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1st Year Law School Experience: Podcast Episode Live!
Comic 22 edited 01 panel 2 300x294 1st Year Law School Experience: Podcast Episode Live!

We interviewed Yiwei Jin, PFAU Academic writing and applications coach, Yiwei Jin, about his 1st-year law school experience. This week’s episode is meant to give undergraduate students interested in Law School and working on preparing their applications some insights into what it is really like. The lawyers as seen on TV are not necessarily representative of the real experience of studying law or becoming a lawyer. Today, we hope to dispel some of those myths.

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

Differences in experience between undergraduate, graduate and law school degrees

Law school applications

Top things to consider before applying to law school

How to prepare for law school

 

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To get more help with academic writing, application coaching, or professional development, book a 20 minute discovery call with us and start your journey to reaching your full potential on the page, and in life.


All the written, visual, audio, and audiovisual content of this post has been created by and is the intellectual property of Lisa Pfau and PFAU Academic Writing. Please do not replicate any of the above content without our consent. However, please do feel free to share this post and its authorship widely.

Finding Suitable Housing: Interview with Yinan Xia

 

 

We interviewed Yinan Xia about finding suitable housing for students living outside of the dormitory or their parents’ home for the first time. Where you live can have a huge impact on how you feel, and in turn, how you do in school. Factors such as location, quality of the building, price, and co-inhabitants can greatly affect the quality of life you have in your living space. So, it is important to know what to look for when looking for a place to live.

yinan xia 1 Finding Suitable Housing: Interview with Yinan Xia

 

This week’s guest is Yinan Xia, Real Estate Broker and Sr. Vice President at the Bay Street Group, as well as an adjunct lecturer teaching Real Estate Investment courses at Victoria International College of Business and Technology. He was ranked #1 out of 900 agents in Bay Street Group by gross revenue in both 2020 and 2019. He loves what he does and is passionate about finding his clients the best home for their needs.

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For a first-time renter, what would you say are the top three things they should consider before starting their search?

 

I think the number 1 thing students should think about is the location. That’s going to affect you on a daily basis wherever you are. You may feel that if you move further for another additional 10 or 15 minutes of commute time, you can save 100 bucks per month. However, you should take into consideration the opportunity cost from the extra commute time on a daily basis. Sometimes, there’s traffic and it may take even longer. You could have used the wasted time to do something more significant. The optimal commute time, I think, is less than 30 minutes. So, don’t just focus on finding the cheapest place, but rather finding the location that saves you time that you can use for better things. 

The other thing to consider when doing apartment hunting would be the noise level. You want to make sure that the place is quiet. When you are in there, try turning on the furnace, air condition, look outside the windows to see if it’s next to a train, highway, or any kind of machine, and talk to your neighbours if possible.  All of those will bring additional noise to your unit. People sometimes do not realize that until they move in. Noise can really affect your quality of rest, sleep, and study. As a result, pay close attention when viewing the apartment, because once you are stuck with a one-year lease, you can’t easily get out of it. 

This brings us to the last time to think about when searching for housing – the lease period. Landlords or building rental offices all want a one-year lease, but you should consider whether it fits with your personal schedule. Sometimes, signing up for a lease might not be in the best interest of you, especially for students who would like to go back home during the summer. In this case, an eight-month lease may be better. There are different options, if you look hard enough, then you may find a place you like that offers a shorter leasing period. 

 

How can a real estate agent help a new renter find a suitable property? What kind of person can benefit from the help of a real estate agent?

 

I would say that there are three main benefits of hiring an agent. One is that hiring an agent is time-saving. You may not have the time to coordinate with, for example, seven different lenders, in terms of timing for viewing, and making sure all those times work for all the people you are trying to book a visit. You may have to scatter the viewings across many days, but with a realtor, you can schedule one trip and see all those seven properties, and the agents can make that scheduling for you a lot less troublesome. They can handle all the communication, the negotiation, the leasing details, so you don’t have to spend a lot of energy and effort. 

And the second benefit is hiring an agent does not cost you anything.  I’m not sure if people realize this. It actually doesn’t cost you anything to use a realtor for rental and for purchase. They charge the landlord instead. So really, it’s a free service to you that they’re providing. And, they can help you with many steps in between to save you time and energy. 

The third benefit is that even though you can look up a lot of the rental rules yourself, an experienced realtor can help you to fill in those knowledge gaps that you may not be aware of, in certain areas, about rental laws and what the landlord can or cannot do, or what’s right or wrong in the contract. It will probably take you a lot longer to figure it out by yourself versus having an experienced realtor who has the answer right away.

