student supports

Writing Online: Interview with Melody Belliveau

We interviewed Melody Belliveau, a freelance writer and author of the website, TheSocial-Commentary.com, about the journey of becoming a writer. This interview is a 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. 

Melody Photo 300x246 Writing Online: Interview with Melody Belliveau

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 Melody started out writing for a local newspaper in her early thirties as a mother of four children. Then, family life put a pause in her writing career until she had to step back from her previous position due to health issues and decided to start her own website to inspire, encourage, and support others. She continues to challenge herself with new projects, aiming to publish in a national magazine next. You never know when your writing career will flourish. The key is to never give up.

Could you tell us a little bit about your project you’re working on now? How did you start your website?

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Through joining the Dress for Success workshops, I was able to be paired with a mentor and received an opportunity to have a column in one of the local magazines. I excitedly submitted the article, but when the edits came back I felt like it had taken my original voice away and wasn’t the right fit for me. I was disappointed, and wanted to give up.

After talking to my mentor about the experience, she that I could create my own website to express my opinions. Even though I was not an expert in technology, I was able to slowly build my website through the help of tutorials. It was like a dream come true!

My goal with my posts on the website is that when people read them, they can either relate to my work or find something in there that can help them. I also plan to use my website as a platform to help with my ultimate career goal to have my own Social Commentary magazine.

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You’re stay-at-home a grandmother of ten. What keeps you going and motivated?

Being able to help people keeps me motivated. When I see people commenting on posts that I write – “thank you so much! I needed that today” – it feeds my soul because they are saying that I just fed theirs. I want people to see that every one of us matters and be inspired by my work. I have enjoyed writing from a young age and I want to speak up and share my voice.

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What advice would you give to your younger self?

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Go after your dreams and set a plan to help you achieve those dreams. Go take those classes that you are interested in and zone in on your purpose. I felt that my whole life, I just let everything else get in the way. And now that there is not anything to get in the way, I’m going for it. It’s gonna be my legacy.

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Melody’s Book Recommendations and Resources

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Book:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

Resources:

Your Move with Andy Stanley

The Write Launch

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Thank you, Melody, 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 Art of Proofreading: Interview with Daina Sparling

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.

Color headshot 300x200 The Art of Proofreading: Interview with Daina Sparling

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Daina has a Psychology degree from the University of Alberta, and several years experience working as a Research Assistant for the Department of Medicine, Division of Studies at the University of Alberta. While at the university she collaborated with other academics in the creation, editing, and statistical analysis of examinations used in the medical school. Diana also has over three years of experience editing graduate-level dissertations and publications with PFAU Academic Writing. In her free time, Daina enjoys travel, beekeeping, and camping with her husband and two children.

What is the value of receiving editing support?

It is important to have somebody look your work over because we do not see our own faults very well. For example, if I studied abroad I would absolutely ask somebody, who is a native speaker, to look at my work because different languages have different expectations and structures. The real value is that you not only end up with a more polished version of your written work by hiring an editor, but you also learn from them how to become a better writer. For example, if there are common errors that I see in the work, I will point them out to client so that they can avoid those errors in the future. In addition, the comments made on the draft related to content or questions asked about what the writer intends to say, helps the writer to become more clear in their ideas and expression as they continue through the writing process. It is also beneficial to have the help of an editor, who has experience in writing and working with different kinds of text so that they can teach you how to adapt your work to appeal to different audiences. Writing is just another medium through which to communicate your ideas. If you can work with someone who will help you to improve those communication skills, then you have more opportunities and avenues through which to share your research and thoughts.

What skills and knowledge do you think good editors have?

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First, I think that whatever language you are using to write your essay or dissertation, it is always beneficial to find an editor who is a native language speaker, especially for international students. I think it is a helpful added step to have another pair of eyes to look at your work.


Second, a good editor is someone with a strong set of technical writing skills, such as: grammar, punctuation, spelling, structure, format, citation styles, etc. You want to be able to trust that they will recognize and fix your mistakes.

Third, and possibly most importantly, a good editor should also be able to figure out what is the person actually getting at. In other words, what does the writer intend to say. A good editor does not change the writer’s meaning, but enhances it. I think good editors tend to be empathetic. We can get a sense of the person through their writing and adapt it in a way that is suitable for them, as opposed to having some sort of formula. I think a good editor needs to be able to work together to accomplish the goal of the client. I do not want that client’s work to sound like my own, but rather the best version of their words. As a result, a good editor will be able to suss that out and decide what is the actual content that this person is trying to convey.

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Tell us a bit about your own process. How do you edit a paper?

