How to prevent procrastination

http://shannayeung.com/preventing-procrastination/

Are you all done with midterms? Trying to motivate yourself to get out of your post-midterm state to start reviewing for finals? It’s difficult to totally stop procrastinating but there are things we can do to devote our time to more important things than endless social media.

In the latest post, read about:

  • A surprising reason you might be a procrastinator yet overachiever.
  • Realistic steps you can take to change your mindset and environment to optimize focus
  • Specific programs and techniques to prevent social media distractions on your phone and computer

 

Applying to UBC: Which program? Which campus?

Question (edited for brevity):

“I’m applying to UBC this year and there are so many choices for programs. Which one did you choose when you applied back then? Is general sciences offered on the vancouver campus or is it only at the Okanagan campus?”

Ooh university applications season is such an exciting time!

At other schools, I was applying to many neuroscience programs but at UBC, you don’t choose a major when you apply. You only choose a general program/faculty to apply to.

I applied to Science program on the Vancouver Campus and the combined Commerce/Computer Science program on the Vancouver Campus. In retrospect, I think I would have also been happy in the Kinesiology or Lands and Food Sciences degree.  I ended up picking Science as my first choice because I was interested in the pharmacology major (disclaimer: as some of you know, I am majoring in Integrated Sciences specializing in Pharmacology & Neuroscience).

You don’t have to know your exact major but I highly suggest that you think about the coursework and several majors that you would be interested in and then look carefully at the program that these majors are in. For example, if you are interested in Nutrition, you may be drawn more to the Faculty of Lands and Food Systems. If you want to study Pharmacology, or Microbiology, Science might be the best fit. If you’re interested in Physiology and Anatomy, Kinesiology or Science would be both good fits so then dig deeper in the coursework offered by each faculty.

Choose your program for yourself rather than blindly follow what your peers or parents tell you. When I was in high school, most of us just followed what everyone else was doing.  This can lead to good things such as a push to join clubs and sports teams. When you’re in high school, your parents likely still have a big influence on your life and may be pressuring you to pursue a particular major and/or career. Your parents and peers can definitely provide good advice but ultimately, you are the one living your own life. You are the one spending 4 years of your life in that major. You are the one spending the rest of your life in a particular career. Therefore, it’s your right to make the ultimate decision.

See Cathy’s Blog about breaking away from her father’ pressure to become an accountant to instead pursue science & potentially medicine: http://blogs.ubc.ca/whatiscathy/2016/12/13/a-reflection/

I know some others might advise you to choose a “safe backup” as your second choice program but I advise against this. Many people do end up in their second choice program so make sure your second choice is something you will be genuinely happy to spend four years in! I’ve said this before in another post, but there is also no “safe backup” because there is no program that you are guaranteed to get into. To address this directly, there is a widespread misconception on UBC Vancouver that the Faculty of Forestry is “just a backup” program. There are many individuals in Forestry that love what they study and Forestry was their first choice so I don’t suggest looking down on any program.

What’s nice is that the application process can also serve as something to help you make a big choice. For instance, I used to be interested in studying commerce/computer science for a while but that interest waned towards the end of high school when I started to get interested in a career in scientific research and/or a career in health care. So I put them both down and used the process as a “let’s see where fate takes me.”

If you absolutely love your first choice program and don’t like anything else for your second choice, you should study as much as possible and get awesome grades in Grade 12 so that you can maximize your chances of getting in.

Which campus: Kelowna or Vancouver?

There is a Faculty of Science in Kelowna. If you’re specifically asking about the “general science major”, it is only offered in Kelowna. We don’t have the general science major in Vancouver anymore. We do have the combined science and integrated science programs instead. My advice for you is to, again, think of your intended major because the majors available are different there. E.g. if you want to study biochem, they have that major on both campuses. But if you want to study pharmacology, it’s not offered there as of the time of this post.

As for picking the campus, that is a really personal choice. I chose to stay in Vancouver because I 1) wanted to stay to support and help my family in Vancouver and 2) made an appropriate financial decision to save money. People told me and I’m sure you’re gotten this advice as well, “Don’t worry about the money. Just do what your heart tells you.” I want to counter that and say that the ~ $10000  or more for rental costs per year is a big financial consideration for some families, including mine . I didn’t want to spend the money renting a place for my undergraduate education because I wanted to save the money for my post-undergraduate education.

But if finances is not concern to you, I would say both campuses are beautiful and there is a lot to do and experience. I’ve visited the Kelowna campus and it’s awesome. Both of my cousins study in Kelowna and have had a pretty good experience.

