By: Christine Chow

Whether it’s the continuous Facebook notifications, the Campus store queue that never seems to dwindle over the first week of September, or the throng of people glancing doggedly at their phones and then at each other outside of MUSC Starbucks, nothing says “new school year” quite like the painful business of buying textbooks, or the subsequent hassle of getting them off your hands.

Gone are the days of meaningless cost replacement values, where returning your badly battered textbook to the teacher at the end of the semester was all it took to pay your due. University is a whole different ball game, and when a brand new textbook can cost you anywhere from $50 to $200, you’re better off saving yourself some money and buying them used.

In most cases, this is true, so long as you take the proper precautions to ensure you’re buying the current edition, or, if you do the latter, that it won’t compromise your learning experience.

If you’re having difficulties dumping your books on someone else once you’re through with them, know that you’re not alone. In the evolutionary arms race between used textbook sales and store-bought copies, the odds are stacked against you.

New textbooks now often come in packages with codes for online software that make up part of a course’s marking scheme. Even in cases where a used textbook for the course appears ideal, waiting to sell proves risky with sudden switches to newer editions.

Whether the so-called newer edition actually contains any useful, updated information or just a newly designed cover with renumbered pages is debatable. What is not, however, is the decreased market value of your textbook. Spamming the used sales group on Facebook is no longer going to cut it. So what are your alternatives?

Consider expanding your buyer base by using the MacInsiders marketplace or posting a Kijiji ad, the latter of which supports finding ways to reach out to students at different universities using the same textbook. Chances are they might be interested or even willing to pay more, depending on how the textbook in question is packaged and sold at their school.

If your book has truly reached the end of its lifespan, consider keeping an eye out for events like McMaster Science Society’s Textbook Swap Day, or donating it to Shinerama’s Textbook Drive in MUSC 201, which is taking textbooks until October.

Selling your textbook ASAP can make a huge difference. The sooner you get it off your hands, the less likely it is that you’ll have to deal with the blowback of a new edition. So if you’re taking a course in first semester, try to sell it in the second instead of waiting for the next year to swing around. Selling sooner, for example, right after exams, might also mean that the Campus Store will buy back your textbook at the Hole in the Wall for a higher price.

To keep up with new editions, ask your professor to tip you off at the beginning of the term about whether editions will be changed in the upcoming year. This could prove useful in deciding how much to invest in a copy, as loose-leaf and PDF versions, despite being harder to sell, might offer a more viable alternative. Whatever you do, don’t let your textbook sit on your shelf, where it’ll only collect dust. Don’t fool yourself. You’ll never pull it out again for a bit of light—er, heavy—reading.

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By: Emile Shen

Gwendolyn Eadie once toured with Disney on Ice across North and South Americas as an ice dancer. These days, she still laces up her skates for the McMaster Varsity Women’s Figure Skating Team, but you can also find her in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, where she is a PhD candidate.

Eadie began her undergraduate career at Simon Fraser University as an English major. Her interest in math and science was present throughout her childhood, but it was not until she took a first-year astronomy class that her interest developed into an academic pursuit.

Eadie credits this development to her astronomy professor. “When you have a teacher that is really inspiring and can convey the material really well… if you have an innate interest, then when you have a prof that can bring that out of you, that’s when you hope you can go into that field.”

“The turning point was when I wrote an English paper about the Hubble Space Telescope. Maybe English wasn’t the right thing for me,” she reminisced.

Now in the third year of her doctoral studies, her work focuses on calculating the mass of the Milky Way Galaxy.

To many of us, conquering the weight of our day-to-day responsibilities is enough, never mind the mass of a galaxy. But Eadie, who has developed her own statistical model for calculating the weight of the Milky Way Galaxy, finds reassurance from studying the ever-expanding universe as it reminds her of the relativity of our issues in the grand scheme of the solar system, and beyond.

Even with all of this, competitive figure skating is still part of her life.

“It’s something I love and it’s completely different from work—it gets me out of the office and it gets me socializing with a whole different set of people, so it just keeps me really happy to keep doing it.”

The figure skating team consists mostly of undergraduate students so Eadie is also seen as a role model within the team. Sometimes, she offers her teammates free physics tutoring in her downtime. Eadie wants women to break down barriers in academia and beyond, believing in the importance of role models. When asked to name her role models, she lists her mom first and foremost.

“I think seeing [my mom] growing up really broke down those walls. Why can’t I go into science and do astronomy? There’s no reason why I can’t.”

Motivation can be hard to tap into when stress kicks in, but Eadie believes it is important to keep devoting time to our passions.

“Don’t stop the things you love doing… It’s a part of who you are and it’s good for you.”

