Stories From The Arch

Stories From The Arch:

Chronicles of a Mac Student


May 2019

If I were to describe my university journey in five words, it would be: a series of unexpected events.

At the beginning of this school year, I wrote a blog post called Dear First Year Me, in which I wrote about all the tips and advice I would give my first-year self as a final year student. Now, I want to share some things that I was reminded about in my final year.

Many people do not want to think about the possibility of not getting the acceptance they want or having their goals achieved, but it’s better to come to terms with it now than later. I can’t stress enough how it’s okay to not know what you want to do for the rest of your life. Exploring your options is very important.

Apr 2019

I try to focus on the present. Uncertainty scares me just like anyone else, but I try to do my best in living in the moment and doing things that matter the most, such as helping people, being kind and leaving a positive impact on other peoples’ lives.

I think if you want to accomplish something, keeping positive energy inside you is important. When you help people, it comes back to you, so being mindful of other people along the journey of life makes me comfortable and gives me hope about a good future. When things are hard, I believe karma will come around just when it’s needed, and in the end, it will work out. For this reason, I’m prepared for the future and whatever happens in between.

When I first came to McMaster, my GPA took a blow and I was shut down. It was discouraging to see the decline in grades in contrast to the high 80s and 90s I was getting in high school.

After reflecting on my study methods and how I was grasping the information presented to me throughout my courses, I realized that the university curriculum is very different from that of high school and to succeed I must change a few of the habits I had coming in. I came back in second semester being my own competition and motivated more than ever to get myself back up from the slump I was in.

Mar 2019

At the end of the day, you have to try. I know it's so much easier to say than do because you get into that thought process… What if I don’t get in? What if I fail? What if no one accepts me? What if I never find anything? It’s just a loop. The thing is, these are all just “what ifs.” There’s a whole other side to them. What if you do get in? What if you get into the program you wanted to? You have to consider the other side, too.

Although I wish it did, the song didn’t miraculously alleviate all my anxieties about the future; however, this part of the chorus really had me reflect: “Ain’t about how fast I get there / Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side / It’s the climb.” From this song, I realized that I need to start letting go of the expectations I had about what I thought my life would be like after graduation and instead learn from my experiences during my time at Mac by embracing the journey. I never thought a song from the Hannah Montana movie, which funny enough was the first movie I watched in theatres after immigrating to Canada, would resonate with me today just like it did 10 years ago when I was trying to find my identity in middle school, but I guess you never know where you can find inspiration in life!

Although being a doctor has always been a dream of mine, my aspiration is to help people in the most meaningful way I can. The lack of good health is a reality that affects many people in the world, prevents them from reaching their full potential and consequently from contributing to society. I have always loved interacting with people, learning their stories, and doing something to make them happy. I am excited to reach a position where I have the right education and skills to do something more for others and make a positive impact in their daily lives.

Feb 2019

There is a policy in my home university where they hire the top one student in the department as a lecturer after they graduate. I was the top one student in both third and fourth year and was expected to be a lecturer; however, when I graduated, it was the first time in the history of my home university that they decided not to hire the new staff because of decreasing funds. Everyone was shocked because it was like a 100% sure thing and who even thinks of a second plan for a sure thing? It was definitely life changing. I ended up being a lecturer in another university, but my wedding ceremony got delayed for eight months. I needed time to adjust to the new university and environment.

With my plans for life after graduation still up in the air and the extreme cold temperatures last week, I'm am finding it difficult to focus on the present and have instead been staying at home as much as possible daydreaming about the future and warmer weather.

My barrier at times has been myself and not believing in myself – I think it’s the biggest barrier you can have. So many other people can believe in you or can tell you that you can do something, but if you don’t believe it yourself then that will hinder you the most. I am a very realistic person and I look at statistics. I always think, “I can’t do that.” If you’re trying to reach a goal, then you can’t tell yourself that you can’t reach a goal without even trying. It’s good to have a back-up plan, but it’s not good to be so fearful that you just accept that your back up plan is going to happen.

Jan 2019

I’ve heard of this saying where it’s like, it’s not the fact that you think about the future that makes you anxious, it’s the fact that you’re trying to control it that makes you anxious. I treat the future as something that’s exciting. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something negative. Eventually, what’s going to happen is going to happen. Uncertainties help you grow as a person. I mostly think in a positive sense. There’s a lot of things that are unknown – there are going to be times when you’re overwhelmed and where things can go wrong and you’re not going to want to go in that direction. There is no way to control it and it will only add to your stress and anxiety. Everyone goes through hardships – just be optimistic about the future. Uncertainties make it exciting. Validate yourself. Love yourself.

As a student in my final year facing a lot of uncertainty, I really enjoyed participating in this project because it reminded me to be more open to unplanned events and opportunities. I was also able to learn so much from interviewing students and reading the interviews even if I did not know them personally and there was a part of each student’s story that resonated with me. It has made me realize that the importance of taking a moment to have meaningful conversations with friends and peers at university, because you never know what you’ll learn from their stories.