I wish you the best of luck with your applications! Maybe we’ll see you here at UBC Vancouver next year!

3 tips from a medical student

I was quickly losing motivation to study after a long finals season but I needed to regain motivation to study for my quickly-upcoming MCAT. So as I do when I’m stuck, I asked a more wise and experienced individual for advice. Sarah, a medical student whose confidence I admire so much, and I were talking yesterday and she said that sure learning can be difficult but the truly most difficult part of medical school has been staying motivated. She offered her top three tips:

  1. Stay curious. Be hungry for knowledge. Get your fix of whatever part of medicine makes you excited by going to extra research talks or other methods.
  2. Know when to take time off. Take days off if you’re tired. Spend an afternoon napping in the sunshine on the grass. Rest and recharge.
  3. Accept failure, and accept becoming average. You can’t be outstanding all the time. Your classmates/colleagues are incredibly smart so being average is an achievement already.

So today, I remembered how privileged I am to get to work at a dream summer job, to do a lot of things my younger self wanted to do, and that I’m so lucky that everyday I get to work to get closer and closer to my goals.  During the many, many times I lose faith in myself, I have so many people who believe in me and I’m thankful for them.  My positive feelings towards studying for the MCAT are definitely going to ebb and flow. It won’t be pleasant all the time but I think it’ll feel better if I keep reminding myself why I’m doing what I’m doing. I am grateful that I have the opportunities I have right now and that I have the incredible love and support from the people. For example, my friend Amy has taken charge of our trip planning so that I can get lots of studying done this week and spend the vacation guilt-free from studying. How sweet a friend is she!!

I also think having fun plans has been keeping me going. During the midterm season, it felt dreary when I had nothing but another midterm to look to after a midterm (yikes). But now when I’m studying, I can daydream about the exciting things planned. I look forward to sharing the incredible adventures coming up very soon. I’m looking to something later today. A fellow food blogger got us VIP tickets to an opening ceremony on Saturday so I’m taking two of my best friends and my cousin and meeting up with a number of social media influencers. This is the first event we’re attending as official social media ambassadors so we’re excited!

To end, this song by KYGO has been on repeat and has helped me get a lot done this week so hope it help you too!

Have a fantastic week! Enjoy some sunshine. 🙂

Shanna

 

 

 

How to stay motivated

I am absolutely not an expert but I know that when you’re going through hard times, any advice can help so I sincerely hope this can help you! This is what I tell myself and I really do re-read this often when I’m exhausted and want to tell myself to let go of my dream because it feels like “too much work”:

Don’t give up.
Remember that you’re not doing this for yourself but for all the people that you want to help.
For the people that you lacked the skills in the past
For the people that are suffering because we do not yet have the ability to cure them
For the people in the future you want to help keeping running and laughing and living long
So one day you support someone and say “Don’t give up. We’ve got you.”
Which is why you can’t give up right now.
This is not for you.
It’s for them.

Another open letter if you’re having a rough day or week to remind you that you’re stronger, smarter and braver than you think you are

 

How to get yourself going again: 

1. Don’t tell yourself that you need to study for 12 hours straight. No one feels happy thinking that. Instead,tell yourself just 10 minutes. 10 minutes is manageable. Once started, you’ll probably work for more than 10 minutes.

2. Have a friend keep you accountable.

3. Read some blogs/watch Youtube videos by people who inspire you. I cycle through my favourite blogs written by ladies achieving high in their careers that is the career I’m aiming for. Seeing what can be just up ahead feel great!

4. Rewards are your best friend( besides the friend pushing you to keep going.) Instead of feeling guilty of taking breaks, feel good about taking breaks to refresh yourself. If you can, make it more than just a 10 minute Facebook break – go eat lunch away from your desk, chat with your grandpa about life goals, play with your cat, watch an episode of your favourite TV show.

5. ** If you’re going through tough emotional times, There’s probably a lot of thoughts swirling around in your head and it’s hard to focus. It’s tough – I feel you. You can do this!!! One of my favourite bloggers Andrea Tooley shared a tip -tell yourself that you’re going study for 30 minutes and then you’ll let yourself be sad for a bit and repeat.

6. Upbeat music. Yes, music can be distracting but overall, music that you like boosts up your mood. Even if it’s music with lyrics, music that’s not classical, if it makes you happy and jazzed up to study, then listen to it.

7. Don’t be afraid of uncomfortable feelings. Figuring out what you don’t know can make you feel dumb. Remember that the purpose of studying to make yourself feel less dumb. You’re getting smarter every bit more you study!

