Productivity and Motivation Tips

Productivity and Motivation Tips

from the Friendly TAV College Neighbourhood Cartoonist

Being bored is a normal state that everyone experiences. More so when you are young, as you are more likely to not yet have found your “thing”. So here are a few observations and tips from me, as someone who not only was never bored while stuck at home this past summer but who actually didn’t seem to have enough hours in the day! 

Productive Tip: Drawing 

I am in the Arts, Letters, and Communication program, if you hadn’t yet guessed. But the reason I suggest you draw is in order to be more productive. Many of you already utilize visuals to better understand the problem. This is true in your assignments here at TAV, but in your personal lives too. Visualization becomes a potent tool as you break down a problem into many pieces, then seeing in your mind where each piece fits in the whole, after that is connecting the dots. A mind map or an infographic are great examples of data visualization. Also just doodling symbols of key concepts from your project is great. You will be so concise in your problem solving that your teachers will think you are cheating! 

Productive Tip: Santé! 

College students, on average, do not much consider their health before making choices. Their muscle fibers are still delightfully springy, their skeletal systems have yet to skew from years of bad ergonomics, and their smiles are still a healthy white regardless of what they chose to 

eat. Who can blame them? I am just now awakening to the fact that I won’t always be a teenager myself. Here are a number of key points we stand to gain by maintaining a high

health and fitness standard; more energy and prolonged youthfulness, manage emotions better, attractiveness, feel good, mental sharpness, likely to succeed in long term goals, confidence, and leadership to name but a few. Be warned, however, it is not easy to jog, it is not easy to work out, it is not easy to do yoga or breath exercises. Do these as part of your regular routine if you want to be consistent. The body will love you for caring for it, it will be your ally and grant you a boost instead of being an obstacle in your way. Covid-19 works on our ability to intake air to our lungs, so strengthening our breath would be wise. 

Productive Tip: Take A Break From Everything! 

Simple as that. 

Having the ability to actually do this is a great luxury. Just ask your parents! 

Productive Tip: Read 

With work and schooling from home these days, a lot of us spend an unprecedented number of hours of the day in front of a screen. So in our leisure time, we may wish to unwind by exercising, for one, but also by reading print material. They’re still a thing you know! The medium of books has collected a wealth of knowledge from stories to ideas, and more, for you to enrich yourself with. I don’t know about you, but I retain information better this way than with fast-talking videos on Youtube or snippets of data here and there on social media. Reading is also pleasant and meditative. I notice that within about 10 minutes into a reading session, I start breathing better (longer and deeper and effortlessly). 

Productive Tip: Walk The Dog 

Enjoy the little things! Go to the park, pick up your dog’s poop, look at and enjoy the trees, the grass, the breeze, notice the other people around, their animals, and what everyone is

doing. You’ll find that you’re not so stuck in your problem anymore. New solutions have been inspired into your mind from your little walk to the park or wherever. 

Productive Tip: Reflection 

The amount of time and energy you save by regularly sitting down and reflecting on your own self, events, relationships, is significant. This opens up space in you to process more of what life is throwing at you. Your efficiency becomes outstanding. Reflection also helps us put things in perspective. It nurtures empathy in us for those who may have drawn the short stick in society and in the pandemic, as we become aware that it could have been us or that it could be us one day. 

Motivation Tip: Childhood Friends 

What does this have to do with anything? Well, think about it, if you are bored and in need of motivation, looking at what your childhood friends are up to these days ought to light a fire in you. You all started at the same place, so if they are doing good, a need to keep up will overcome you. For those friends who are inevitably as bored as you are or worse, you may indeed be the one to motivate them! During this pandemic, it is a good idea to keep in touch and cherish any bonds you may have. Be informed on what the people close to you are going through. Going outside of yourself like this is a sign of maturity and your loved ones will appreciate you more and see you as a generous person for giving a darn. 

Motivation Tip: Watching TV 

Take a break from your highly targeted online media content diet. Whether it is your Youtube or Instagram feeds, the algorithms and cookies slowly close in around you and narrow your world. Watching general programming on cable TV, for instance, can remind you of things

you have not seen in a bit such as; images from across the globe, different people with wonderful smiles, different walks of life, customs and norms, games, activities, and a host of funky languages. 

