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The Art of Networking: Interview with Robert Braathe

 

 

We chatted with Robert Braathe about the art of networking. We thought this topic would be helpful to students who have recently graduated and are working on finding their first full-time job. While job searching can be very stressful, having the right tools and strategy can make success easy.

 

%name The Art of Networking: Interview with Robert Braathe

 

Robert Braathe is the founder of Braathe Enterprises, serving as a business trainer and leader of The Career Service Station, BEYourStart and TEMPO Business Training. Mr. Braathe received his MBA from Western Connecticut State University and his Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality from UMass. In addition, he has taken PhD level courses from The University at Albany and Northcentral University. After working in management positions with Walt Disney World, Gap and Apple, Mr. Braathe founded his company in October 2005. Mr. Braathe teaches at The College of St. Rose and several community colleges and private colleges in courses that include hospitality, management, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

 

What suggestions do you have for students who are academically strong, but struggling with networking? 

 

I think it starts with realizing there’s no such thing as a closed door. I know I would go to the career fairs and sometimes I would just go to tables that maybe were companies beyond my expertise. They might have been looking for somebody with more experience, but establishing rapport is important. I think a lot of people would look for any excuse to avoid people, but people are the key to networking.

There was one time there was a snowstorm on the day of a Career Fair. Despite the weather, I decided to show up. It took my friend, Jennifer, and I an hour to get there by car, but it was worth it. They told me: “Well, all the interview spots are full, but chances are, we’re gonna have some no shows.” It ended up that we were the only two people that showed up for interviews and we got the job. So I look for any excuse whatsoever to meet people, no matter the situation. Obviously, if you’re really not feeling well, don’t push yourself to socialize. But, giving yourself that little push to talk to others when you are nervous or unsure, is a necessary part of successful networking.

The other piece is to know your value. I’ve been labeled as an overachiever – in other words, I’m good at school, but not other things.I learned quickly to take that as – I’m not an overachiever, I’ve just been underestimated. By understanding that so much of success in life is about luck and that we are all just human, I understood that I deserved to have a conversation as much as the next person. I think overcoming the inner critic that says – “I’m not good enough. I’m not intelligent enough, I’m not attractive enough.” – is key to successful networking. Whatever the hang up might be for somebody, it really impresses people when you just walk up to them and say: “Hi, I’m Robert/I’m Lisa. I’m here to learn from you and see if if you’re a right fit for me, just like if I’m a right fit for you.” It is a two way street on the job hunt with networking. You can walk up to a lot of people who might not see value in you, but the next thing you know, just having that little sidebar conversation leads to a relationship and that blooms into a professional opportunity.

 

How to you overcome the inner critic before and during networking engagements?

 

 I always have a game plan. Before I’m even in the building hosting a networking event or on a Zoom call with a potential professional colleague, I think about what kinds of outcomes I am hoping to achieve. How many people do I want to have a good conversation with? I use the rule of 10 – can I have a conversation with one person that’s very valuable, and maybe a few others where I can follow up at a later date. Depending on the size of the group, you can multiply that, but set modest goals. For instance, if you go into a Career Fair, that has 30 companies, you can aim to have conversations with five, get information from 10, and then maybe chat with some other attendees or booth that seem interesting on your way out. Because you never know, that little table in the corner, that person who’s not speaking up a lot in a zoom call, chances are they’re just like you and they’re they’re wondering, why am I here today? And, and so having that plan is important.

 

What are key tips would you give someone starting to network for the first time?

 

One of my new favorite acronyms is C E LL. 1) Connect – have a conversation with as many people as you can. If you can have a virtual meeting or chat with three people a day, you’re meeting 1000 people a year. 2) Engage – try to reach out to the people. Maybe aim to reach out to 25 people a day. It sounds like a lot, but it can be a simple short message to start a conversation. Something like – how’s the semester going, things are great here would love to catch up some time, what’s new on your end. These can easily be copied and pasted and sent off to 25 people in a short period of time. 3) Linger – Get there early for events and stay late. Take the time to connect with as many folks as possible. 4) Learn – Focus on what you can learn from others and the networking process. By staying a little later, you might pick up on some juicy tidbits that weren’t accessible when there was a large crowd of people.

