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The Homestretch

Spring is finally starting to make its first appearances after long months of very cold Montreal weather (although apparently, and unfortunately for those like me who are excited about warmer weather, we should expect more cold temperatures and snow heading into April). With that, means, approaching final exams (and long hours at the library), and the impending end of yet another semester. Summer vacation is so close, yet so far, as so many things need to get done before you can start that summer job or take a break from the hectic student life. With only a few weeks left before the start of final exams, here are some of what should be ticked off your checklist in the homestretch:

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The Hunt for a Roommate

It’s apartment hunting season and with that comes the decision of where you’ll live and with who. If this is your first year, the thought of leaving the safety and comfort of a McGill residence may seem just a little daunting, albeit probably a little exciting too. For many, moving out of the room you shared with your first roommate also means getting ready to move in with a good friend. For others, it means the start of searching for someone to share a living space with. Here are 5 tips to tackle this search safely and efficiently:

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Multilingualism as an Asset

Bilinguals today make up approximately half of the world’s population. I, myself, grew up in a bilingual household and learned a third language when I began going to school. It is not surprising that in our highly globalized world, being fluent in more than one language is extremely beneficial. Asides from supposedly being better for your neurological health and making communication much easier, being proficient in several languages will often be a serious asset as you progress through your education and enter the workforce.

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Science Jobs Away From Research

McGill is a research-intensive university. To be able to attend a school that places importance on research and study in the field, is a privilege. It offers countless opportunities to students and can be a rewarding and career-changing experience. It’s a pivotal part of your education, especially if you plan on going into academia. But… what if that’s not something you’re interested in? If after your studies, the lab bench or research team is not for you, or maybe you just want a break, here are other job paths in science that you may want to take. Note that some require additional education.

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Regrets and Moving Forward

“Life is too short to live with regrets.” I’m sure I’m not the first one to have heard too many motivational quotes on living without regret. Unfortunately, it’s just something that we all feel and experience – bad choices, missed opportunities, unfortunate decisions, uncomfortable situations, time dedicated to things that weren’t worth it and to people who didn’t stay. In a time of our lives where much is focused on the studying we do daily and the career we strive to someday have, regrets happen during the undergraduate journey too.

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Cafés: the Newest Study Spaces

For me personally, the perfect study space is in the comfort of my own room, where I’m free to follow my own routine and get up whenever needed without having to worry about leaving my things out on the table, all while not getting distracted by others passing by or loud conversations. I know for many of my friends, however, that it is quite the contrary for them. Unable to stay focused at home, other settings give them the motivation to study and keep on track. Once you’re in your final year, you know what works best for you, but in the meantime, there are plenty of spaces to go to if you’re in need of a change in environment while you review your notes for that upcoming midterm.

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2018: Starting the Year Off Right for Your Career

For me personally, the holiday season is primarily a time to be surrounded by family, to celebrate Christmas with the people you love, and take the time to recover and relax from the bustle of the past year. For this reason, I tend not to think too much about looking for career-related opportunities during late December. However, as everyone knows, New Year’s is a time to begin new goals and make new resolutions (that can be kept!). It is also perfect occasion to start fresh and get back into looking at volunteering, extra-curricular, and job-related activities that will be sure to boost your CV and enhance the skills that will make you an adept professional in the working world.

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First Winter in Montreal as an International Student

For students coming from across oceans, winter in Montreal can be very brisk, long, and harsh. I know – I’ve been there. Before moving to Canada, I lived in Malaysia, where the days started at 7:00 a.m. and ended at 7:00 p.m. every day and the temperature was 30ºC year-long. I knew nothing of the sun setting before 5 p.m. and had only seen snow once or twice in my life. Coming to study in Montreal also meant that I would experience a real winter season, which was very exciting, but it soon began to look like spring and summer would never come.

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Learning from McGill’s Public Talks

Source: Owen Egan/McGill News/Alumni Magazine/2013

When you go to a large university with a lot of students, faculty, and staff, there’s often a lot going on both on and around campus and you may not always know about all that’s happening. For me, one of these was the variety of public lectures available. For one of my classes this term, students were handed a list of lectures pertaining to the class and given the task of attending several public talks over the course of the semester. Going to these conferences turned out to be very enriching and eye-opening. In fact, there is a lot that you can learn and find out from the speakers and their presentations, especially regarding your studies and what you’d like to do in the future.

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Getting Away from the McGill Bubble

As the date of the first final exams approaches, it is likely you will be reminded of the importance of taking good care of yourself, and told ways to alleviate the stress that comes with the end of the semester. It’s stressful for everyone – in your first year, you often don’t know what to expect, it’s the first time you’ll be taking a university-level exam; in upper years, the material is often increasingly demanding, and more is expected of you. For me, this semester has been particularly heavy on course work, and I’ve found that fitting some free time for yourself in between the studying is beneficial regardless how tight your schedule is, because it really helps you refocus and gives you something to look forward to after hours of doing practice problems.

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