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So, About Volunteering…

Have you been adamant about volunteering throughout your academic career? Have you been told that volunteer work is extremely important for building your resume? I’ve definitely heard this before, and I’ve been hearing about it since high school. But I have to admit— I’m a little late to jump onto the volunteering wagon. And it isn’t all my fault. Let me tell you why…

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Machine Learning: More Inspiration from the Modern Technology

Source: George Seif (Towards Data Science)

Since last year, I have heard of ‘Machine Learning’ for so many times that I become very curious about what it is. Montreal has become a hub of Machine Learning thanks to talented scientists in this city. For me, it is both exciting and mysterious to witness the birth and development of Siri and Google Home, and to benefit from search engines on a daily basis. Although the ads on Facebook become sometimes annoying, I have to admit that the automatic playlist on YouTube is quite convenient. (more…)

Graduate life – Take the advantage of academic seminars

Resource: Vanderbilt University website

First of all, Happy Halloween! I hope you are enjoying a wonderful (although rainy) day of pumpkin spices, costumes and fun with friends. Today, I would also like to talk about how to make the most out of academic seminars.

I believe that each department has their own schedule of academic seminars and talks. Here I just use Department of Chemistry as an example. Each Tuesday afternoon, one invited speaker (usually professors) gives an 1-hour talk on their research. As everyone can imagine, the research themes cover the whole spectrum of chemistry – inorganic, synthetic, biological, medicinal, etc.

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Moving To University – Lessons I Have Learnt

For most of us, going to university or college is the optimal choice for pursuing further knowledge in the academia. You might choose to study at the local post-secondary institution, or if you are like me, decide to go somewhere further away from home. Regardless of what you choose, there will be a big leap on your journey. It would be fun, exciting, adventurous, mind-opening experience, but it could also be stressful, scary, over-whelming at the same time. For so, I would like to share with you my story of coming to a university on my own, outside of my comfort zone, and tell you what I have learnt so far. (more…)

Some More Advice

One year ago, I started writing on this blog with an advice post outlining seven tips to succeed in your first year of university. They were specifically aimed at first year students and were meant to come in addition to the many pieces of advice students already receive before starting college. To wrap up this past year of blog posts, I wanted to present some more advice in the form of seven more tips – some new things I’ve learned along the way and some life reminders, especially to those who will be heading out at the end of the academic year.

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Book Review: Mind Gym, Part 2

In this post, I am going to cover how different concepts from Mind Gym[1] can be applied by students. You may be familiar with some of them from other ‘self-help’ type books, from workshops on time or stress and anxiety management, or already use them without giving them names. I am going to give overviews of the power of positive thinking, motivation and fear of failure, and SMART goals. All of these contribute to getting ‘in the zone’ and succeed at everyday tasks or activities. (more…)

Dealing with Distractions

Getting down to work and staying focused when you’re studying can be a real challenge. Of course some people are excellent at ignoring them, but many of us aren’t quite there yet. Distractions are everywhere and they can make completing assignments and reviewing for exams very difficult if you don’t have a way to block them out. Once you get distracted, it can take a very long time for you to get back to your original task and it will inevitably hinder your long-term productivity. With the willingness to change habits and a bit of self-discipline though, you can learn to better deal with these distractions and therefore work more efficiently. Here are some tips that you may find to be helpful:

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Volunteering Abroad

Before coming to McGill, I lived in Asia. While I was there, I was a part of several volunteer groups through my school, most notability an after-school program that offered English classes to children from displaced communities. My experiences volunteering with these kids were some of the most rewarding and valuable ones from my time living there. Volunteering is often overlooked during the school year when students are busy with their courses and during the summer when students gravitate towards jobs and internships. However, volunteering is truly a remarkable experience, and doing so abroad is bound to be unforgettable.

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Book Review: “Mind Gym”, Part 1

You might find Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence[1] in the sports section or the self-help section, depending on the bookstore. Published in 2001, Mind Gym was written by sports psychologist Gary Mack to show regular people how the mind influences athletic performance. The book is organized into 40 chapters which end with short exercises to improve the mental habits which help performers succeed. Mack demonstrates the impacts of stress and motivation on success using examples from sports. However, his recommendations apply to elite athletes and regular people alike. (more…)

What I Learned from a Summer in Retail

At the end of the winter semester, I found myself in a scramble to find a summer job. In the end, I started working as a sales associate at a popular clothing chain. While it may not be a prestigious internship, the experience has been awesome, from a learning standpoint, but also socially, since I had great coworkers. Notably, this summer I learned a lot about customer service from my experience in retail. Overall, based on the past summer, I have found retail experience to be more valuable than I would have expected. (more…)

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