Preparation for Final Exams!

Just the thought of studying for finals at this point can be daunting. It can be one of the most stressful times of the year, and it can really take a toll on your mind and body. What can we do to prepare ourselves for the next few weeks of stress and studying? Here, we’ll be discussing methods of reducing the amount of stress that can accumulate over the finals season using both preventative measures as well as stress management strategies.

The article is broken up into three parts including steps in preparation before exam week, tips on studying as well as strategies for stress management. To start off, we’ll talk about the preparation needed before studying. Even though the exam season has not started yet, you may want to be proactive and plan ahead by doing some of the following:

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Eat Well to Live Well with Graduate Peers

How does what you eat impact your mental and emotional health, studies, and research?

Join the Graduate Student Society and UBC’s Graduate Wellness Peers for a workshop on nutrition and mental health. Attendees will be treated to a hearty, healthy meal while a nutrition expert presents on how what you eat can help – or hinder – mental performance and emotions.

Afterward, the Graduate Wellness Peers will facilitate a discussion around food’s role in graduate student success, and participants will have the opportunity to socialize at the end. There will be take-home resources on hand as well, to help attendees take a holistic approach to their wellness.

Attendees are also encouraged to bring containers to take food home, so you can help us make sure no food goes to waste.

Date and Time: Wednesday, March 28th @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Location: The Nest, Room 4202

gss.ubc.ca/event/eat-well/

Very best wishes,

UBC’s Graduate Wellness Peers

 

 

Thinking about New Years Resolutions?

Resolutions

At the start of each year, no fail,  I start to gaze into the infinite possibilities of that year + 1, the imagery that goes along with that hopefulness is this improved version of myself. In this vision I’m glowing and everything is just a little too hazy and dream-like. Short of saying when that clock strikes 12 on January 1st,  there where I stood will be me 2.0 #newyearnewme

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Getting past the term 2 blues

September and January sound weirdly familiar: “read the syllabus,” “what classes are you taking,” “last term was ridiculous,” so on, so forth. And while there’s something to be said for routine, it can also be incredibly draining, which makes getting motivated… well… Hard.

But fear not, we have four tips to build yourself back up and power through the last half of second term:

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Be travel ready for February Break

As an out-of-province student, I’ve had my fair share of traveling during these last two years at UBC. With reading week around the corner, and thus, hopefully some time for you to take a step back from school work and go on a trip somewhere, I’m here to share with you some techniques I use to get me into the right mindset when I’m about to set out for another journey. Whether I am simply heading back home or traveling to a new city, the past couple of years have taught me how to be a mindful traveler.

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3 Easy and Alternative Ways to Manage Stress

With midterms and papers right around the corner, you’re probably starting to feel the pressure that comes with mid-semester madness. Although sleeping well, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet are all very important to the management of stress, it can also be beneficial to explore other options to see what combination works for you!

Below are some tried-and-true strategies that just might help you take the edge off:

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Website blockers for fast approaching midterm season

As we begin the countdown to midterm season, many students (including me!) may be sharing the sentiment of “so many assignments to do, yet so little time”. Luckily, in today’s technology-minded world, there are many apps to help us be the most productive we’ve ever been! Before we think about how to utilize our phones and computers for productivity, though, it may be a good idea to block off the beast of un-productivity: social media. So, let’s start by talking about website blockers:

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Applications are open for UBC Emergency Medical Aid Team (EMAT)

Now that it’s officially two weeks into 2018, it’s time to really make or break those pesky New Year resolutions. If you were hoping to find an opportunity to practice your first aid skills, to promote health and wellbeing around campus, to make new friends and to take on new challenges though, you’re in luck! The Emergency Medical Aid Team (EMAT) at UBC is currently hiring for the 2018-2019 academic year.

EMAT is a team of student volunteers that seek to promote student wellbeing around campus by providing first aid coverage at a number of events both on and off campus, including sporting events and parties. As a part of UBC Student Health Services, we are devoted to working with our partners to ensure injury prevention and all aspects of emergency care on campus. In addition, we hold a number of outreach events and training sessions throughout the year to educate UBC as a whole about alcohol intoxication, automated external defibrillators (AEDs), safer partying, and more.

Not to mention, throughout the school year, we meet every Tuesday from 4 to 6 pm for weekly training sessions, which allow us to further develop our Standard First Aid certification as well as other crucial leadership and interpersonal skills.

Applications close January 31, so don’t wait and apply now! Check out the following link for the application and position description: https://students.ubc.ca/emergency-medical-aid-team.

