Looking back: Fall/Winter 2016/2017

Please believe me when I tell you that the Fall/Winter 2016/17 academic year has been the busiest and most rewarding year. It was one that challenged me in different ways and I’m forever grateful for it.

I was a part of three clubs – Carleton University Dance Crew (CUDC), Spoon University Carleton Chapter, and Parks Canada Outdoors Club of Carleton – and a student volunteer/student staff with three different university on-campus departments – a peer mentor at the Student Experience Office in the first semester, a peer helper with the Centre for Student Academic Support (CSAS), and a volunteer at the International Students Services Office (ISSO). I was terrified for myself at the beginning of Fall 2016 and was unsure whether I would be able to do it all while keeping myself sane.

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L-R: Lujie, me, Mana, Julia, Shaelyn, and Colleen
Volunteering for ISSO during Fall Orientation Week 2016
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Cloudy and wet day didn’t stop me from going hiking at Gatineau Park

There’s no other way to say it but I genuinely enjoyed the year despite my crazy schedule every day. I was so happy and as I packed my things to leave campus earlier this week, I was feeling sad and reluctant to move out of my room in Frontenac House. I was just sad to leave the year behind. I met so many amazing people, came across so many wonderful opportunities, and improved myself by gaining various skills.

To make it easier to read, I’m going to elaborate on each person and opportunity in different subheadings chronologically (if possible) to explain how my year went.

ISSO

While everyone was still enjoying their break towards the end of August, I returned to campus on August 30 to begin my training as a Fall Orientation Ambassador, an international student mentor, and a volunteer for the ISSO.

There I learned a little bit about different cultures and countries. I loved it and it was so rewarding. I was crazy energetic throughout Orientation week and extremely talkative – Wei Ni made fun of me when I told her how much of an extrovert I was being. Regardless, the feeling of being able to help these new students kept me so motivated that I felt that I had an unlimited amount of energy.

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Excited international students ready for the Parliament Hill Light Show

After orientation week ended, I took on the role as an international student peer mentor where I had to help new international students settle down and ensure they were well-adjusted to their new environment. I was honestly unsure of my position and ability to be a good mentor. As far as I knew, I was someone who had cultivated self-discipline and self-motivation on my own, at the same time, I wasn’t so sure whether I’d be able to convey a similar message to someone else. I was afraid that I wasn’t doing my role justice because I did check off all the criteria of what I imagined a mentor would be. I should’ve better prepare myself to adjust to different personalities, listened more, and so on. It was an interesting experience nonetheless but I could’ve done a lot better. I’ve learned my lesson and will be applying these considerations the next time I decide to become a peer mentor.

CSAS

I honestly don’t remember what made me apply for the position of an Outreach Peer Helper. As far as I remember, I was only motivated by the fact that I could make myself more employable. I didn’t know what I was going into nor was I expecting anything amazing, I was solely focused on gaining new skills. It’s a cliché but I’m just going to say it, I am incredibly grateful for the experience, skills, connections and memories I’ve gained during my time as a peer helper.

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Journo-senpai and cutie pie, Alyssa
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Fellow Whovian and staff lounge buddy, Joanna
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Giant gingerly ginger, Connor

If there’s any place that made me felt safe, welcomed, happy, and motivated, it was working at CSAS, chilling or doing assignments in the staff lounges, located on the 4th floor of the library.

Every time I was there during its hours of operation, I’d be sure to find someone who’d be willing to talk or help me out. They really made the library my second home, it was somewhere I never wanted to leave. People would always check up on each other, ensuring we’re all taking care of each other, supporting each other, and giving helpful suggestions/advices on certain things.

Of course, I remembered the things I learned while I was there too – creating social media content and different promotional programs to generate more student engagement with the centre. It was a pun-tastic time of creating content. Going out tabling in the tunnel junctions with the Plinko board was also a fun and enlightening experience. By enlightening I mean, it put me in a position I’d never see myself being able to get comfortable with – I was constantly pushed to convince students to learn about CSAS by asking them to play with the Plinko board. Looking back, I realized I’ve grown.

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My almost-big sister, Jenny!
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Fabulous Alex!

When I first started with the Plinko alongside Rebecca, I was unsure what to say and always mimicked Rebecca but as the weeks went by, I slowly gained confidence in spewing out things to say to hype the students up to play the Plinko. It was a fun time and definitely one way to improve your public speaking skills.

