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Resilience Boosting During COVID-19: Interview with Sarah Lang

We discussed how to boost academic resilience during COVID-19 with Sarah Lang, a certified coach. Since the past few months have been a difficult time for many, with dramatic lifestyle changes such as being isolated at home. While it is easy to feel discouraged, by taking small steps to build resilience, you can feel more in control and empowered in your life.

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Sarah supports people to dream big, launch new projects, and bring creative visions to life. Sarah is passionate about helping her students develop their speaking confidence and skill set so they can make a bigger impact. 

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How did you begin your career as a coach?

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I would say like many people out there, I had a bit of a circuitous journey or winding road to get to where I am now as a full-time coach. Of course, when I look back I see the dots connect, but it wasn’t obvious at the time. I have been really passionate about personal development since I was a teenager. However, I put this interest in coaching on the side for many years. In the meantime, I tried out a lot of other interesting things, which I think helped me to become a well-rounded and experienced coach. For example, I lived abroad in Tokyo for four years. I was a student in Hong Kong as well. I did a Master’s in Asian Studies at the University of Toronto, which is where I met Lisa Pfau. I also built a career in the non-profit sector, where I worked as an events manager and a project specialist. I did a lot of interesting work, but on the side, I had this deep interest in personal development and leadership coaching.

Finally, when I was pregnant with my second kid, I started my coaching credentials. I took my time because I was working full time, had a child at home, and was pregnant with another. I took it one course by one course, and I was eventually certified at a place called CTI, where I did the entire certification process. And then, once I certified as a coach, I started this career off the side of my desk, just working at it part-time from the desk in my basement. I did that for a few years and three years ago, I jumped into it full-time.

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How does building resilience work?

I look at building resilience as if I have two inter-interlocking circles, like in the shape of an infinity symbol. That’s my model that I’m working with. On the first side of the symbol, the first loop is all about learning to process and handle difficulty, learning to be with what is difficult and accept it. And then, the second loop is amplifying the positive, which means bringing more joy and purpose, consciously into our life. So to me, this is really a model that incorporates so much of what we know about how to build individual resilience.

We need to learn about how to accept. Just truly admit “yeah I’m suffering or scared, terrified, worried, sad or depressed” – all of these emotions are just so normal to be experiencing right now, so it is an opportunity right now to really learn how to be with that. Try to find ways to allow our bodies to process those emotions. Allow ourselves to understand that our thoughts are creating our feelings; rather than, just completely numbing out and spending the whole day on the computer.

Why is being resilient so important, especially at this time?

At the beginning of the interview, we highlighted how challenging the past few months have been for all of us. Our ability to navigate through and move through this period of change and uncertainty is paramount. My definition of resilience is that I work with is linked to why I think resilience is so important, all the time, especially now. I think resilience is our ability to move through a challenging, or stressful times and come out the other side. But it’s more than that too. It’s coming out the other side, having been transformed by that challenge and become stronger than we were before. We can become wiser and more able. People often have more of a limited idea of it as like – you know the bouncy ball or the elastic band. We can turn discomfort from stress and challenges to transform ourselves, making us stronger, while giving us the gift of wisdom.

How does being resilient impact our performance at school?

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I have two points on that. The first, and the more obvious answer is that more resilience means better wellness. Better wellness means better results. You are going to have improved mental health to manage stress. If you are feeling resilient, then you will feel like you can cope and thrive, regardless of what the circumstances are around you. So if you are motivated by thoughts such as” I’m going to be okay” and “I can do this,” then the decisions that are going to come through will lead to positive actions in your life. You’re going to take care of yourself, study hard, go to the gym, and make healthy choices. You’re going to care for yourself because you are motivated by a belief that you can succeed.

My second point is that if you’re more resilient, you’re going to be more open to taking risks. You will trust that you can cope with the consequences of risks because you are not scared of dealing with failure. If you are scared of feeling embarrassed, then you will have fewer options that can help to improve your performance at school.

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Sarah’s Book Recommendations and Resources

Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness by Rick Hanson and Forrest Hanson

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck

Blog Series: Everyday Resilience by Sarah Lang

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Thank you, Sarah, 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.

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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.

The Student Experience: Interview with Lisa Meng

 

We discussed the undergraduate experience from the perspective of a recent grad with Lisa Meng, a University of Toronto Psychology graduate. While starting school in the Fall can be very stressful, having the right tools and insights can make the experience better.

Copy of IMG 3366 edited 225x300 The Student Experience: Interview with Lisa Meng

 

Lisa is passionate about understanding how to build meaningful human relationships and interactions. She has worked with the Bloor Street United Church refugee outreach program, where she learned a lot about connecting with individuals from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. She worked as a creative marketing and business administration assistant at Pfau Academic-Writing over the summer, where she engaged with others online, in order to share helpful information and foster a sense of community in this time of uncertainty.

