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Grad School Experience: Interview with Dane and Aravind

 

We interviewed Dane Mauer-Vakil and Aravind Rajendran about the transition from an undergraduate degree to a graduate degree, particularly in conducting graduate research. As an undergraduate, you are working to meet certain requirements and receive high grades. However, when you transition to graduate school, the relationship you have with your professors, colleagues, and the research changes. This term, many of you are starting Grad School for the first time, so we thought it would be a good idea to talk a bit about that transition.

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Dane Mauer-Vakil is a Master student enrolled in the Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation at the University of Toronto with a focus on mental health and addiction services in community settings.
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Aravind Rajendran is also a Master student enrolled in the Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation at the University of Toronto with a focus on tobacco control policy. Aravind is currently a Research Assistant at the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, and has an interest in the tobacco control policy, with a focus on e-cigarettes.

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What advice would you give incoming Masters students to help them with the  transition from Undergrad to Grad School?

Dane: Going into graduate study is definitely a transition, but I would recommend to be as relaxed as possible, and enjoy it as well because it’s definitely an exciting time in life. You’re going to meet a lot of new people and learn a lot of cool stuff. That being said, I would also urge students to manage their time well, and really be as organized as possible. The workload, in terms of reading specifically, is considerably more than what would be seemed as commonplace for an undergraduate degree. Be cognizant of how you spend your time, but to enjoy it as much as possible. Seek help from your friends and colleagues and your supervisors when needed.

Aravind: I think Dane really put it very nicely. The only thing I would add to what he said is that the point of graduate school is a little different than undergrad. In undergrad, you’re learning a bunch of courses that are already decided for you because of the program you’re in, especially in the first or second year. And you only get some choice in the upper years. Whereas in grad school, you will specialize in a particular topic. Thus, whether you go into a PhD or not, the point of grad school is to really develop your research skills and knowledge in a particular area of interest for you. Another important thing to do would be to try to make the best use of your time in grad school to learn as much as you can about your topic outside of the courses you’re taking. So that means reading up on research papers that interest you, reading separate books that interest you, etc. You want to try to make use of the time as best as you can and try to soak in as much as the knowledge of your area of interest as you can write well because you have access to the library and so many resources.

 

What would you say has been your biggest challenge transitioning from undergraduate school or graduate school?

Dane: I would say personally the transition for me was potentially a bit smoother than those who came in, either straight from undergrad or came in with little or no research experience. I had a couple of years between undergrad and starting my Master’s where I was working on research so I was able to kind of get into the mindset of doing research. My biggest challenge in grad school was probably just kind of altering the way I thought about what constitutes success or progress towards my goals. In undergraduate, your, or at least in my case, my main priority was to get high marks, so that I’ll be able to go to grad school. And now, as Arvind had alluded to, we’re really in graduate school  to develop ourselves as researchers. It’s less about grades and more about your output, such as writing for journal publications and presenting your work at conferences.

Aravind: For me, I think one of the main challenges was actually living away from home because I lived at my parents’ house in undergrad, whereas now I’m on my own. Apart from that, one of the things that I found a little different in terms of he actual academic experience was definitely the volume of reading that you’re required to do. And, the other thing that was a bit challenging was the extra learning that goes on outside of courses. For example, at the University of Toronto, there are these things called collaborative specializations, which are sort of like minors degrees in undergrad study. I was in one of those collaborative programs, and that was a very new experience for me compared to undergrad, in a good way. I was able to partake in a separate series of lectures and learned about this other topic of interest to me. I think that was really creative and it was also a little unique perhaps to UofT. But, even if you don’t go to UofT, I’m 100% sure that there’s definitely going to be a bunch of lectures beyond your coursework. It’s going to be a challenge to manage your time to try to attend these, but I think it’s super important that you do because you’re going to get a lot out of it.

Book Recommendations

Dane’s recommendation:

The Focus Effect: Change Your Work, Change Your Life by Bruce Bowser and Greg Wells

The Ripple Effect: Sleep Better, Eat Better, Move Better, Think Better by Greg Wells

Aravind’s recommendation:

Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts

Lisa’s recommendation:

As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto by Joan Reardon

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Thank you, Dane and Aravind, 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 Writing: Interview with Laifong Leung

 

We interviewed Laifong Leung, a Chinese Language and Literature scholar, about the art of writing. Writing is a unique form of communication that relies on our ability to create imagined realities with the deliberate and careful use of words, punctuation, grammar, and style. It is unlike any other form of communication in the mammal world, and it requires a lifetime of practice to master.