CUDC
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Always smiling LJ ❤
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Awarded the “Most Improved OLD Member” by my fellow CUDC Execs and Advisor

If you knew me from last year, you’d know I was a part of CUDC since my first year. During my first year as a CUDC member, I was always unsure of where I stood in the crew and that still hasn’t changed. Unlike most clubs, this is where I felt the most closed-off from the whole group and I never felt truly home. If anyone ever wants to see me quiet among people I know, this would be where you’ll see me being quiet (besides the library). I know that’s kind of shocking to hear and it is shocking to me too! I don’t know why this is the way it is but I can only guess it’s because everyone else me is super loud and I don’t know how to respond to that or I just let other people to be loud and not challenge them? I don’t know.

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With Nareen and Shaelyn
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Vice-President Brenna
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Sassy Sarah!
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Lovely Colleen and Julia ❤
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Riri group: Jodi, Alex, me, and Sarah
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Amazing dance partner, Collen

But if there’s one thing that’s change this year, it’s that I gained more confidence in my dancing abilities – I even did a duet with my new friend, Colleen! I don’t think I’d be dancing at CUDC with confidence without the support of Colleen. Colleen is such an amazing and passionate dancer. I’m genuinely thankful I met Colleen because she gave me an opportunity to try out different dance genres – contemporary and modern – and it was an honour being her duet partner.

Esther

Where do I even start? I met her a cross-country skiing event organized by the Parks Canada Outdoors Club. It was a beautiful and warm cold February morning that day and someone (Esther) to her surprise, arrived at the meeting spot a little too early. Me being the person who arrives anywhere early, arrived a little later than her, and started chatting with her – she started the conversation. Lots of chatting went on that day and we found out we had so many similar interest like Yuri!!! On Ice. Heh! Anyways as we were chatting in the car on our way to the skiing place, I invited her to go to the gym with me after skiing – classic tip on making friends. Long story short, she agreed to gym with me.  Funny thing is when Esther was on the way to the gym, she forgot her running shoes and she went back to get it. By the time she got to the gym, it was 15 minutes to closing. Somehow we still got to know each other and planned our gym schedule for the week. Fast forward today, we’ve been gym buddies ever since and became food/travel buddies – we went to Quebec City and Montreal together.

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That’s Esther and I in front of the Chateau Frontenac!
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Rue du Petit Champlain

The year went by incredibly fast and I’m grateful for everything that’s happened. I’m excited for the new school year because I’ll be rooming with two amazing girls – Carleigh and Selene. I’m also terrified and worried because it’s going to be the toughest one yet – Third-year journalism is extra tiring. Bummed that Esther and I won’t be able to spend any more time with each other for the year because she’s going on exchange to Edinburgh. I’m hoping I can keep up with her and hoping she’d do the same because she really made my year a lot better although we just met. Heh.

Current situation and Tricks to Waking Up Early

I had a moment when I felt like writing a new post because I was on a roll.

 

Being a second-year journalism student is difficult but it isn’t the end of the world. You get more practical and hands-on opportunities although it does get kind of frustrating sometimes when you’re given a same day deadline assignment.

During the past three months of settling in with the program, I realized that I’ve gotten more comfortable with it although I still get very anxious. I don’t have a lot to do besides eat, sleep, study, dance and repeat. I don’t talk to a lot of people for long periods of time here unless I want to. I actually don’t talk to a lot of people here in general unless I need to. It’s weird and it sounds a bit worrying because it sounds like I have no close friends here. I realised I tend to brush these feelings off. I’m very driven by completing my assignments and doing what I have to do. I actually like the fact that I’m doing that because it really distracts me from worrying about my social life. That may not sound healthy.

I honestly do feel that there are other people who are doing this more than me, which sometimes makes me question whether I’m doing enough. I’ve been trying to make time to relax but in my mind, I get anxious instead because to me, if I can relax, it means I have time to do assignments and do what I need to much earlier than I can do. Then again, I’m not as motivated to start early so that can be bad because then, I get more stressed out about trying to complete everything on time.

I wake up almost every day at 7.30AM and sleep at 12.30-1AM.

A lot of people ask me how I do it. Honestly, I find that it’s good to remind yourself why you’re waking up.