 

Besides using a real estate agent, what are some resources that are worth consulting before embarking on a property search?

 

There’s a lot of resources in almost every school that can help you during the property search. You can see if the school offers all-student apartments around the campus. These apartments have around four bedrooms per unit, which are great for students who wish to live with their friends or make some new ones. It’s a great deal as well. There are often housing-related resources or experts in your school who can give some general advice. You can check out the local boards, and generally, every school has some kind of student forum, and there will be a lot of postings there. For example, there are Facebook groups where students post to find a roommate or have discussions on landlords and buildings so that you can see the feedback to get a sense of the place and landlord. To sum up, there are a lot of resources to help students to find housing.  Just do your research ahead of time and focus on those factors we mentioned before when you’re looking for housing, whether by yourself or through our realtor and try to make sure that you know you are not going to regret your decision. 

 

Recommended Books and Resources

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board

Yinan Xia

Thank you, Yinan, for sharing the excellent advice with us and our readers! 

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Watch the Podcast video Here: Finding Student Housing

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For more advice about writing, check out our weekly podcast or subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

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To get more help with your assignments, book a 20 minute discovery session with us and start your journey to reaching your full potential on the page, and in life.


Both the written, visual, audio, and audiovisual content of this post has been created by and is the intellectual property of Lisa Pfau and PFAU Academic Writing. Please do not replicate any of the above content without our consent. However, please do feel free to share this post and its authorship widely.

Finding Suitable Housing: Podcast Episode Live!
PFAU 10 panel 1 297x300 Finding Suitable Housing: Podcast Episode Live!

We interview Yinan Xia, Real Estate Broker and Sr. Vice President at the Bay Street Group, as well as an adjunct lecturer teaching Real Estate Investment courses at Victoria International College of Business and Technology about how can students find suitable housing. For students living outside of the dormitory or their parents’ home for the first time, where you live can have a huge impact on how you feel, and in turn, how you do in school. Factors such as location, quality of the building, price, and co-inhabitants can greatly affect the quality of life you have in your living space. So, it is important to know what to look for when looking for a place to live.

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

Journey of an entrepreneur in the real estate industry

Top 3 things to consider when renting a property

What to look out for when negotiating a lease in Ontario

Resources worth consulting before embarking on a property search

Advice for students preparing for their first purchase of property

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To get more help with academic writing, application coaching, or professional development, book a 20 minute discovery call with us and start your journey to reaching your full potential on the page, and in life.


All the written, visual, audio, and audiovisual content of this post has been created by and is the intellectual property of Lisa Pfau and PFAU Academic Writing. Please do not replicate any of the above content without our consent. However, please do feel free to share this post and its authorship widely.

Away for Vacation until September

Add a heading 300x300 Away for Vacation until September

 

Lisa and the PFAU Team will be away for vacation starting this Friday, August 20th. They will be back on Tuesday, September 14th and ready to help!

 

We look forward to seeing you all again red-eyed and bushy-tailed in the Fall!

 

Happy summer from the PFAU Team!

Pausing the Podcast for the Summer

Wishing you a happy summer 300x214 Pausing the Podcast for the Summer

 

We will be pausing our podcast for the summer in order to work on making updates on the website and relaunching Fall 2021. Of course, you can listen to all past podcast posts by going through our blog here.

 

We will still be active on social media regularly posting writing tips, as well as, open for regular coaching and editing until August 20th when we will be closed for summer vacation until September 14th.

 

We look forward to sharing more great tips and stories on our podcast in the Fall (including our new feature of YouTube version of podcast recordings).

 

Happy summer from the PFAU Team!!

Starting Your Own Creative Business: Interview with Mary and Penelope

 

 

We interviewed Penelope and Mary, two sisters on a mission to create empowering relatable designs that highlight social issues, about starting your own business without a business degree. The professional world isn’t exactly the same as generations before us. People change careers often, work multiple jobs or gigs, and often prefer to work for themselves than a large established corporation. Long gone is the dream (or reality) of working the same job until retirement. So, we thought it would be interesting for students and recent grads to learn about young adults who have started some creative and meaningful businesses.

%name Starting Your Own Creative Business: Interview with Mary and Penelope

 

Penelope and Mary showcase their meaningful designs on an array of clothing and accessories. They also try to do their part to give back to the community by donating a portion of their profits to non-profits that represent their personal and professional values. They are the epitome of a socially conscious business. Ultimately, Penelope and Mary’s goal is to make people feel good about themselves and brave enough to shed light on some really important issues.