The first thing that I do is just take a quick scan through the work to see what is it about how long it is. Then, I will go back to the original project instructions. It is always really helpful to be given a copy of any assignment or submission instructions to ensure that all the requirements have been fulfilled. If your writing submission does not have the right components, it is not going to help you even if it is edited perfectly. Then, I will read through the paper looking for structural issues, content issues, and clarity. At this point, I will suggest broad sweeping revisions where relevant. Then, I will take a second look reviewing for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. I usually let it sit for a day, and then do a final read to make sure that I haven’t missed any mistakes.

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What are some common mistakes that you often see in the essays that you edit?

The first one that is absolutely glaring for me is the tense. It is necessary to make a determination and decide whether you are in the present, past, or future before writing down 40 or 50 pages of work into a document. Which tense people should use is going to be dependent on what they are writing. A paper talking about literature may use a different tense from a personal response essay. There is nothing more difficult than editing for 10 or 20 hours and having to go back and forth wondering what the author is talking about because they switched from present tense to past tense in the middle of a paragraph.

The second common mistake is acronyms. Students should make sure that they have spelled out the full name of any acronyms they use in the essay, and placed the acronym in brackets after the full them. Only after that, can you use the acronym consistently throughout your essay. You cannot assume that people will know what you are talking about, for example, what BMJ stands for. Do you know? I still don’t.

The third thing would be capitalization, such as the capitalization of names and organizations. People often get proper nouns and common nouns mixed up. For example, China and china mean two different things when you change the capitalization in the word. You need to check whether or not the technical terms that you are using need to be capitalized or not. The internet is your best friend for checking this out. This is another one of those errors that can be missed easily, but to a technical reader or an employer, it is a big problem if they see that their organization is not capitalized.

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Resources Recommendation

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Style Guide (APA, MLA, Chicago)

Purdue OWL

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Thank you, Daina, 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.

University Applications 101: Interview with Lisa Pfau

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.  

DSC05821 edited 300x300 University Applications 101: Interview with Lisa Pfau

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As you may know, I have over 20 years of experience helping students with essay writing, application support and career development. One of my favorite things is getting to know students and helping them to develop their application essays.

What do you suggest students look for when picking a program or school?

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Every year, and this still is the case, Maclean’s magazine publishes a university ranking edition. The magazine tells you all the universities in Canada, sometimes colleges, and their rankings. The magazine also ranks them by graduate school, medical school, law school and undergraduate program.

I was a pretty good student, so I wanted to go to one of the top 10 schools in Canada. The top school for Bachelor of Arts in Canada is Mount Allison University. But that’s all the way in the Maritimes, and that was too far from home for me. So eventually, I chose the University of Alberta, which at the time was ranked fifth. So if you’re a good student, you might want to go to a top school and see how they are ranked.

I would also consider your area of interest or study. You can choose the schools with reputable programs of your interest, which may not be the overall top school, but top in that field. For example, later on in life, I studied Chinese Politics. In Canada, there are really two or three universities that specialize in that, the University of British Columbia and University of Toronto were my top choices.

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What kind of timeline should students expect?

I think the post-secondary application is something you should really start thinking about in Grade 11. When you apply, the schools are not going to have all of your Grade 12 marks. The schools will look at your Grade 11 marks and courses. Meeting course prerequisites is important as it will impact your acceptance. For example, Engineering has certain Math and Science prerequisites, and you should be able to show on your transcript that you are doing those courses when you apply. The other thing is to think about grades. They’re mostly going to see your Grade 11 marks and part of your Grade 12 marks. It is important to start thinking about your grades and investing and making your grades stronger as soon as you enter high school. Find out what the requirements are for your program early on, so that you plan those last two years of high school appropriately and make sure to get all those prerequisites to get into the programs you want.

Most people don’t know this, but the grade that every school will look at, no matter what you study, is your English grade, not English language, but English literature. A lot of times people may think that they do not need English for their programs of study, but schools will look at your English grades regardless. They know as a professional, you have to be a good communicator no matter your field of study.

In addition, it is time-consuming to choose the right university. Things such as booking those appointments with your guidance counselor to find out about the application process, researching schools, and planning visits all take time. If you want to apply for scholarships or student loans, you need to account for that time as well. If your wait until the last minute, you risk doing a sloppy application and missing out on your dream program.

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What advice do you have for high school students transitioning to post-secondary school?

Whether you are a Canadian student or an international student, going to university is a big transition because you are no longer living at home. A lot of students are totally on their own. And of course, university and high school are very different from each other in the way that they’re structured. In universities, you can get lost in the crowd and nobody cares about you. I mean, if you take the time to talk to your professors, and they get to know you, of course, they care about you. However, the classes are so much bigger, so unless you take the initiative, nobody is going to notice if you skipped class. Whereas in high school, instructors or administrators are going to call your parents, check attendance, and track progress. Once you get into university, you are on your own, and you need to be responsible. So I think that’s a big change.