Photo Credit: Aaron Springford

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By: Max Lightstone

Student number lost and found

If you’ve ever found someone’s student card but not know how to contact them, do not despair. E-mails sent to student#@mcmaster.ca will be delivered to the McMaster email account.

Costco gift card magic

It’s often believed that you need a membership to shop at Costco, but having a Costco gift card of any amount can get you the same access. On top of that, you can pay any excess with debit or credit.

Fiddes wholesale produce

This is the place to go if you want inexpensive groceries. They supply the grocery stores, but also open their warehouse to the community. They are found on 60 Ewen Road #4 and are open 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

Metro’s student discount

Another way to save money on groceries is to visit Metro. Students get 10 percent off on Tuesdays. Be sure to bring your student card.

Recipes made for your fridge

Have you ever looked at your kitchen and wondered what in the world you could make with all those ingredients? Supercook.com is a website that lets you enter what you have, and then tells you what you can make from it. You can even specify what you are in the mood for, and it’ll give you its best attempt.

The ultimate Mac app

MacSMS is a student-run app made to provide campus updates in real time. It is a great resource for finding how long the bus will be, what the weather’s like, and more. Check out www.macsms.me for more info.

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By: Celestina Aleobua

Canada, a nation that prides itself for its multiculturalism, being a “melting pot” of all cultures, and with equal rights for all, has failed to provide substantial justification for why international students pay significantly higher tuition fees than domestic students.

Currently, international students pay almost four times the amount of fees that local students pay, though the amount can vary by school or degree. However, international students do not receive any added benefits. International and domestic students share the same facilities, the same professors and tutors, and the same bus services. Additionally, they are not eligible for most scholarships, or for financial aid services such as the Ontario Students Assistance Program (OSAP) that are available to local students. This begs the question of why there is a huge disparity between local and international student fees.

One common argument justifying the high price of international student fees is that international students do not contribute to the Canadian economy, because they do not pay taxes, and should therefore be charged more in tuition. International students may not pay income tax, but they definitely contribute to the economy in terms of expenditure. A 2012 study by Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development Canada on the Economic Impact of International Education in Canada said, “in 2010, international students in Canada spent in excess of $7.7 billion on tuition, accommodation and discretionary spending; created over 81,000 jobs; and generated more than $445 million in government revenue.”

The report also goes on to state that international students in Canada make a significant contribution to the economy, and it recommends that Canada “ensure that international students are recognized and supported commensurate to their importance to Canada.” Educational institutions recognize that the international students that can currently afford their high fees are those that are affluent, and they share this view of these students being valuable. However, this view puts them at a huge disadvantage.

The arguments of domestic students agreeing with the high international student fees stems from the expectation that there be available space for all Canadian citizens in educational institutions, and that there should be a priority for admissions given to local students over international students. Institutions limit the amount of admissions given to local students and free up space for international students in order to reap the full financial benefits.

Educational institutions excuse general increases in fees with lack of funding from the government. According to the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, increments in local student fees are capped at three percent every year, however for international students, no such limit exists. International students are vulnerable to tuition increments at the discretion of the educational institution. This is simply unfair.

Entering Canada as an international student is like being the eleventh man in line at the opening of a new H&M. The first ten people get a discount, and the rest settle for the inflated prices. Canada comprises of many different cultures, and in this sense, Canadian students are no different from international students. It is high time Canada includes the eleventh man in the discount club.

By: Chris Litfin

Who are we voting for?

Perhaps you’ve heard that there are municipal elections in Ontario on Oct. 27. You may have noticed the plethora of lawn signs, the people in suits knocking on your door, or the three-ring circus that is Toronto’s mayoral race. If you haven’t, you aren’t completely to blame.

Not only does the municipal election get very little play on the major media outlets, there are no less than six distinct races in each ward: Mayor, Ward Councillor, and Trustees for the English Public, English Catholic, French Public, and French Catholic School Boards. Even for dedicated watchers of local politics, it’s enough to make your head spin.

Hamilton’s municipal government is made up of one mayor, 15 councillors each representing a ward, and an army of bureaucrats. You get to vote for the mayor (one of twelve candidates) and one of the ward councillors. McMaster is in Ward 1, which includes everything west of Queen street and east of Dundas below the escarpment, so unless you commute, you will be voting for one of the six candidates for Ward 1 councillor.

Why should you care about Hamilton politics if you are from, say, Vancouver? Simply put, after McMaster, the City of Hamilton is the organisation you interact with the most on a daily basis. Want more buses late at night? Want the bike lanes on Sterling plowed during the winter? How about a program to make sure that the student house you rented from that sketchy landlord is actually safe? All of those things are municipal responsibilities.