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How do you think your creative educational backgrounds and your own kind of work experience have helped you as you ventured into the world of entrepreneurship?

 

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Penelope: I am a believer that all of our skills are transferable in many ways. For my undergrad degree, I majored in film studies, and then I did a diploma in social work. Two, what seems to be different avenues, really required a lot of the same type of skills such as: perception, communication, seeing things that are not necessarily right in your face. For example, when you are making or studying a film, you are analyzing it, breaking it down, looking at the story that is being told, learning about the characters… Films are such a beautiful medium for storytelling, and to also create social change. Learning how these types of mediums can tell stories that can change people’s lives and shed light on a lot of topics was the one thing I really took away from my Film degree. With my experience in social work, I learned all about looking at the world as a whole and lifting the veil to seeing it through a lens of understanding of issues like white privilege, and oppression. These experiences really opened my mind. Now, I am taking all of that and putting it into this business in terms of our concept and what we are trying to achieve with this business. We strive to become a socially responsible and conscious business.

Mary: It is a little more obvious how my background would help out this business. I have always loved to draw and it is something that I have been doing since I can remember. Naturally, I became an artist and decided to learn about graphic design. With graphic design, I had to come up with designs all the time. I had to always come up with different concepts and learning to design different things, such as posters, websites, and photographs. All these things that I learned in school, I have tied into this business. I have taken those creative and designing tools and applied them directly to our products. My educational background has been a huge impact on our business. 

 

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What would you tell your 25-year-old selves, who are thinking of starting a business in the next few years? What kind of warnings or tips would you give them?

Mary: I would tell my younger self to not be overly confident. Do not go into this thinking that things need to fall into place right away. Do not assume that things need to work out right away for things to be successful. Everything takes time. Even now we are still growing and learning and we are still not at the point where we want to be yet. When we first started this whole business, I was under the assumption that I am pretty good at designing, so we are gonna get sales, and everything is going to work out perfectly. However, that has not been the case. That has been a learning experience to be patient and just keep going. Sometimes, you have to let go of expectations. Do not give up and things will slowly get better. 

Penelope: Personally, I think one of the challenges of starting a business is not necessarily the process of starting it, but rather figuring out how it is going to evolve and your vision for the business. What direction do you want it to go? This question can be hard because you may have a really good idea, but not really know what the vision is like. Even if you have a vision, there is a lot of stuff you are not going to think about or know. You have to learn a lot of new things and skills and everything takes time. As Mary said, you cannot just go into it expecting to make money right away or get sales right away because it is not going to happen. You have to build up to that. 

Tell us a little bit about the values in your business. Where does the inspiration come from?

Penelope: Empowerment is like, a major one for us. We want our design to make people feel good about themselves. We want our designs to make people feel seen, Mary and I have often felt very misunderstood throughout our lives. Personally, I felt like a very misunderstood person most of my life. I felt like an outsider who did not always fit in. We just really want our designs to reach out to people that do not feel like they are important or special, or that they matter. For example, our AF collection, such as Queer AF, Sensitive AF was actually my idea. I have felt ashamed my whole life for how sensitive I am and I want to reach out to people who have felt ashamed for being who they truly are, and let them know that they should not feel that way. A lot of our values come from our hearts and personal experiences. We aim to create something that it speaks to people. It is always about love, acceptance, inclusivity, and empowerment.

 

Mary: My answer would be really similar to what Penelope said. Through our designs, we try to make people feel relatable. For example, I identify as pansexual, so that is why we have the queer design. I know how hard it is to come to terms with who you are and even now I am still discovering myself more and more as I get older. All of our designs are a piece of us. It all comes from personal stories, our personal journey or those close to us and their journey. We are always just trying to make everything really authentic. Thinking about the keywords about our values, another one would be kindness. Treating people with kindness is highly valued for us in a world where everyone is so competitive. For women, especially, sometimes we feel not enough: not pretty enough, not smart enough, or not doing enough. As a result, we want to speak on that issue through our designs and a big part of our focus is on female empowerment.

Book Recommendations

A Piece of Cake: A Memoir by Cupcake Brown

She Comes Undone by Wally lamb

MOODish

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Thank you, Mary and Penelope, for sharing the excellent advice with us and our readers! 

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Missed the podcast? Listen here:

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For more advice about writing, check out our weekly podcast or subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

_

To get more help with your assignments, book a 20 minute discovery session with us and start your journey to reaching your full potential on the page, and in life.


Both the written, visual, audio, and audiovisual content of this post has been created by and is the intellectual property of Lisa Pfau and PFAU Academic Writing. Please do not replicate any of the above content without our consent. However, please do feel free to share this post and its authorship widely.