In this respect, going through the application process and thinking about what you want for your future actually can help to prepare you a bit for the new challenges of university itself. It’s a stressful process with tight deadlines somewhat similar to what the first year of assignments and exams feels like to new students.

I think the best thing someone told me is that it is gonna be a big transition and expect that your grades will drop by 20%. I had that impression already in my mind, so I knew university is gonna be very different from high school and it is going to be harder. As a result, I knew that even if I don’t do as well as before in the beginning, that is normal and it is actually part of the process and I can learn from that and improve. I think having a positive growth mindset is really valuable because it can be a big shock to the system.

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Resources Recommendation

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Maclean’s Magazine

Ontario Universities Info

Application Coaching at PFAU

Guide to Universities in Canada

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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.

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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.

Life Insurance & Financial Planning for Students: Interview with Mario Schwarzenberg

We interview Mario Schwarzenberg, who is the owner/broker of MSI – Mario Schwarzenberg Insurance Services Inc., an insurance brokerage, has been offering its customers competitive insurance rates since the early 1990s. This week’s episode is about something we don’t like to talk about, death and critical illness. When we are young we often think we are invincible, but this is not always the case. We are all fragile human beings, and at some point our lives will end. It is important to think of these eventualities sooner rather than later as it can save you a lot of additional hassle, stress, and even money.

Screen Shot 2020 10 15 at 5.14.32 PM 211x300 Life Insurance & Financial Planning for Students: Interview with Mario Schwarzenberg

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As a brokerage with many years of experience in selling insurance, paying claims and access to all major insurance companies, MSI offers a variety of plans at the most competitive rates. MSI offers a wide array of insurance services including Life Insurance / Mortgage Insurance Business Benefits: Key-Person & Buy-Sell funding Dental & Medical Benefits for Businesses and Families Living Benefits: Critical Illness Insurance, Income Replacement / Disability Family Benefits Included with Insurance.

When people think of insurance, they usually think of car insurance, but there are actually different facets of the insurance industry. Can you tell us about the different insurance divisions and what they do?

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That is correct. The majority of the time, people are introduced to insurance with the car or home, but there are other divisions like life insurance, critical illness, living benefits and people benefits. Those are a big part of proper financial planning for younger people because they are valuable in the case you are injured and need income replacement or even when you are older and pass away and there are estate costs. The earlier to start thinking of these things, the easier it is to qualify and save money.

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People often think of life insurance that only comes up in murder novels when a rich relative dies suspiciously. But, you think it is something that everyone should think about. Why is it so important to a person’s long-term financial planning?

For wealthy people, insurance can help to preserve their wealth by covering the cost of capital gains taxes or estate taxes. For people whose estate is smaller or people who do not have assets, they can use insurance to replace their income to help provide for the family and cover daily expenses, such as paying the mortgage or children’s tuition.

The majority of the time, young people would learn about insurance when something tragic happens within the family or close circle of friends. They don’t think about it because they don’t think they will die anytime soon. However, my very first claim in the insurance happened when I was in my twenties and a good friend of mine passed away. He had a young family, and the insurance helped them to keep their house. It is not about making anybody rich, but rather the family left behind can continue living and have fewer financial worries.

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What is the difference between permanent life insurance and term life insurance?

Term insurance offers protection for a specific period of time. It is most often purchased by young families who want temporary coverage while their children are growing and they are responsible for a mortgage. They would usually purchase between 10 to 20 years of term insurance to ensure that if something happens to them while their children are small, they will be taken care of. In other words, it is most often purchased to deal with an accidental or unexpected death.

Permanent insurance lasts for your whole life though. You have coverage whether you pass away from an accident or old age. It is useful in terms of covering funeral expenses, capital gains tax, and other estate taxes and expenses as it is non-taxable. It helps to ensure that the value of your estate is passed onto your beneficiaries. In some cases, insurance proceeds may even be bequeathed to a charity after death. Permanent insurance premiums tend to be more expensive than term insurance, but if you start young it is usually comparable and overtime it can add up to a decent sum. In some cases, the balance can even be accessed before death to cover unexpected expenses in old age. It takes a longer term commitment, but it is more flexible in the end.

I think the best option is a combination between permanent and term insurance. Permanent insurance can be used to protect your estate, while term insurance can protect yourself and your family during the years when you are building your assets and responsible for taking care of loved ones.