 

Recommended Books and Resources

 

 

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

 

Missed Podcast? Watch Video Here:

 

 

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For more advice about writing, check out our weekly, podcast, videos, 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.

Conducting Research in Sociology: Interview with Jemimah Amos

This week’s episode is about the study of Sociology. Sociology is the study of human interaction or individuals as members of a group. Many students take a first-year Sociology course unsure what it is about and may even leave the course confused or overwhelmed by the breadth of information and topics that can be researched in the field of Sociology.

 

 

Jemimah Amos 300x300 Conducting Research in Sociology: Interview with Jemimah Amos

 

This week’s guest is Jemimah Amos, PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Windsor and PFAU Academic Writing coach and editor. Her academic and research interests include migration, race and ethnicity, feminism, and qualitative methodologies. She is also an academic tutor and graduate assistant in the department of Sociology at the University of Windsor working closely with students to improve their understanding of course materials, assignments delivery, and essay writing.

 

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For new Sociology students, who are the main theorists that they might encounter?

 

There are three main theorists: Karl Marx, Max Webber, and Emile Durkheim. 

 

Karl Marx is a conflict theorist. Conflict theory posits that there are fundamental differences of interest between social groups. These differences result in conflicts being common and persists in society. It is not something temporary as the functionalists suggest. 

 

Max Webber and Emile Durkhein are considered functionalists. From a functionalist perspective, society is analogous to an organism – it has various parts and all parts function independently, but together for the survival of the organism. For example, institutions, such as, education, family, religion, and the economy, perform individual functions that when in equilibrium create a stable society.

 

 

What are some tips you would give students to write a solid Sociology paper?

 

  • Create a literature review: pay attention to theories, methods, and information on your topic of interest.

 

  • Get out the high school mindset that there’s a right answer. Find the best answer and support it with evidence.

 

  • Understand assignment and exam expectations: type of assignment, topic, word count, grading distribution.
    • For instance, if a question asks for three aspects of a theory, but is 6 marks. You would probably get a mark for each point, plus an additional mark for an explanation or example for each point.

 

 

Recommended Books and Resources

 

 

 

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

 

Missed Podcast? Watch Video Here:

 

 

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For more advice about writing, check out our weekly, podcast, videos, 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.

Feeling through Creativity: Interview with Phoebe Taylor

 

 

This week’s episode is about the connection between mental health and creativity. Oftentimes students are so caught up with getting good grades or a prestigious job that they forget to have fun. They forget that learning is supposed to bring joy. They don’t realize that writing a research paper is actually a creative process, and it is possible to inject their own personality in the process. Most of all, they can easily buy into the idea that being successful means suppressing one’s emotions. But, feelings are not our enemy, they are our friend.

 

Phoebe Taylor 200x300 Feeling through Creativity: Interview with Phoebe Taylor

 

This week’s guest is Phoebe Taylor, artist, mindful mover, community maker and creative director of Okay Shoe. Her work explores the intersection of art, mindfulness, intuition and movement. Okay Shoe works collaboratively with artists to create stuff + space for feeling okay. My work as a visual artist utilizes zines and other modes of public art and installations. She believes one good rock show can change the world, art is for everyone to make and enjoy, and everyone deserves to feel good in their body, even you.

 

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How do you think creativity plays a role in self-care and mental wellness?

