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What Stuck With Me This Month

  1. “No information is useless information.” – Alex Trebek, on a recent episode of Jeopardy

People tend to say “the more you know” with a sarcastic intonation. 

But EVERYTHING YOU LEARN can be pertinent, as long as you know how to apply it.

You also never know what might come up in a conversation, and contributing to discourse is always a plus, not to mention so satisfying.

So next time you find yourself learning about something that has absolutely nothing to do with any of your current classes or your intended career path…

  1. “Those scholarly articles in academic journals are probably read by like seven people in total including the author’s parents.” – My SKILLS21 workshop facilitator 

Let me tell you, I had quite the laugh. AKA don’t freak out when you’re having trouble understanding those peer-reviewed sources — that’s what your TA/prof/the internet is there for! 😁

  1. “Uhhhh….. worth it!” – My squash coach, as she was explaining the benefits of performing a certain shot

Right away, I thought wow, this isn’t the first difficult thing I encounter that happens to be “uhhhhh….. worth it!” 

Which is only funny because the following day in lecture, I heard:

  1. “Everything good in life that’s worth doing is difficult.” – My professor, as he was describing his path that enabled him to do what he loves on a daily basis (teaching us, and further exploring his field of study)

I don’t think there’s any explaining to do here because of the simplicity of this idea.

My only comment would be that it is obviously easier said than done.

After all, as Tom Hanks’ character says in A League of Their Own, “If it were easy, everyone would do it.”

  1. (Lastly, and on another note:) “Overtime, have we changed at all?” – My mom’s friend, regarding what seems to be the expression and repression of an inherently racist undertone that seem to never completely disappear in this world.

My first instinct was to remind myself that fifty years ago, no one would had ever believed that an African American man would be elected president.

But in light of the tragic events of Squirrel Hill, this question really resonated with me. What do you think, has there been progress? Or have we, as human beings, not changed at all?

~xoxo~

First Post Ever — TOP TIPS

1. Take advantage of the resources here. 

McGill has endless opportunities designed specifically for you to learn new things and meet new people. I can vouch for the fact that there is literally something for every single person sitting in Leacock 132, so be sure to soak up all the benefits you could from your undergrad/graduate experience. Because, as cliche as it may sound, before you know it, it will be too late.

  1. Office hours. Never. A waste. Of time.

Whether it be with your professor or your TA, you will ALWAYS learn something useful… Even if it means learning that emailing might be the better option for next time. 😂

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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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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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Academic writing: But what does it really mean?

Have you ever read an article for a class and wondered what exactly the author was talking about? Perhaps situations like this contribute to why so many students don’t bother with readings. If someone understands a subject well enough to publish academic papers, surely they can explain it in plainer language. In fact, there is a movement of academics who are fighting against opaque language.[1]

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Municipal Elections Matter, Part 2: Nationalism and Party Identification

When voting, is your decision something based on a singular issue or is it about how much you identify with the party? Perhaps one issue shapes the entire party landscape? This question is fundamental to many who study political science, but until attending CMES, I had no idea that municipal politics were a field of study. In all my introductory political science courses at McGill, the topic was never touched upon. Thus, I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about the study of municipal politics, which has been studied in Canada for many years. In this post, I will focus on how municipal politics interact with Quebec nationalism, an issue Canada has worked with and around since the British won the Seven Years’ War.[1] (more…)

Municipal Elections Matter, Part 1: An Introduction to CMES and Split-Ticket Voting

Municipal elections are important, however, in the field of political science, they are largely understudied. Notably, little is known about how candidates compete, or how voters make choices at this level. The Canadian Municipal Election Study (CMES) received funding to conduct research based on survey data in eight Canadian cities. This month, seven draft papers focusing on the Montreal and Quebec City elections were presented at a small conference at McGill.[1] I will be writing three broad pieces about split ticket voting, nationalism and party identification, and women in municipal politics based on what I learned at the conference. (more…)

Note-Taking 101

College is a time to develop many of the fundamental skills that will be essential to you throughout your career. Things like public speaking, problem solving, and collaboration are all vital both at school and in the workforce. One skill that does not tend to receive as much attention is note-taking. Because many of us prefer to use our laptops to take notes and due to the quantity and density of the information taught in class, we often make a habit of transcribing what the professor is saying or copying lecture slides word for word, which is neither efficient nor beneficial.

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Skills to Develop Today, So You Can Use Them Tomorrow

University teaches you an immense amount of invaluable information. Most of us go into it thinking we will learn everything there is to know about our degree, so that we can apply the new knowledge and know how to get the job done, and get it done well. But the truth is, your classes provide much more than just the information you will need, as important as that is. You also develop a wide variety of skills that, as you continue your education and enter the workforce, will serve you well, and provide you with a basis for so many of the things you will do later in life.

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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…)

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