The school board trustees are where it starts to get complicated. As a legacy of confederation back in 1867, most areas in Ontario are covered by four distinct school boards. Thing is, you only get to vote for one of them; which one you vote for depends on whether you have “education rights” for something other than the English Public School Board. Long story short, unless you went to a Catholic/French/French Catholic high school, probably don’t have “education rights” and so will be defaulted to the English Public School Board.

In any event, in Ward 1 there are five candidates running for the English Public School Board and two for each of the others. If you think that the race for School Board Trustee is unimportant compared to Mayor or Councillor, you are dead wrong. Think about it: roughly 90 percent of you are a product of Ontario’s education system. Didn’t like something about your experience? Now’s your chance to do something about it.

The sad fact is that university students often don’t vote: for proof, just look at the dismal turnout for many of the elections held on campus. But there is a bigger problem here than the fact that university students are apathetic. As far as politicians are concerned, if you don’t vote, you don’t exist. Why should they spend time on some student-friendly initiative when they won’t see any benefit from it on election day?  Aside from all the doing-one’s-civic-duty rhetoric, it’s in your own self-interest to vote. On Oct. 27, let’s all be self-interested and take the ten minutes to put three Xs on a piece of paper.

Make your room feel just like home!

Family Photos

Family photos put the “family” in “jail cell”. And there’s nothing quite like seeing some precious photos of family grace those white brick walls.

A Rug or Two

It might be the fact that my toes are #blessed every morning they roll out of bed, feelin’ like they’re in toe paradise with that sheep rug heaven, but I think rugs are the most pivotally homey addition you can make.

Let there be Light

You can’t have a fireplace (surprise!), but you can add some seriously needed warmth with the right lighting. Consider buying a floorlamp because, let’s be real, no human being can function normally with the fluorescent lights often installed in dorm rooms.

Buy a Nice Lil' Cup

A mug that makes you happy is a staple for any home, so don’t feel you need to stick to the paper cups you get from MUSC all the time (as convenient as they are to defrost our hands on the way to class).

A second-year graduate student was the victim of a hit-and-run on Saturday night near Emerson St. and Whitney Ave. He has since returned home from hospital and is recovering from 7 stitches in his right arm, a swollen ankle and cuts on the right side of his body.

The incident was reported to the police around 10:45 p.m. on Saturday when the victim, who wanted to remain anonymous, was walking with two friends to another friend's house on Whitney Ave.

The victim said a group in a car pulled up beside them and someone from inside the car threw an egg at him. The driver then turned the car around, pumped the gas pedal and swerved. The victim was hit by the driver's side of the car before the vehicle fled the scene. The car is described as a silver SUV with tinted windows and a broken rear window on the driver's side.

The victim is studying in McMaster's graduate physiotherapy program and has been able to return to class, though shaken by the incident.

The Hamilton Police are currently investigating the incident. Tips and information can be sent to Hamilton Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

By Tyler Welch

I’ve got a proposal that I believe could alleviate a great deal of pain and suffering from the lives of students and faculties alike on this campus. Let me paint a picture for you.

It’s 12:27 p.m. and you are speeding through hoards of young students on your way from MDCL to TSH for a 12:30 p.m. class. You think to yourself, “Of course, I’ll maximize my travel efficiency and cut through the Student Centre. This way I can make it to class on time!”

Now, you’ve had trouble with this before. Getting from class to class can be tough during the lunchtime rush on campus. Another tardy and your prof might make some kind of snide or sarcastic remark upon your arrival. “Once again, Tom?” “Is your watch not working today either, Beth?” Imagine it. You could never handle that kind of embarrassment - a terrible episode of public humiliation. This is your driving force as you weave in and out of nurses and engineers, duck under plates of pizza, and spin around briefcase-wielding faculty. All seems well. You are nearing the stairs, only a few students and the Arts Quad stand between you and your successful pursuit of punctuality. Suddenly, the student in front of you slows down – he/she is trying to text and walk at the same time. You must slow your pace as well. You’re trapped in a prison of low-speed walking all because this guy/girl has been unable to master a simple skill - maintaining walking speed while simultaneously drafting and sending a text message.

I know, it is a vivid and horrifying image but sadly, thousands suffer from similar circumstances every year. Something must be done.

McMaster should construct some sort of training area or practice facility. This simulation venue would be created with similar characteristics of many Mac buildings - doors, walls, chairs, garbage cans and other students. A more advanced facility could even be set up to mimic situations with a higher difficulty level like food areas and bus stops. The idea would be to produce a benchmark of text-walking standards. Upon entry to McMaster, each student would be required to take a simulation test in each of the practice facilities - nothing too rigorous, just a replica of a simple, every day scenario. A student might have one chance at the first test and be allotted two chances on the more advanced test. If this student passes each round everything they can continue on with their education with no more thought or hassle. However, not all will fare well. For some, this is a difficult undertaking. For these students, a short training program would be compulsory.