 

Yeah. Oh man. I don’t really feel like we live in a world that really allows any space for creativity and when it does, it’s like it looks a very specific way. You know, like art goes in a gallery and you know, who’s creating art and who’s who’s in control of those things. I think we have a very narrow idea of and I think you would read that in my intro I really do believe like all humans are creative beings. And there’s just every everything in the whole world that tell us not to be creative. And I asked a lot of people kind of like, you know, talking about how I work as an artist and when I’m working with individuals as well. I asked people it’s like, well, who told you that you can’t be creative? Because I think like when we talk when we talk a lot about you know, kind of core beliefs and and all those things. It’s like, oh, wait a second, like Who put this here? Who put the seed in me like who watered it? And I think a lot of the time it’s like well, meaning, you know, whether it’s a parents teachers a real life person or not, you know, maybe on the television. I mean, I could make a list of kajillion systems to be creative. So yeah, I when I think about that, I grew up as a pretty creative child. I feel very lucky

 

I don’t feel like we live in a world that really allows any space for creativity, and when it does, it looks a very specific way. Like art goes in a gallery and who’s controlling that idea of art is very narrow. There’s also a lot in the world that tells us not to be creative. I work with a lot of individuals and one of the main questions I ask them is – “Who told you that you can’t be creative?” It comes down to core beliefs and how they impact us. Who put this belief here? We put the seed in me and watered it? A lot of time it is well-meaning parents and teachers, or even television.

 

Fortunately, I grew up as a pretty creative kid. My parents were artists and I feel very lucky to have had that outlet. Creativity is really a tribute to children. As children, we need care and play. Being creative links to our ability to play and connect with our emotional selves. If we had our first grade teacher following us around everyday reminding us of important life lessons like share, take a break, have a nap, eat a snack. It’s all very basic self-care techniques. 

 

The best way to tap into my needs that I’ve found is medication. I love that. I would say take a breath, I would say pause to my clients. They know it’s hard. I’m also a meditation teacher. I think our effort is in trying and paying attention. Pay attention to what you pay attention to and pause and check in with your feelings like – Do I do I need a glass of water? Do I need to have a nap? Do I need to go and doodle? We stay connected to our creativity by staying connected to ourselves.

 

 

I know that you run a workshop Finding Play in Creativity. Tell us what this workshop is about.

 

“Finding Play and Creativity” is an approach that I use in the individual workshops that we host through Okay Shoe. Specifically, every month we host Okay Hang online. I usually start with an opening question to start the process of reflection as people are logging into the Zoom room. Instead of asking people – “How are you?” – where we expect an answer of “good” or “okay” – I ask something deeper and more meaningful. 

 

I also create a space where people can create whatever they want or be who they are feeling that day. There is no pressure to create. It’s about finding playfulness and supporting each other through our creative processes.

 

How do you think students who are struggling with the pressure and stress of assignments could benefit from some of the things you teach in this workshop?

 

We actually do often have students drop into our workshops who are stuck on projects, like grant applications or school applications. They need a space where they can just say – “I don’t know what I’m doing right now with this.” I don’t know what I’m writing. I just need an external infusion of inspiration of some kind. Sometimes, the workshop helps the person to kickstart their writing process. Other times, they are just sitting there doodling on the back of a card for an hour.


Doodling is so amazing for our brains. Again, I’m not a scientist. However, I have read a lot of interesting science around it. It gives our brain a space to just kind of wander around. It is in this space where ideas come from. My favorite director, David Lynch, talks about his process of develoing ideas as “going fishing”. He calls ideas “fish”. He says you have to go out on a dock, sit, and quietly go fishing. Doodling or Okay Hang or morning pages is my fishing process. I can go back and evaluate my process and ask myself questions like: What keeps coming up? What’s the idea here? What am I actually thinking about? What is the threat here? Am I just interested in oceanic life? Maybe I need to go write my dissertation on this? Elizabeth Gilbert talks about going back to her morning pages and seeing that she continually talks about learning Italian and decides that she’d better go to Italy. A whole book – Eat, Pray, Love – came out of that process of self-reflection and evaluation. So you never know where these seeds are going to come from. You need to give yourself and your brain space to wander around and go fishing.

 

What tips or strategies would you have for someone staring down writer’s block/creative block?

 

From my experience, when you’re just so deep in the weeds of what’s going on, it can be hard to know what to write. When I am stuck, it’s hard to dig into what I am trying to accomplish. Walking away and coming back to it can help me to reset. It reminds me of what the nugget of thing is. I, then, try to write towards that nugget. Taking a mental break and using the other side of the brain makes it easier to come back to the task.

