listen to a lot of baby songs now because I use that to bond with my son, though he seems to be more interested in the music I like instead, which makes me smile. Music has also become a teaching tool, and as someone who loves to teach, it enhances my overall relationship with music and with my son.

As cliché as it sounds, music has become my escape from the hardships of the pandemic. I have had the chance to redefine my relationship with music in a way that I didn’t think would happen. I realized that I was taking my love of music for granted, and now I no longer do that. 

Graphic by Taylor Reddam


On being bisexual

Exploring the issue of bi-erasure

I’ve known I was bisexual since the age of 14. I came out to my friends in high school and was met with mixed responses: I got everything from “that’s awesome,” to “I knew it,” to “well, as long as you don’t fall for me, it’s fine.” The way I came out to my family was during an argument, and I was met with quite a bit of disdain.

When I turned 17, however, I started to feel trapped into picking a different label. Since I knew that people thought my bisexuality was fake, I figured that I could choose to identify as a lesbian instead. The issue was that I knew I liked girls, not just guys, so I chose to identify as a lesbian because it would be easier to explain if I was ever dating a girl. Had I been able to embrace my bisexuality, it would have been less of an issue to bring a girl home.

Nine years later, I am married to a man, and we have a baby. My husband knows I am bisexual, and he accepts that. Yet, in the eyes of many, I am heterosexual. Of course, this is not the case. However, in many ways, I feel I have to justify my sexuality whenever it comes up.

Prior to meeting my husband, when I was in relationships, I would never tell people that I was bisexual. I would avoid my sexuality as a topic because I feared backlash. I even almost tried to not tell my husband, but I knew that was not a good idea. If I wanted the relationship to work, I had to be honest. I knew that in the long run, lying would hurt both of us.

While the person closest to me accepts my sexuality, a lot of people don’t, both in micro and macrospheres of my life. The thing I hear the most is that bisexuality is akin to confusion. It is usually followed by the idea that bisexuals are cowards because they just want to float in the middle. This assumption is so frustrating because it makes bisexuality seem like a copout, and I really don’t think that is true.

My family and I have engaged in many debates about bisexuality. One family member stated that they understood being gay or lesbian, but that being bisexual seemed fake. Again, this pushes forth the idea that bisexuality just doesn’t exist. If I am stating that I feel attraction toward both men and women, I don’t understand why that has to be debated.

There was a time in CEGEP where I was part of an LGBTQ club, and I remember feeling uncomfortable with trying to embrace my sexuality. I would hear comments about how bisexual people had an advantage because the dating pool is doubled compared to other people in the LGBTQ community. It was kind of crazy to me that within a group that was supposed to embrace different sexualities, I felt so ostracized.

I have dated women in the past who have said they could never date a bisexual person, and I felt like such a fraud. I would go along with the sentiment, and act like I wouldn’t date a bisexual person either. In retrospect, I realize that the issue was with the girls I was dating, and not with me.

Honestly, I find that my battle with the acceptance of bisexuality has been a bumpy one. In many ways, I know that some people are probably pleased with the fact that I am with a man and not a woman. Part of the reason for this is because it is deemed “easier” in society to be in a heterosexual relationship. Also, for many of my family members, biological children are a staple, and it was less difficult for me to have a child because I am with a man. Growing up in a primarily Italian household, heterosexuality is the norm, and by being with my husband, I am fitting the mould of being an Italian woman.  I also know that there are people who are upset that I, supposedly, chose to be with a man over a woman, because it comes across as me choosing heterosexuality.

I am frustrated with the lack of recognition of bisexuality as a legitimate sexuality. As someone who uses this label, I know it is real. The notion that bisexual people are taking the easy route is detrimental to our mental health, especially when it comes from people in the LGBTQ community. There needs to be an acknowledgment that my sexual orientation is real, and that everyone who is bisexual is valid.


Graphic by @the.beta.lab


Students reflect on a semester of online learning

The benefits and challenges will most likely persist in the winter semester

With the fall 2020 semester coming to an end, the effects of online school are being felt by many. The semester has presented benefits and challenges for all those involved. How did students handle this, and what did they think of the fall 2020 semester?

Kelly Marie, a student in Recreation and Leisure Studies, enrolled in three classes this semester.