Nov 2018

It’s been a hectic month so far. Do you ever just experience one minor inconvenience and then feel like everything is falling apart? Earlier this month, I lost my card holder with my student card and bus pass on my way home from my night class. I didn’t want to wait for the bus, so I decided to walk even though it was really windy. But, when I got home and checked my pocket, where I thought I had my student card and bus pass, I realized I had lost it.

Oct 2018

I apologize for the hiatus. I’ve been swamped with finishing assignments and studying for midterms all week that I really should have done over Reading Week. My expectations going into Reading Week were pretty simple: catch up on all the work I was behind on, do some research on what to do after graduation, and relax.

Sep 2018

Time is really flying by! Tomorrow is the first official day of Fall and I can't believe that it's almost the end of the September. By now the excitement of Welcome Week has died down and with coursework piling on, the reality of the school year has set in. And on top of all of this, Reading Week is only two weeks away, which means that midterm season is right around the corner and it's time to start preparing yourself for those long nights of studying and/or writing essays.

Aug 2018

I was recently looking at pictures from when I attended the Horizons Leadership Conference in 2014 and was reminiscing about my first year in university. I remember writing a letter to myself before I had started my undergrad during the conference in which I gave myself some advice for the next couple of years. Since I’ll be starting my final year at university next week, I thought it would be fun to write a letter about all the advice I would give my first year self after having experienced it all. Here it goes!

At the age of five, I travelled alone on a plane for the first time. Although it was a short flight from Abu Dhabi to Hyderabad, it was an amazing experience that sparked a passion for travel and my dream to one day work at the airport where each person travelling has their own unique, personal story and reasons for the places that they're travelling to. So when the opportunity came up to volunteer for the Airport Welcome program, I just couldn't pass it up!

After four weeks of settling into the role of being a blogger and getting used to things, I feel like I hit a wall in terms of what to write for this week's post. During my writer’s block, I realized that I'm feeling less creative because it's gotten to that point of the summer where I just feel like things are dragging on and the tasks that once seemed new and daunting, but also exciting to me are now just part of a weekly routine.

There's officially less than a month until classes start! It's no doubt that this summer is going by quickly and although I never took part in the #inmyfeelings challenge that flooded Insta, the one thing challenging my feelings at the moment is the thought of going back to school.

Last week I attended Hamilton’s first Newcomer Day at City Hall. During the event, I had the chance to help out at McMaster’s booth which had a prominent spot in front of the Council Chambers where a Citizenship Ceremony was held, welcoming 35 new Canadian citizens from 15 different countries.

Jul 2018

Recently while scrolling on Insta and seeing the SSC's #mcmasterhiddengems posts, I realized that I don't actually know where a lot of them are. I started thinking about the amount of time I spend on-campus and off-campus, and how much of my surroundings I haven't taken the time to appreciate - like this quote that I've walked by so many times! Leave a comment down below if you know where it is!

Feeling like this summer just isn’t living up to what you thought it would be? Do you keep asking yourself, “Where has the time flown???” It seems like it’s the tale of every university student and after being here for 4 years, I’ve become pretty accustomed to this feeling. It's amazing to think that in first year I thought having a four-month summer break would be too long. Now I think that it isn't long enough.

Hello Marauders! I’m Manveetha Muddaluru, the new Stories From the Arch blogger! I recently finished my fourth year at Mac and will be entering my fifth year this fall. I started off my undergrad degree in the Life Sciences program, but I am now pursuing a degree in Communication Studies. If you would like to know more about my undergrad journey so far, you can read all about it in my LinkedIn Articles on transitioning into university and what I learned during my process of changing programs.

May 2018

My position as blogger for the Student Success Centre was way more than I expected it to be. Not only did it help add a different flavor of creativity to my days, but it also challenged me to stay organized, punctual, and develop my own writing skills. As I reflect back on my experience as SSC blogger, I had a lot of fun thinking of new content ideas and developing them into something worth reading. All in all, if you found even one post helpful or interesting, then I can call that an accomplishment!

Apr 2018

Are you a staying in Hamilton for the summer and need something fun to do? If so, don’t fret- I’ve got your back. I’ve gone through a long list of different events going on in Hamilton (and neighbouring areas) that seem fun and interesting. Here’s what I came up with!

As students, it’s often tricky to handle so many different aspects of life at once. Additional to all the stress that comes from school, most of us have to look after our own finances as well. One of the best ways to ensure that you have very little to worry about once September comes along is paying attention to your spending habits over the summer.