 

 

 

Recommended Books and Resources

 

 

 

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

 

Missed Podcast? Watch Video Here:

 

 

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For more advice about writing, check out our weekly, podcast, videos, 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.

Playful Prose: Interview with Davood Gozli

 

 

This week’s episode is about overcoming the tortures of writer’s block. So often students avoid starting a paper because of the pain associated with writing that first sentence, but writing doesn’t have to be so terrible. In fact, in many cases, it can be fun. It is an artform after all. Today we’ll be talking about how to make writing enjoyable, and even playful. 

 

Davood Gozli 300x300 Playful Prose: Interview with Davood Gozli

 

This week’s guest is Davood Gozli, PFAU Academic Writing editor and coach, specializing in Psychology. Davood has over seven years of university-level teaching experience, a BSc from Trent University, and PhD in Psychology from the University of Toronto. He has published a book and dozens of peer-reviewed academic articles—including several articles co-authored with students—and has helped hundreds of students feel more comfortable about writing. Most notably, he believes in the power of writing as a personal practice that can excite, enliven, and empower us.

 

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What is it like writing a book? Were there moments you were stuck? How did you overcome them?

 

My book started out as a journal article that was rejected by several journals. I was passionate about the idea, but I still got stuck. I found that being separated from the writing project for a couple weeks would throw me off and make it harder to go back. Rhythm is very important. Showing up everyday in small ways is key. Touchbase with your writing project in a consistent and predictable way everyday. By maintaining this rhythm, even my body would start to feel like writing.

I also realized that writing is a way of living. Once you start setting up a writing routine, you notice that other parts of your life need to change as well. For instance, I realized that I needed to go to bed early enough to get enough sleep to get up and write. I also needed to become more organized by setting a timer and only letting myself write for an hour before getting onto other things.

 

Why do you think we struggle with writer’s block?

 

There are several reasons why someone would struggle with writer’s block. As I said, straying from one’s routine can cause a blockage, and of course, not taking care of one’s self and being unwell. However, I think the biggest blockage is expectations. Putting too much pressure on one’s self and worrying can block the creative flow. It is important to set manageable goals and stick to them.

For students who struggle with writing the first sentence of the paper, what tips would you give them?

 

There are a few things that can help one get over the anxiety of writing that first sentence:

  1. Take breaks when you can’t focus

  2. Set a minimum daily achievement (ie. 300 words)

  3. Set realistic expectations. Focus on writing clearly and concisely. Imagine you are writing to a friend. 

  4. Write what you can. Don’t worry about making it perfect. You now have some raw material. Then, ask yourself what makes it bad and use it to improve upon it. 

  5. Write about what you want to write about. You want to write about memory, so you write about what you want to write about later. It is like a plan/list of ideas. It creates a useful distance that can ease you into the writing process.

 

 

Recommended Books and Resources

 

 

 

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

 

Missed Podcast? Watch Video Here:

 

 

_

 

For more advice about writing, check out our weekly, podcast, videos, 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.

English Literature Podcast
The Art of Writing a Literary Essay: Interview with Natalia Hunter

 

 

We interviewed Natalia Hunter, PFAU Academic Writing Coach, about the art of writing a literary essay. For students accustomed to essays that require a lot of research, citations, and arguments on a specific topic, writing an essay for English 101 or Grade 12 English can be a real puzzle. This type of essay necessitates a more in-depth analysis of a particular text, or oftentimes only an excerpt of text. At first glance, it may seem easy, but it actually takes a high level of skill to write a strong literary essay. We thought this topic would be helpful to our listeners who are attempting their first literary essay or trying to improve upon a poor grade. Remember that writing is a practice that takes time and effort to improve upon.

 

Copy of Natalia Hunter Photo 2 300x300 The Art of Writing a Literary Essay: Interview with Natalia Hunter

 

Natalia has a Master’s in English from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Bachelors of English in Medieval Studies. While pursuing graduate studies, Natalia was a teaching assistant for the Laurier English department, leading weekly tutorial groups and working closely with students to assist with their understanding of the course material and help with their essay writing and critical thinking skills. Her own academic experience and work as a teaching assistant have given Natalia a keen eye for what it takes to do excellent literary analysis.