Written by Veena and Geoffrey

 

Applications to become a Wellness Peer are open! “Why did I become a Wellness Peer?”

Mental health is something that is so important with me. It was ten years ago, and it still is now. I’ve learnt how to persevere when the odds were stacked against me and most importantly, I’ve learned how to flourish.  I was immediately drawn to Wellness Peers because of the emphasis on mental health and wellbeing and seeing that they had topic specific teams, like the Suicide Awareness Team.

Now a whole semester with Wellness Peers, I can say I made one of the greatest decisions. Everyone on this team cares so much for the same things: mental health and general wellbeing. It’s nice having somewhere to go when I’m feeling under the weather and even more amazing getting the opportunity to talk to my fellow peers or supervisors when I need someone to listen. The training is absolutely invaluable and I’m able to use it whenever I’m in the centre and wherever I go. To be able to comfort a distressed student when they come in and help them to feel better when they leave is one of the most valuable and comforting experiences I’ve encountered in my role.

If I had any piece of advice for anyone who cares for mental health or general wellbeing, I would say apply to be a Wellness Peer! It’s a beautiful opportunity and I still feel like I have a lot to learn in this role.

Apply to be a Wellness Peer until January 31st:  https://students.ubc.ca/wellness-peers

Post Written by Mai.

Your Study Soundtrack: UBC Edition

Almost everyone has a favorite study spot. Maybe it’s that cozy corner table at a coffee shop surrounded by the smell of roasting coffee beans and the background chatter of people catching up. Or maybe it’s one of the window seats in the silent Ridington Room of IKB (aka the Harry Potter Room), where large portraits adorn the walls and silence blankets every student.

What’s even more common than having a favorite study spot though? The playlists that gets you through every tough chapter, practice problem set, and endless lecture slides. Music can help improve focus by improving your mood and can help aid endurance during those long days and nights in the library. It can also help with relaxation, and potentially reduce stress or anxiety while studying. Furthermore, music can help to prevent our minds from wandering while allowing us to stay focused on the task at hand!

Scroll a little bit farther down and you’ll find links and descriptions to a set of playlists created specifically for UBC students, combining certain study or relaxation spots on campus (maybe one that you already frequent) with music that matches the character of each location.

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Easy and budget friendly treats

School is back into swing, but we’re all probably missing the cozy days at home over the holiday and the abundance of tasty treats and big feasts – I sure am! Chocolates and Christmas cookies are a favourite of mine, but since 2018 has come around, it’s a great opportunity to try some tasty but healthy treats!

The winter holiday season is my favourite time of year to stay at home and bake delicious treats, and I wanted to share some recipes I made over the break.  As a sucker for sweet and salty treats, this “holiday popcorn” from Laura Vitale, my favourite YouTube chef, was the best crunchy snack I tried and shared with my friends.

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How to balance work and school while practicing time management

The end of November marks the last stretch until the end of first semester (woohoo! Freedom is near!). The end of exams means the start of Winter break, and it’s hard not to daydream about your trip back home or the weekend in Whistler you planned with your friend, but we all know how intense the last few weeks of class followed by dreaded exams feels. Maybe you’re feeling great about wrapping up your courses and tackling those upcoming exams, maybe you feel you need 30 hour days rather than 24 hour ones (we’ve all been there), or maybe you even want a button to pause time so you can just breathe. Either way balancing work and school is a tough task.

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Part 1: Study Tips to help you achieve a top grade

At university, we are taught all sorts of subjects. From cell biology to creative writing, we are expected to master it all. Yet, we are not taught how to study. That, we have to figure out on our own. Some students cram the entire course into their heads the night before the midterm, some highlight and reread their notes weeks before the exam, and some students prefer to only do practice problems… the different styles are endless.

None of study styles are bad, but turns out, some are more productive than others.

Decades of research into learning and memorization has taught us that the following study methods promote much better long-term retention than simply rereading, rewriting and highlighting notes.

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How to improve your sleep

As university students with endless assignments and exams, it may be difficult to make our sleep a priority. But getting a good night’s sleep is extremely important for our learning, memory consolidation, focus, and overall wellbeing. 7-9 hours of sleep is suggested for adults for optimal energy and performance throughout the day, but this number can be different for many people. Here are some scientifically proven tips to help you get a better night’s sleep!

