By Maxine Kozak, Writer for RU Student Life

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Each month, we explore poetic genres and feature Toronto poets. This month, we’re looking at spoken word poetry.

Spoken word poetry is rooted in oral traditions that can be traced back centuries. As poet Etheridge Knight wrote, “there were poets long before there were printing presses”. Characterized by rhyme, repetition, improvisation, and wordplay, the genre can be considered a mixed-media art form of sorts as it often blends elements of music and theatre.

The genre emerged from the jazz poetry of the 1920s and the subsequent experiments of 1950s beat generation. American poet and critic Edward Hirsch wrote that the spoken word genre encompasses a wide range of writing that is recited aloud including poetry readings, poetry slams, hip hop, jazz poetry, beat poetry and prose monologues. The main divergence lies within spoken word’s departure from physical aesthetics and in turn, an emphasis on the aesthetics of sound. …


By Maxine Kozak, Writer for RU Student Life

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Last year, I wrote about my experience with mental health treatment and critiqued the popular “recovery narrative” promoted by anti-stigma campaigns like #BellLetsTalk. To summarize, I wrote, “here’s what I’d like to see more of from #BellLetsTalk: rather than promoting a “recovery narrative”, whereby some spokespeople for the campaign portray a “clean” image of mental health (where recovery is the final destination), could we talk about the nuance of recovery as a process? My mental illnesses probably do not have an expiry date and I’m not the only one. Can we talk about the intersectionality of mental illness — its relationship with poverty, sexual orientation, gender, race, and ability?” …


By Madi Wong, Writer for RU Student Life

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Growing up, my mom has always embedded words of advice into my mind about being safe in the city.

“Walk on sidewalks with streetlights,” “Don’t listen to your music too loud at night,” “Always take a friend with you,” “Hold your keys between your knuckles as a weapon,” are some of the tips I have been given over the years.

These kinds of tips have been passed onto daughters, granddaughters, friends, partners, from generations of women all around the world. All because of how dangerous this world can be. …


by Madi Wong, writer for RU Student Life

No matter what form of transportation you take, there is always the unexpected. Train delays, people with no manners, limited space to breathe and move around. We’ve all been there.

Focusing on getting to your destination is enough to worry about so when things pop out of nowhere, it can be a real pain. Or a very fun commuter tale to tell.

Here are five awful commuter stories told by students:

“I was getting on the subway at Dundas two weeks ago when a homeless person grabbed my ass and said, ‘Hey sweet cheeks,’ then winked at me. I just looked away.” …


By Maxine Kozak, Storyteller for RU Student Life


By Maxine Kozak, Storyteller for RU Student Life

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The internet is weird. And yet, having been exposed to the digital realm from an early age, it’s difficult to imagine life without it. I remember browsing the family desktop computer as early as eight years old. You know, Club Penguin, Neopets, and a little Omegle when my parents weren’t around. A decade later, we literally carry computers in our pockets.

By now, digitization has permeated almost every aspect of our lives. You know this already. To me, the most interesting facet of digital life is the artistic community. Open your instagram feed, you’ll see what I’m talking about. …


Aaron* struggled to pass his first year of university due to his debilitating porn addiction. After a three-week binge in which he did nothing but watch porn, Aaron knew it was time to change.

By Jessica Huynh, Storyteller for RU Student Life

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Aaron’s Story is Part 1 in the Let’s Talk About Porn Series. The series recounts the stories of four university students and the role pornography has played in their life. How does pornography influence the relationships we form with ourselves and others? Is there something between the sheets we aren’t talking about? Click here to read the other stories.

Content Warning: This article contains mature content and sensitive topics surrounding sex, addition, and pornography.

Like many students at Ryerson University, Aaron spends a lot of time on campus. After class, he hits the gym before heading to his go-to studying spot to tackle assignments. Unlike other students, Aaron doesn’t mind the long hours. The longer he stays on campus the better. He often turns his cellphone off for long periods of time to concentrate. While this method allows Aaron to be more studious, it also distracts him from thinking about other things — things he tries hard to avoid — like porn. …


Erika* isn’t a fan of the porn industry. After being with a partner who was morally distressed about his porn use, she left the relationship feeling confused about her role as a romantic partner…

By Jessica Huynh, Storyteller for RU Student Life

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Erika’s Story is Part 3 in the Let’s Talk About Porn Series. The series recounts the stories of four university students and the role pornography has played in their life. How does pornography influence the relationships we form with ourselves and others? Is there something between the sheets we aren’t talking about? Click here to read the other stories.

Content Warning: This article contains mature content and sensitive topics surrounding sexual violence, trauma, abuse, sex, and pornography.

The first time Erika watched porn was when she was 12 years old. She was curious to know what all the fuss was about so she snuck onto her family computer and watched her first pornographic video. “It was pretty basic stuff,” Erika recalled. “[The first video I watched was] of a man and a woman having penis-in-vagina sex. I didn’t really understand it, but I remember feeling excited like I had discovered a secret or something.” …


The Role of Porn in the Lives of Students

By Jessica Huynh, Storyteller for RU Student Life

Is there something between the sheets we aren’t talking about?

Let’s Talk About Porn is a four part series recounting the stories of four university students and the role pornography has played in their life. Each story is a stand alone piece. How does pornography influence the relationships we form with ourselves and others?

Content Warning: This series contains mature content and sensitive topics surrounding sexual violence, trauma, abuse, sex, and pornography.

Part 1 : Aaron’s Story

Student Reveals What It’s Like To Be Addicted to Porn

Aaron* struggled to pass his first year of university due to his debilitating porn addiction. …


Leila* participated in a psychology study seeking female participants who experienced pain during sex. After a physical evaluation and multiple counselling sessions, she connected her physiological reaction to an ex-partner who was addicted to porn…

By Jessica Huynh, Storyteller for RU Student Life

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Leila’s Story is Part 2 in the Let’s Talk About Porn Series. The series recounts the stories of four university students and the role pornography has played in their life. How does pornography influence the relationships we form with ourselves and others? Is there something between the sheets we aren’t talking about? Click here to read the other stories.

Content Warning: This article contains mature content and sensitive topics surrounding sexual violence, trauma, abuse, sex, and pornography.

In her freshman year of university, Leila* signed up for an on-campus psychology study seeking female participants who experienced pain during sex. …

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RU Student Life

A curation of great ideas coming out of Ryerson University.

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