 

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What would you say is the difference between a research paper and an English paper? How is research conducted in English compared to say the Social Sciences?

 

There’s a big difference. Especially with the Social Sciences, like you said, English qualitative versus quantitative. The main difference is in the research methods. In the social science, you’re focusing on experimental studies, while in English you’re looking for the answers within the text itself. So when you’re researching for a Social Sciences paper, you’re going to look out for other evidence to include in your argument. In an English paper, you’re looking at other scholarly opinions about the text. The main reason why you do that in English is to ground your argument within everybody else’s opinions. You want to make sure that you have a full scope of what the topic entails and that you can shape your argument. You can either disagree or agree with what the scholarly opinion that is out there. There’s definitely a massive difference between a regular research paper for the Social sciences and a research paper for English. In addition, there’s definitely techniques and skills that you have to develop to know how to research English papers that dependent upon how popular or how old the book is.

For example, a Victorian novel is going to have a lot more out there compared to a book published in the last few years. The amount of previous research on the book that you want to write about is another kind of difficulty that you have to face when researching for an English paper. I think a good example is if you’re looking into Jane Eyre. As a classic Victorian novel, there’s so much out there about this literary era as well as the book itself. There are several opinions, books, and journal articles written about Jane Eyre. Although there is a lot of preexisting on Jane Eyre, this in itself can be overwhelming. Therefore, it is important to narrow your topic down. You can do this by choosing a character, like Bertha. However, even in that case, you need to have an angle or perspective that you want to discuss about Bertha. For instance, if you’re going to do a gendered reading of Jane Eyre and you’re going to focus on feminist theories, then you would start looking at the key words when you search up articles about Jane Eyre. You would want to look at the things that include feminist theory and things about how the female characters are treated. You want to make sure that you’re focusing on a specific angle rather than just really looking taking a broad summative approach.

 

How can high school students in Grade 11 and 12 prepare themselves for the rigors of university English?

 

First off, the difference between high school and university is that you’re going to be reading so much more. This can be a massive shock to the system because you’ll have multiple readings a week. You could be reading a whole novel a week (300-400 pages) and just have one or two lectures on it before moving on. So it is very fast paced, and I think that that could be something that you could gradually get used to by increasing your reading capacity in advance of attending university. I recommend planning out and scheduling your reading times. This structuring can can especially helpful if you kind of have a numerical mind. If you like to think in numbers, breaking down  the novel into small goals of reading a certain number of pages (ie. 25 pages) a day can help you to feel less overwhelmed with the amount of reading that you need to complete.

What would you say is your biggest takeaway from your English degree in terms of becoming a confident writer?

 

I think my main takeaway with writing was that there’s so many ways to phrase things and put things in a sentence and everybody’s going to have a different way of doing it. I think that’s amazing that everyone can have a different voice and style. Everyone can be tasked with the same thing and not say it in the same way. It’s okay to not write something in the same way that someone else does. There’s definitely ways of improving your writing style. Obviously, being more concise and using appropriate language are useful skills. But at the end of the day, I think it’s really amazing that everyone can have their own style. In the beginning, developing your own style can be overwhelming because you’re thinking – “is everyone so much smarter than me?”; “what’s that person saying?”; “how are they saying it”; and so forth. You end up comparing yourself to someone else. I think at the end of the day, you’re never going to write something the same way as someone else, and that is a really good thing.

 

Recommended Books and Resources

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

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

 

Missed Podcast? Watch Video Here:

 

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For more advice about writing, check out our weekly, podcast, videos, 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.

Sustainable Business – Remarkable Rejects: Interview with Braeden Wolf

 

 

We interviewed Braeden Wolf, founder of Remarkable Rejects, about socially conscious business. We thought this topic would be helpful to our listeners who are looking for meaningful employment and/or social change. In university, everything seems possible and many of us are inspired to create change in the world after graduation. However, after entering the workforce, we may start to feel discouraged and lose our spark. So, why not bypass the corporate world and its expectations and start something that you care about and that can create the change that you want to see in the world?