Laifong Leung photo edited 2 The Art of Writing: Interview with Laifong Leung

 

Dr. Leung received her BA from the University of Calgary, and MA and Ph.D from the University of British Columbia, and is currently Professor Emerita at the University of Alberta, where she taught for over three decades. She is passionate about classical Chinese poetry, contemporary Chinese literature, Chinese diasporic literature and language teaching. She continues to publish on these topics, having written and co-edited over 10 books, and several academic articles, many of which discuss the art of writing and storytelling across cultures and historical periods. She was also the initiator and co-founder of the Chinese Canadian Writers’ Association (1987) and currently serves as its Executive Chair. 

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What made you decide to pursue a career in literature?

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When I was young, I lived in Hong Kong. My maternal grandfather was a calligrapher, a poet, and a reader. He lived with us and it was very fortunate. He told me a lot of stories about classical Chinese literature and about the lives of poets, interesting, anecdotes, and famous poems. He would ask me to recite from memory, “Bei Shu,” some classical pieces. So I did that, but sometimes I didn’t know exactly what they meant, but I did memorize. I did quite a few of those important pieces, and I didn’t know they were important until I went to high school. I remember in grade eight, I opened my textbook, and the essay that my grandfather asked me to memorize was there! After that, I recognized the value of what I learned from him. I remember doing calligraphy with him too. He sat next to me and watched every stroke. He really was the initiator. I liked learning Chinese calligraphy. Later on, it would help with my career. When I applied for my first job at the University of Alberta, they were looking for someone who could teach Chinese calligraphy. Not many people were really interested or were able to teach calligraphy. During my time at the university, I started with the study of classical Chinese literature, and then I got interested in post-modern literature, which is very contemporary. These were my main two areas of study. After I retired, I got interested in Chinese Canadian literature.

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What would you say has been the most rewarding part of the career path that you have chosen?

I love reading, writing, as well as teaching. As a professor, I had to do all these things, so I enjoyed my job. I like sharing my knowledge with my students, and I do not feel tired of teaching. I love to see how much the students have learned. Overall, it is a very rewarding experience. I first started teaching adult classes at the Vancouver school board. I taught once a week with the purpose of gaining teaching experience at that time. And later on, I was recommended by my professor to teach Cantonese in the Vancouver city police station for one of the departments. I taught there for over a year before I did my Ph.D, which was a lot of fun. I enjoyed those few years. I just love teaching and doing research. When people recommend me to teach any class, I always take the opportunity, and the process has been really rewarding.

 

You’ve written and co-edited several books. That is a huge endeavor. When you’re thinking of a new book idea, what does your process look like?

I was really interested in the generation after Mao’s exile, especially the Red Guards, which was a group of young people who were very supportive of Mao during the Cultural Revolution. They started with very idealistic high hopes for the revolution. So, they had a very special style of writing. I read a lot of stories written by these generations, but the publications available at that time were very limited. So after I got my first teaching job at the University of Alberta, I applied for a grant and went to China to interview some writers. They talked about the whole horrible experience they went through in the Cultural Revolution. I recorded the interviews, and I came back with a whole suitcase of tapes. The tapes of interviews inspired me to start a book with the theme of the Chinese Writers of the Lost Generation. I began transcribing the tapes and drafted a sample chapter entry. I also developed a book outline. Afterward, I sent my idea to a lot of potential publishers and got 11 positive responses. After carefully selecting a publisher, I was able to publish the book.

Laifong’s Book Recommendation

 

Contemporary Chinese Fiction Writers: Biography, Bibliography, and Critical Assessment, Laifong Leung.

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Thank you, Laifong, 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.

Making the Transition to University: Interview with David Zarnett

 

We interviewed David Zarnett about how to make the transition from high school to university. For many students, this is their first time being away from home, living in a big city, and being around so many other smart competitive colleagues. It’s a major transition that seems to either go well or terribly wrong over the course of a year. It’s important to be mentally prepared for this transition, and take advantage of as many of the campus resources available in order to set yourself up for success.