What advice would you give a young person who thinks life insurance really isn’t necessary for them?

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Since each person’s needs are very different, talking to an insurance broker would be beneficial because they can ask questions specific to their situation and needs. Brokers have access to different companies and can go through a variety of different plans, so there are many different options to choose from. It is beneficial to have at least a basic understanding of insurance.

I would definitely invite them not to only limit their inquiry to personal insurance though, but their overall financial future and financial planning. Understanding that permanent insurance is actually less expensive when purchased at a younger age and can act as part of your investment portfolio is useful, for example. Talking to an insurance broker does not necessarily mean that you need to buy insurance at that very moment. You can do the inquiry and learn about the available options first. You are not obligated to purchase the coverage.

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Book Recommendation

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Personality Isn’t Permanent: Break Free from Self-Limiting Beliefs and Rewrite Your Story by Benjamin P. Hardy

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Thank you, Mario, 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.

Men’s Mental Health: Interview with Kristopher Morrison

 

We interviewed Kristopher Morrison (Eagle Calling Man), an indigenous and men’s health advocate in Ontario, about men’s mental health. Men and women have been socialized differently around emotions, communication styles, and dealing with life’s problems. Research has shown that men and women express depressive symptoms differently, for example. Women tend to emote and talk about their feelings, while men tend to pull inward and isolate themselves. It is unclear if their differences are biological or social, but they exist. And, this kind of self-isolating response to stress, especially emotional stress, can make it even more challenging for men to reach out for support than women when they need it the most.

Kris photo Mens Mental Health: Interview with Kristopher Morrison

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 Kris was born in the Swamping Cree Territory, with a deeper connection to the Cree Territory. Kris continues to cultivate a connection to the land through spending time outdoors hunting, fishing, and trapping. While in Peterborough, Ontario, he employs his traditional and cultural knowledge and practices to teach leadership skills and build confidence in the community, with a special focus on changing how we view and cultivate male leadership. He believes that knowing who you are and what your values are is essential to the process of being a secure and competent leader in your own life, and the lives of those around you.

How did you reach the conclusion that there was not enough support for men, especially for indigenous men, about mental health?

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When looking at what was available for support for women, one can see that there are a lot of resources and places that women could go to. However, men do not have the same support and resources. It was hard to find somebody to look up and follow as a guide or a role model. I started the Indigenous Men’s Alliance to create a community space where men could find those roles models.

The Indigenous Men’s Alliance is a place where men can go to overcome their challenges. The way that the Alliance teaches is that we need one another to be empowered. In the Alliance, there are talks about the values of truth, respect, and wisdom, which are the three inner values that are the foundation of who people are. When somebody is being honest, they’re sharing their truth about a problem that they are facing. They are being vulnerable. The Alliance serves as a brave space for men, the educated, the experienced, and the elders, to share their truth and their wisdom to engage in the act of listening and respecting the truth.

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Why is it hard for men to express their emotions?

There’s a stereotype that men don’t cry. Through my research, one of the men I interviewed said: “We weren’t even supposed to cry at funerals”. Crying is often associated with weakness. As a result, men are used to bottling up their emotions and not allowing themselves to be vulnerable. The stereotype that men have to be strong prevents them from showing their more sensitive sides. Men tend to hold back their emotions due to fear of the truth and fear of being judged.

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What advice would you give to your younger self?

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Listen more.

There’s a difference between listening and hearing. When someone is listening, he or she does not only acknowledge what others are saying, but respects their truth while showing love and support. At the same time, they are not influenced by what the other person says in a way that causes them to change who they are, but can hold space for that person’s truth and their own truth at the same time.

Do not be scared of making mistakes as the choices we make can help us to learn.

Finding your footing in life is a natural process that has both its ups and down. You cannot go through life without making mistakes. Making mistakes is part of the process of taking risks and exploring the world and yourself. The key is to learn from those mistakes and become a better, wiser version of your younger self.

Try to find a mentor – somebody that you can follow as a role model.

A mentor who is willing to share wisdom with you, be honest with you, and will not judge you can help you to grow into a secure man. It’s through passing down wisdom from one generation to the next that we can really grow as a community, and as individuals.

Stay honest and respectful.

The more that you listen and respect the truth, the more wisdom and opportunities you will have in the future. Being honest with yourself and others isn’t easy, but it results in a fuller, more meaningful, life.

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Book Recommendations and Resources

Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team by Simon Sinek, David Mead, and Peter Docker

I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression Paperback by Terrence Real

“Indigenous Men’s Alliance” by Kris Morrison

Gary Vee

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Thank you, Kris, 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.