 

Screen Shot 2021 10 16 at 8.20.29 PM 283x300 Sustainable Business – Remarkable Rejects: Interview with Braeden Wolf

 

Braeden is a recent business graduate from Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario, who is passionate about nutrition, natural movement, and cooking. After graduating, he was inspired to turn his passions into a business that would reduce food waste and increase healthy eating. Braeden is also an avid baseball player, and previously was a team member of the Great Lake Canadians.

 

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Tell us a little bit about your business. What inspired it?

 

Our business is called Remarkable Rejects, and our mission is preventing unnecessary food loss in Ontario. How we go about achieving that is through sourcing two types of produce from local farmers. The first type is produce that is cosmetically imperfect. It could be something that got banged by a tree branch while it was on the tree, a pepper that is too small, or a cucumber that has too much of curves in it. The second type is surplus produce. It’s really hard for farmers to grow the exact amount of produce that they need to meet their exact demand because they can’t perfectly predict their supply changes based on the weather patterns. They also can’t perfectly predict their demand for a certain type of produce. Whenever they end up with too much supply and not enough demand, a lot of that produce is going to go to waste. There are outlets to donate, but the amount of surplus far exceeds the amount that’s getting donated.

My inspiration came from a book that I read, which is called Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. In the book, a team of scientists and researchers from all over the world got together and made a list of around 150 comprehensive solutions on how we can avoid severe global warming issues. The third ranked solution was reducing food waste. Food waste has such a big impact because of the sheer quantity of food that’s being wasted. We’re not able to address the food waste issue around the world, but we’re trying to address a specific part of area and industry – Ontario’s supply chain.

 

How has your educational background helped you to develop this business? What are some key takeaways from your Undergraduate experience that are helping you now?

 

That’s a good question. First of all, I will talk about a few things that might be helpful for people who didn’t do a business degree. I think if you didn’t go to business school, one of the main misconceptions when you’re starting a business is that you have to come up with something brand new that no one has ever thought of before. And that is extremely hard, and almost never happens. If you just came up with something brand new, that can potentially be a bad idea. There’s a chance it’s a good idea, but it’s probably a bad idea if no one else is doing it in the world.

Instead, the easier approach has two paths. The first is taking an idea from somewhere else and doing it in a new geography where it hasn’t been implemented. The other path is to take a concept and improve upon it in a specific way and improve upon it by a lot. this is where a lot of the best businesses have come from. If you want to start a business, there’s no pressure to come up with something brand new. 

 Personally, I did two very different degrees: software engineering and business. I learned very different general themes from both. From my software engineering degree, I learned about budgeting time. The program is a ton of hours, and it forces you to have work ethic. It also forces you to break down a problem, which was helpful in brainstorming my business. From the business degree, one of my my main takeaways was learning to deal with ambiguity. In a lot of other programs, at least in engineering, every exam is multiple choice, which means answers are either right or wrong. There’s no ambiguity whatsoever. With business, you are literally making decisions all the time, but you have no idea what the right answer is because there’s way too many variables to know what’s going to happen. In real life, doing business is like that. You need to be comfortable with ambiguity as things don’t always go as planned. You can only make an informed decision as best you can and have a back-up plan in case it fails.

What advice would you give young students or adults who are thinking about starting something like Remarkable Rejects?

 

The biggest one, in my opinion, is if you want start a business, you should make sure that what you’re doing should be filling a need. Basically, the reason to start a business is you see a problem, and you don’t think anyone else can solve it. It’s extremely important to be certain of that. Otherwise, your business probably won’t be successful. Or, if someone else can also solve it, then you’re just gonna have annoying competition and you’re probably not gonna have a big enough market. In the end, you could probably make way more money doing other stuff that’s way easier. I would say that when you are thinking about starting a business, make sure there’s a problem that needs to be solved, and you think you’re the only or best person who can do it. Otherwise, I would do something else.

