What Grinds Our Gears: Sodium Podium

SFU students shake out the salt for the end of semester

A demonic-looking goat person with a long tongue carries a giant salt shaker on their back. It is ostensibly a depiction of a satyr.
Just because it's funny doesn't mean it's satire. Illustration: Tiffany Chan/The Peak

By: Juztin Bello, Madeleine Chan, Kelly Chia, Gabrielle McLaren, Nicole Magas, Marco Ovies, Nathaniel Tok, Winona Young

This first-year class cost you $500, the least you could do is pay attention!

As a fourth year filling up her breadth courses with first year classes, I have made some observations, and I am worried. 

As I sit in these godforsaken lecture halls with these ridiculously tiny desks, I can’t help but look around at the people stuck here with me. All I see are freshmen with varying levels of apathy.  

Look, I too get tired in class — the notes that I’ve taken while going into microsleep can attest to that. But if you’re going to take a three-hour nap in the back of the room where the acoustics stretch your snores all the way back to the professor, maybe just finish your beauty sleep at home.

Then there’s the ones who straight up start playing video games. How do you spend hundreds of dollars on a class, decide to go to lecture, then launch League of Legends? Could you not stand to care a little more? Please, just . . . don’t play games until the class is done. It’s plain disrespectful to the professor who is doing their best to lecture a mob of 200 people. Unlike your participation grade, your game will still be alright if left alone for a few hours.

Thousands of dollars goes into our education! We might as well make the most of it. Your freshmen classes need you to be present enough to survive the rest of the challenges SFU has in store for you, and your professors are trying to help you through the process. Don’t ignore that for something that you can do after class.

Kelly Chia, Staff Writer


Retail employees deserve a happy holidays too

Illustration: Tiffany Chan/The Peak

“Thanks! Have a good day,” is the last thing any retail employee wants to say after an aggression-filled eight-hour shift. The forced smile behind drained eyes, the higher-octave voice masking the exhaustion, and the reluctantly ushered apologies to undeserving heathens are all familiar to me, as someone who worked three years in retail.

I get it — the holidays are a stressful time for everyone. Between buying the perfect gift, trying to one-up family members with more successful lives, and surviving the rampant chorus of people who think loving Christmas music is a personality, the holiday season can be pretty exhausting. But frankly, Karen, your exhaustion is no excuse to yell at an innocent retail employee who doesn’t get paid nearly enough to tolerate your fatuous and palatine demands. 

For all the Karens out there who have never worked retail (and thus lack basic human decency) you probably don’t understand how draining it is to be yelled at about things you can’t control in a work environment. Is it my fault that popular items are out of stock because smarter people bought them earlier? No. Is it my fault that last-minute items you need can’t be shipped before Christmas? No. Is it my fault that the four items you want cost more than $150 total? No. Blame capitalism, not me. 

This holiday season, please smile and thank the employees when they hand you the items you chose to buy last minute. Pick an item off the ground and place it back onto the shelf when you see someone blatantly drop and ignore it. And, please, I beg you, do not try to return something the day after Christmas with no receipt. Just don’t. 

Juztin Bello, Copy Editor


All the women who won’t let me poop in peace

To the woman applying make-up in the washroom mirror:

I’m sorry, but I really need to poop. 

It’s not your fault. Last night’s Mexican leftovers weren’t the height of good decision-making for me, and that venti coffee I chugged before my 8:30 a.m. class has turned a bad situation into an emergency.

This isn’t what you want. Frankly, it’s not what I want either — but nonetheless this is happening. This is a force of nature and it can’t be stopped.

And I need you to leave.

I mean this in all kindness, please, for the love of god, just leave

What are you even doing over there? What touch-up requires 15 minutes of silently staring at a mirror? I know you’re there. I can hear you shuffling through your bag, shifting your weight back and forth. You turned the sink on once, and I thought that was the end of it. I thought I could finally let go.

But you’re still there.

I can’t stress enough how much it would be better for both of us if you quietly slipped out now. We don’t ever have to speak of this again. I know you can hear me whimpering in here and I honestly can’t hold it back any longer.

Neither of us deserves what’s coming next, but you, at least, could be spared.

Nicole Magas, Opinions Editor


Keep on walking, intrusive thoughts 

My therapist warned me about you.  

Illustration: Tiffany Chan/The Peak

You, my intrusive thoughts, who push their way into my daily routine with no preamble or any goddamn courtesy. Y’all are the mental equivalent of getting pop-up windows about hot singles in my area. Don’t think I don’t notice you whispering stuff like “Do you really love your life?” or “You’re being too needy,” or “Why are you like this?” at 3 a.m. NO bitch, why are YOU like this? Begone, thought!

Listen here, punks. I run this chemically-imbalanced brain ship. Contrary to what you say, I am doing just fine! I am worthy of love! I am trying my best! Though I feel like I’m an emotionally raw chicken cutlet of a woman, I will endure you! If you don’t cut this shit out, I WILL use my cognitive behavioural therapy techniques to counteract your harmful effects on my mental health!

I am going to cope the living shit out of you. I will acknowledge you, will actively try to focus on other things, and call you a bitch for being mean to me. Because at the end of the day, you are just a thought. A thot (aka “that harmful-thought over there”), and nothing more. 

It’s gonna go down in my next therapy session. Bro, once we unpack what triggers y’all, and extensively discuss how to deal with you in a healthy way, it’s over for you thots!!!