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A Halloween Party Primer

With midterms, hopefully, behind us we’re now rapidly approaching the end of October, which means one thing: Halloween is nearly here. Maybe you’ve spent the last few weeks preparing the perfect costume, or maybe you’re just in it for the candy, or binging horror films on Netflix, but there’s something for everyone on this spooky day. Halloween parties are also some of the best there are, and one of the best excuses to take a break from studying, to emerge from your study holes, and reconnect with the friends you’ve been too busy to see.

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Flu and Cold Season – Tips to help you feel your best!

October brings many of my favourite things: colourful leaves, warm pumpkin spice lattes and cute Halloween decorations. Unfortunately, it also marks the beginning of flu and cold season. My friends and family are complaining of sore throats and I can hear the symphony of coughing and sneezing on the 99 during my morning commute.

Influenza, or the flu, is an infection caused by the influenza virus. Common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain and exhaustion etc. A cold is characterized by stuffy nose, sore throat but fever and headaches are less common. Nobody likes getting sick, especially in the midst of midterms and assignments so here are some prevention tips from Health Canada that can help you ward off the flu and cold:

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Thriving as an Introvert in First Year Residence

You’re finally moving out and into first year residence! You’re likely receiving your area placement of Totem Park, Place Vanier or Orchard Commons in the coming weeks. It’s an exciting time.

I remember when I was an incoming UBC student and I signed on to live in residence for the first time. Neither of my parents had ever lived in residence and since I was the oldest sibling, I really had no idea what to expect. I expected there to be a lot of partying that took place in residence, and as an introverted person that knowledge intimidated me because I often crave time alone when surrounded by large groups of people. The idea that I might be pressured to socialize 24/7 terrified me as I was worried that I would never have any time alone, not even to brush my teeth at the end of the day since I had heard there were shared floor bathrooms!

The first few weeks of living in Totem Park were incredibly exciting and lively, but I did feel very overwhelmed by the amount of activity. I’ve found that the first few weeks are usually like that for most people. I was excited by the change in environment but I did feel homesick at times. It took time for me to slowly feel more independent and settle into a rhythm. Eventually, I even attended some residence events and found myself having more fun than I expected to or had ever had in high school.

via GIPHY

I got involved with my house council and we planned events that we wanted to see happen for our house. I found a quieter group of floor mates who liked to watch Netflix and eat candy on Friday nights instead of party. I started telling my friends that there were times where instead of seeing them I needed to ‘zen-flower’ and spend some time alone. Then, after seeing the power of the residence community to support people through their first year experience, I applied to become a Residence Advisor for the following year. Flash forward to my fifth year, and I’ve worked as a Residence Advisor for the past three years and I’m an incoming Residence Coordinator for the fall. When I think back to my pre-UBC self, I never expected to love living in residence as much as I do now. However, I also learned to recognize the importance of self-care and that it’s okay to say ‘no’ when you don’t want to do an activity with others, because just not wanting to do that activity is reason enough not to do it. This helped contribute to making my residence experience a great one.

via GIPHY

On the other hand, if you are looking to meet new people but don’t know where to start, try attending programs in your area! Or talk to your Residence Advisor, as they’re your go-to person whenever you need advice on something. Try checking out a different house community or different floor. You are living in an area with thousands of other people who are all in the same boat as you and there’s absolutely a community out there for you, you just have to find it.

via GIPHY

Post written by Paige Lougheed

5 Honest Thoughts on Healthy Cooking as a Beginner

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Cooking as a beginner can seem challenging. Navigating blogs and cookbooks to find recipes that are healthy, tasty, and with all the ingredients you have might feel like a daunting task. Recipes with unfamiliar ingredients that require kitchen tools that you don’t have can make cooking feel intimidating.

You don’t need to be a skilled cook to make healthy, tasty, feel-good meals, but rather, have an open mind and try new things! Here are some honest tips to make healthy cooking feel less overwhelming.

1. You don’t have to follow the recipe.

If you’re a perfectionist like me and always wants to follow the recipe exactly, don’t stress! If you’re missing a minor ingredient, you can skip it as long as it’s not a major component of the recipe (say pasta noodles for a pasta recipe). Don’t let the fact that you’re missing a specific ingredient from a recipe prevent you from making it. As you gain some experience, you can even figure out ways to substitute for ingredients that you don’t have. You can get inspiration from Bon Appetite’s ‘no recipe’ recipes. Depending on the recipe, you can make ingredient substitutions, here are a few examples:

  • Swap dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach, and swiss chard. You can even substitute parsley for spinach.
  • Don’t have celery? You can substitute it for another crunchy vegetable such as cucumber or carrots.
  • Different types of nuts, such as almonds and cashews can be swapped.
2. Not everything needs to be made from scratch.