Starting Your Own Creative Business: Podcast Episode Live!
Comic 15 Panel 3 300x300 Starting Your Own Creative Business: Podcast Episode Live!

We interview Penelope and Mary, who are two sisters on a mission to create empowering relatable designs that highlight social issues that they feel deserve a spotlight, about starting your own creative business without a business degree. The professional world isn’t exactly the same as generations before us. People change careers often, work multiple jobs or gigs, and often prefer to work for themselves than at a large established corporation. Long gone is the dream (or reality) of working the same job until retirement. So, we thought it would be interesting for students and recent grads to talk to some young adults who have started some creative and meaningful businesses as a result of COVID. 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

Inspiration and the path leading to starting a creative business and career

How does a liberal arts degree help in the world of entrepreneurship

Challenges and rewards of business operators

Advice for a recent grad thinking of turning a creative passion into a career

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To get more help with academic writing, application coaching, or professional development, book a 20 minute discovery call with us and start your journey to reaching your full potential on the page, and in life.


All the written, visual, audio, and audiovisual content of this post has been created by and is the intellectual property of Lisa Pfau and PFAU Academic Writing. Please do not replicate any of the above content without our consent. However, please do feel free to share this post and its authorship widely.

Happy Canada Day!
PFAU 29 panel 5 01 1 288x300 Happy Canada Day!
Happy Canada Day weekend everyone!
 
We’ll be taking a little break from posting, and we hope you’re able to take a rest and get outside and enjoy the beautiful summer weather too. The business will be closed until Tuesday, July 13th.
 
We’ll be back with a podcast next week on how to be a creative entrepreneur.

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To get more help with academic writing, application coaching, or professional development, book a 20 minute discovery call with us and start your journey to reaching your full potential on the page, and in life.


All the written, visual, audio, and audiovisual content of this post has been created by and is the intellectual property of Lisa Pfau and PFAU Academic Writing. Please do not replicate any of the above content without our consent. However, please do feel free to share this post and its authorship widely.

Becoming a Priest : Interview with Emily Gordon

 

As we enter spring and summer, students are looking for jobs in this uncertain period of COVID. As if job hunting wasn’t hard enough, COVID makes it even trickier. We wanted to share some career-related posts from last years, like this one, that would be helpful to students who are trying to find work during this uncertain period.

We interviewed Reverend Emily Gordon, a minister of the United Church of Canada here in Toronto, about vocations. A vocation is defined as a strong feeling of suitability for a certain occupation. People who talk about being called to do something or that they couldn’t imagine doing anything else are likely pursuing a vocation. One profession that requires individuals to feel called to it before they can even get an entry level position is ministry. This is an area of work that is often not discussed by career counselors because of its status as a vocation, but for individuals who seek meaning, purpose, and a connection to something beyond themselves this may be the ideal path.

March 300x225 Becoming a Priest : Interview with Emily Gordon

 

Emily did not start out her education knowing that she would one day become a minister, but her education has helped her in ministry. Emily completed her Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in English and Classics at Mount Allison University, followed by a Masters of English in Print Culture from Simon Fraser University. After a couple years of exploration and reflection, she felt the call to the Ministry and enrolled in a Masters of Divinity at Emmanuel College, becoming an ordained Minister in 2015. Her original love of reading and writing is now expressed in reflecting on Biblical and other spiritual texts and writing prayers and sermons for church services and materials. 

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Can you tell us a little bit more about your journey to realizing that you felt called to become a minister?

For me, vocation is a calling. It is a voice that’s calling you toward something – certain work or a certain purpose. In order to become a minister, part of the process that denomination asks you to take part in is being clear that this is a CALLING, rather than just an idea of something that you could do off a list of many things. It’s a fairly significant commitment that you make, and most ministers that you talk to will say that wasn’t an easy decision. You don’t just sort of fall into this.

So, originally I thought that I was going to be a professor and go into academia. I did an Honors degree and Master’s degree, and I was expecting to complete a PhD in English Literature. However, I began to realize that I was not feeling satisfied with the idea of the work that I’d be doing for the rest of my life. As much as I enjoyed reading and writing my whole life, it wasn’t the only thing that I wanted to do. I felt that I wanted something more meaningful. I wanted to find a way to make an impact on people’s lives.

