Editing & Publishing Practica Film

Being a part of University of Windsor’s Editing and Publishing Practica was such an incredible experience. The chance to work as a team and edit, publish, and launch real books that will be sold in stores was unlike anything I’ve done in university. This is the film I made about our process, which was shown at our book launch. Enjoy!

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Massey Secondary School Unsafe Traffic

The Vincent Massey Secondary School community has major concerns about their unsafe traffic. Check out this video to learn more about it.

UWindsor Editing and Publishing Practicums

The editing and publishing practicums at the University of Windsor takes practical teaching to a whole new level: students are working together with Professor Marty Gervais to publish two books! Check out this video on it! 🙂

Lack of Sleep Affects Mental Health of Students

Lack of sleep is a problem among many people, especially post-secondary students. While most people know the physical and emotional effects of sleep deprivation, many don’t realize its effects on mental health.

“Sleep has a huge affect on our mental health,” says Judi Wilson, the University of Windsor Health Promotion nurse in Student Health Services. “Students are prone to [lack of sleep] because their schedules can be off and they not only aren’t sleeping, they aren’t eating right, and there’s a lot of stress at school.”

sleep 1

According to the American National College Health Assessment survey in spring 2012, out of 90,000 students, less than 12% are getting enough sleep to feel rested in the morning. Over 50% of students feel tired, dragged out, or sleepy during the day for 3-7 days that week. Also, over 50% of students rate their overall stress level over the past year as more than average to tremendous stress.

University of Windsor student, Jay Rankin, explains, “I’m just so busy, between school and work, it’s really tough to find the time to sleep. And then when you finally do have the time to sleep, you’re too stressed to actually sleep. You’re too worried about actually getting much sleep or there’s too many things on your mind.”

Clinical Psychologist at the Student Counselling Centre, Dr. Mohsan Beg, says, “It can kind of feed off each other so if you’re really anxious and you’re not getting enough sleep, then you’re sleep deprived, so you’re going to get stressed more easily, get more anxious, and you’ll have even more problems sleeping, and it can become, yeah definitely, a vicious cycle.”

sleep 2

“I’m pretty much paranoid. I feel like the whole day is just gonna go wrong… I just have a really bad day,” says university student Amal Al-Jarousha about how she feels when she doesn’t sleep well.

Many students use caffeine to cope with their sleep deprivation, but caffeine can also trigger anxiety.

Dr. Beg explains, “I would consider [good sleep] a foundational pillar in terms of good mental health.”

Watch the short documentary above to learn more.

sleep 3 again

Previously published on the30.ca

Talking to UWindsor about France Trip

france me

So excited to have been interviewed for this article about our trip to France! 🙂 If you’d like to know what our trip was like, check it out in the link below!

http://www.uwindsor.ca/dailynews/2013-08-20/creative-writing-students-find-inspiration-france

Interviewed for 30Masjids!

Hey everyone!

Guess what?!?

I was honoured to be interviewed by Himy Syed (@HiMYSYeD) for his blog, 30Masjids (@30masjids) Check out the full story about me and making the Muslims of Windsor documentary!!
http://30masjids.ca/day-14-meet-asil-moussa-filmmaker-storyteller-windsor/

Enjoy!!

– Asil

Our Muslims of Windsor Documentary!!

Here it is!!! Our documentary about Windsor’s Muslim Community! I had so much fun making this with Nuha Elalem. We were so inspired by what we learned and we hope you’ll be, too!

Don’t forget to share and comment! 🙂 I’d love to know what you think!

Art Expressions

Art Expressions

Unreal – that was my first thought when I visited Art Expressions on Drouillard Road. The story of Art Expressions, an art store in Ford City, is one of taking risks, pursuing passions, and shining a light on a low reputation neighbourhood.

The owners of the successful business, Terry and Laurie Argent, initially bought the house-turned-store 15 years ago “as a kind of investment,” unsure of what was to become of it. Driven by their artistic passion, the married team started selling art and after receiving a positive response, they slowly expanded themselves.

“People always say you have to have a plan and know exactly what you’re doing. Play it safe,” said Terry Argent. “But sometimes you just have to take a risk and hope for the best. That’s what we did and we’re still here.”

Art expression

The store is famous for its distinct art. The colourful rooms held unique items including handmade bamboo lamps, paintings with metallic elements, and an art piece composed of a tree trunk from Indonesia. Even the bathroom was decked out in art.

The Argents kept their business in Ford City because of the positive response from people. Its expressionistic modern taste brings clients and even their families when they visit town.
“It’s nice to know that the community appreciates something done a little differently,” said Terry.   “We’re a little more original and maybe homegrown.”

Art Expression

It’s not hard to believe that the store has become a huge success due to loyal customers and word-of-mouth advertising. “The best form of advertising is word-of-mouth,” said Terry. “It’s the good people of Windsor and the area that have kept us her.”

Virginianne, a faithful shopper, buys her Christmas presents from Art Expressions each year. “Last year, I bought all my friends decoration geckos. It feels good to just buy all your presents at once from one good store, and on top of that, I’m supporting a local business,” said Virginianne.