David Zarnett photo 1 205x300 Making the Transition to University: Interview with David Zarnett

 

David Zarnett is the Undergraduate Student Advisor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He is also an experienced lecturer on global security, human rights, international cooperation, and war and peace. As the Undergraduate Advisor, he helps students address the many challenges they face during their undergraduate studies and helps them prepare for life after they graduate. He is passionate about empowering students of all abilities to be successful on their own terms. 

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How did your interest in foreign policy, in particular in the Middle East, develop?

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 I come from a Jewish family, not religious, but, in that sense, the Middle East, Israel, Palestine were sort of always in the air in the water. You grow up thinking about the politics of the region. I had taken a few classes as a history student in the Middle East and we started to discuss the controversial aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within the Jewish community. I’m drawn to controversy and I like figuring out why people disagree so strongly so vehemently on a particular issue, how do they come up with these conclusions, and the different types of evidence they use. So, that made it really appealing, in addition to the personal connection I have.

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What kinds of challenges did you run into while in school, especially undergrad?

There’s a few ones that I think a lot of people talk about – like balancing social pressures with the responsibilities of a student and confronting new perspectives and different opinions and time management. But I think the most important, or the thing that  I really struggled with, and I will continue to struggle with it is dealing with some type of an academic failure. I remember my first-year political science class POL101. I think I must have gotten maybe a 58 or 60 in the class. However, I am in fact very lucky to have had that experience because I can now tell students who come to me saying – “oh my god I screwed up my first-year classes or my second-year” – don’t worry because it happened to me and I managed to get a PhD! In university, things do suddenly become far more honest and a bit more brutal, and the question is what do you do to overcome some of those challenges.

What would you say is the difference between writing essays in high school vs. university?

I think the major difference is the reflection or the manifestation of thinking; in other words, how someone thinks through a difficult question. So, I think the most fundamental difference is that at the university level, writing requires higher quality thinking, more rigorous thinking, more in-depth thought, and more time to think about exactly what a question is getting at and how to answer it. There are three important things to know when writing a university level paper. First. you need to have a sensitivity to the readers needs and make your ideas very clear, presentable, logical, as well as well-organized. It is crucial to know your audience. The second thing would to be have a core argument that is backed up by solid evidence. And, the third would be to have fair and reasonable engagement with counter arguments.

Having helped several students over the years as a teacher and advisor, what is the most important thing you think a first-year needs to know?

I think one important resource would be the professors’ office hours. Do not be scared of being judged or feel intimidated by professors. You’d be surprised at how many professors enjoy speaking to students, having them ask questions, and getting to know who they are. Going to office hours is a great way to build a connection and to feel connected to a class. And, I think students should know that professors are humans too. Professors also have flaws.. And often what can seem like some sort of social awkwardness, can be just really attributed to some degree of insecurity. So, I would advise students: to be courageous, be brave, and go out and get the information you need from your teachers!

David’s Book Recommendations and Resources

At the Existentialist Cafe: freedom, being, and apricot cocktails by Sarah Bakewell

Find more about David at the UofT Pol Sci Website or email him at David.zarnett@utoronto.ca!

Thank you, David, 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.

An Inside Look into the Life of Professor: Interview with Danielle Law

 

We interviewed Danielle Law, Associate Professor in Psychology and Youth and Children’s Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, about her career journey from student to professor. While a B.A. degree provides students with transferable skills such as critical thinking, which can be used for a number of career paths, many choose to attend graduate school and eventually become a Professor.

DLaw Headshot 258x300 An Inside Look into the Life of Professor: Interview with Danielle Law

 

 Danielle is Associate Professor of Psychology and Youth and Children’s Studies at Wilfred Laurie University and Director of the Child and Adolescent Research and Education (CARE) Lab. Her research focuses on the social-emotional development of children and youth and their mental well-being. Danielle’s primary area of research focuses on online aggression, associated mental health concerns, responsible Internet use, and creating caring communities. She strives to connect academia with the community with her research, teaching and learning philosophies. 

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Can you tell us a little about what the daily work of a Professor is like?

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In the summer and spring, I’m usually preparing for the fall. I am preparing for my courses. I’m also writing manuscripts for publication and also working on research projects. I also supervise graduate students, which happens all year round. For example, next week I have a thesis defense for one of my students. Then, I also need to attend committee meetings for the university to talk about program development and recruitment and etc.

