Talk about learning a lesson the hard way.

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We’re coming up to a year since the first Covid-19 lockdown, which means it’s also been nearly a year since I was laid off. I lost my job, along with hundreds of my non-profit colleagues, back in March, when we all still thought the lockdown was just an extended spring break.

As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t blame the organization that let me go. As the markets crashed, donations dried up, and my marketing job was considered non-essential for the charity’s operations. But losing my job was — unsurprisingly — the worst. The moment I got my termination…

As a vegetarian, I’ve never been all that interested in Beyond Meat, or the other plant-based meat options on the market. Luckily, they’re not just for vegetarians.

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I’ve only been a vegetarian for a couple years, but already, I’m so accustomed to living without meat. It’s funny how quickly it happened.

There are a handful of meals I miss sometimes. A steaming bowl of pork belly ramen in a rich, meaty broth. A toasted bacon avocado sandwich to cure a Sunday hangover. A junior chicken sandwich on a late-night McDonald’s run with friends.

But for the most part, I don’t think about meat. I love what I eat. My main sources of protein are tofu, chickpeas, lentils, and eggs, and I complement those with an array of…

Quick tips to help your petitions and donation requests gain traction online

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If there is one itty bitty silver lining to everything happening right now, it’s that we are seeing more people engaging in social justice, especially online. And they’re taking concrete action. Across my social feeds, I’m seeing more people than ever asking their friends, family and colleagues to sign petitions, call their local representatives, attend protests, or make donations to a cause.

It’s encouraging to see people taking concrete, meaningful action at times like these, instead of stopping at a vaguely supportive social media post. Donations, calls, petitions, protests — these are the activities that catalyze change.

That said, for…

A lesson from a fellow activist changed everything for me

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When I was an activist, I got used to being told I was wrong.

We were doing anti-sexual violence work on our university campus, and it felt like all the forces in the world were working to shut down our efforts. Our cause was straightforward. We wanted better sexual violence prevention programs in place at our university, more supports for survivors of sexual assault, and better policies to handle sexual misconduct when it happened.

Campuses are hotbeds for sexual violence, and most university administrations do little to nothing to address the issue. The majority are much more concerned with the…

Working from home in sweatpants made me consider how my shopping habit was harming the environment

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I can remember the first time I felt it — the itch to shop. It was in fifth grade, when my friend Kaitlin strolled onto the playground in a brand new pink floral rain jacket and matching hoodie. Everyone ooo’d and ahhh’d and admired the set, which was the height of elementary school fashion.

I spotted the same jacket in a store window when my mom and I were at the mall the next week. To my delight, I saw that it came in orange too, and I suddenly wanted it more than anything. …

It’s time we stopped internalizing sexism at work

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Out of the hundreds of endless meetings throughout my early career, there is one that will forever remain cemented in my mind.

It was back when I was an assistant for an executive. The purpose of the meeting was to hand off accounts from the top executives to lower level development associates. They were big, desirable accounts, and the associates all had revenue goals to meet, so this meeting would have a significant impact on their success at the organization that year.

There were a handful of other people in the room, but the executive was calling the shots. He…

My vegetarian diet won’t solve climate change, but it still matters

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When I think of the meals I loved growing up, I think of meat. I think of burgers, handmade in a big Pyrex bowl at our kitchen table and grilled on our ancient back yard barbecue. I think of my dad’s famous pork chop recipe — orange juice and garlic and rosemary and I’m not sure what else — which was a weekday staple. I think of my mom’s special pasta sauce, simmering on the stove for hours, chock full of lean ground beef.

I was raised in Canada’s cattle country. Each fall throughout my childhood, our family would buy…

It turns out I wasn’t nearly as woke as I thought

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When I was single and new to Toronto, my main activities consisted of swiping on dating apps and complaining about how frustrated I was with dating apps. I went through the familiar cycle of obsessing over photos and bios and matches and openers, then getting frustrated and deleting every dating app on my phone, then getting bored and downloading them all again.

I was at the height of my swiping days when a friend told me about a disturbing study from OKCupid. It showed that racial minorities experience extreme bias on dating apps, receiving substantially less right swipes and matches…

Quick tips for editing copy under the gun

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A manager at my first marketing job once watched me edit a blog post live by following my cursor on a Google Doc. She was appalled. Apparently, it was chaotic and disturbing to watch me jump around in what appeared to be random patterns, cutting a sentence here, changing a word there.

I swear, there is a method to my madness.

I first learned to copy edit at sixteen, from the editor at a local magazine I sometimes wrote for on a freelance basis. God knows why she was willing to employ an angsty teen like me, but I’m grateful…

The tough part about burnout is that you’re completely fine — until you’re not

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

I didn’t see my burnout point coming. Maybe I should’ve.

When I was an activist, I was also taking full-time university classes and working 30 hours a week at my student union job. I was constantly on campus. Whenever I wasn’t working or studying, I was organizing volunteers, teaching workshops, meeting with committees, or writing to decision makers. The work was endless, but I didn’t find it tiring. I was energized by the hope we had to make university campuses free from sexual violence.

As part of our movement’s awareness work, I taught a couple workshops a week on sexual…

Kelsey Gilchrist

Toronto-based writer and marketing specialist. I write about equality, activism, and culture.

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