8. Make a To-do list that is small. Put one thing. That’s it. That helps with feeling so overwhelmed by all the problem sets you need to, all the lectures you need to do – no. Just put “Become confident about Organic Chemistry”. That’s all you have to do. You don’t have to do all 1000 problems in your textbook. You just need to have a fairly good review of OChem or Cell Biology (Bio 200 final – I’m scared of you but once I’ve studied more, you’re be scared of me!) because you’ve been learning lots for the last few months.

9. Make a Cheat To-do list that you put other unimportant or fun to-dos on. E.g. I think I’ve put “Message that guy who’s organizing a ball hockey team.” and blog post ideas and other distracting things that pop up.

10. Journalling or blogging is helping to clear your mind.

11. Remember that you’ve more than the struggle you’re going through right now. This quote is from one of my best friends Jeffrey, “ 

You’ve come this far and you’ve believed in yourself until now, so I think you should trust the old (insert your name here) and keep going to do your best, because that’s what she would have wanted” 

11. Try to think about improving instead thinking “I’m going to fail.” I adopted a quote from another of my favourite bloggers, LadyKayMD, that says “Jump off cliffs and build your wings on the way down.” I’ve put a modified version of that quote on a cat-shaped post it where I can see it all the Times that says, “Jump off cliffs & build your wings while you fall. Soon you’ll fly. ” Think about flying (success)

“Jump off cliffs & build your wings while you fall. Soon you’ll fly. “

 

Sending you virtual hugs to get through your hard times.

I believe in you.

Shanna

How to deal with stress

If you’re overwhelmed and struggling right now, I want you to know that you’re not the only one. Everyone else’s life may look perfect but there are many of us floundering around lost. Our lives are messes, and when it seems like the storm has stopped and it’s a chance to start rebuilding, a stronger storm blasts in. Remember this in the darkest of times: storms do not last forever. There may be multiple storms but they stop eventually.

Here’s my confession: I’ve struggled a lot this year. I struggled even though I tried to be strong – and now I’m here – back up and ready to take on the world. But I’m thankful for my struggle. I’m thankful that this time has rehighlighted how amazing my support system is. I’m so  thankful for my friends that I can talk to , joke about silly things like ice cream cravings with, and go on adventures with. In a faculty where I’ve already encountered nasty people who compete and take each other down, my friends and I genuinely support each other to the best we can in our classes and extracurriculars. I’m thankful for a loving family that gives me freedom to live life how I want to. I’ve also learned who shows true colours and actually tried to  make me feel worse. But that was just one. The rest of my support system are so incredibly amazing and I’m so thankful for each and everyone of them!

The key thing is that I still am struggling but I’m digging myself back up and fixing things. It means that I still fail a lot and I still lapse in feeling so overwhelmed.  But I’m moving back up. At least that’s what I’m telling myself and this positive self pep-talk is a great sign. I’ve been testing all sorts of things and here is a list of tips of things that I found really helped!

I’m not qualified to give my two cents on anxiety or depression. The tips below are only for temporary periods of stress.  PLEASE go see a trained counsellor if you’re concerned.  UBC Counselling Services are free and confidential! 

Write out your To-dos and priorities short term and long term while asking myself whether that to do is urgent and/or important.

  • When your life has been a mess and you’re trying to rebuild, focus on just ONE thing. My current goal is to get back on track with my schoolwork which means I’ve let club activities and research go to the side.
  • Leave training for a marathon & learning to cook Italian cuisine & learning how to speak Korean off your list for now. We are at the rebuilding stage right now. We’re advance ourselves to the self-improvement stage later okay?

Write down everything that you’re thinking about in a notebook or on your phone. This is NOT the same as the To-Do list.  Write to release all the thoughts in your mind. 

  • Write about what’s being making you stressed, what’s been making you stressed.
  • Write about the happy things that happened to you today( Bonus point if you send a quick text or message to someone else about it)
  • Blog, write, send long long long messages to the friends you can count on
  • Write about what your ideal self would be like. Write about what you want out of life. This sounds dumb but positive visualization is great.

Spread happiness. Send well wishes, even just a simple Have an awesome day :), to a friend or loved one.

  • Bonus: send well wishes to someone you don’t know that well. Be anonymous and random. I sent an message to a fellow blogger who is going through rough times and she appreciated it. Her analogy was having people reach out to you is like warming up with a cozy blanket when the world around is cold and unforgiving
  • Do little things that make someone’s life easier.

Play music. I find that listening to music helps me take my mind push away unrelated thoughts and lets me focus on the task at hard.