Whether you’re sticking around for the summer, live nearby, or are just curious for next year, I’ve decided to outline my favourite food spots to eat in Hamilton. If I’m being honest, I just love food a lot. I think good food deserves good exposure, and this is what that is. ** Disclaimer: NOT ranked in any particular order (that would just be too hard) **

If you’ve read my exam prep post already, or if you simply attend McMaster, then you should be well aware that McMaster’s fourth Annual Light Up the Night is just DAYS away. Why do I seem so excited? Well, despite the small inconvenience of rain we’ve experienced in previous years, Light Up the Night has held up and been a great event for all students and friends to attend.

Mar 2018

As you may have already seen floating around social media, SAM is a McMaster-born fashion group that strives to showcase the diversity of fashion on campus (i.e. Style at Mac). I personally joined SAM because I was in need of a fun and interesting creative outlet, and SAM seemed to match what I was looking for exactly. Fashion to me can be a lot of things, but in particular, I see it as a form of self-expression in which one’s own personality and creativity surfaces.

With exams right around the corner and yet another convocation rapidly approaching, many students around campus are scurrying to meet their last few deadlines before the sweet release of freedom. It’s a great time of the year if you ask me. I mean, sure, it’s busy and stressful and all that, but what lays ahead is totally worth it.

Feb 2018

February is that time of the year where winter has dragged on just a little too long, midterms have either consumed you or are about to, and all you find yourself thinking about is the summer time. The February blues are normal, but the lack of warmth and stress-filled midterm season will be over soon.

February is that time of the year where winter has dragged on just a little too long, midterms have either consumed you or are about to, and all you find yourself thinking about is the summer time. The February blues are normal, but the lack of warmth and stress-filled midterm season will be over soon.

Jan 2018

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re stuck in a rut? It’s unsettling, it’s “blah,” and it’s seemingly unshakeable. Whether academic or creative, some cogs in your brain just don’t seem to be operating where they should be. You’re stuck in the same routine day in and day out, and you seem to lose touch with what you really care about. Well, if that’s you, I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone, and most importantly, that this feeling is shakeable.

There’s a lot to reflect upon with each New Year. For a lot of us, the New Year is a time to reflect upon our successes, failures, opportunities taken, opportunities missed, and our mistakes made. It’s a time to critically evaluate ourselves and identify what we can change and do better.

With 2017 successfully in our rear-view mirror and a brand new year ahead of us, all the resolutions come out. I’ve really never been opposed to new year’s resolutions, but there’s something that bugs me about them and it’s why I usually don’t formally commit to resolve anything. Sometimes we have this illusion that in the brief minute it takes for the clock to hit 12 AM, we can suddenly forget old habits. I always hear, “I’m going to start doing this…” and “…stop doing that.” In no way is that a bad thing- it’s important to acknowledge what you can do better or what you should change. The point I want to make is that it takes more than a minute change on the clock to set and accomplish a goal.

Dec 2017

Before I start listing movies, I feel like I should make a few things clear. First off, these are not by any means in a particular order (that would just be too hard). Second, do not feel limited to when you are allowed to watch these movies- they are good for all seasons!

When I think about the holidays, I’d like to think about a peaceful and stress-free time where no school deadlines creep up and all the Christmas shopping is done on time. Unfortunately for us students, exams run until the December 21 and majority of us are pretty much broke by the end of the term.

Nov 2017

Lately I’ve been contemplating whether or not dropping one of my courses this semester is the best choice for me. There are a couple of reasons why this decision was difficult. I found myself constantly weighing out the pros and cons around how it would affect my chances of getting into medical school, something I’ve been planning to do for several years now. Change is something every person either has great trouble dealing with or embraces with open arms. Personally speaking, I don’t typically struggle with change. This time around, however, it wasn’t something I was completely ready to bring upon myself.

Oct 2017

There’s nothing that quite says autumn like a pumpkin spice latte during a crisp and colourful evening. On that note, the fall break wouldn’t be quite as exciting if it weren’t for the turkey, stuffing, and plethora of pies that officially kick off fall break relaxation.

As we head into our much-anticipated fall break, the distraction and procrastination that accompanies it is just an arm’s reach away. However, I’m not here to guilt you. I think we could all benefit from some time off to just sit back and relax.

Sep 2017

When I started my first year of university I didn’t really know what to expect. How do I deal with the increased workload? How do I study? How do I meet new people and network with my professors? These were just some of the questions I asked myself over and over. I knew it was going to be a big change, but I also knew it was going to be the beginning of some of the best years of my life.

The new year of school can be stressful in many different ways. Students tend to worry about their classes, social engagement, finances, health, and numerous other things. Although these are all valuable factors, finances can be a bit more overwhelming, especially considering the fact that there aren’t as many known resources to guide students. We’ve got big tuition payments, textbook costs, and many different living expenses to look after, all while juggling a plethora of different responsibilities.

Well Marauders, a new year is among us and it’s time to get with the flow!
Transitioning is never easy, but unfortunately, it’s a change we all have to endure. I’m usually a mess the night before. I refuse to sleep and just stay up thinking of ways to make a lot of money without having to attend school. However, something I’ve noticed is that my nerves of starting a new year typically go away after the first day or so (or at least in my case anyways). After I go to a lecture or two, grab a Willy Dog, and stand in the never-ending Starbucks line, I begin to feel at home again.

