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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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Interview: a story

Since it is the time for On-Campus Recruiting (OCR) and career fairs, it is always good to be prepared than looking for stuff at the last minute. This is not a tutorial, nor a checklist before you set off for an interview – just a story that happened to myself.

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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…)

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…)

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…)

The Magic of a Regular Extracurricular

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When I was on the Varsity Badminton Team, it was difficult to recruiting new talent because students believed that it is a huge time commitment. Personally, I felt being on the team did not take my time away, but rather it saved my time. Unfortunately, I only joined in my third year due to injuries. But my first semester on the team, I achieved my best GPA. And despite no longer playing for the team, currently I continue to train in a private badminton club. Here are the three main reasons why I believe having a regular extracurricular activity makes me more efficient and effective with my time:

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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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