Most people who go into ministry have a call story. My call story is fairly direct. When I realized that I wasn’t going to continue in academia, I spend a lot of time thinking about what can I do. And one day, when I was asking this question, I felt that I heard a voice, not an actual literal voice, but a fully formed sentence that rose up from within me. For me, I understood that as God speaking to me because it felt both like a completely new idea of going into ministry, but also something that felt deeply familiar and deeply right. I spent some time in very careful reflection to make sure this wasn’t just a passing idea, but something that I was called to do. I spent some time discerning and traveling and working in a church. Then, I began the discernment process in the United Church, which consists of going before a discernment committee to ask and answer a bunch of different questions. Then, I went to back to school to study theology, and eventually was ordained a minister in 2015.

Do you have any advice for students on how to plan for schoolwork at home during the pandemic?

Back when I was a student, I used a technique called Parking Lots. I first started using this technique when I was writing essays. The parking lot is the place where you put any ideas you have that are unsure where they fit into the essay yet. Or, if you wrote something and realized it did not belong where you put it, you could copy and paste that whole paragraph or set of sentences into the parking lot. Similar to the actual parking lots, it gives you a place to store things in case you need them again. If you figure out where it belongs eventually, the work is not lost, so you do not have to spend time worrying about it or thinking about it.

The parking lot approach can also be applied to the things going on in our lives too. On days when I am not working, one of the strategies I sometimes use depending on the workload I have, is starting a parking lot. This is usually just a page in my planner or just a scrap of paper, and then anything that pops up in my mind goes onto that. It can be, for instance, follow up with Lisa, or finish writing that prayer for Sunday. Once I’ve got those things written down, I know I will not forget them. This helps me to clear my mind and focus on the present, so that I can enjoy my days off fully. In addition, as soon as I am working again, I’ll be able to just look at that list and add it to the to-do list for the day.

For students who are religious, or perhaps spiritual, what would you say is something that would be beneficial to their daily spiritual practices?

I think often times we have a very narrow idea of what can be a spiritual practice. It might be meditation or prayer or reading scripture, but we sometimes miss all of the other things that can be spiritual practices. For instance, one of the things that is a good spiritual practice for me personally is going for a walk. The opportunity to move, be outside, see the world, not talk to anyone, and have space to reflect on what’s happening around or inside of me really helps me to stay grounded.

Intentional breathing is another option. Intentional breathing does not have to be as long as meditation. For people who may not find many meditations meaningful, they might appreciate doing a few minutes, or even seconds of intentional breathing. Intentional breathing can be something as simple as breathing in for five counts, then pause for three counts, and the breath out for seven counts. If you repeat that three or four times throughout the day or any other time when things happening just start to feel a bit too much, it can help you to recenter. What it does is it grounds you into where you are. It brings air, and oxygen into your body and nourishes you, so that you can better cope with the stresses around you.

Recommended Books and Resources

Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor

Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus & the Heart of Contemporary Faith by Marcus J. Borg

Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power―And How They Can Be Restored by Marcus J. Borg

The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris

Thank you, Emily, for sharing the excellent advice with us and our readers! 

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Missed the podcast? Listen here:

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_

For more advice about writing, check out our weekly podcast or subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

_

To get more help with your assignments, book a 20 minute discovery session with us and start your journey to reaching your full potential on the page, and in life.


Both the written, visual, audio, and audiovisual content of this post has been created by and is the intellectual property of Lisa Pfau and PFAU Academic Writing. Please do not replicate any of the above content without our consent. However, please do feel free to share this post and its authorship widely.

Becoming a Priest: Podcast Episode Live!
Meditation Course Peacock 300x292 Becoming a Priest: Podcast Episode Live!

  We interview Reverend Emily Gordon, a minister of the United Church of Canada here in Toronto, about vocations. A vocation is defined as a strong feeling of suitability for a certain occupation. People who talk about being called to do something or that they couldn’t imagine doing anything else are likely pursuing a vocation. However, one profession that requires individuals to feel called to it before they can even get an entry-level position is ministry. This is an area of work that is often not discussed by career counselors because of its status as a vocation, but for individuals who seek meaning, purpose, and a connection to something beyond themselves this may be the ideal path.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

The distinction between vocation and career

Advice for young people feeling a call to the Church

Being a spiritual person in a secular world

Daily spiritual practices for students to help stay grounded and connected, especially during stressful times

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To get more help with academic writing, application coaching, or professional development, book a 20 minute discovery call with us and start your journey to reaching your full potential on the page, and in life.


All the written, visual, audio, and audiovisual content of this post has been created by and is the intellectual property of Lisa Pfau and PFAU Academic Writing. Please do not replicate any of the above content without our consent. However, please do feel free to share this post and its authorship widely.