Motivation Tip: Watch A Lunar Eclipse or something 

This tip is just to bring to your awareness the fact that; even if mankind (us) were to completely destroy ourselves and the planet we call home, the universe would still keep doing its thing! 

Life and nature do not cease to exist because we stop existing.

My Dad’s Tale of Antiquity II

My Dad’s Tale of Antiquity II

In the March issue of the TAV Times, and before the coronavirus confinement, we read part 1 of Sam’s tale of a godlike being named Toku and his kingdom on the Twelfth Heaven, of the catastrophic events that befell that entire world! Then, we learned that gold was the only remedy to patch up the profound wounds those beings had caused to their environmental systems. Later, it was also revealed that, in the whole solar system, they could only procure it in the necessary quantities here on Earth. Finally, there was an incredibly intense dual between a pair of the biggest most powerful gods that are, as of yet still unnamed. My name is Nin, Sam, last name Urai, was my father and he lived for a very long time. My dad would always tell me stories from the past. Some were beautiful, others were frightening, but all were vivid and never failed to transport me back to a time when gods from the heavens walked the Earth. 

Part II: From Heaven To Earth

Toku first sent out his daughter Nobu, as she possessed a childlike flexible temperament which was in stark contrast to most of her kind who were haughty, rigid, and proud. So much so that they were ashamed to be in need of a foreign, therefore, a ‘lesser’ world. This made Nobu the most adaptable to the ‘alien’ conditions on Earth. She was also largely responsible for discovering this young world and was spearheading the R & D branch of the kingdom’s elite crisis response team. The primary task for Nobu, along with her handpicked special task-force, was to scout for an ideal site for a base camp, a settlement if you will, for the brave astronaut workers who would be following suit in waves of fifty at a time. For this purpose, she thoroughly circumnavigated the Earth in search of a site that would suit their perfect selves. 

When they first arrived on this relatively small blue sphere, it was about thirteen thousand years ago. It is almost impossible for us to imagine now, but our world was completely “naked”. It was pure, natural, and innocent like an infant. It had untouched wilderness stretching the four corners of the globe. Fish swam rhythmically up and down different bodies of water. Grazers gracefully roamed the open plains and exchanged favors with benevolent meat-eaters, in a partnership to complete the circle of life. Critters danced all day in the agreeable weather for there was an abundance of food and natural materials for shelter. It was delightful. The first-contact group was taken aback by the ‘primitive’ yet harmonious world.

Knowing that easy access to Earth’s primary gold vain laid in the southern hemisphere, on a massive continent called Gandawandaland, the team picked a lush zone across the ocean from the future mine sites. It was an incredibly fertile botanical wonder of diverse beauties. Filled with life, there was a range of wild vegetables and herbs, countless fruit trees of all shapes and sizes, and the most exquisite assortment of pungent and colorful flowers anywhere. An ecosystem of bees, small birds, and all manner of plant lovers flourished amid the exotic garden. This land would later serve as what ancient scholars imagined when depicting “Paradise”. Rightfully so, because the sun seemed to never set there. Clear blue skies prevailed with a sweet breeze gently caressing the plants and animals. It was dotted by ponds and lakes, along with green hills and valleys that seemed to stretch for miles on end. This paradise was nestled between two important rivers and capped by a mountain range to the far north. These were none other than the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Indeed, the majestic garden was in Mesopotamia!    

The entire plan of the heavenly beings was to mine for the abundant gold found on Earth, send it across the solar system to their own world, melt it down and inject it deep past the layers of the planetary crust and into the viscous mantle near the core. In so doing, avert the permanent distraction of their planet and secure their future! Straight forward right? Wrong! It remains that the events that would follow the arrival of the colossal beings on Earth would forever alter its evolutionary course. 

As you shall find out farther down, the alien astronauts did not account for the Earth’s atmosphere to put such a strain on their perfect godly consciousness or for the very ground they would walk on to challenge their timeless values. Nor did they foresee that as their home planet would eventually show signs of steady improvement, their mission on Earth would decrease in urgency for their compatriots back home. Consequently, a feeling of abandonment would wash over those contracted on Earth. Critically, this would open the door to a broader view of some. This is when things first deviated from the original plan. Such an unprecedented situation would cause differing ideologies to emerge. No one could have imagined a split to form in the workers that had descended on our world. These factions came to adopt dramatically different visions, from how the mining should be carried out and delivered, to the very nature of the world and their role in it! The opposing stances would frequently cause friction and this tension would progressively lead to skirmishes and finally, the skirmishes would eventually erupt in open hostility. And so a full-scale war was not far behind. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. All of this would gradually occur over thousands of years, the equivalent of only a couple of years for the walking nuclear reactors. The friction would progressively cause confusion to set in, accentuated by the neglect of their homeworld’s leadership, bringing further doubts in their flawless beliefs! 

