academic performance

Resilience Building for Recent Grads Starting their Job Search: Podcast Episode Live!
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 year, like this one, that would be helpful to students who are trying to find work during this uncertain period.
PFAU 31 panel 3 290x300 Resilience Building for Recent Grads Starting their Job Search: Podcast Episode Live!

We interview, Sarah Lang, a certified coach, who supports people to dream big, launch new projects, and bring creative visions to life, about how to boost your academic resilience during COVID-19.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

The importance of resilience in finding your dream career

The link between resilience and success

Advice on preparing for the Fall term in the midst of the pandemic

Tools and resources for students to boost their resilience

 

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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.

We are taking a short break!
Screen Shot 2021 05 01 at 1.43.56 PM 300x221 We are taking a short break!

PFAU Academic Writing is taking a short break until May 11th to give Lisa and her staff a chance to recover from a very busy term. We’ll be pausing podcast, blog post, newsletter, and social media posts in the time being, and it might take us a little longer to reply to any emails. We hope that you’re able to also take a few moments to enjoy the Spring weather. We’ll see you again after May 11th for another season of writing and wisdom.

 

 

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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.

 

Exam Anxiety: Interview with Lisa Pfau

This week we will be interviewing Lisa Pfau, the founder and CEO of Pfau Academic Writing, about the stress caused by assignments and exams. We thought this topic would be helpful to our listeners who are about to enter the final exam season. Exam anxiety is a real and serious problem that can hinder students’ academic performance.

Lisa 300x200 Exam Anxiety: Interview with Lisa Pfau

 

As you may know, Lisa has over 20 years of experience supporting students through academic challenges. I first met Lisa three years ago as a first-year International student at the University of Toronto. Lisa has helped me with the transition from high school to university, giving me lots of great tips about how to deal with the pressures of university.

 

What are some symptoms of exam anxiety?

Before I start, I should preface this with a disclaimer: I’m not a psychologist. I am a writing coach and I am basing my responses on 20 years of experience dealing with students, as well as my own research and readings on the topics. We do provide some links to mental health resources at the end of this post though.

 

Physical symptoms of anxiety: sweating, shakiness, increased heart rate, dry mouth, nausea, loss of appetite, crying, shortness of breath and dizziness. In some cases, some folks may even get physically ill, experiencing vomiting and diarrhea. I threw up one before my first provincial exam in Grade 12 because I was so nervous. Exam anxiety can be debilitating.

Cognitive symptoms of anxiety: procrastination/avoidance, addictive behaviors, inability to focus, loss of memory, lack of concentration, negative self-talk, easily distracted, lots of thoughts bouncing around in your head. I can usually tell when a student is anxious because I have to ask them the same question repeatedly and I get a distracted response. Or, oftentimes they fail to do their work in-between sessions because they are so worried about failing the assignment that it is better to completely avoid it, than try and make a mistake.

 

How does exam anxiety impact performance?

For me, I used to blank out at the beginning of the exam. For the first few minutes after sitting in the exam room, I would not be able to recall anything. However, after taking a few deep breaths and ritualistically setting up my exam table, my memory would start to come back and I could write the exam. Developing awareness about this response to exam stress helped me not to get overwhelmed by it. 

 

Another major impact is procrastination. When we are scared about something, we tend to avoid it, and that can mean avoid even starting an assignment or studying for an exam because we are afraid to fail, in the end creating the outcome that we were scared of, and validating our original fears.

 

Anxiety also makes it hard to focus and plan ahead, so we may think we studied, but since we were anxious our thoughts are all over the place and we likely are not hitting on or absorbing the key concepts. This is usually what happens when someone appears to have logged a bunch of hours in the library, but can’t seem to get a good grade on their work or exams. They are not sitting down to make a plan, note key information, memorize it, review it, and reflect on their mistakes, so that they can improve in the future. This is because when you are anxious you cannot access the part of your brain that deals with long-term planning and long-term memory. Your body is focused on fighting off the threat, which doesn’t require you to recall theoretical concepts or historical dates. It just requires you to know how you use your legs and run like the wind…or, hid under your bedspread watching Netflix.

 

What are some practices or strategies to relieve stress?

Anxiety affects everyone differently, and so we all deal with it differently and some strategies that work for me, may not work for everyone, but here are a few that I like:

  • Deep breathing: 7/11 breathing – breath in for 7 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds and breath out for 11 seconds

  • Journaling – Writing things down really helps me to get clear on why I am feeling a certain way, so that I can make a plan to resolve those stressors. It also can help me to identify and combat negative thought patterns.

  • Exercise – I find that I collect a lot of stress in my body throughout the day. If I don’t get at least an hour of intense exercise (weights or cardio) each day, it will build up over a few days and I will eventually find it hard to focus and want to start avoiding my desk.

  • Healthy eating – Sugar in-take really impacts my mood, so I tried to avoid sugary treats as much as I love them. I try my best to eat more fruit or bake treats out of natural ingredients or increase the fiber content to balance out the sugar. This is definitely a tricky one for me though because I baked goods.

  • Making lists – making a to-do list and setting intentions for the day helps me to get back on track when my brain wanders off on a tangent. I also keep a blank page for random thoughts that I pop into my mind throughout the day that I need to deal with, but not at the moment. I can then add them to my list for another day.

