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How did I join 5 labs in 2 years?

laboratory

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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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…)

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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3 Steps to Striving Through Uncertain Times – Living your Questions

The feeling of uncertainty is hard to describe, but we have all felt it. It can be the doubt that inhibits action, the lack of conviction in a particular choice, or the ambiguity surrounding the future. We will all go through phases when everything familiar seems to change – starting a new career, moving to a new city, losing a loved one, starting a new relationship. For some people, graduating from university is one of those times, specifically graduating without any specific plans.

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Grades Matter, but Experience Matters More

Why does it seem that being successful at school means employers will be lining up at our doors to hire us when we graduate? It’s not true! If we have no job experience, we are at the bottom of the hiring pool behind candidates who have already been part of the work force for several years. Retrospectively, if I had worked hard at finding unpaid or even paid experience in my field, instead of just focusing on excelling in the classroom during my studies, I feel as if I would have been better equipped for the job search now. (more…)

An Alternative

It’s a Saturday afternoon, your hair is curled and pinned back, you smell like garden of rosebushes. You feel good. You’re waiting for your friend to catch a bite to eat at a cute, boho cafe right around the corner from your snug studio on the 4th floor where your sister is probably playing the guitar and plastering nail decals on her toes. Nothing is going wrong, you’re in a happy place. You see your friend parking her car near the curb. Wait, you don’t have a car. She walks in wearing a fitted pencil skirt and grey top, you could almost smell the Downy and iron steam. You don’t have an ironing board, it didn’t fit in the closet so you threw it away. Sitting opposite in our booth, we exchange a few words and she then continues to talk about her recent project abroad and the many experiences and perspectives she came across. You stayed home, helped your sister with her music. We all do it or have done it at some point in our lives… (more…)

How I Made a Choice: Where to Study and Work?

Choosing a city

In my “Who we are” blurb, I mentioned that the first choice I made for my future was choosing to stay in Montreal in order to find a post graduate job. It seems like an easy choice to make because I was born and raised in Montreal, but it took a lot of exploring and reflection to come to this conclusion. Here are the main factors of my decision: (more…)

How to Have a Cup of Coffee

CFMcGill Connect (the Ten Thousand Coffees networking platform) is taking off and people are seeing great results. It makes it easy to break the ice and ask professionals out for a meet…because in being on the platform, they’ve agreed to be open to meeting. It’s engaging, interactive, easy to use and incredibly resourceful. There’s even a tinder-esque feature that can randomly show you profiles based on your interests.

I love it. It’s tech-savvy and progressive and so easy to use. Although, it can be nerve racking. Especially for those of us just starting out. I know a lot of people that think talking on the phone is weird, let alone contacting a stranger to sit down for life chats about their ambitions.

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Interviews, Editors, News and Networking

friends-coffee-workLooking back, I think I stumbled into journalism with more curiosity than career drive. I’m the kind of person that always needs to ask, and runs up a phone bill because I crave talking. Journalism began as a way to keep myself busy and my writing sharp but evolved into a love of storytelling. When my boss found out about this, she raced over to my desk and told me that she was going to connect me to the McGill News Editor, Daniel McCabe.

She emailed, I emailed, he accepted, and I was genuinely impressed at how it all happened so quickly.

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