Marie stated that she felt “relieved that I didn’t have the added stress of having to go into school everyday and worry about increasing [my] chances of getting the virus,” when she found out that her classes would be remote.

For Marie, one of the biggest challenges of a remote semester is online textbooks. She said, “[my] eyes get tired and I get headaches from it.”

Chloë Lalonde, the creative director of The Concordian and a student in the faculty of Fine Arts and Arts and Science, enrolled in four classes for the fall semester.

When they found out that the term would be going online, they stated that they were “disappointed, but not surprised.”

When asked how the pandemic has affected their work for The Concordian, they stated that, “We typically work remotely so it didn’t change too much.” They also mentioned that there were changes that needed to be made because no print issues were being published this semester.

For Lalonde, the things that they like the least about having a remote semester are “[the] group projects, [the] lack of space to work in fine arts classes, [and] no internships.”

Omnia Gomaa, a student in Software Engineering, who is also a member of the Women in STEM at Concordia group, said that she was “stressed about not being able to study in a team as [she] used to in previous terms.”

For her, the best part about having an online semester was “Not having to go through the struggle of commuting.” The idea of not travelling to work was echoed in Marie’s response as well.

Women in STEM At Concordia is a new student club, and because of COVID-19, the way their group operates is not typical. Gomaa said that the pandemic has impacted the way their activities are run, which is true for all clubs this semester at Concordia.

According to her, “All activities have been done online, resulting in us having late replies from people we reach out to and technical issues. This includes everything from a weak internet connection to people’s busy schedules.”

She also believes that this group is necessary during this time because “It encourages young women to stay motivated and pursue their dreams, even during hard times. Doing this sets a good example for the younger generation, teaching them not to give up easily even when faced with difficulties.”

For Gomaa, the remote delivery of the semester was a bit of a challenge at first. Despite this, she said, “It really helps to always look at the bright side and see how [someone] can benefit from situations like the one we are currently in.”

Each of the students interviewed were asked to rate their semester experience on a scale of one to 10, one being an awful experience and 10 being outstanding. Lalonde rated her experience a six, Gomaa and Marie both rated it a seven. These numbers suggest that while the experience was not perfect, it wasn’t downright awful either.

The choice to go online made by Concordia seemed to be the only real option during the pandemic. This semester, though sometimes enjoyable, also contained challenges that students faced. These benefits and challenges will most likely persist in the winter semester as well. 


Graphic by @ariannasiviria


What do Montrealers think about online exhibitions?

Reflecting on the future of museums, online showings, and art’s place in a COVID-19 world

Before COVID-19, visiting brick and mortar museums in Montreal was rather easy and enjoyable, with many free exhibits offered as well. Now, in a COVID-19 world, and with Montreal in the red zone, museums are not as easily accessible.

Despite this, the good news is that there are a multitude of virtual exhibitions that people can access, free of charge, to get at least some kind of museum experience. The Virtual Museum of Canada has a wide array of exhibitions that people can choose from, most of which are offered in both English and French.

But how much does this switch to online museums actually affect Montrealers? How often did Montrealers go to museums pre-pandemic? Eleven people responded to a survey posted in the Montrealers Helping Montrealers Facebook group. While this is a small number of people compared to the population of the city, this represents the opinions of a microcosm of Montreal.

45.5 per cent of respondents said they went to museums less than once a year, whereas 18.2 per cent of respondents said they visited monthly. 63.6 per cent of participants stated that they were aware of the availability of free museum exhibitions in Montreal, and 36.4 per cent were not.

When specifically asked if they were aware of the Virtual Museum of Canada, 81.8 per cent of respondents said they did not know about it, and only 18.2 per cent were aware of this website. The lack of awareness of the Virtual Museum of Canada website could lead to people missing out on the opportunity for arts access during this pandemic.

The Virtual Museum of Canada is a website that features various art exhibitions exploring different topics. For example, there is a section on History and Society, which features a virtual tour of the monastery of the Ursulines of Québec. Under the Nature section, there is an exhibition called Navigating the Saint Lawrence. This exhibition allows participants to see how the challenges associated with navigating the river have evolved over time.

In the same survey, participants were asked how they felt about the initial closure of museums during the first wave of COVID-19, and the responses were varied.

“It didn’t affect me as I don’t usually visit museums,” said Marta Josefina, 21. “Only for school purposes, I would visit museums.”