Aug 2017

I wasn’t having a particularly bad morning at work- the department was clean and tidy and there weren’t any really difficult customers that morning. However, as the day carried on it seemed like everything that could have gone wrong, did. Another associate called in sick, so I was left alone to close that evening. This on its own isn’t too bad, but as the night went on I had to deal with increasingly difficult customers and as a result, my patience began to wear thin- very, very quickly.

Well, the start of school is a mere three weeks away and if you’re like me, you’ve probably procrastinated a little bit on those summer fitness goals.

Last night, as I aimlessly watched through a video thread on YouTube, I came across one that caught my attention and motivated me to write this post. It was called, “How to find your life’s purpose in 5 minutes.” The TEDx speaker, Adam Leipzig, highlights what he believes are the top 5 questions to not only consider, but truly explore if you are questioning your own purpose.

Jul 2017

Have you ever noticed how a negative event tends to stick in our minds longer than a positive one does? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately (and not just because my laptop broke and I lost many important files).

Socioeconomic, gender, racial, religious, cultural, and so on are all different forms of diversity that contribute to and help inform an individual’s experience of the world and everything within it. Diversity can be seen from many different perspectives and is something that I find to be imperative in evolving as a well-functioning society.

Productivity is pretty subjective. What you consider to be a productive day may not be so productive to another. Despite its subjectivity, one thing that remains common many is the need to do better with each passing day.

Whether it’s 4, 6, or 8 AM, most of us default to the snooze button so that we can enjoy those extra minutes of sleep.
If you aren’t a morning person, waking up in the morning is nothing short of challenging and definitely not something you would look forward the night before. Although I’ve come to love waking up early, I used to be the worst for it.

On this day, 150 years ago, Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain and a federation of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick Ontario, and Quebec. Today, Canada is home to 35 million ethnically, racially, and religiously diverse individuals. Ranked among the highest in international measurements of civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, and education, Canada has been my home for 16 out of my short 21 years of life.

Jun 2017

This summer I will be rewriting the MCAT for my second time. For those of you who may not be too familiar with it, the MCAT is a seven and a half hour long Medical College Admissions Test. Made up of four testing blocks, the MCAT will test your knowledge and comprehension on a variety of topics within the domains of biology and biochemistry, chemistry and physics, psychology and sociology, and critical analysis and reasoning skills. With every medical school in Canada requiring the student to achieve a competitive score to even be considered, the MCAT is nothing short of stressful and every aspiring doctor’s worst nightmare.

No matter whom I run into, talk to, or meet, my chosen major is always one of the topics of discussion. It’s not wrong to ask someone about their major, but sometimes it can be stressful if you don’t exactly know if it’s the right one for you.

As I sit in my favourite coffee shop trying to write this post, I’m coming to realize the frustrations of writer’s block. None of the topics I’m writing down seem to work.
With my inspiration and creativity slowly winding down, I’ve come to realize that there really is no better time to relax and destress. When we are constantly working, whether for a summer job or school, forgetting to rest can result in feelings of exhaustion and burnout.
And that’s exactly what I’m feeling…

I’ve seen bad habits take control of my life in more than one way. As I’m sure many of you reading know, university hasn’t been anything short of stressful and anxiety inducing.
We’ve all heard the about the freshman fifteen and maybe even the freshman thirty. Food can be a comforting companion to many of us in times of hardship. In my case, I also generally just love food in all of its glory, and so of course, it’s become my “stress habit.”

Next week our fellow Marauders will be attending their convocation ceremony to celebrate both the past few years spent here and the new journey they are about to embark upon. As I get ready to enter my final year of undergrad, a bunch of different emotions and thoughts fill my head, some of which may be similar to those of our soon-to-be alumni.

I was sitting in a coffee shop the other morning after a bike ride when I saw a man reading The Path by Christine Gross-Loh and Michael J. Puett.
The book discusses the views of Chinese philosophers on how one can find and live “the good life.” Although I have yet to read it, I was inspired to think about my own path and whether or not I create it.

I volunteer for the Hospital Elderly Life Program, an initiative started to help prevent the development of delirium among elderly patients. Delirium is a state that some individuals develop once they’ve been in the hospital for an extended amount of time and have no real source of cognitive stimuli.

Whether it’s during the school year or summer break, we often find ourselves with a variety of responsibilities and to-do lists that can seem quite overwhelming. Balancing work, studying, and socializing, all while making time for ourselves, has become increasingly more difficult.

May 2017

For a while now I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a truly positive person. In my opinion, having a positive attitude and mindset is one of the most potent character traits one can have. To be able to remain positive, no matter the outcome, is a very powerful and influential capability.

I was browsing around on the internet the other day when I stumbled across this number. This number represents the amount of days we have from birth until 90 years of age.