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What kinds of career options are there for PhD graduates in Psychology that are outside of mainstream academia?

Some of my students have gone into counseling or have become therapists. I have some students, and also my own colleagues and friends, who work for Statistics Canada. They do research for the government and I also have others who are researching for the private sector as a research associate for different industries because the thing about getting your PhD is that they’re training you to be able to conduct research. So, many of my colleagues and friends are conducting research outside of academia, but some are also working in school administrative positions, such as the school board. Some have even gone off to start their own research consulting firms. 

What advice do you have for first-year university students?

I think it’s really important to open your doors to as many possibilities and if there are people accepting bachelor students to volunteer in their research labs, I would take it because it’s a very rare opportunity to get that chance to research outside of graduate school. All of my students in my lab, apart from two, are undergraduate students. They all have this opportunity to conduct research and have their names on publications during undergrad. It will help them to get into grad school later, and that’s one of the reasons why I like having this opportunity for undergrads in my lab.

Danielle’s Book Recommendations and Resources

Books:

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall Rosenberg

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Give and Take by Adam Grant

Why we Sleep by Matthew Walker

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Podcasts:

The Happiness Lab” by Dr Laurie Santos

‎”How To!” by Charles Duhigg

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Thank you, Danielle, 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.

Resilience Boosting During COVID-19: Interview with Sarah Lang

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

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

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How did you begin your career as a coach?

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

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

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How does building resilience work?

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

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

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

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

How does being resilient impact our performance at school?

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

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

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Sarah’s Book Recommendations and Resources

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

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

Blog Series: Everyday Resilience by Sarah Lang

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

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Missed the podcast? Listen here:

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For more advice about writing, check out our weekly podcast or subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

_

To get more help with your assignments, book a 20 minute discovery session with us and start your journey to reaching your full potential on the page, and in life.


Both the written, visual, audio, and audiovisual content of this post has been created by and is the intellectual property of Lisa Pfau and PFAU Academic Writing. Please do not replicate any of the above content without our consent. However, please do feel free to share this post and its authorship widely.

The Student Experience: Interview with Lisa Meng

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lisa’s Book Recommendations and Resources

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

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

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Missed the podcast? Listen here:

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_

For more advice about writing, check out our weekly podcast or subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

_

To get more help with your assignments, book a 20 minute discovery session with us and start your journey to reaching your full potential on the page, and in life.


Both the written, visual, audio, and audiovisual content of this post has been created by and is the intellectual property of Lisa Pfau and PFAU Academic Writing. Please do not replicate any of the above content without our consent. However, please do feel free to share this post and its authorship widely.

Sleep Hygiene: Podcast Episode Live!
PFAU 20 panel 2 300x298 Sleep Hygiene: Podcast Episode Live!

We interview Erin Spencer, a registered Occupational Therapist, on sleep hygiene and building routines.

HIGHLIGHTS

Her journey to becoming an occupational therapist

How students can manage stress

Importance of sleep in healing

Tips for sleep hygiene and healthy sleep routine

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To get more help with professional development and writing, book a 20 minute discovery call with us and start your journey to reaching your full potential on the page, and in life.


Both the written, visual, audio, and audiovisual content of this post has been created by and is the intellectual property of Lisa Pfau and PFAU Academic Writing. Please do not replicate any of the above content without our consent. However, please do feel free to share this post and its authorship widely.

Communication for Second Language Learners: Interview with Catherine Steele

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

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

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

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Why do you think proper pronunciation is so important?

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

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What are some words that people often mispronounce?

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

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How can they practice, for vowel sounds specifically?

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

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

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

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

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Catherine’s Book Recommendations

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Pronunciation Pairs by Ann Baker and Sharon Goldstein

Clear Speech by Judy B. Gilbert

Phrase by Phrase by Marsha Chan

The 5 Love Languages is by Dr. Gary Chapman

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

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Missed the podcast? Listen here:

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For more advice about professional development and writing, check out our weekly podcast or subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

_

To get more help with your assignments, book a 20 minute discovery session with us and start your journey to reaching your full potential on the page, and in life.


Both the written, visual, audio and audiovisual content of this post has been created by and is the intellectual property of Lisa Pfau and PFAU Academic Writing. Please do not replicate any of the above content without our consent. However, please do feel free to share this post and its authorship widely.

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: 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.