Monthly Archives: November 2007

How to Get In To Grad School

How can you be a competitive applicant if you’re planning on going to grad school? It’s not a bad idea to think of some strategies well in advance of the application deadline to your particular school and program. That way, you have lots of time to bolster up your application by making sure your GPA remains competitive, practicing for any admissions tests you may have to write, seeking out instructors to write letters of reference for you, and doing any research papers/conference presentations or extracurricular activities that’ll make you look like a great candidate.

Also, on the practical side, you may want to save up some cash for those application fees. Especially if you’re planning to apply to your dream program plus a couple “safety” programs. Those $100 non-refundables add up pretty quick, not to mention the cost of writing GREs, LSATs, or whatever other admissions tests might be required.

Here’s a site with some tips on getting in. It’s an American site so some stuff won’t apply unless you’re planning to head to the States for grad school (like funding, and going straight to a doctoral program without the Master’s degree) but the general tips are really good ones and there are sample reference letters and essays.

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Filed under Where to go with a BA

Zen and the Art of Feeling Zen

I am the Zen Master. When I think about my life,  school, work, family, friends, money, the future and so on, I have EVERY RIGHT TO FREAK OUT!! But I don’t. How, you ask?

To be honest, I do freak out a lot. But I know there are better ways of dealing with stress if I would just put them into practice. Here are some (in no particular order) that could help out at this particularly stressful time of year, what with exams, papers, Christmas plans, Christmas spending and so on.

1. Sweat, Don’t Stress
You can’t think too hard when you’re in the middle of an intensive exercise regime. So when the old brain starts thinking in circles, go for a run, skip rope, go swimming, whatever will get your mind off the abstract and onto the physical to give yourself a break from stress.

2. Be Funny!
It’s been shown that people who use humour to cover up their true feelings . . . are actually fairly mentally healthy! (Refer to an intro psych text if you are curious about this). Try to see the funny side of the situation. “Today during my English presentation I said ‘He saw his father in the buff for the first time’ instead of ‘He saw his father in the flesh for the first time’.” Embarrassing? Maybe. Hilarious? Definitely. (That actually is a slip up I once made!)

3. Lean On Me
If you’ve got friends stressing out about the same things, get together and have a group therapy session, just freaking out. It may be that someone else’s problems are worse and you can thank your lucky stars you aren’t them. That sounds a bit jerkish, but it can help. Just don’t go overboard into a massive all-night pity party that leaves you more upset than before. Commiserate, then move on.

4. Do some deep-breathing/muscle relaxation.
This is supposed to help bring the physiological symptoms of stress down, thereby eliminating the feelings that go with them. Here’s how to do it:

5. Put It In Perspective
It might seem like your woes are insurmountable, but really, when you’re 80 years old are they going to seem that important? Look back on them from the perspective of somebody who has lived a full life. Maybe they’re not so bad in the grand scheme of things.

BUT IF THEY ARE . . . if you are close to a nervous breakdown and really feel that the stress in your life is too much to handle . . . go see somebody for help. The counsellors in Student Success Services (Rm 1402) are free and can help you out.

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Filed under college, Random Stuff, Uncategorized

Things that are Free: Edmonton Canada Career Week Fair

For the dates and information on Canada Career Week Fair in Edmonton 2009 and The Career Show in Calgary, check this post.

In case you are heading north this weekend, you might want to check out the (free) Edmonton Canada Career Week Fair. Or maybe it’s Canada Edmonton Career Fair Week? Well, whatever the title, it’s at the Northlands Sportex (in same area as Rexall Place) and runs from 9-5 p.m. today and Saturday. If you’re graduating, you can check out places that are hiring; if you’re transferring or thinking of checking out postsecondary, there are lots of those places too.

IN FACT, I will be there tomorrow, at the Red Deer College booth all day, telling people to get their B.A., and to get going on it at RDC. And picking up free stuff from other booths. Like caramels, frisbees, lip balm, mints . . . at the Calgary one last week I got pizza!

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Filed under Events, Where to go with a BA

Committee Member, Anyone?

I need committee members!!!

The Student Perspectives Conference is scheduled this year for March 14 and 15. At this conference, students present their best work to their peers, faculty, and members of the public.

Before the conference, a lot of planning is required, including advertising, budgeting, and selecting the papers that will be presented.

If you’re interested in planning the conference, please email me at by the end of this week to let me know! The time commitment is about one meeting every month, with subcommittees meeting a couple times more towards the conference date.

 If you’re not interested in volunteering for the committee, but are interested in being a presenter at the conference, more info will be on the way.

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Procrastinate with a Game of Chess or Chance

Quit working so hard! Go out tonight and think deep thoughts (or listen to other people with deep thoughts) instead of slogging away at your homework obligations.

A Game of Chess or a Game of Chance? Tonight is the World Religions Conference from 6-8:30 p.m. in the Margaret Parsons Theater. Representatives of Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam will be discussing religious perspectives on the theory of evolution. It’s free to attend, but you can register online at

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