Hello! My name is Sergio Santolo and I am your new Water Cooler Gossip blogger. I’ve recently completed my third year in the Honours Life Sciences program at our one and only, McMaster University. Despite my tendency to procrastinate, I love learning new information and believe that I’m a true academic at heart. Upon graduation, I intend to apply to a Global Health or Health & Aging Masters prior to pursuing a Medical Degree.

Throwback to my first year, wobbling around with my oversized Roots backpack, stepping foot on campus in total awe of all the adventures yet to come - a ball of nerves and excitement wrapped into one. I remember Frosh week and Clubfest as clear as day. I was a curious and energetic soul ready to explore, strive, and learn something from anyone in sight. It was a time to start fresh and present myself any way I wanted to be. A time to diversify myself with new people and discover fresh interests.

Apr 2017

The process in which new behaviours become automatic is known as habit formation. Yes, I’m fully aware how hard it is to break an old habit and also how much effort it takes to formulate a new one. I also know how frustrating this process can be. AND in fact, I also don’t blame you, as these behavioural patterns become imprinted in the neural pathways of our brains: the longer the habit has been in place, the more connections that exist, and thus, the harder it is to break off.

My position as blogger for the Student Success Centre was way more than I expected it to be. Not only did it help add a different flavor of creativity to my days, but it also challenged me to stay organized, punctual, and develop my own writing skills. As I reflect back on my experience as SSC blogger, I had a lot of fun thinking of new content ideas and developing them into something worth reading. All in all, if you found even one post helpful or interesting, then I can call that an accomplishment!

Mar 2017

It’s a tough time of year for everyone, or at least I’ll speak for myself… I’m stuck in a tornado of deadlines and commitments and honestly, exhausted. “Three more weeks left,” I keep telling myself as motivation. Why does everything seem so long and tedious around this time of year? What I’ve learned most about getting through these times is to create a short term action plan. As we all know, often the most basic things and the most neglected are the most important: exercise, sleep quality, water, nutrition, sunlight, etc. One crucial thing I want to talk about that we often forget is self-compassion.

As it is wellness Wednesday and halfway through March (can you believe how much time has passed by already!?), I think it’s time for some introspection.

Throwback to my first year, wobbling around with my oversized Roots backpack, stepping foot on campus in total awe of all the adventures yet to come - a ball of nerves and excitement wrapped into one. I remember Frosh week and Clubfest as clear as day. I was a curious and energetic soul ready to explore, strive, and learn something from anyone in sight. It was a time to start fresh and present myself any way I wanted to be. A time to diversify myself with new people and discover fresh interests.

Feb 2017

It's reading week! YEESSSSSSS!! You've been WAITING for this breath of fresh air for so long.
Free from waking up every day to a strict schedule of classes, balancing a slew of meetings, assignments, and midterms. Home sweet home... at last!
That is until, you are actually reminded what exactly reading week entails... Home.

As tragedy after tragedy keeps flooding my news feed, I find it harder and harder to maintain a positive outlook. Despite my recent pessimism, I think it’s crucial to recognize our collective humanity and tackle these challenges together.

Jan 2017

This week was a great week for self-discovery and knowledge seeking. My new year’s goal (and similarly, so were many of yours!!!) was to target healing my emotional and mental health, so this week I really tried to focus on different fields of mindfulness practices. The first was an incredible workshop I attended by McMaster fitness and high performance coach, Laura Rietmuller, the past weekend at the SLC Conference (check out the Student Leadership Conference Recap HERE!) The workshop took a deeper look at everyday mindfulness and then really helped simplify the concepts into workable practices, which lead to a greater understanding of the balance between my body, mind, and soul.

Oye! 2016 has come and gone, and the New Year has just begun. As we all get settled back into our student homes, our school schedules and working hours, we are left to evaluate a year that has passed us by so quickly. For me, it has been a year of new challenges and a roller coaster of ups and downs.

There are many ideas of what a goal should be, and how it should be set up. Some people work best with smaller and more concrete objectives to use as stepping stones. Others feel that setting larger and more visionary goals is the best way to motivate themselves.

Dec 2016

“Yesterday evening I was in Coffee Culture and ordered a latte. When it was brought to me, I realized that it had an ingredient I couldn't consume but I didn't want to return it as I felt it would just be poured down the drain...

The internet can certainly be a stressful place between social media drama, academic work, photoshopped images and negative news; however, it doesn’t have to be! Lucky for you, I’ve just found the 7 happiest web spaces with some of the most positive, kindest stories, videos and images to brighten up, inspire and uplift your gloomy day!

Oh man, has it been a hectic week! Balancing work and school alone is chaotic without even mentioning family life, social life, and (most importantly!) regulating food and sleeping habits! Does anyone else feel like courses give an illusion of “smooth sailing” at the beginning of the semester and then, BAM, BAM, BAM! Everything is due one day after the next, as our poor souls chug down coffee after coffee, mess up sleep and eating patterns, and scurry to meet deadlines with the best quality of work we can muster half-awake. Trust me, you are NOT alone!

