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Getting the Most Out of that Conference

“The conference”… a hot bed of new knowledge in “whatever this conference is about”.  Chances are you will come across a couple of these in your life and, if you’ve had an impact, you may be invited to speak at some.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll show up to your first conference excited by the prospect of meeting new people as excited as you are about making a difference in your field. 

Unfortunately, if you are like me, you’ll end up next to a mid-forties man in a suit who cannot stay off of Facebook on your right, a young professional woman pretending not to take explicit note of the notes you are taking on your left and some unseen man somewhere behind you snoring.  No joke, this was my first experience at a conference but, don’t be discouraged, I still have some useful tips for you to get the most out of it.

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Traveling Experience in Taiwan – Part 2

Full platform doors. There are also platform doors which are half the height.

I have always heard from various people that the metro systems in Asia are excellently designed. I had a chance to ride the metro in Taipei. I was blown away by how well thought out it was. There were many aspects which I wished were implemented in Vancouver’s (where I grew up) metro system. The first aspect which I personally loved were the platform doors. These platform doors remain close until the metro arrives and basically prevents anybody from accidentally falling onto the tracks. When the metro arrives, the metro doors and platform doors open in synchrony. In Vancouver, none of the metro stations have these platform doors and it is quite easy for anyone to fall onto the tracks. With these doors though, they make a fantastic safety barrier. The second aspect which I noticed was the presence of waiting lines. At each platform door, waiting lines on the ground were marked clearly so that passengers could form a neat line while waiting for the metro. The third aspect was the great accessibility. Washrooms, elevators, and garbage cans and recycling bins were found at every station. One other nice touch was that when the metro was about the arrive, the station would play a quick tune to let you know! There are multiple lines for the metro which each have their own unique tune! I heard this was imported from Japan.

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A Balancing Act Between Prestige and Preference

     There is nothing wrong with being career driven, in fact it is admirable and encouraged to have a goal that you are actively working towards achieving. Taking every opportunity that you come across and seeking out ways to make yourself stand out as a candidate when applying for positions, through your education and experience demonstrates an immense amount of motivation and dedication. However, while this “do whatever to be successful” mindset can be very productive it can also be detrimental, as one may become too robotically focused on what will “look good” on their resume, resulting in an unintentional ignorance towards equally beneficial opportunities.

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How did I join 5 labs in 2 years?

The title may appear to be an impossible feat, but it is achievable. Let’s start from an email.

Writing an email:

Two years ago, in U1, I emailed multiple professors to forage an available lab. However, I got ignored. It turned out the titles of the emails I had sent, such as “Volunteering in a lab” and “Paid research assistant position”, had a problem.

If I could go back, I would title the emails as such: “BIOL396 Research Course Supervisor”.

To start off, the chance of getting paid as an undergraduate student is essentially nil unless you could code proficiently. So, let’s forget about the money.

A research course such as BIOL396 spans across multiple departments to tailor to whatever the department your supervisor is affiliated. For example, if your supervisor is in the Pharmacology Department, take PHAR396. For a professor, instead of pointlessly having students volunteering in a lab once a week, offering students a project is more sensible. A project could require students to commit 20-40 hours a week in a lab. McGill has designed research courses to confer undergraduate students an independent research project, which reciprocally grants a professor a complete control over a student’s grade. This leaves students with no choice but to commit to their projects. Taking a research course during the summer is also allowed. Most people get A- or A from a research course.

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Becoming More Comfortable Networking


Whether it’s through power posing or positive self-talk, becoming a more comfortable networker can be a helpful step towards starting your career. Networking events allow you to put a face to the professions we learn about in textbooks. While reading the personality profile of an accountant or lawyer may be a helpful way to learn about your dream career path, meeting professionals in the workforce can help you develop a clearer image of your potential future. Not only does networking allow you to gain insight, but it also provides you with the opportunity to connect with experienced professionals, giving you an edge when it comes to recruitment. While the benefits of networking are endless, the process can be stressful and uncomfortable at first. After participating in a handful of pre-recruitment accounting events, I’ve learned how to make the most of networking.
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Competition and Our View of Success – Exploring the Effects of Social Darwinism

I studied earth system science in my undergraduate. It’s a small program in which we learn about how the earth behaves as one single system. Learning about the earth has many perks, such as traveling to different places around the world with the excuse of studying diverse landscapes and ecosystems. (more…)

Traveling Experience in Taiwan – Part 1

Look how packed it is!

I was born in Taipei, Taiwan and lived there for three years. After that, I moved to Vancouver and grew up there. My kindergarten, primary, intermediate, middle, and high school years were all in Vancouver. I also did not have the chance to go back to Taiwan. As a result, it felt like I knew nothing of the place I was born in. I did not remember my first three years in Taiwan. My parents sometimes joked saying that I was a ‘banana,’ meaning I was yellow on the outside, but white on the inside (I hope this does not offend anyone). My knowledge consisted only of information given to me by word of mouth from my parents and friends. In high school, I had to write a history report for one of my International Baccalaureate classes. I used this as a chance to understand the history of Taiwan. What I found was that Taiwan consisted of a mix of European, Japanese, and Chinese history and culture. So what was this mysterious island which I have always heard about but never got to experience?

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Now That You’re an Alumni – Ways to Stay Connected

Congratulations on completing this chapter of your life! It might feel like a small eternity ago since you first received that acceptance letter in the mail. Now, years after taking the leap of moving to a new city, or even just immersing in a new environment, the McGill community that once seemed so vast and unexplored has now become a comforting bubble. With an undergraduate degree now under your belt, remember to stay connected to your McGill roots as you go out into the world.

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The Trouble With Loving Too Many Things – How to Be Less Distracted

I can be easily distracted. There’s easily half-a-dozen different lives and lifestyles that I can imagine for myself, and I could be happy with any of these paths. From dreams of being a traveling nomad, to desires of becoming articulate in movement through dance, to thoughts about continuing my studies in earth science, and even new pursuits of counseling psychology – these broad and varied interests all have a life of their own. I often find myself torn between the need to explore more into each of these interests and convincing myself to take my time, while at the same time, feeling restless about not being able to commit.

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My Take on Interviews and How to Kill Them

I am going to start by saying that interviews are horrible. I believe that they are a terrible way to judge someone’s character and ability to work well. It is understandable that no one would hire a stranger without having met them first, but interviews have become mortifying interrogations that are as stressful as exams. They require tremendous skill and so much practice. That being said, becoming good at interviews is in everyone’s reach as long as time and effort are invested. I have been both lucky and unlucky to have been called into quite a few interviews in the last 4 months, since graduation, and here are a few tips that I would like to share about the process.

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