My life in March was consumed by one big thing: a strike. I am a graduate student at the University of Toronto and at the end of February, members in my union voted down the tentative agreement that was presented by the university administration for our new contract, and thus the strike began. The strike ended a full month later at the end of March.
Graduate students do the majority of teaching and marking at the University of Toronto, as well as most of the research that gives the university its prestige and ranks it as one of the best universities in the world. And yet we are given a funding package of only $15,000 a year ($8,000 below the poverty line) to live on in the second most expensive city in Canada. We also pay more money in tuition than a full-time undergrad who takes 40 courses (I've only taken 1 course in my time here).
And so I went on strike for the month of March. I spent 4 hours on the picket line every morning, and the rest of my day was spent trying to keep up with the 8 hours of research that I would normally put into my day to complete my thesis. Any remaining time left to my day was devoted to vegging out instead of blogging, you understand.
If you yourself have ever been on strike or know of anyone who has been on strike, then you are likely well aware of how stressful it is. Tensions run HIGH. People get ANGRY. I tried to not let myself get too caught up in the intense emotions, but it was hard not to. I've always been a very sensitive person and though I tried not to take things too personally, I couldn't help ending up HURT most days. There were countless numbers of people who called us lazy and selfish and greedy. There were numerous undergrads who threatened to run us over with their cars if we got in their way. There were a few service vehicles who almost DID run us over on the picket line. There were innumerable people who went out of their way to give us the finger and yell insults at us. It all really took a toll on me. The entire month of March was both physically and emotionally exhausting for me.
But it's over now! We have agreed to binding arbitration (in which an unbiased third party will decide what deal we get) so hopefully that works out for us. And to celebrate, I was gifted a huge box from my employer filled with 300 assignments to mark within a week. Yay?
So this is far from a "I'm back!" post for me. I have a lot of work to catch up on now that the strike is over, and to top it off I'm quite sick at the moment. So please bear with me - it will likely be a while until a return to my regular posting schedule (she says as though she ever HAD a regular posting schedule...).
And now for something completely different: part way through March, I had tickets to go see Disney's Frozen on Ice! LOL. Random, I know.
I tried my best not to dwell on the strike while I was there and I had a great time. And I got to eat Olaf's BRAAAIINNNNSSS!! Heehee.
Best Book Read in March:
OMG definitely a highlight of my month was finally reading this beauty!! If only I hadn't been so busy this month, I think I wouldn't have been able to put this down! It was so exciting and took me on a CRAZY roller coaster of emotions. I think I love Celaena more than EVER! I plan to get to Heir of Fire hopefully soon-ish!
Previously, My Month in February: Poutineville, Valentine's Day, and The Casual Vacancy