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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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Dealing with stress and cold weather – final survival guide

It is mid-November and some of us still have their second mid-terms of this semester. Now it’s getting dark before 5 pm, and we wrap ourselves like tortilla. Since our semester is only less than 4 months long, the finals are actually around the corner.

Undegrads usually have 4 to 5 courses per semester, and we are drowning in deadlines throughout the semester. It seems that we don’t have a lot of time to prepare for the finals, so I want to share with everyone how I managed to obtain decent grades for 6 courses in one semester. (more…)

Why is it so hard to just “do what you want?”

quote thought bubble saying what do you want to be when you grow up mcgill career blogWhat do you want to do? That’s a loaded question.

I remember asking this question during a speed dating study. First, he says “well, I don’t know.” Then he shares a bit about what he’s studying. Eventually, if he feels safe enough, he might share a dream of his. He thinks it’s not practical. I listen as he convinces himself to be interested in something more mainstream and secure. Maybe you’ve had a similar conversation with someone, or with yourself — knowing what you want, but not sure if it’s the ‘right’ thing to pursue

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Transferring Faculties… and Changing Your Life!

I always thought I knew what I wanted to study in university and what career path I wanted to follow after my studies. BSc in Neuroscience or BA/Sc in Cognitive Science, followed by med school and a promise of steady income for the next 50 years. I dedicated my time to researching the smallest details, even reclaiming my Québec residency to increase my chances of acceptance into medical school.

After one year at McGill, everything changed for me. I realized that I could not follow a curriculum filled with rote memorization and that I had a surprising knack for mathematics. For women in STEM, it’s not abnormal to receive little or no support from teachers and other members of authority when we show interest in maths and sciences.  (more…)

Midterm is coming: what about the semesters in our lives?

Copyright: Calvin and Hobbes

It is just one month after school starts, but due to the tri-semester system at McGill, we already start to write our first midterms. Usually with only four to six weeks of stuff in our brain, it seems easy to handle, but due to the joy of the first three weeks (aka housewarming parties, reunions with friends, holiday-lag from summer), our machinery has not been tuned to its optimum.  (more…)

Changing my Sense of Self: a Premeditated Self Reflection

Coming back to my second year at university feels enormously different. It had taken me my first year to orient myself into this strange new environment where the intimacies of high school were lost amongst the enormity of this campus. Everyone and everything was an ever-increasing mass of one another – myself included. (more…)

7 More Tips to Succeed in Your First Year

As a first-year student, you get a lot of advice on how to manage the start of this new chapter of your life. From student handbooks to online resources, many places offer tips and tricks that you can carry on with you throughout your studies and later in life. Things like ‘don’t procrastinate’, ‘eat well’, and ‘get involved on campus’ often make up part of the list of things you can do to both enjoy your university years and be successful, but there’s more!

Here are seven more ways to do well during your first year (and beyond!):

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My Trip out East: New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia

Don’t drive eight and a half hours straight in a tiny car. Or maybe do. Do it and then drive another four hours the next day, a couple more after that, and some more after that. Sleep in a B&B full of weird antiques and another one that overlooks a cemetery. Ask for the Wifi password and then ignore the fact that the connection’s not strong. Go hiking and visit half a dozen lighthouses but don’t swim at the beach—it’ll turn you blue. Try to see a moose but settle for a fox. Drive the paths you see in car commercials and forget that you haven’t watch TV in a week. Stop the car and get out. Drive another four hours. Maybe you’ll find yourself, or maybe you’ll just find a great souvenir tshirt.
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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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Let’s Talk: Don’t Suffer the Agony of Job Searching Alone

I have spent the last two months attending counseling on resumes, cover letters and interviews; applying for jobs online, and meeting with employers. I have heard sayings such as “when you don’t have a job, it is your full-time job to search for one,” and “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” I figured, it can’t be that difficult, you just put in the time and, like school, you apply where you want, they realize your merit and bam! you’ve got a dream job that you’re passionate about and pays really well… How naïve of me. I have agonised over cover letters and resumes, with each application requiring 5 hours of grueling preparation. I have been faced with rejection time after time, and all of it has had a mental toll on me. Coming out of McGill, I have hardly had to prove my merits because they were there clearly posted on my transcript. I had rarely been rejected for research or VP positions that I had wanted. Now, I am stewing in self-doubt, doubting my credentials and my ability to work, and I am unsure of what kind of work I want to do. In order to snap out of it, I have found that the greatest way to get my spirits up is to relate to others. Here are 3 groups of people that are helping me piece out this time in my life.

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