At this juncture, the focus of our tale shall shift to the characters themselves. Starting with our dear Nobu, who would later be called “The Wicked Wizard” by her kind. Why? We will find out. Then came one who would be forever revered as “The Righteous Son”, but we will simply call him by his name, Eiya. And finally, a myriad of supporting characters shall enter the narrative as well, including my dad.

Nobu and Eiya were siblings, of course. Eiya was the favorite child because he was the spitting image of his father, both in appearance and in personality. By contrast, she was nothing like the both of them, Though the firstborn, she had a reputation of being indecisive and unreliable. Eiya thought her to be sentimental and often moody. Nobu, in turn, would simply dismiss him as a daddy’s boy. Back in their world, Nobu had always been something of a troublemaker in the conservative society, often disobeying and rebelling against her father. However, this is what distinguished her mind from her peers and made her the brilliant and creative problem solver she was. Conversely, Eiya was content with the established societal structures in place and worked only to maintain them. Like his father, he was stubborn and slow to admit fault. Also, like his father, he was a towering warrior second to none but stoic and slow to anger. A mighty and wise leader with the charismatic ability to move his people. Though his very presence commanded respect, he was also noted as shortsighted and was infamous for hoarding all things beautiful and luxurious! Sibling rivalry and the fact that it was Eiya who was appointed Commander-In-Chief of his kind’s Earth expedition by their father and not Nobu played a small role in raising tensions.  

Once the Earth Expedition’s logistics, administration, and chain of command were established, gold started arriving on their devastated world. Toku, reaffirmed as the eternal ruler, proceeded alongside his subjects to begin nursing their beloved Twelfth Heaven. The other pressing matters demanded their full attention, like assessing the damage, performing ritualistic rites for those who didn’t make it, and implementing significant climate and industry reforms so nothing like this would ever happen again. They would be so busy that the Earth Expedition was neglected and left to manage its own affairs. Toku and his royal court grossly underestimated the changes that were taking place across the solar system. All they were concerned about now was applying this cure of injecting molten gold deep beneath their feet. It was working fine, but progress was slow. It looked like quite a bit of time and an important quantity more of the strange element would still be required. The immense loss of life was making itself felt, however, as the reports that made it in from Earth were those requesting more workers for mining. But the labor shortage was everywhere and so Toku could not spare any more hands. No one in this divine civilization was ever going to forget the apocalyptic times that had brought them on the brink of extinction. 

I hope this tale was able to take your mind off of our immediate COVID-19 anxieties for a little bit and restore to you a sense of perspective, as there has been a time before the current pandemic and there will be a time after it as well. Before we know it, we will be on the other side of the rainbow. Let us look forward to it together! That’s it for the mother of all stories! Let us know on the TAV Times Instagram if you would like to read more, thanks!



Imagine that whenever you hear violins, you taste cheesecake. Or that your dad’s voice is a pale green. Or that whenever you see the letter “B”, you feel a tickle in your right hand. Sounds crazy right? Actually, this can be the way that a small percentage of the population experiences things. The condition they have is called synesthesia. It’s a rare neurological condition, affecting approximately four (4) percent of the population, in which one sense is joined with another. Synesthesia combines objects such as letters, shapes, numbers or words with a sensory perception such as smell, color or flavor. Every synesthete (someone with synesthesia) has their own unique perceptions. Natalia Feldman is someone who has synesthesia. For her, numbers have colors as well as personalities. Feldman graciously agreed to an interview so that we can get a personal look at just what living with this condition is like.

When did you first find out that you had synesthesia?

My synesthesia is so innate to me that I never really thought to question it. However, I guess you could say that I realized I was different in my first year of middle school, when my teacher mentioned synesthesia. She said that certain people see colors when they hear music. It was then that I realized that numbers don’t have colors and personalities for everyone. It has made things like math and physics a bit challenging because when I have numbers and colors that I like more, sometimes I’ll want to use answers that aren’t necessarily correct because my brain prefers their colors.