This would be an amazing step in the right direction. Furthermore, a kind of infraction system could be implemented. Anyone who is found stalling others in the hallways a certain number of times would be required to take a refresher course on texting and walking.

Not only will this be an amazing way to relieve pain and suffering from the student body, but great for the local economy. We would be creating jobs - trainers for the practice facility, overseers to enforce the infraction system. The list goes on.

I am not suggesting anything too drastic or radical, just a simple solution to a common problem. Of course, this is just a thought - an off-the-cuff comment on an important issue. There will be more brainstorming. This is only the beginning.

The average student barely has enough time to keep up with studies alone, but the student athlete must practically create time to manage both worlds equally.

Jordan Tew

The Silhouette

 

There is an old saying that goes, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” The statement is exemplified by every varsity athlete at McMaster. Balancing a full academic schedule with games and practices is no easy task, especially when travel is necessary. An athlete’s work ethic and time management skills are often overlooked by many people, including those who are not devoted fans or have not had the “behind the scenes” vantage point of knowing the day-to-day lives of athletes.

Instead, the common stereotype of “meat-head,” “basket weaver” and the most common, “jock,” are still the mainstays in the public’s opinion of student athletes. Such words carry a negative connotation and often paint the picture of an athlete who does not attend class, much less study for assignments and tests. In addition, these titles assume that the athlete’s chosen major is not one of high educational prestige, but rather a simplistic mindless program, such as the notorious “basket weaving degree,” to ensure time and mind space is focused on the sport and achieving the dream of one day making the “pros.”

Those stereotypes are incorrect, because the dream of making it to the pros rarely becomes reality for the average student athlete. This is partly because the percentage of players who survive to the pros without major injury, actually play a sport that generates a sustainable income and are talented enough to be considered elite, is fractional in comparison to the total number of athletes that proudly don the Maroon and Grey. While a few student athletes will certainly go on to experience further athletic notoriety and success, many others will continue on to further their academic credentials at the Masters level or find success in their individual professions or careers.

The level of success for McMaster athletes both on and off the court can be attributed to the unrivaled athletic program and the “education first” culture that exists at the university. McMaster student athletes don’t aspire to bide their time in the post-secondary world until they make it “big” in the athletic world. Rather, the students know that they are earning a degree from one of the top universities in the nation, while having the privilege of playing a sport for which they have both the love and talent to play. The student athletes are encouraged to recognize the importance of their degree and how it will be relevant and beneficial to their professional lives after they hang up their jersey for the last time.

The importance of education is brought to the forefront, with each player’s major being listed in the game day roster for all fans to see. When you look down any roster, you will see programs of study such as Nursing, MBA, Economics etc., demonstrating that these are cerebral student athletes who understand what it takes to succeed in the classroom and on the playing field, and will carry what they learned at school into the real world.

Aside from earning a valuable degree, student athletes learn the invaluable life skills of self-discipline, work ethic and time management through their grueling daily schedules. For example, being a player on the McMaster Men’s Basketball team is a full-week commitment. An average of three to five hours daily is devoted to basketball on top of schoolwork. For instance, on a typical Monday, the team begins watching film at 5:30 p.m., where they critique both their play and study their opponents. This is followed by a 6:30 practice, which, depending on the time of year will last one and a half to two hours. After practice, a 45-minute weight lifting session is completed to maintain strength through the season. After all this, athletes must spend time stretching and submerging their bodies in ice so that they are able to do the very same thing the next day.

A game day is quite different. Take a Wednesday “Away Game” in Windsor for example. The bus to the game would leave around noon in order to arrive in time for both the women’s and men’s games, starting at 6 and 8 p.m. respectively, and would not return back at campus until two in the morning. Many players have to attend early-morning classes the next day. Depending on scheduling, Wednesday away games often occur during a time when schoolwork is at its heaviest, amplifying the idea of a mid-week hump day.

The common argument for why athletes should have such busy schedules is that they receive athletic scholarships. In reality, not everyone who is an athlete receives a scholarship. Further, Ontario Universities cannot offer full scholarships, so athletes require additional financial support in order to be able to afford the cost of their tuition, books and living expenses. Since the majority of varsity sports last all year (combining training and competition), maintaining a job on top of trying to excel in both the athletic and academic spaces is very difficult. Finally, if athletes were to receive a scholarship, it would be based on excelling and maintaining a certain academic standard, including a grade point average and a specific number of classes taken each semester.

McMaster athletes have learned to take advantage of that hour between classes, to attend the often-underused office hours that professors hold and to register in courses that fit around practice and game times. They have learned to live a hectic, extremely busy and performance-based lifestyle because they are so organized and driven to the point that real life will not be much of a surprise.

So if you want something done, give it to a jock. Better yet, give it to a student athlete.

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