  • Electronic dance music never fails to put me in a productive mood.
  • High energy pop songs that you want to sing along with are lifesavers for big cleaning tasks
  • Kevin listens to rap music to boost his focus and his mood when he has a lot of studying to conquer

Schedule friends to eat lunch with. Bonus points if you reach out to friends that you haven’t seen for a while. I eat lunch with the wonderful usuals Alyssa, Veena, etc. I made the effort to reach out to people you haven’t talked to in a while e.g. I met up with a close high school friend, my Big, an elementary school friend.

  • I know that socializing lands at the bottom of your To-Do list but feeling connected to other people, listening to the troubles and jokes and good things that happened to your friends can brighten up your  mood and put your own problems into perspective.

Eat. 

  • Eat enough even when you can’t stand the sight of food. Eat because you need your strength to be a warrior in your own life.
  • On the end of spectrum, binge eating is not the healthiest way to deal with stress.

Treat yourself

  • Make yourself feel beautiful. e.g. I deep conditioned my hair while I was studying for Organic Chemistry. Necessary? No. Did it make my hair feel amazing and give a boost of self-confidence? Hell yeah.

Silence your cellphone. PING facebook notification. PING text notification. PING new email. PING PING PING.  The sound of my cellphone pinging stresses me out  because so I like to turn my phone on silent.

Designate some time to intentionally be unproductive.

  • Let your emails go unanswered. Put off the laundry.
  • You deserve this time off. You NEED this time off so don’t feel guilty about it!
  • Take time to hermit at home instead of running across the city from volunteering to work to the grocery store to (10000 other places).

Put your stress into perspective.

  • I remembered that being stressed by school and other responsibilities are nothing next to real issues like health issues and death.
  • My friend Sharleen recommended “Me Before You” to me and the heavy issue of right-to-suicide made me think about how inconsequential my stresses are in comparison.

Plan something fun to look forward to at the end of the week.

  • Take a day to be highly social!
    • Family, friends.
    • For you, it could be a huge gathering of friends. Or it could be a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner.
    • It would be one-on-one time with a loved one or friend.
    • Mine was Friday when I was literally not alone from 8 am to 10:30 from class, to pseudo-studying (hanging out under the guise of studying) with friends in the Nest, to being socialites at Circle K International’s general meeting, to hanging over bubble tea. So. much. socializing. It was tiring but really really nice.

Laugh lots!

  • Smile because you deserve to feel happiness.

I haven’t been posting as frequently as I used to because  these posts take several drafts and multiple hours to write & edit.  Based on your page views & comments, it seems that you guys like longer and general admore meaningful articles for you all! Let me know in the comments whether you prefer these kinds of posts more.

Love,

Shanna

How to get into UBC

  1. Get good grades. Other people may tell you that extracurriculars are more important than good grades but I believe that good grades are the most important. You’re trying into get into an institution of higher education so you should demonstrate with good grades that you will be capable of handling the huge amount of learning that you’ll do at university. Great grades can also indicate a solid work ethic when it comes to schoolwork and that you actually give a damn about school.
  2. Take a leadership role in at least 3 extracurriculars. You don’t have to be Team Captain or President. I was the President of my own club, was in the leadership team of my hockey team (served as Assistant Captain one year but was never Captain), Creative Director in another organization, and had some other leadership roles.  Show that you can commit and go above and beyond the effort and time that a regular member would put in.
  3. Do at least one community service extracurricular. Honestly, you should really be giving back to your community whether or not you’re trying to get into university. Go volunteer time to a cause that you believe in! The most fulfilling aspect of my high experience was all the outreach concerts I did with my fellow members with the music therapy volunteer program & organization I started. Volunteering can be a lot of fun because you can meet people of all ages. Volunteering in a variety of capacities also lead me to be interested in the career that I’m currently working to pursue.
  4. Join at least one athletic team. You don’t have athletic by nature but it’s really important to have experience working as a team towards a common goal. Sports are also a lot of fun and keep you healthy.
  5. Do an arts related extracurricular even if you’re aiming for not aiming to study arts. I wrote poetry and theatre plays because I love sharing messages to the world through my writing. Music, photography, painting, theatre, graphic design, dance – whatever you enjoy.
  6. Work experience signals maturity and responsibility. You might find your job boring and that’s ok! I didn’t find myself fulfilled in some of my previous roles which helped me realize what did make me feel fulfilled. One of my office work roles allowed me to do first aid and I learned that I felt fulfilled helping people who needed first aid treatment (so much that I’m still a First Aid Attendant years later). I discovered my passion for teaching as a tutor and piano teacher so I suggest trying out different jobs until you find yourself something that you like.
  7. START EARLY ON YOUR APPLICATION ESSAYS. It will take more time than you think to brainstorm, write, edit, throw away what you’ve written, write new essays, edit, and repeat. It will take more than one night. More application advice at 10 FAQS: Applying to UBC
  8. Make your application essays fun to read. Be creative. Don’t write too formally. Instead of saying, “I have lots of leadership qualities”, tell a story of a time that you led ____. Throw in a joke. Instead of saying “I have interpersonal skills” (that just sounds so awkward….), show that by writing about interactions with people. On that note, change the names of the people you write about to protect their privacy. For example, I wrote about an experience at Downtown Eastside Women’s centre so I was careful to remove personal information about the people in my essay. It won’t help or hinder your application but it’s just a considerate thing to do.
  9. Submit your application a week before the early bird deadline at the latest. The year I applied, the deadline was Dec 10. I submitted my UBC application two weeks before the early deadline, which means 2 months before the actual deadline. 1) Every year, the application system crashes when lots of people are submitting last minute. Don’t be the applicant crying with fear that your application was submitted. 2) I know you don’t feel like it but it will feel great when you get your acceptance in March way before some of your friends that waited until the last minute and don’t hear back from UBC months after you . A lot of my friends that were accepted to UBC also submitted their applications before the early bird deadline. Just carve out some time now to write and then submit as soon as you can!
  10. Put the faculty you want most as your first choice. Don’t get convinced into applying to a “safety” faculty as your first choice. There are no safety faculties  (read 10 FAQS about applying to UBC) – everything is competitive . A lot of people get into their first choice even if they think they are not competitive enough.  I put my current Faculty, Science, as my first choice and Sauder for business and computer science as my second choice. They’re both competitive but hey, that is what I wanted to study so I applied for exactly what I wanted.