 

Recommended Books and Resources

The Lean Startup by Eric Reese

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming by Paul Hawken (Editor)

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

 

 

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

 

Missed Podcast? Watch Video Here:

 

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_

 

For more advice about writing, check out our weekly, podcast, videos, 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.

1st Year Law School Experience: Interview with Yiwei Jin

 

 

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 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.

 

Yiwei 1 211x300 1st Year Law School Experience: Interview with Yiwei Jin

 

Yiwei has a Masters in Political Science and Asian Studies from the University of Toronto, and has recently finished his first year of Law at the UofT as well. Yiwei has also spent time working as a research fellow for the Asia-Pacific Institute in Vancouver, and is a talented writer, researcher, and academic.

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You have had experience as an undergrad, graduate student, and now a law student. What have you observed is different about these various degrees?

 

Yes, I studied political science in my undergrad and my graduate degree, and also just finished my first year of law school. In general, I would say that grad school is actually not that different from the upper years’ of an undergrad degree because we share a lot of similar courses in graduate school. The content is actually not that different, however, there is a lot more independent research going on in grad school. Undergrad is more about literature reviews. You are surveying the field, taking notes, and you are not really developing your original ideas in exams and essays, but rather summarizing what other scholars’ positions are. While in grad school, the focus is more on research methodology and exploring your own research interests and conducting your own research.

Law school, on the other hand, was quite different. Sometimes students like to say that law school is like high school, especially in the first year, just because everyone takes the same classes. In addition, the examination system, where you sit down for hours and write until it is finished, is very similar to undergrad exams or standardized exams in high school. The evaluation system is kind of similar to undergrad as well. However, once you get to year two or three, you start to have seminars, research courses, and experiential learning, which is similar to graduate school. 

What parts of the Law School application process do you think are relevant to your time in Law School?

 

If we think about the law school application process, there are two parts: LSAT and personal statement. Some people think a high LSAT score is demonstrative of one’s ability to succeed in law school. However, personally, I do not think that it is such an accurate assessment of whether you are fit for studying in law school or not. Maybe the reading comprehension section is similar to the extent that you also are required to read and analyze unfamiliar passages in law school. For example, if you read a business transaction case, you are not going to be knowledgeable of the specifics of the business case, but need to figure it out on your own. You are asked to do similar things for the reading comprehension section on LSAT, so I think there are some parallels there.

On the other hand, the personal statement is something that I think is more useful because it allows you to express your skills and knowledge to the admissions committee. Learning to sell yourself in a single statement is a useful skill for the job application process during and after law school. When you think about job applications after law school and during law school, being able to construct a personal narrative and write within the moments that you are given is a valuable skill set.

 

What would you recommend students who are thinking of Law School consider before applying?

 

There are two things to consider. The first thing is the cost of law school, both financial and personal, as well as the return. For example, UofT has one of the highest tuition fees, which is around 30,000/year. Other institutions might be slightly lower. The cost does not necessarily reflect the quality. I do think you can receive a quality degree in most universities. Keep in mind that law school is a professional degree. At the end of the day, most people go to law school to get a job, but the ability or possibility to get a job and the school’s quality of education are not necessarily correlated. Just because you got an amazing legal education doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to be competitive in the job market. I think that’s something students should consider.

Another thing that I recommend before applying to law school is to talk to as many people as you can in the legal field. Like mentioned in the beginning, what people think of being a lawyer is very different from what being an actual lawyer entails. Talk to law students, recent law grads, and legal professional, and ask them about their experiences and whether going to law school is something that you want to do.

Recommended Books and Resources

The Law School Book: Succeeding at Law School by Allan C. Hutchinson

The Legal Writing Handbook: Analysis, Research, and Writing by Laurel Currie Oates, Anne Enquist, Jeremy Francis

 

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

 

Missed the podcast? Watch here:

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For more advice about writing, check out our weekly podcast, videos, 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.

Pursing a Career in Social Work during COVID: Interview With Janelle Lewis

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. 