Can you please tell me a bit about your synesthesia?

The number one is red. For me, one is powerful and confident, a leader.
The number two is yellow. It’s bubbly and cute, kind of like that dorky friend you have that trips on air, super sweet and friendly. However, it can also be a little aloof at times.
The number three is a burnt orange. It’s more serious. Three can be happy and outgoing, but also has some darker aspects to it.
The number four is a nice fuchsia. I feel like I associate myself the most with the number four.
Four is bright, bubbly and excited to meet people. Four is also sassy and outgoing, and knows what it wants.
The number five is green. It’s kind of quirky and pretty calm by nature, because it’s always between 1 and 10. So, as the middle point, it has to be pretty neutral. It’s very humble and reserved (like a teacher who’s trying to be as objective as possible).
The number six is a lovely lilac-lavender color. Very soft-natured and sweet, like a little old lady.
The number seven is more of a spunky teal or turquoise, very bright and vibrant. It really wants to be something else, like an eight or a nine. When I think of tests I’m never really happy with a seventy- I’d prefer an eighty or ninety. As a result, I see seven as trying to compensate for that.
The number eight is this beautiful royal blue, sometimes a soft blue. Eight is the kind of person that you don’t fully understand, but you enjoy their presence nonetheless. It’s cool, neutral, and
noble. Whenever I think of royalty, I think of blue.
The number nine can be fuchsia. I feel like it takes elements of four a lot, but it’s more of a darker purple. In terms of personality, think Ursula from The Little Mermaid. She’s very clever, but only has her own interests in mind. A bit like number four’s evil twin.
Zero’s color really depends on what it’s next to. It tends to take on the color of other numbers. On its own, however, it’s a white or peach.
Some numbers look nice together, but some don’t.

Do you have any favorite numbers?

I like the number four, number one, number five and number eight. Six too, sometimes.

Do you find that this affects your interactions with other people in any way?

No, not really. Sometimes I’ll think things like “Oh, that’s major number one energy”, a little like what people do with the zodiac signs, but I never say it out loud.

How do you “see” the color? Do you actually see it in front of you or is it just in your head?

A bit of both, I would say. Sometimes when I look at the numbers, I’ll see them in a very
cartoonish way (with a black outline all around). However, most of the time, it’s in my head.

Does your synesthesia make things difficult in any way?

Sometimes! Which is due to the number favoritism that I described earlier. For example, on a
multiple-choice test, if I don’t really know what the answer is, I’ll be inclined to pick the one that
has the colors I like better.

Does anyone else in your family have synesthesia?

I don’t think so, however, I’ve never really asked.

What are some misconceptions you’ve encountered about your condition?

Some people assume how I experience the conditions of synesthesia based on an article that they’ve read, so I have to explain to them that every synesthete has their own unique perceptions. With that said, what they read won’t necessarily match up with the way that I experience things.

How does your synesthesia affect you on a day-to-day basis, like when buying groceries or doing the laundry?

When I go shopping, sometimes I won’t mind paying more for something if I like the colors or the numbers, so I may not be buying the cheapest option! The washer and dryer that I use have a number two (2) on them, and so whenever I do laundry I always get really happy. But it’s funny because the number is actually written in green.

Does that bother you?

No, I just feel like they did things wrong, and they should have hired me to do it! (Laughs)
Thank you!

The Dean’s List

The Dean’s List

Fall 2019

The Dean’s List recognizes excellence in academic achievement. These students have maintained an average of 85% or higher in the fall 2019 semester (with five courses or more). 


Zohreh Mohammadrezaee
Lesly Solange Nkindi
Youssef Samaan
Marco Antonio Vidalon Baldeon
Setayesh Tavakol
David Coriatt 
Jaewon Moon
Chuanqi Mo
Kevin Koueiki


Arshia Amera
Miltiadis Moukas
Leigh Justinne Felizardo
Eliana Michelle Reiss
Naomi Hirsch
Monique Salvador
Dexter Banoen Garde
Freyda Lipsh


Myriam Abikhzer
Mia Bohbot-Proulx


Esther Rosenfeld
Leah Malka Taussky
Shirley Arnstein

Skip to content