“Safety takes priority over museum visits until there is a vaccine,” said Toni Lavery, 65. “I let myself grieve and let it go for the good of all.”

“I felt it was a good choice since it’s not essential,” said Jessica Andrade, 20.

Participants were also asked about whether they think that having access to museums is important or not, and why.

“It’s history and art,” said Jade Jolicoeur, 25. “It helps us see the world through other people’s eyes. It’s very important.”

David Stern, 36, said that it “lifts the spirit and mind” for those who want to attend museums, and Jennifer Michelle stated that “art of all types is an important part of [people’s] [lives].”

Due to the pandemic, the state of brick and mortar institutions might be called into question, including museums. In the same survey, when participants were asked, “Do you think that virtual exhibits will take over brick and mortar museums given the context of the state of Quebec,” only one of the eleven participants said yes.

Taking part in the access to online exhibitions is a great idea. Five of the 11 survey participants said that, on a scale of one to five, their interest in using virtual exhibitions was at four.

For those who are interested in virtual exhibitions, there are many options available.

Morbus Delirium is an interactive exhibition that was put together by the Montreal Science Centre. It is offered in both English and French, and in a mode designed for those who are visually impaired. The exhibition is focused on trying to solve an epidemic that is in Quebec — quite a topical subject matter for an interactive exhibition. This might be controversial, but it can also make people interact with the idea of a virus in a different way. Also, because it is being put out by a Science Centre, it is less likely to take a fear-mongering approach.

The game allows the participant to make a character they will use throughout the story, on an easy or hard level. There are various tasks that must be completed, and there are conversations one follows to contribute to the story. The way the exhibition is set up allows for an immersive experience, even though no one is in the Science Centre physically. It’s a way to keep the culture alive and still have people participate in it.

If people like interactive, story-driven attractions, then checking out Morbus Delirium is a good option.

For those who are looking for a variety of exhibitions that don’t require leaving the house, the Virtual Museum of Canada is the place to explore.


Feature image: Screenshot from the the Montreal Science Centre’s Morbus Delirium


Let’s stop policing whether or not women have children

Deciding whether or not to start a family is a personal decision, so why does it seem to be everyone’s business?

I have always wanted children, and a little over one month before this article was published, I had one. Having a baby was the greatest joy thus far in my life. I also, however, was prompted to think about the debates about whether or not people should be having children. This is a debate I have had with many different people, and each debate has a unique outcome.

One of the main arguments I have heard from women who do not want kids is that choosing to have kids makes you a product of the patriarchal society. I find this frustrating because it removes the agency of women who make the choice to have children willingly. I do understand that in certain situations, there is a lot of pressure on women to have biological children. I know that in some families if a woman doesn’t produce a child it causes a lot of conflicts. That being said, I don’t think it is fair to paint this with a broad stroke. I think each woman’s decision should be accepted, and we should embrace that women are in a position to be their own agents in decision making.

Overpopulation and the environment are two other reasons why women say they are opting to not have children and I can understand the concern. I have heard the conversations about there potentially not being enough food to feed everyone. So, I can see someone choosing a childless life in light of this concern. I can also see how someone who is environmentally cautious and wants to reduce their perceived negative contributions to the environment might feel that having no children would make the most sense.

I have wanted children since I was about 16 years old, and so ten years later, I chose to have a child. I remember even growing up that there were debates about this subject. I grew up with two siblings, and in an Italian family, so having children was kind of a rite of passage. However, my desire to have children wasn’t from my family directly. I wanted to have a child that I could take care of and see grow. I think this should be respected.

Something I think is missing from the debate is the fact that men aren’t questioned about this topic in the same way women are. Men don’t have to answer why they do or do not want to be a father. I think that in order to come to a solid conclusion, the debate needs to have more balance. The reason I say this is because the debate around having children seems to just be another way for women and their bodies to be policed and judged. I also think it is easier to ask women the question because they will be the ones who are carrying the baby.

The justification process for either decision is one that makes this debate so heated. It seems like women are pitted against each other for whichever decision they make. I think the justification process, which I have gone through, is what makes this debate the most challenging. It seems that no matter which choice a woman makes, there is something wrong with that choice. Whether or not a woman wants children should be respected. I don’t think it’s up to me, men, other women, or society at large to police whether women do or do not have children.


 Graphic by Lily Cowper

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