Winona Young, Features Editor


Stop teasing me with end of semester opportunities I have no time for!

Bing! New email received at 3:23 a.m. from Professor Sleepless: “You are cordially invited to participate in this great opportunity for students one day before your final exam for my course.”

Seriously? Not only do papers and exams come stacked together, apparently so do cool events. Just in the last two weeks of school, I have at least three of each of the following: assignments, papers, presentations, projects, and quizzes. 

In those same two weeks, there are so many interesting and useful events to participate in! Workshops to teach me how to use this new data analytical software? Pssh let’s have it on the last week of school. Time management seminar? Let’s make it halfway through exam week, because students should learn time management when it’s already too late. Of course, all this is on top of finals, work, and other regular commitments.

I don’t get it. Everyone knows the last third of a semester is a busy time for students, and yet this is apparently the perfect time to ask us to attend other events. Why ignore all the extra time students have at the start of the term, or better yet, in between semesters? 

Time management is supposed to be a key skill for students to master, but sometimes it’s not our fault that we have to trade our sleep for our future.

Nathaniel Tok, Peak Associate


I’m here to cry about spilled milk

Illustration: Tiffany Chan/The Peak

Dawg, all you need to do is give me my almond milk, it’s not that hard. I’m tired of spending six fucking dollars on a subpar latte just because I’m a slut for Starbucks. “Why don’t you just get them to remake your drink Marco?” Well first of all, I usually don’t notice it’s the wrong drink till it’s too late. Also, I’m scared of confrontation. 

But I shouldn’t have to ask them to always remake my drink! Why can’t they just get it right the first time?* Dairy alternatives aren’t cheap either — it’s a whole extra 60 cents. I just paid for my drink in nickels, I can barely afford my specialty milk.

The worst part of all of this is my lactose intolerance. The second I’m handed anything that is not my non-dairy beverage my bootyhole shrivels up and dies. 

If I’m paying a premium price to get a drink to comfort my dying soul, I at least deserve to get what I ordered. Instead I’m getting this garbage moo milk that is turning my insides into an SFU Introductory Tap Dance class. 

Please Starbucks baristas, just make my drink properly. Take that teensy second out of your day and double check my cup to make sure that I’m getting my nut milk. If not, I will destroy every single toilet on this goddamn campus and it will be all your fault. 

Marco Ovies, Staff Writer

*Editor’s note: Marco is allowed to be bratty about minimum wage Starbucks employees because he himself is a minimum wage Starbucks employee 


If we can’t have dedicated SUB space, can we at least have functional common rooms?

Do you know where your program’s common room is? Does your program even have a common room? Because mine doesn’t. At least, not one that I am aware of. 

This is a problem. As far as I know, as a communication student, I only have a bunch of fancy chairs beside the department head office that they have the nerve to call a “lounge.” It’s bad enough already that CMNS seems like its been shoved into the Netherrealm of the Shrum Science Kinesiology Building. We CMNS students should have access to a spacious room with sufficient amenities where we can hang out with our peers. And you know what? every other program should have this as well.

And even when other programs do have a space, not enough people seem to be aware of them. The GSWS common room could be on the moon for all most students know. It takes forever to find psychology’s student space through RCB’s haze of dust and M.C. Escher-esque staircases. Does history even have a common room, or is it tucked away in a basement that hasn’t been excavated since the 16th century? 

Where are the tour guides, the advertising, and the effort spent letting new students know where their rightful rooms are? It should be like fucking Hogwarts up on this mountain, where common rooms are well-known, luxurious, safe havens for each programs’ students.

We really should have functioning and inviting spaces — if not fully dedicated rooms — that build community within each program. Especially at a time at SFU when community space is increasingly being negotiated and taken away from us. We need better, and we deserve better.

Madeleine Chan, SFU Student


My constant psychological warfare with the library’s catalogue 

It’s 11:37 p.m. I have been awake for 16 hours, written 2300+ words, guided friends through seven personal/academic crises, and consumed enough coffee to smell colour. 

All I need to finish up is The Perfect Book by Summa Cademic. I open the library catalogue and search. 

Results filter in. 

There are three book reviews. 

There’s an article written in Completely Unrelated Journal From Field You Know Not, volume 69, by one of the book’s reviewers.

Then, a New York Times op-ed called “The Perfect Book To Curl Up With This Holiday Season If You Enjoyed Seventh Century Montenegrin Poetry.” 

Suddenly, another review. Why wasn’t it with the others? I don’t know. SFU doesn’t know. In the distance, sirens. 

Finally, a book appears — Nadia Wright-Purson’s An Imperfect Book

With its reviews.

I can hear the colours too.

I refine my search. “Books only, please.” I don’t ask, asking implies agency — I implore. I beg. I burn sage and humbly sacrifice my last Pop-Tart. Athena, heed my prayers. 

The page refreshes. One of The Perfect Book’s reviews is featured in Surprise, Printed Book Reviews Are A Thing (UBC Press, 431 B.C.E.).

SFU owns 12 copies. 

I run out of gods to pray to, but no matter, for they were never listening. 

I am now helplessly scrolling down page 3 (I guess). Maybe I need to request an interlibrary loan. 

I wonder where that page is, I whisper to myself. 

The colours whisper back.  

Gabrielle McLaren, Editor-in-Chief