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Making the Most out of One-Day Volunteering

Last Week, I volunteered for Campus Life & Engagement (CL&E)’s Orientation session for newly admitted CEGEP students. Throughout the day, I signed in registered students, told attendees where their next destination was, helped set up information desks, and answered any McGill-related questions. Although this event only required a one-day commitment on my part (with a short training session a few days prior), the experience was well worth it. Despite walking into a room full of volunteers I didn’t know, I ended up making friends, learning more about McGill and other volunteer opportunities, and snagging myself a cozy volunteer t-shirt. Here’s how I made the most of it.

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396 Research Course

I just did a 396 research course in the Winter 2017 semester. Before I registered for it, I went to talk to my departmental advisor to ask for more information. She said it was a great way to do research in a professor’s lab and have it count toward your degree. What was also really nice was that you do not have to a 396 in your own department. You could be in Anatomy and Cell Biology and do a 396 from the biology department or physiology department or other departments.

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Convocation in the Pouring Rain

Milestone events tend to make me more pensive than usual. This year’s convocation was no exception. In this post, I try to capture what the day felt like for me and offer just one of many accounts of the experience. To the graduating class of 2017, particularly to the Science ‘B’ graduates, this is to our collective memory and moving forward. (more…)

Make The Most Of It

There are many words that can be used to describe me. One that I get often is “indecisive”. But I disagree. Well, I don’t disagree (I can see that I’m not helping my case here) but I agree in certain aspects. When it comes to extracurricular experiences though, I do disagree. Yes, I’ve done a little bit of everything, but that wasn’t a result of indecisiveness. That was because I wanted to experience everything. After all, how do you know that you don’t enjoy working in a particular field until you’ve actually worked in said field? In the long run, this logic bode well for me…but I did often find myself in positions that I knew were a little mundane for me after the first couple weeks. And let’s be honest, we’ve probably all been there. So what do you do when you have a month or two left in a position that you’re not enjoying? (more…)

Opportunity Knocks

         I was fairly young when I first heard this phrase. I believe it was in an episode of Franklin, though it may not have been given that it was so many years ago and I’m probably just confused. Regardless, my young and naïve mind for some reason translated this phrase into “opportunities come knocking”, and for most of my teen years I thought one must wait until opportunities present themselves to you. Fast forward a few years, and I learned this isn’t actually the case. (more…)

Traveling Experience in Taiwan – Part 3

For this post, I would like to talk about some interesting cultural differences I noticed when I was a volunteer English teacher and interned in Taiwan. During my orientation at the elementary school I was going to be teaching at, the director ran down the daily schedule with us (there were other volunteers). He told us that class would start at 8:30 AM and the children would have an allotted 30 minute block to clean the classroom. When I first heard this I was surprised. I had heard from my parents that they had to clean the school back then, but this time I could actually see it happen. The director then told us that blocks were going to be about 1 hour each with 10 minute breaks in between. For lunch, the children would have to drag a cart from the kitchen and then serve the food to the other children. This was another surprise.

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Volunteering Somewhere New

At the start of the summer, I began volunteering at the Fondation Jeunes en Tête. When I walked into the foundation’s offices, I was rightfully nervous. Starting a new job (paid or not) can be intimidating. However, especially in the case of volunteering, it can feel rewarding to be spending time in a place where many of your peers value the same things and are working to create change. (more…)

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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