Nov 2016

You’re walking to class and you pass by a billboard with a bunch of flyers on it. Your eyes glance across a couple of them: “Student Leadership Conference in January”; “A Long Night Against Procrastination”; “Mary Keyes Certificate”; “Company Coffee Chats” … “These events all sound so interesting” - you think to yourself. Then your vision stumbles over the same repetitive phrase on each poster: “Register on OSCARplus!” Suddenly, going to those events feels like a lot of work.

Let’s step away from the piles of work we should study, pause the chaos of life, and take a moment to pull out some inner peace instead.

Collectively, we are all humans; however, it is our diversity that presents richness in our being. By interacting with people of different races, ages, sexes, perspectives, and experiences we gain a wealth of knowledge about the world.

Hey Marauders,

I’m so happy to be your next student blogger because blogging today has become a more powerful tool than ever before. More people want to blog, and more and more people are reading blogs; on average, 33% of internet users read blogs each month!

Are you the type to feel daunted by a big scary task with an upcoming deadline? Or, even the type to not care about it until the very last minute, and just whip up a copy of whatever your brain can muster, half-asleep, in the AM’s of the night? Or, how about the type to constantly ask for extensions from your professors, throwing you into a whirl of guilt, MSAFs and stress, barely sliding through your semester? Well, guess what? Me too! Unfortunately, very few people that I know are free from this curse.

Sep 2016

Hello McMaster,

This is my final post on Water Cooler Gossip. I guess you could say it’s now part of my own McMaster legacy and I’m finding it pretty hard to say goodbye.

I have listened to so many motivational speeches, but this one really got me. Shonda Rimes, the director and writer behind Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder speaks about the challenges and happiness that has given her life meaning. While she speaks about her career and her life as a parent, it relates so heavily to the struggles we face while at university.

Aug 2016

As the school year comes to a start, you should be thinking about building habits that will help you to succeed. Probably the first suggestion people will tell you is to put away the phone because it’s a distraction. I think that’s a bit close minded because your phone is a brilliant little piece of technology that has adapted to be a device of success. I encourage you to take advantage of downloadable apps that will make your life ten times easier this year in university.

If your around campus in August, there is a new type of excitement in the air. That’s because Welcome Week is right around the corner, and literally everyone at McMaster is getting ready for new and old students to arrive on campus. Welcome Week, whether you’re new to Mac or not, is always a blast.

Jul 2016

This summer has been one heck of a roller coaster ride. After a lot of up’s and down’s in my job search, I finally did it. I achieved the ultimate adulting goal; I found a full-time job, and here is the best part, it’s in a field that interests me and in a city I love. For my first “big girl” job, I’m pretty excited about it all! Life right now, although different and challenging, is pretty darn good and only getting better.

This year I had a conversation with the president of BAM (bloggers at MAC), and we discussed a common challenge related to the blogging community; blogs, no matter how good the content, or how passionate the writer, often have trouble generating traffic. We could pour our hearts and souls into creating sentences that for hours we painstakingly string together into beautifully crafted content, but alas without readers, that content lands in a beautiful but abandoned virtual landfill.

Recently I came across this article and it gives a pretty interesting take on life goals. Should our generation follow their passions? Is it leading us to failure? Some would say yes, some would say no, but this article provides a perspective that I think most students and young people could benefit from reading if some time was spent afterwards in reflection.

Jun 2016

This summer has been one heck of a roller coaster ride. After a lot of up’s and down’s in my job search, I finally did it. I achieved the ultimate adulting goal; I found a full-time job, and here is the best part, it’s in a field that interests me and in a city I love. For my first “big girl” job, I’m pretty excited about it all! Life right now, although different and challenging, is pretty darn good and only getting better.

After four long years of school, I decided that the best way to celebrate would be to go on a graduation trip to Cuba! Last week I spent the days getting lost in paradise with my boyfriend, and it was amazing! The resort was beautiful, the beach crystal clear, and the hotel was all-inclusive so we could eat and drink till our hearts were content.

May 2016

This summer isn’t going exactly as planned. I’m a recent graduate, still don’t have a full-time job, and I live at my parent’s house. Such is life, but I’m trying to make the most out of my situation by continuing to apply to jobs, keeping busy, and trying to relax while I have the chance.

After four long years of school, I decided that the best way to celebrate would be to go on a graduation trip to Cuba! Last week I spent the days getting lost in paradise with my boyfriend, and it was amazing! The resort was beautiful, the beach crystal clear, and the hotel was all-inclusive so we could eat and drink till our hearts were content.

This has been a pretty brutal start to my summer. Within the last week, I have had to deal with some pretty heavy topics. It’s unfortunate that things have come to be this way, but I think I have made the best decisions I could have in light of the situation.