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Why did you choose university over college or just getting a job?

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For me, a large part of that was, which I think a lot of people a lot of students can probably relate, due to family pressure. I think it was kind of expected that I would either go to university or college. I think at that time when I was just graduating high school, I was also pretty uncertain about what exactly my skills were and what I wanted to do. I was not completely confident enough to just go straight into the job market. In a way, the university kind of gives you more of a sense of structure to your life and identity.

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How can someone prepare for the transition from high school to university?

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One piece of advice, which I really wish I got that I haven’t heard anyone say this yet is to know the differences in curriculum between the provinces: I was coming from British Columbia, which has a high school curriculum that is just a little more relaxed compare to Ontario, especially for the sciences. Research the differences in curriculum and try to study and make up for that difference during summer before you start university. Take a look at the school board websites to see if there are any significant differences between the high school curricula. And then, I think after that I would look on certain websites, like Facebook, to connect with groups of students already enrolled in university and ask them about their experiences.

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What are some on-campus resources that students should know about?

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In the beginning, I wasn’t really involved with anything. However, when I transferred here from UTM to UTSG, I became a part of the New College Residence. There are many different colleges, and you can go to your own college for resources. The one that I really liked was the College Writing Center. The writing center offers one-hour sessions to help students to improve their writing. I think you can only sign up for a maximum of one each week, but it is a great resource included in your tuition fees.

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Lisa’s Book Recommendations and Resources

Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid by Robert J. Sternberg

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Thank you, Lisa, 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.

Sleep Hygiene: Podcast Episode Live!
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We interview Erin Spencer, a registered Occupational Therapist, on sleep hygiene and building routines.

HIGHLIGHTS

Her journey to becoming an occupational therapist

How students can manage stress

Importance of sleep in healing

Tips for sleep hygiene and healthy sleep routine

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To get more help with professional development and writing, book a 20 minute discovery call 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.

Communication for Second Language Learners: Interview with Catherine Steele

Catherine Steele is a pronunciation coach, accent reduction specialist, and owner of English Pronunciation of Success. We discussed the importance of clear communication in professional and academic environments. For students whose first language is not English, clear communication can be a barrier to getting those great ideas across.

Catherine Steele 300 dpi Communication for Second Language Learners: Interview with Catherine Steele

Catherine Steele has a Bachelor’s of Education and TESOL certificate specializing in Languages, Literature and Linguistics. She has travelled extensively, won speaking and training awards, and provided language support to Canada Immigration Settlement, the University of British Columbia, and over 7000 clients around the world. 

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Why do you think proper pronunciation is so important?

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It has an immediate impact. It doesn’t matter how strong a person’s speaking ability is, their grammar, their vocabulary choices, their education, if the listener doesn’t understand, or even worse if the listener fears I’m going to be giving a presentation for nursing. One of the biggest fears in nursing engineering, accounting, science, is numbers. If I don’t understand the way you express your numbers, I will doubt safety. In English, any change in tone is important. Any change in tone means something’s wrong and is understood as the person being angry and not liking the person that speaking, or the person that was listening. So you have to be very aware of tone.

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What are some words that people often mispronounce?

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Yeah, there are a lot. Focus is dangerous and we use it a lot, it ends up sounding like fuck us and it’s because of our O’s. We have eight different O’s and most languages have maybe one or two. So the letter O in spelling can get you into big trouble. That’s something I would encourage people to look into if they can. L and R and D and TH so most languages don’t have TH. Most people are making an R that sounds to us like a D and that gets in the way hugely.

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How can they practice, for vowel sounds specifically?

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Three affirmations that relate to the 8 different O sounds are:  

“I’ve already proven myself.”   One O sound.

“I’m good at this.”   Another O sound.

“I’m going to be the top person in the world in my field.”  Four other O sounds.

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Catherine’s Book Recommendations

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Pronunciation Pairs by Ann Baker and Sharon Goldstein

Clear Speech by Judy B. Gilbert

Phrase by Phrase by Marsha Chan

The 5 Love Languages is by Dr. Gary Chapman

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Thank you, Catherine, 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 professional development and 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.

Careers in the Arts – Social Work: Podcast Episode Live!
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We interview Janelle Lewis, a Program Resources Worker in the Regent Park community of Toronto and volunteer with vulnerable populations. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Janelle’s reasons for pursuing social work

Challenges and rewards of being a social worker

The process of becoming a social worker

Attending grad school in the fall

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To get more help with professional development and writing, book a 20 minute discovery call 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 Your Dream Career: Interview With Luki Danukarjanto

Luki Danukarjanto is the CEO of FOCUS.inspired, a unique business that focuses on helping individuals to find their professional passion. A number of our readers are likely graduating and headed into the workforce during a very tricky time. It can be hard to not get discouraged about your professional future during COVID, but if you know what you are passionate about it, it can help you to stay on track.