  • Professional help: Finally, I’m a big believer in psychotherapy. I think we spend some much and time working on my physical appearance, why not invest in your mind and mental health as well. Good friends are wonderful, but a therapist provides you with insight you often cannot get from others in your life unless you happen to be best friends with a trained therapist.

Recommended Resources

Presence by Amy Cuddy

School Counsellors

My SSP

Good2Talk

Student Care

 

 

 

 

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

Missed the podcast? Listen here:

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.

Exam Anxiety: Podcast Live!
PFAU 4 panel 2 1 289x300 Exam Anxiety: Podcast Live!

This week we will be interviewing Lisa Pfau, the founder and CEO of Pfau Academic Writing, about the stress caused by assignments and exams. We thought this topic would be helpful to our listeners who are about to enter the final exam season. Exam anxiety is a real and serious problem that can hinder students’ academic performance. As you may know, Lisa has over 20 years of experience supporting students through academic challenges. I first met Lisa three years ago as a first-year international student at the University of Toronto. Lisa has helped me with the transition from high school to university, giving me lots of great tips about how to deal with the pressures of university.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

Symptoms of exam anxiety

Causes of stress

Impact of Exam Anxiety on Academic Performance

Practices and strategies to relieve stress

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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.

The Art of Proofreading: Podcast Live!

 Thank you for joining us for the Breath In, Write Out podcast this week. Since many students are currently working on their papers or preparing for their exams, we thought this was the perfect time to re-run our interview with Daina Sparling on the Art of Proofreading. We hope that this podcast helps you to learn the value of proofreading and strategies to complete a quality paper!

PFAU 36 panel 4 01 290x300 The Art of Proofreading: Podcast Live!

We interview Daina Sparling, an editor and proofreader at PFAU Academic Writing, about something students often take for granted – editing! Good writers know that the first draft is never going to be their best work. They need to put aside time to revise, edit, and proofread their work. The best writers have colleagues or professionals to provide them with insights on their work and to fix any issues. Like all art, writing takes multiple drafts to reach a level of greatness.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

The Value of Editing

Skills and Knowledge of a Good Editor

The Essay-Editing Process

Common mistakes made in essays and how to avoid them

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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.

Customizing Mental Health Support for Students: Podcast Episode Live!

 Thank you for joining us for the Breath In, Write Out podcast this week. Since many students are currently experiencing a stressful period of the semester because of the due dates and finals coming up, we thought this was the perfect time to re-run our interview with Holly Smith on Customizing Mental Health Support for Students. We hope that this podcast helps you to understand that it is normal to feel stressed out sometimes and provide you with strategies to take care of your mental health while studying.

Tiredguy 300x296 Customizing Mental Health Support for Students: Podcast Episode Live!

We interview Holly Smith, an experienced clinical occupational therapist in the field of mental health and substance use, who currently works as a clinical manager at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) about some of the mental health challenges that students encounter, and strategies to create a healthier study environment.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

Common mental health struggles faced by students

Tips for students struggling with a mental health on campus

Healing through creative expression

Alternative resources for mental health off-campus

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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.

Writing the Research Paper: Podcast Episode Live!
PFAU 37 panel 1 01 300x296 Writing the Research Paper: Podcast Episode Live!

  We interview Amanda Christie, academic writing coach and editor at PFAU Academic Writing, about what it takes to write a solid research paper. We thought this topic would be helpful to our listeners who are currently working on their term research papers and feeling a bit overwhelmed. While writing can be stressful and time-consuming, a well-thought out and detailed research, note-taking, and planning process can make writing much easier.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

High School VS University Writing

The challenges of writing a research paper

Tips for conducting research

Common errors made in a research paper

The top 3 things to include in your research paper

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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.

Writing Online: Podcast Episode Live!
PFAU 11 panel 2 300x295 Writing Online: Podcast Episode Live!

 We interview Melody Belliveau, a freelance writer and author of the website, TheSocial-Commentary.com, about the journey of becoming a writer, which is part of our Careers in the Liberal Arts series. Most people think of writers as authors of books, but there’s actually probably more writing than ever before with the advent of the internet. Websites, social media, newsletters, and online editorials all are areas where you can become a writer.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

Writing for newspapers VS writing for websites online

How to stay motivated as a writer

Tips for marketing yourself and your content

It’s never too late to follow your dreams

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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.

The Art of Proofreading: Podcast Live!
PFAU 36 panel 4 01 290x300 The Art of Proofreading: Podcast Live!

 We interview Daina Sparling, an editor and proofreader at PFAU Academic Writing, about something students often take for granted – editing! Good writers know that the first draft is never going to be their best work. They need to put aside time to revise, edit, and proofread their work. The best writers have colleagues or professionals to provide them with insights on their work and to fix any issues. Like all art, writing takes multiple drafts to reach a level of greatness.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

The Value of Editing

Skills and Knowledge of a Good Editor

The Essay-Editing Process

Common mistakes made in essays and how to avoid them

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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.

University Applications 101: Podcast Episode Live!
University Application 1 300x295 University Applications 101: Podcast Episode Live!

 We interview Lisa Pfau, founder and CEO of Pfau Academic Writing about applying for university or college from high school, a critical step in many students’ lives. It is important to be fully prepared by exploring the programs and/or schools of interests, admission requirements, and application processes as there are different requirements. Extensive research and a solid plan are necessary to succeed in the application process.  

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

How to start the application process

Suggestions for picking a school or program

What to do after receiving the letter of acceptance

Advice for the transition from high school to post-secondary studies

Advice for International Students

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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.