Customizing Mental Health Support for Students: Interview with Holly Smith

We interviewed Holly Smith, an experienced clinical occupational therapist in the field of mental health and substance use, about some of the mental health challenges that students encounter, and strategies to create a healthier study environment. Despite campaigns put forward by governments and corporations in the last decade that encourage a more open discussion about mental health, there are still a number of stigmas and taboos that surround mental health concerns, particularly mental health struggles that are connected to addiction.

Holly Photo edited 2 300x300 Customizing Mental Health Support for Students: Interview with Holly Smith

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 Holly Smith is a Kanien’ke:haka (Mohawk) of the Haudenosaunee people from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, and she currently works as a clinical manager at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). She also recently established Indigenous Wellness Services, mental health therapy, and consulting business which offers a decolonized approach to mental health treatment.  

What kinds of struggles do you often hear that students face compared to those in other stages of life?

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Typically, the majority of students are under the age of 25, and it is a really interesting time in life because people are still finding out about their identity. Students’ brains are still developing, and being in school is a high-stress period of time. There are a lot of social pressures and expectations, either from the family or themselves. It is a highly competitive environment. There is also a lot of social pressure, especially with the advent of social media. In addition, the upheaval of COVID-19 has been having a negative impact on society as a whole and creating additional pressures for students to try to manage the workload, finances, home life, and personal life at the same time. For international students away from family, there is also the impact of social isolation. The disruption of normal routines and activities caused by the restrictions placed upon students due to COVID-19 can have a lot of impacts on people’s mental wellness and mental health.

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What do you think prevents or delays students from reaching out for mental health support before their situation escalates? 

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I think there is a lot of stigma around the topic of mental health and mental wellness in general. There is a lot of fear and anxiety around even asking for help or saying: “I’m struggling in a certain area”, or “I’m having a rough time.” Sometimes it’s difficult to go for help without the fear of being judged or not being taken seriously or not being understood. For me personally, these fears had prevented me from reaching out for help. Thus, I was trying to manage and cope with those pressures and those expectations in a way that was not always the healthiest. When those kinds of pressures start to mount and increase, it will eventually get to a point where things get really overwhelming, and different areas of your life come in can become impacted by that. However, a lot of suffering could be avoided by understanding these feelings are just normal human emotions, and reaching out for help to navigate those feelings in a healthy way.

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What gaps do you currently see in the ability of the current mental health services on-campus and off-campus to provide adequate support to Indigenous students, and perhaps other students who have felt unsafe or unheard?

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I think the gap within the mental health care system, in general, is that it is a bit of a “one size fits all” approach. Even the mental health services that are offered on campuses, for example, are not going to meet the needs of everyone. They are not going to be relevant to everyone’s needs; and as a result, people are not going to connect with them in the way that they were intended to. Personally, when I was trying to connect with mental health supports in school, I was not happy with what was available at that time, so I didn’t access as many resources as I probably could’ve. I know that accessibility has improved, but there is still room for improvement in terms of understanding and personalizing services more to meet specific student needs. In addition, the traditional model of meeting with a therapist one-on-one doesn’t work for everything either. There needs to be more variety in how mental health services are delivered.

What would you suggest be done to start filling these gaps?

I also think more informal mental health supports should be provided, such as peer support groups and culturally sensitive programming. I think campuses should provide safe spaces for black, indigenous, and other racialized folks to be able to have access to peer support workers, elders, or traditional psychotherapists. Students should be able to talk to somebody who represents them and their community. And that’s something that I feel is missing in the health care system as a whole, particularly on college university campuses.

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Holly’s Book Recommendations and Resources

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Books:

The Body Keeps Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.

Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving: A GUIDE AND MAP FOR RECOVERING FROM CHILDHOOD TRAUMA by Pete Walker

Youtube Channels:

Crappy Childhood Fairy by Anna Runkle

Lisa’s Book Recommendations and Resources

The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times by Pema Chodron

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

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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.

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.

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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.

Communication for Second Language Learners: Podcast Episode Live!
PFAU 34 Pfau pfau cartoon icon 01 e1596249701666 300x240 Communication for Second Language Learners: Podcast Episode Live!

We interview Catherine Steele, a pronunciation coach, accent reduction specialist, and owner of English Pronunciation of Success.

HIGHLIGHTS

Importance of proper pronunciation

Commonly mispronounced words

Client success stories

Advice for international students

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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.

Careers in the Arts – Social Work: Interview With Janelle Lewis

 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 Careers in the Arts   Social Work: 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.

Careers in the Arts – Social Work: Podcast Episode Live!
Housing 300x300 Careers in the Arts   Social Work: 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.