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Luki refers to himself as a career catalyst and “DJ” for professional development. Luki was a management consultant for 12 years before transitioning into career counselling in 2015. Since then, he has published a book, the SWIKE web series, and spoken at many schools about his passion for career development. 

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What do you think is the greatest challenge for young adults as they develop their careers?

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So my perspective is that there’s a lot of these kind of generalisations when people talk about young adults. Students and young adults go through school, they’re supposed to graduate they’re supposed to get a job they’re supposed to get married and have kids and moved to a house in the suburbs and and all that sort of stuff and then retire and have a good life. But that kind of supposed to and and that typical life trajectory is often not not true anymore. A lot of people who when they’re going through life, they actually have multiple career paths.

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You developed the acronym SWIKE to inspire a lot of your work. What does that mean and where did that idea come from?

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So I guess the start of writing the book was I had a colleague , who I used to work with who actually wrote a book. I’m like, oh, wow, that’s that’s amazing. I would have conversations over coffees with a lot of folks and it ended up being that a lot of the conversations were the same, right? So I figured, well, instead of me having to say all that stuff over and over again, why not just write a book. It was like 500 pages. And, I don’t know what this is. It’s like a reference manual. So, a friend in publishing helped me get in touch with with an editor. The whole concept of SWIKE came about where originally it was that the stuff you didn’t know you needed to know. So then SWIKE developed into the stuff I wish I knew earlier. It references my interest in mentorship.

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How you advise students to be able to shift from the learning to pass the test mentality to one of mastery?

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Yeah, I would say for them, it’s getting over that fear of failure, right? There’s a lot of judgement involved. And it goes back to kind of that conveyor belt of life. That you should be doing this. Oftentimes, others are not as critical as people think. Most people are afraid of people judging them and things like that. And I just had a conversation with someone with the perspective that fear is made up. It’s something that doesn’t really exist. One of the things is a lot of people misunderstand fear versus danger, right? Danger is real. But in terms of fear, like getting up in front of someone and doing a speech or presentation, well, that’s not going to kill you. Then once you’re past that, then you can just start learning and try to follow your your passions.

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Luki’s Book Recommendations

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Stuff I Wish I Knew Earlier: How to Unlock Your Career Potential by Luki Danukarjanto

Mindset by Carol Dweck

How to Be Everything by Emilie Wapnick

The Straight-A Conspiracy by Hunter Maats and Katie O’Brien

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Thank you, Luki, 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 professional development and writing, check out our weekly podcast or subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

_

To get more help with your assignments, book a 30 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 Your Dream Career: Podcast Episode Live!

PFAU 5 panel 5 300x300 Finding Your Dream Career: Podcast Episode Live!

We interview Luki Danukarjanto, CEO of FOCUS.inspired, on helping individuals to find their professional passion.

HIGHLIGHTS

Stuff I Wish I Knew Earlier (SWIKE) from Luki’s book

Education system reform

Developing practical skills for the workforce

Challenges young adults face and how to overcome them

Advice for the graduating class of 2020

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To get more help with professional development and writing, book a 20 minute discovery call 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.

Succeeding Professionally as an Introvert: Podcast Episode Live!

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We interviewed Faris Khalifeh, a Quiet Confidence Coach on leveraging strengths as an introvert to better succeed professionally.

HIGHLIGHTS

Strengths unique to introverts

Using written communication as an introvert

How personality types influence professional development

How COVID-19 has impacted introverts and small businesses

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To get more help with your assignments, book a 30 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.

The Art of Poetry and Creative Writing: Podcast Episode Live!

Pfau pfau poetry The Art of Poetry and Creative Writing: Podcast Episode Live!

We interview Christie Wong, Creative Writing Instructor and Coach at PFAU Academic Writing, about the importance of creative expression, through writing.

HIGHLIGHTS

Poetry content and styles

How to incorporate poetry into daily life

Resources for improving poetry writing

Information about her upcoming poetry course

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Sign up for Christie’s poetry class here

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To get more help with writing, book a 30 minute disovery 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.

Careers in the Arts – Teaching: Podcast Episode Live!

PFAU 16 panel 4 2 300x300 Careers in the Arts   Teaching: Podcast Episode Live!

We discuss finding a career in the arts as a recent graduate with Andreia Florea, a grade 1/2 teacher, with 15 years of teaching experience.

HIGHLIGHTS

Differences between a corporate and teaching career

Transferable skills students gain from a B.A.

Rewards and challenges of being a teacher

Advice for students interested in teaching

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To get more help with your assignments, book a 20 minute consultation 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.