Janelle Lewis is a social worker in the Toronto area who has experience working with vulnerable populations. While jobs in the sciences are sometimes considered to be “practical” an arts degree provides skills and opportunities, which can be used for careers that make meaningful differences to the community.

LewisJanelle 1 1 768x1024 Pursing a Career in Social Work during COVID: Interview With Janelle Lewis

Over the past two years, Janelle has worked as a Program Resource Worker within the Regent Park community, where she manages intensive cases in supportive housing and provides life skills training and interventions to those experiencing mental health struggles.

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What inspired you to get into social work?

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The first thing would be the area that I grew up in as a child and the second thing would be coming from a working-class family. So, to further elaborate, the area that I grew up in, it was predominantly an area that had a lot more crime than other parts of Toronto and it was home to a lot of working-class, immigrant families. And at the time when I was a child, there was a shortage of social services. So, that definitely made me think about how I could contribute to my community. Just seeing my parents struggle made me think about what I could do for people who are also living in poverty or living in low income, and just seeing how I can make a better impact on them.

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What has been the most meaningful part of your career so far?

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So, currently, where I work in Regent Park, I work with those who experience mental health issues. I would say just hearing a thank you and how I’ve helped them, is honestly the most meaningful part of my career. A lot of my residency experience anxiety and paranoia, and just seeing where they’ve come at the beginning of when we started working together until a few years later and how they’ve developed skills and coping strategies and they’re stabilized and much more independent. As an outreach worker, I work with a lot of people who experience poverty and homelessness. So, for them to share their story about how they got there and the struggles and the struggles that they’re experiencing. It definitely is so meaningful for them to find some sort of comfort or trust to share that story.

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What are some of the challenges of being a social worker?

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I mean, within the social work profession, it can be a very heavy and emotional job just because we’re experiencing a lot of stressful, traumatic situations. Number one would be taking my work home with me. I’ve gotten a lot better at this where I say okay if I end at five o’clock, that’s it. I’m going to be in the present moment, and I’m going to go home. But sometimes I do hear some very difficult stories. And I’m a very sensitive person. So, after hearing some difficult stuff, or just maybe seeing a crisis that I was assisting with, and going home with that I just sometimes need time to reflect on what happened. The second challenge that I would say is wanting to do more with me that people are experiencing homelessness. I want to do more. I wish I could provide housing, I wish I could spend a little extra more time with my residents who are experiencing isolation. But at the same time, I have to remind myself that sometimes you can only do so much.

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What is the process of becoming qualified as a social worker?

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There are so many different ways of becoming a registered social worker. I attended George Brown College for the Social Service Worker programme, which is a two-year programme. And the reason why I decided to go to George Brown College rather than University is that I wasn’t exactly sure whether social work was the career I wanted to go into. I felt that it was very daunting and scary committing for years and to a degree that I wasn’t exactly sure about and it made me feel better knowing George Brown College that they provide placement for both years. So, once I graduated from George Brown, I transferred to York, and I did a double major. So, I double majored in sociology and social work. If you have your bachelor’s in social work, you can stop there and you’re asked to sign up as a registered social worker, but then sometimes people want to continue their education. So, for me, I’m going back to school for my Master’s in social work.

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

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Book Mentioned in the Episode

The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan

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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.

Pursuing a Career in Social Work during COVID: 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 years, like this one, that would be helpful to students who are trying to find work during this uncertain period.
Housing 300x300 Pursuing a Career in Social Work during COVID: Podcast Episode Live!

 

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.

Thinking of Becoming a Professor: 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 years, like this one, that would be helpful to students who are trying to find work during this uncertain period.
PFAU 14 panel 1 1 300x300 Thinking of Becoming a Professor: Podcast Episode Live!

We interview, Danielle Law, PhD, and Associate Professor in Psychology and Youth and Children’s Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, about her journey in academia and her thoughts on finding a career as a recent graduate.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

An insider’s look into the life and work of a busy academic

Advice and things to consider for undergraduate students who want to pursue a PhD

How to find the right topic of research that match the interests of students

How to adjust from undergraduate studies to graduate studies

How can a graduate degree help with career advancement and flexibility

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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.