In 2001, when Art Expressions was still in its infancy, it won the Biz X “Oscar” award for the Preferred Place to Find Artwork.

Ford City, now a thriving arts community, wasn’t always this way.

Art Expression

“We’re kind of the [art] pioneers in this area,” said Terry. “This is Ford City and long before they had the sculptures, we actually were selling art on the street here. So it’s good to see them actually bring these sculptures and murals into this area.”

Art Expressions puts a rest to Ford City’s negative stereotypes about failed businesses and a troubled area. “The area itself has been very good to us. Not only good customers, but also I haven’t really had any issues,” said Terry.

“People think it’s a hard rough area, but we never seem to have any problems,” he said. “It’s nice to be in an area where maybe you can help or change the area and the attitude that’s stagnant here.”

Art Expressions is located at 1519 Drouillard. Be sure to check out their website: artexpressdecor.ca

Published on WindsoriteDOTca on Friday, March 15, 2013

Green Bean Café

Green Bean

It’s the perfect place to study with its free Wi-Fi and big tables.

There are a variety of comfortable seating arrangements: couches to sit with friends, comfy chairs to relax in, and tables and chairs to study on.

Green Bean

Green Bean food

Green Bean Café specializes breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, and drinks. It also serves vegan and vegetarian foods.

Along with great service, Green Bean Café is known for its homestyle bakery items and their delicious soups and sandwiches.

Green Bean food

The menu is affordable and a meal can be ordered under $10.

This café is a hotspot due to its warm and inviting atmosphere, prime location, and quality food.

Green Bean food

Check it out at greenbeancoffee.ca

Published on WindsoriteDOTca on Thursday, February 7, 2013.

Anxiety Disorders in University Students – Part Two

This is part two of a two part series looking at Anxiety Disorders in University Students

Photo from WindsoriteDOTca
Photo from WindsoriteDOTca

Susan, who used to be “a health freak,” also started smoking cigarettes secretly two months ago. She smokes about one cigarette every three days and the hookah about once a week.

“I smoke cigarettes when I feel so stressed. That’s when I started. With the hookah, I think ‘well, we’re dying anyway.’ This is the way I started thinking,” says Susan.

Part of the reason she started smoking is to overcome her fear of dying, which causes her panic attacks. “I know it’s so stupid but I don’t want to be scared of anything,” says Susan.

“At the same time, I sometimes just want to leave and empty my mind,” Susan says. “The hookah makes me feel better but smoking cigarettes makes me feel disgusted.”

Research shows smoking cigarettes does not help a person relax– it does the opposite, increasing anxiety and tension. Nicotine creates an immediate sense of relaxation but this feeling is temporary and soon gives way to the withdrawal felt between cigarettes that increase anxiety, says the Mental Health Foundation.

BMC Medicine states that smoking and nicotine dependence increase the risk of panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

Research shows that those with a mental illness find it particularly difficult to stop smoking, but they have more reason to stop because smokers with mental illnesses are at an accelerated risk of diabetes, heart attacks, and stroke, says the website, Anxiety, Panic & Health.

Susan says that she does not know whether or not she will continue to smoke in the future.

“I’m scared that one day I can’t control myself,” Susan admits about her smoking.

“It happened so many times in 2007,” she talks about her panic attacks, “I felt like I was losing it big time. I thought I was dying.”

Tips for Dealing with Anxiety from Beg and Chaker

 1. Self care is important. Don’t forget to schedule time for yourself, exercise, or visiting friends.

2. Sleep is huge. You should be getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night so you’re rested.

3. Manage your stress so you’re not taking on too much.

4. Caffeine and anxiety are not a good combination. Cut out your caffeine, if you can’t, reduce it significantly because it acts like a stimulant and increases your anxiety.

5. Seek help. Have a strong support group, even if it starts off as a friend and it moves on to seeking professional help later.

6. Figure out and pin-point where the anxiety is coming from. Try to avoid those situations or figure out a way that you’re able to face them.

7. Find hobbies that make you feel good about yourself. It will help you calm down.

Susan deals with her anxiety disorder in different ways.

“Sometimes if the weather is nice, I go for a walk,” says Susan. “I started excising. I know that it releases anxiety and it makes me feel good. Since I started working out, my anxiety reduced.”

“I keep up with my health, taking blood tests to ensure that there’s nothing wrong with me,” says Susan. “It’s all in my head.”

University students with anxiety disorders or suspect they have one can visit the Student Counseling Centre, where psychologists and other mental health professionals can help them.

Student Disability Services offers services for students who have anxiety disorders and need help in terms of academic accommodations.

“We offer them things that could ease their anxiety. We can give them extra time and a computer to write on so they are stress-free from spelling. We can also give them a calculator if they need one,” says Carleigh LaLonge from University of Windsor’s Student Disability Services.

“I think that knowing you have a mental health disorder should make you more confident in that you can still do things, and be even better then somebody else,” says Chaker. “So definitely don’t make it an excuse for yourself.

“You can morph your life into either using it against yourself or putting it as something that compels you even further.”

Published on WindsoriteDOTcom on Friday, November 30, 2012