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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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Wake up before the semester starts!

It is the time! We are either coming or returning to the McGill campus, and I hope everyone has enjoyed a great summer no matter you were studying, travelling, working, volunteering, or just snoozing with some chill drinks at the backyard. However, I would like to remind you something before we sit in the lecture room. (more…)

First-Year Students: Starting the Semester

Entering your first year of university is many things at once – exciting, adventurous, fun, busy, challenging, and a little nerve-wracking and stressful too. The semester may seem to start out slow, but the pace of school and classes pick up fast and before you know it, you’re turning in essays, studying for midterms, and then for finals. It can be downright exhausting figuring everything out, but you will come to find your own routine with time. For first year students: here are a few tips to start your semester off right. 

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Looking Back at Two Years of University

Going to college was one of the big worries of high school. Where was I going to go and to study what? How would I settle into a life very different from everything I had ever known? At the time it seemed very intimidating and something I apprehended greatly just because of the uncertainty of it all. There was so much doubt, worry and confusion going into my first year, but looking back now, halfway through my undergraduate degree, my attitudes and thoughts have changed. These might be helpful to any first year students going through a similar experience.

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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…)

What Can I Do with My Geography Degree?

Oxbow lake meandering river geography comic hipster funny career blog physical Some things don’t have a linear path. A career can be one of those things.

Finding your personal path takes work and reflection. This is especially true for disciplines that cover a wide scope of topics and perspectives, like geography. Luckily, a recent project by the Canadian Association of Geographers aims to do just that — help geography students and recent graduates shape their own path. (more…)

Learning from McGill’s Public Talks

Source: Owen Egan/McGill News/Alumni Magazine/2013

When you go to a large university with a lot of students, faculty, and staff, there’s often a lot going on both on and around campus and you may not always know about all that’s happening. For me, one of these was the variety of public lectures available. For one of my classes this term, students were handed a list of lectures pertaining to the class and given the task of attending several public talks over the course of the semester. Going to these conferences turned out to be very enriching and eye-opening. In fact, there is a lot that you can learn and find out from the speakers and their presentations, especially regarding your studies and what you’d like to do in the future.

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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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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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