People ask me how I do it, I honestly can make a list about it. You know what, let’s do it, let’s make a list. List make me feel good. I went crazy one day when I found out you can do it on Twitter. Okay, I’m rambling but anyways… These are my tricks of waking up early.

P.S.: It doesn’t necessarily work on everyone but it’s always worth a try.

1. Write a schedule for the following day, a day before.

I tend to do this when I know I’m going to have a really busy day. It helps me relax because I’m not thinking about what’s coming up next when I have it written down somewhere. This seriously lets me sleep with ease. When I’m planning something the next day and trying to remember it for the next day, it can be stressful with so many thoughts in your head and prevent you from relaxing enough to sleep.

2. Find motivation

Everyone has some form of motivation or drive to start their day. For me, it’s so I can sleep earlier and possibly longer. I feel more things can be done in the day. You can do more than five things in a day besides eating and resting. When it’s night, I tend to get really tired and be less driven to do anything because I just want to rest from a long day. When I wake up early, I feel like I also have more time to do things. Let’s say you have a really big assignment due in a five weeks but you want to have time to relax in between, so you wake up early everyday for three weeks before the deadline, start working on it early in the day and then take breaks in between.

3. Get into a routine

This is key. I try to make a routine into a habit because as the saying goes, “old habits die hard.” In this case, if it’s not a old habit, make it one. It takes practice but it’s okay, just refer to point one and two.

4. Define your goals

Just like a checklist and this list, figure out what you want to do. This is similar to point two in a sense that these goals have to be your motivation in getting something done. I personally like having little goals each time that lead up to one major goals, simply like baby-steps.

5. Remind yourself who and what is at stake

Sounds pretty dramatic and scary but it works for some people. Remind yourself the repercussions and the affects of you acting a certain way. For me, my stake is making myself feel proud of the goals I’ve achieved and making other people happy when they see me happy. I know this can be stressful as you’re basically putting pressure on yourself. Do it when you need to but don’t always think you’re the blame for everything. Remind yourself that you have a part in something but when you don’t do it completely, don’t blame and hurt yourself too much for it.

I think that concludes my five tricks for waking up early but it looks like it can be for anything general to just make sure you get things done. Heh.

With that, I conclude this post.

First Year @ Carleton Over

Hey Guys!

Sorry that I’ve been gone for so long…I was really busy with the usual university stuff: assignments, extra-curricular activities and so on.

Peterborough

I visited Dorothy at Peterborough during during Reading Week.

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She was initially supposed to come to Ottawa but somehow, it ended up the other way around. It was really nice seeing her especially since I haven’t seen her in so long.

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We checked out Peterborough’s free zoo and walked around their tiny Downtown.

 

Carleton University Dance Crew Showcase

Basically, danced and performed at Kilash Mital Theatre. We did dance mixes from the 1950s all the way to the 2000s. I had a lot of fun!

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70s-80s Mix

Only regret is that I felt that I should’ve performed more. :X

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Spoon University

If you’ve been keeping up with me on my Instagram, you’d have realised that I started writing for Spoon University. That’s right! I’ve been writing and churning articles twice a month.

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Check out my articles:

The Charlatan

I also wrote for my school’s newspaper. It was very sudden and I thought I didn’t have enough time for it. Apparently, I do. I think once I’ve been given an assignment, I’ll complete it within the deadline.

features image.jpgI think the most interesting one was definitely the features piece. It was about the international students’ difficulty of finding jobs in Canada. I pitched this piece because I was actually facing some problems finding a job in Canada.

Final Exams

I had my first university final exams! Of course, there was a lot of studying involved. I only had three exams and two take-homes.

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Exam snacks

This time around, I did most of my studying in the study lounge on my floor instead of heading to the library. Somehow, I had a cult of engineers following me to the study lounge. @_@ It got a bit out of hand because they were making a lot of noise. :<

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Sasitha, Nihon and Abby

Studying went alright the first week but I lost so much motivation towards the end. I didn’t really study for my last exam because it was practically the last day and I had like 10 days gap from my second last exam. It was a pain keeping my motivation up. But now that I’m done, I’m so happy!

Post-Exam

Yaassssss! I basically moved out of Glengarry. OMG! I’ve been cooking and stuff. Ya know.. I also went to Toronto. I actually just got back from Toronto and will be preparing a separate post for it.

Toronto was awesome. I miss it so much. Anyways, I’ll talk about Toronto another time. See ya guys soon!