This year, I applied to grad school. You thought applying to undergrad was confusing? Wait till you try this, it makes undergrad applications seem like a walk in the park. With more experience and a greater focus on your interests, the task of sifting through hundreds of schools and hundreds of specialized topics, all of which start blurring into one another becomes an overwhelming and monstrous feat.  In addition to this, you will most likely have zero ideas of how to approach any of it when getting started.

One of the most rewarding things about my job is speaking to the people around me about their perspectives on different ideas. This morning, I had the opportunity to speak with Anushay Irfan Khan, one of the talented staff members at the SSC, about leadership and her role in helping McMaster students develop their leadership potential.

Apr 2016

One of the things I’ve been thinking about is that a summer job is not always just a means to an end – it is an opportunity for growth, realization, and change. Every year I have used my summer job as a means to simply gain money. I was willing to do very laborious jobs to get a good paycheck at the end of the week. While this is okay and has worked out well for my budget, I’ve started thinking more and more about the value of trying to land a summer job in a field related to future career interests in order to support longer term goals.

Being a Student Success Leader at Mac’s Money Centre was my step into whole new world. I’m a Life Sciences student so being in a finance and business environment was totally new to me. I viewed this position as an opportunity to develop my own financial literacy because, like many students, I had a very basic understanding of finance.

I vow to always announce where the destress events and free food will be during exams. Why? Because I believe that in order to get better grades we need to be calm, collected, and properly fueled with free food and coffee. So, here are just some of the free food and events happening during exams.

This week is my official last week of my undergraduate degree. As the end of March drew closer, the more saddened I became. It’s really hard to know that I will be saying good bye to my home for the last 4 years. I have a weird nostalgia about this whole thing, and I haven’t even left yet!

Mar 2016

Yesterday I was invited to the Morningfile segment on CFMU to speak with host, Ingie Metwally, about what’s up next for the blog! If you’re curious as to what’s going to be happening with WCG over the summer, or if you want to hear how you could have a chance to write for the blog, listen to what we spoke about in our interview!

If you’ve been buying your own groceries, you’ve probably realized that:
Healthy food + Budget ≠ a friendly time. But I am trying to change that equation.

Volunteer applications are now open! McMaster loves its volunteers and I think that volunteering with a club or service on campus is part of the University experience. Do you remember when you first arrived on campus?  You were most likely nervous and shy, but you were brought out of your shell by these energetic people in jumpsuits who sang you songs as they directed you around campus. Somehow, these people maintained that level of energy the entire week as they helped you through the challenges of meeting new people and getting familiar with your new surroundings.

Success; something which we all strive to achieve, yet what exactly is it we are looking for? Working for a Success Centre, I often get this question and I wish there was a clear, definitive answer. By definition, success is accomplishing an aim or purpose. But when I think about success, the definition seems to run much deeper. For me, success isn’t about just achieving a goal; it’s about the process that gets us there.

You went around to every booth, talked to every employer you could, and even collected some business cards along the way; now what? As a student we are quickly moving from one thing to the next, but before you’re on to the next, here are some easy tips on how you can make the most of the time you spent attending the CtoC Job Fair.

This year I have had a mid-term pretty much every week. I dread them, but at least they keep me up-to-date on the course content. My years of mid-term experiences have left me with some insights that I’d like to pay forward. Here are my Do’s and Don’ts for making it through the mid-term season.

Since starting my degree at McMaster four years ago, I have been given some of the most amazing opportunities through the Anthropology department and the Social Sciences faculty. From becoming a co-author in a book, to revisiting the past through studying material culture, anthropology has allowed me to do so much more than I had ever imagined.

I really don’t know how March got here so fast, but I will be officially done my undergraduate degree in the next few months…which is crazy! To try and keep my head above water with all the competing work and responsibilities, I’ve decided to set some personal goals this month and I’m going to try my best to stick to them.

Feb 2016

There is a vicious cycle in University where our workload will pile up, our procrastination methods become diversified, and before we know it our stress levels are through the roof. I know from experience that being overly stressed makes it hard to concentrate and get things done. That’s why for this Wellness Wednesday I challenge you to de-stress by getting active.

It’s funny how the week before reading week all we want to do is go home, and the week of, all we can think about is going back. So many people I talk to tell me that they love their family, but home life is stressful, and I completely agree.

One of my first posts on the blog was my bucket list of things I wanted to complete before I finish University. Over the weekend, I rounded up my cousin Katrina, and My Twin sister Tianna, in order to check some things off that list – I’m making it a reality.

Ahh Valentine’s day. Love is in the air kids, and while Valentine’s Day is thought of as a day to celebrate, it doesn’t mean that you have to spend a fortune to flatter the one you care for.