Despite what you think, some pre-made foods can be healthy. While cooking your meals is a great way to eat healthier, it’s realistic to recognize that not everything we eat can be made from scratch. Identify and prioritize what you’d like to cook versus what you’d prefer to buy. You can buy some premade ingredients and make additions or substitutions to amp up your meal’s nutritional value. Here are a few examples:

  • If you purchase food or get takeout, such as pasta or chicken, make a side salad to add some vegetables to your meal.
  • You can make canned soup healthier by adding fresh or frozen vegetables such as peas, carrots, or spinach.
  • If you’re eating frozen waffles for breakfast (such as Eggo), make it healthier by adding some peanut butter and banana slices.
  • You can purchase ingredients like pasta sauce and dips such as hummus, to save time so that a portion of your meal is ready to eat.
3. Be mindful of your budget.

There are lots of strategies to ensure that you respect your budget. Seek out sales, coupons, and flyers from your local grocery store. Produce stores tend to have cheaper products than supermarkets and are a great place for fresh fruits and veggies. Flipp is a great smartphone app that lets you look at flyers and coupons from different grocery stores. You can even use it to make a grocery list and easily check out what’s on sale.

4. Plan ahead but also be flexible.

Planning what you’ll eat and when you’ll cook ahead of time can help you save time, money, and reduce food waste. Spend some time doing meal preparation over the weekend, such as cooking a big batch of lunches for the week, cutting up vegetables, or cooking your grains in advance. At the same time, you don’t have to know exactly what you’ll be eating everyday or stick to a rigid meal plan. The reality of life is that plans change and unexpected things come up. A last-minute social gathering might pop up or you might have leftovers from the night before. It’s all about being flexible and adapting to change.

5. Expect that things don’t always turn out.

Despite what the glamour of social media may show us, your meals don’t have to be ‘Insta-perfect’. Sometimes the simplest meals can bring us the greatest pleasures. Don’t be discouraged when a recipe doesn’t turn out or it’s not as tasty as you thought it would be. It’s all part of the process….learning to do anything new takes time, Pinterest fails and all. So get messy and get cooking!

For more cooking inspiration check out Cookspiration, Epicurious, and the UBC Nutrition Blog.

Post written by Naomi Oh

Things to Remember for September

My first day back at UBC is always picturesque and peaceful. The last of summer sunshine illuminates our gorgeous campus and the skies stretch out in front of me, blue and cloudless. I sit in the gigantic lecture halls, chatting with friends, talking about all the events we want to check out. Fast forward a few weeks and I am racing across campus, feeling ill-prepared for my first midterm and probably caught in a miserable downpour without an umbrella. School always catches up with me so fast.

September brings about new opportunities and change. In order to make the most out of this fresh start, there are a few things I want to emphasize going into this year:

Try something new: The first month provides a fresh start and an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone. It’s easy to take up a new sport/hobby by dropping into Free Week hosted by UBC Recreation. There are also tons of cool events on campus hosted by AMS to welcome new and returning students alike. Whether you want to catch a movie under the stars, go to an improv show or attend a pool party – AMS has got you covered.

Focus on what’s important: I am always startled reading the syllabi for my classes only to discover some of my midterms are in late September! Often, students get so caught up with campus events and hanging out with friends, they push aside school responsibilities until midterms are right around the corner and panic ensues. Start off your school year strong by knowing exactly when your midterms are and setting up a schedule to study for them.

Get involved: Joining a club or initiative at UBC can be a great way to make meaningful connections to your school and community while making new friends. There are tons of clubs at UBC so you are bound to find one (or more) that matches your passion or vision. Check out Clubs day to find one that resonates with you.

Take care of your wellbeing: As exciting as your first month is, it can be busy and for some, overwhelming. Don’t forget to pay attention to your overall wellbeing throughout this busy time. Your wellbeing is a combination of academic, financial, social, physical, emotional and spiritual wellness. It’s important to take care of yourself in all aspects of wellness – not just one. You can learn more about these topics by looking at the Healthy Minds Blog archive. For example, we have suggestions on how to stock a healthy pantry or how to help manage stress. If you want to chat more about your wellness journey– come check out Wellness Center in Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.  

September is a joyous time filled with new experiences. Embracing the opportunities that this month brings can be the first step to making the most of your school year. We hope everybody gets off to a great start!

Post Written by Gavin Shinger