Halloween Mental Health Awareness Event

Wanda the Witches gives her thoughts about the upcoming Halloween Mental Health Awareness Event for students and young adults sponsored by Pfau: Academic Writing. Check out more details about this event on our EVENTS page.

You can also have the pleasure of being taught by Wanda, if you are registered in one of our Creative Writing or Essay Writing courses in October. As long as she isn’t hungry, she can be a real hoot!

Graduating with a BA doesn’t mean you’ll end up a Barista

This intimate Career Conference hopes to impart practical skills and inspiration onto recent grads and current students who are entering the job market for the first time, or want to brush up on their job search skills.

Conference Schedule:
10:am to 11:45am – Resume Writing Workshop
11:00am to 11:45am – Dress for Success Workshop
12:00 noon to 1:00pm – VEGETARIAN LUNCH
1:00pm to 1:45pm – Mock Interview Practice
2:00pm to 3:30pm – Career Panel: BA Grads with meaningful employment
3:30pm to 4:00pm – Conference Debrief

Pay-what-you-can (recommended $8): to cover the cost of lunch

Register here or email us directly for more information.

Improve your Relationships: Healthy Communication Strategies with Jill Gillbert on Tuesday, February 26th at 6pm

Friendships comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

The third event in our Valuable Life Skills Student Speaker Series we will be discussing the impact of our relationships style and that of others on overall quality of life and academic performance. Relationships can provide support, care, encouragement, and opportunities for growth. Or, relationships can cause stress, trauma, hurt, and pain. Thus, it is important to reflect upon our communication and attachment style in relationships, and how that impacts both ourselves and others. Our guest speaker, seasoned student, and qualifying psychotherapist, Jill Gilbert will provide participants with some insights into how you might be able to improve your own relational realities.


%name Improve your Relationships: Healthy Communication Strategies with Jill Gillbert on Tuesday, February 26th at 6pm

Jill Gilbert, MA, PhD, RP (Qualifying)

    Jill is a therapist with a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Guelph.  Jill believes that the root of depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns are entrenched in our social relations. Our relationships have the power to both harm and heal us; thus, it is essential to be able to identify, cultivate, and engage in healthy transformative relationships. Jill’s own experience in Grad School deconstructing and reconstructing support systems propelled her towards the Toronto Institute for Relational Psychotherapy to train to become a psychotherapist who can help others to develop and expand their healthy relationships with themselves and others.  Jill has an affinity to students as she spent so many years within the post secondary system, and has a particular understanding of the struggles many students face on a day-to-day basis. Jill currently practices near Ossington station, in Toronto’s West End, while completing the final years of her training.

Join us at PFAU: Academic writing, editing, and coaching experts office for a light meal and enlightening discussion on Tuesday, February 26th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. The address here is 300 Bloor Street West (Room 34 of Bloor Street United Church).

Please register via EventBrite!

Student Speaker Series 2: Maximize your Academic Experience without Breaking the Bank

PFAU: Academic writing, editing, & coaching and the Bank of Montreal (Bedford & Bloor Branch)

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Pfau-pfau is overwhelmed by money issues.

Pfau: Academic writing, editing, & coaching experts and the Bank of Montreal (Bedford & Bloor Branch) will be collaborating in 2019 to bring students a personalized speaker series geared towards increasing financial literacy, awareness, and planning towards meeting specific academic or career goals. Each session will begin with a brief overview of academic themes/questions relevant to the semester timetable, followed by a speaker in the financial sector who will link those academic goals to financial awareness and planning.

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Pfau-pfau learns to use a credit card.

Come Join Us!

Tuesday, February 13th

6:00pm to 7:30pm

Bloor & Bedford Bank of Montreal (242 Bloor Street West)

Our first speaking event will focus on teaching the basics of understanding financial resources both on campus and within financial institutions. Lisa Pfau (CEO & Senior Coach at PFAU) will provide an overview of how to access cost-saving students services and maximize your tuition fees. Meng Sun (Financial Services Manager at BMO) will discuss the basics of banking products and services and how to decide what is best for you. She will outline the differences between Savings & Chequing Accounts, how to use a Credit Card wisely, how to obtain and utilized a Line of Credit or Personal Loan. The goal of this event is to teach students how to best us their time on campus to gain professional and academic skills without breaking their budget.


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Lisa Pfau & Pfau-pfau

Lisa Pfau is an academic life coach with over 10 years experience helping students and young professionals to reach their full potential on the page, and in life. She focuses on developing not only exceptional communication and analytical skills through teaching essay writing and editing academic papers, but also coaches her clients in self-awareness, understanding professional environments, and how to create and implement realistic strategies that will help them to reach their academic and professional goals. She has a combination of strong academic skills and a kind and supportive mentoring style. Lisa has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Political Science and History from the University of Alberta, Chinese Language & Culture Certificate from Peking University, and Master of Arts in Political Science & Asian Studies from the University of Toronto. Lisa has worked in government, academic, and entrepreneurial settings throughout Canada, the US, and China. She loves helping students to succeed and is very excited to be able to partner with BMO to make this speaker series happen.