First, let me start by telling you that I have an intense love for food and I will go out of my way to have a good meal. I love the art of cuisine and I love the mix of aromas and décor that can fill a restaurant. I’m always testing new places and paying my respects to the favourites – a kind of self-proclaimed food critic. I am a big fan of the food scene in Hamilton and today I’m sharing some of my favourites in hopes that you will venture out and try them for yourself. I’m also going to share some insider foodie tips on where to go for cheap eats, where you can get the best value for your dollar, and some of my hands-down dish faves.

Jan 2016

Do you want the chance to win? The Student Success Centre wants to hear from you! Tell us what you think by filling out our survey. 

This post is inspired by Ariel. No, not the red-headed mermaid that lives under the sea, rather one of my co-workers; or at least she was one of my co-workers as little as 24 hours ago.  Ariel just ended her contract with the SSC and will be moving to the London area to continue pursuing her career in marketing and communications – congrats Ariel!!

If you are in your first year at McMaster – or any year for that matter – listen up! January has always been known as the house hunting season around McMaster, and you need to make sure that you jump fast to get the best place before another student scoops it. Choosing a house can be confusing. Trust me, I know, I have moved 4 times during my undergrad. But, I can assure you that if you follow some of the advice below, you are sure to find a great new place and generally feel less stressed during the process.

Hey everyone, I just wanted to give you a quick reminder that it’s still frost week and there are still some awesome events you can attend! Just because you’re back at school doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy yourself. It’s awesome that we have such a great team of people setting up events for us, if you have some time you should really check them out! Also, pay close attention to Friday’s events, I mean Niagara Falls with SOCS? Sounds like a pretty decent way to spend a Friday.

Happy New Year’s McMaster! I hope that you all had a great night on New Year ’s Eve. I went to Nathan Phillips Square to go skating and watch the fireworks to celebrate. The crowds were huge, but everyone was super excited to ring in the New Year so I didn’t mind.

Dec 2015

As you know, Bloggers at Mac and I have done a little bit of collaboration for our blogs. The article I wrote, called “Illiterate to Blogger: My Journey Through Writing,” is about a more personal topic on some struggles I had in school while growing up. It’s something I don’t normally share with people, but I’ve realized that its a pretty big feat that I have accomplished. I guess I am just proud of how far I have come, and I hope to continue to be successful in my development.

I am happy to announce that Miranda Babbitt, President of Bloggers at Mac, is here to share her thoughts on the much debated “gap year.” It has been a pleasure collaborating with such a talented writer. You can often find Miranda in and around campus, holding events for BAM, and spreading her wings as a writer for the Silhouette. Be sure to check out BAM after this post to read more from this awesome group. As for now, read her work here, and “Consider a Gap Year.”

Nov 2015

For all of the final year students here at Mac, let me start by saying I know that this is one of the most stressful times of the year. I have been speaking with a couple graduating students on campus, and many of us are unaware that applications for graduate level jobs start in October, and run through to January. If you’re feeling a little misguided about the steps you should be taking towards preparing for the career field, I’m hoping this post will help with the process.

Writing a blog is by far the coolest job I have had to date. I find it therapeutic to be able to write about subjects that students can relate to. In addition to being a fun and creative outlet geared towards students, the preparation leading up to the launch involved hard work behind-the-scenes. 

While it doesn’t feel like it, we are already halfway, if not more than halfway through first semester. I don’t know about you, but I feel it; the Mid – Semester Slump. In other words, I feel the strong lack of motivation that comes after completing endless midterms and assignments.

The world is your oyster. Ok, the saying is a bit cliché but it will also speak truth. The innate desire to experience the unknown is exhilarating and something we can begin to do during our time at university. Think about it; where do you want to go, and why?

Oct 2015

Rent, internet, food, transportation – they all add up. We all know, living on a University budget is challenging, and can seem a little ridiculous to live on. The trick to it all is learning how to budget for the mandatory expenses, and have enough left over for your rainy day fund. It means a lot of planning, and scoping out all of the cheap and free events on campus.

I find it amusing that when I say something along the lines of, “oh, yeah, I have too much work to do, can’t go out tonight!” because what it usually means is “oh, yeah, I have about 4 hours of Netflix, Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook to browse instead of working on the four essays I have to do, kind of can’t go out tonight!”

You’ve been here for a couple of months, or three to four years, so consider this challenge. There are so many things to do and see on campus and in Hamilton, so I challenge you to create your own bucket list of things you need to do before you graduate. This is my “Official” McMaster Bucket list.ey. 

A musician, a public relations and ethics specialist, a Doctor, an Engineer, and the VP administration walk into a room. While this sounds like the start of a really crappy joke, it actually was the start to a really inspiring and interesting day spent talking about Success and leadership in the Community.

The nervous, shy, intimidated by big crowds and big buildings, me. There are so many things I wish I could explain to you about the experiences you will have here. As you sit in McKay hall eating Oreo-s and longing for the comfort of your family back home, I remember the pressures you felt as a first year in a place that was so unfamiliar and so different than your little school back in Aurora.