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The wonders that humans are capable of

The human potential is simply remarkable. When human go against each other they can create things like war. They can create the terrible circumstances that were the subjects of a few posts last week. But when humans work together, they can create wonders.

At the Macdonald Campus, we created something of a small wonder this semester. It was quite magical. It was a flash mob.

Flash mob at the Mac campus. Photo credit: Sushant K Jha


Getting started


My original idea for this post was to look at the year ahead. But being a second year grad student, I decided to search through my notes from last year and analyze my academic goals back then. Perhaps because I was just starting, I have to say they were quite general: it was simply a list of transferrable skills that I thought could be useful for other aspects of my life as well.

Looking back, I would perhaps add quite a few more, but overall I am happy that I’ve been able to make at least some progress in these original items so far. So I’d like to share a few items with you and also read in the comments your thoughts on them, in addition to your own items. Without further ado, here is my 2010 list:

A simple thought on scientific research in grad school.

Working on a project for years can be arduous, exhausting and unsurprisingly lead to many dead ends. Finding motivation in these tough times is an obstacle faced by most grad students. Recently, while mulling over a short conversation I had with a colleague, I realized one of the principle sources of motivation for grad student researchers. (more…)


‘Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.’  -Thomas Edison

I think most of us have a small, seemingly impossible dream or desire that could turn into an amazing opportunity.  It could be an opportunity to make money, but more likely, it is an opportunity for happiness and fulfillment.  Thomas Edison recognized that no amazing thing happens without a large amount of hard work and dedication.  Human beings are lazy, and we like to complain.  Perhaps it would be a valuable lesson if we could get over our fear of having less and working more – it may even lead to a more fulfilling life.

I have been experiencing this personally this summer.  Right after graduation, I found myself enjoying the life of no work, all play.  Part of this had to do with a sudden feeling that if I had a Master’s degree, I should not have to stoop to get a lowly summer job, especially not in a restaurant or café – ewww.  As you know from my previous post, I decided to busk instead of get a job.  Initially, I was terrified of the act of busking – it was something new that I had never done before.  How would I know my efforts would be appreciated?


Comment j’ai obtenu un poste de professeure : étape 1 de 2

J’ai obtenu, tout récemment, un emploi à temps plein à titre de professeure à l’université. Au moment d’écrire ces lignes, j’ai peine à y croire, mais c’est bel et bien la réalité!

Pour ceux qui caressent ce même rêve, j’ai envie de partager avec vous deux étapes qui m’ont menée jusqu’à cet emploi : (1) la rédaction d’une lettre de motivation et (2) l’entrevue. La présente chronique s’attarde à la première de ces étapes.

1. La rédaction d’une lettre de motivation

Pour soumettre ma candidature, je devais envoyer une lettre de motivation et mon curriculum vitae. La rédaction de la lettre d’une page et quelques lignes m’a pris en tout environ huit bonnes heures de travail. Je parle d’heures 100% productives. Au cours de ce processus, j’ai demandé à plusieurs personnes de me donner leurs commentaires sur ma lettre. (more…)

On finding motivation

Grad school is a marathon…an ultra-marathon…a long and arduous journey…and along the way, your bound to have a few setbacks. It’s important to understand that everyone around you has also stumbled at some point. Find solace in the tales of your peers and mentors. Learn from their mistakes and your own. Take it easy, we’ve all been there. (more…)

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