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Meng Sun, Financial Services Manager at BMO

Meng Sun is an experienced Financial Services Manager at the Bank of Montreal with a Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com.) in Finance and Economics from the University of Toronto – Rotman School of Management. Meng is originally from China, and enjoys using her unique language and cultural experience in both China and Canada to help international students to understand the Canadian financial environment. She believes that teaching financial literacy and understanding how to choose the right products for her customers is essential to being a competent and conscientious financial manager.

Living on a Budget by Lisa Pfau & Boyan Lepoev
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This past week we were very fortunate to have Boyan Lepoev come in to chat with us about living on a student budget.

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Boyan Lepoev works as Investment Analyst at Bridgeport Asset Management, a boutique investment management firm in Toronto. Previously, he was Market Risk Manager at the Bank of Nova Scotia. Boyan holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, a Masters in Finance degree from Queens University and a Bachelor of Commerce from Ryerson University. Most importantly, Boyan learned the hard way the importance of staying on a tight budget while paying his way through school, and is now though these lessons he is now the proud owner of a house in Toronto, as well as, enough savings to continue to travel the globe and explore culinary adventures on weekends with his girlfriend and friends.

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Boyan, after experience as an immigrant and long-time student, believes that the most important thing about living on a budget is to actually create a structure that provides guidelines for daily choices and behaviors that can minimize wasted cash, and maximize savings. Managing your money well will help you to be able to invest in supports and services that can help to enhance your student experience and career development throughout your student experience, rather than rushing to find a job penniless the day after graduation. During his talk, Boyan provided us with 7 areas where you could reduce your daily expenditures as a student.

–          Housing:

o   Living alone is an excellent way to learn independence, but it is also needlessly expensive, especially in Toronto. A more adventurous alternative is to find a rooming house or enter into a roommate arrangement. Not only it is potentially 30-50% cheaper, but living with others is also likely to positively impact one’s social life.

–          Transportation:

o   Toronto is a very large city, but has adequate transit system (just ignore the delays). For the cost of a $3 ticket, one can traverse the city for more than 2 hours or $116.75 for a student monthly pass. Add some healthy walking or cycling and most areas in the city and the GTA are open for you to explore. Compare this with a typical $20-30 uber ride or leasing a car ($200+ in lease and another $250 insurance/month)

–          Food:

o   Toronto has an amazing food scene – foods from across the whole world are available for you to buy, typically stuffed with salt, sugar and a variety of preservatives. Cooking, on the other hand, is more economical and healthy. Whereas a typical budget meal would cost $10, home cooked food averages below $4 per serving. Moreover, knowing your way around the kitchen will make you more independent and it is attractive to the opposite sex.

–          Banking:

o   Today’s society is rapidly moving away from transacting with cash. Instead, we use mobile payments and plastic cards. While more convenient, cashless payments make it really easy to overspend, so always keep an eye on your statement. A great way to do this is with tracking apps, such as MINT.

o   Moreover, the “banking” we do is not free unlike cash – the banks are here to make money from you. Utilize the 21 day “grace free” period for credit cards, but be careful to pay the full balance by the due date or face 25% interest rate. Financing a larger purchase with a line of credit is often cheaper (6-13% interest rate), but interest accrues the moment you use the money.  Even bank accounts do not come free – “all-inclusive” accounts cost as much as $30/month while a no-frills account could be free, but charge per transaction. Find what works for you and makes the bank the least amount of money!

–          Tuition:

o   It is surprising how many people do not know about available stipends and student loans. There is also hidden money on campus or in the community, so if are studying something unique or from a particular regional or ethnic group research possible grants, bursaries, and scholarships. Research OSAP – even with the government changes, they will remain interest free while in school and you can negotiate your payment schedule with them after you graduate.

–          Books / school supplies

o   It is probably safe to assume things have not changed over the last few years and universities still profit immensely from textbook sales. While certain courses necessitate a brand new book for some special software, other courses only require a recent version. Hit the second-hand stores, your school forums or your peers. A second hand book would cost a fraction of the price. A favorite of Boyan’s is

–          Everything else – clothes, supplies, entertainment:

o   Everyone has different needs, but there are couple rules of thumb I like to follow. Do not buy things you do not need/won’t use more than few times – try and borrow them instead. Utilize second hand virtual marketplaces such as Kijiji and Facebook to find items you need on deep discount (including small electronics which get obsolete quickly).

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Boyan meets Pfau-pfau and imparts important advice.

Boyan’s keystone piece of advice is not to spend to impress someone else; instead, spend on what will make your life easier, happier or more adventurous.