BONUS: How to set yourself for success at university

  1. Take a full courseload. Knowing how to juggle the demands of multiple classes is important.
  2. Take the hardest courses available at your school. If available, take as many AP courses as you can. It will greatly help when you are actually in university. AP Chemistry and Calculus were immensely helpful when I was in my first year chemistry and calculus course.
  3. Take electives that interest you. This might be the last time you have time to try singing in a choir or take an elective Canadian Law course.
  4. Learn how to balance studying with extracurriculars and having fun.
  5. Time management is the most useful skill you’ll ever need. 

I can’t do it – and that’s okay

Are you like me: do you like to try new things? Do you believe that as long as you try you’ll get it eventually? That after asking for help and changing up the way you do things, you’ll get it right?

And that works most of the time. And you’ve proud of your refusal to give up

But then you don’t. You’ve tried a lot. You’ve put hours and hours of time. You’ve asked for help. You’ve contemplated giving up but you didn’t. You packed up everything you did, splurged on a Starbucks tea to bribe yourself, and worked on it.

You’ve worked on it again and again. Now it’s time to give up. Sometimes you have to give in. You can’t do it. It’s okay to admit defeat. I feel sad about it. I don’t like to give up in a fight. But here’s what I’m telling myself:

  • I’m admitting defeat to this small thing so that I can achieve victory in the bigger picture
  • I have to admit to myself that it was out of my scope.
  • But by trying, I’ve already expanded what I can do. I’ve pushed myself and I’ve grown. Next time, I’m going to be able to do more than I did this time.
  • I can learn a lot from giving up. Now that I’ve passed it on someone I highly respect and has decades of experience on me, I’m going to examine it after he’s done with it. I’m going to compare it and learn what was needed to done to improve it.

Even if you admit defeat, you’re still a fighter. Continue on to challenge yourself.

Love,

Shanna

Books about how to succeed in college and get good grades

I’ve read all of these books over and over again. I bought and gave my Cal Newport books to my younger brother.They made a HUGE difference to the way I study and the way I approach university. I’ve put my absolute most favourite books here!

How to Win at College: Surprising Secrets for Success from the Country’s Top Students

I just bought a copy of this for myself on Sunday.  I’m going to try to implement my favourite tips and record how they help or not help me here on this blog this upcoming semester. As a writer myself, I want to support writers by buying physical copies of their books. I do not want to post the specific advice that Cal gives in his book to respect the work he put in to write his book. So if you want to do this challenge to become outstanding students together with me, please pick up a copy of his book and work on trying “win at college”. (But I’m Canadian so I’m trying to win at university haha)
How to Become a Straight-A Student: The Unconventional Strategies Real College Students Use to Score High While Studying Less

Don’t we all want Straight As? If you can’t tell already, Cal Newport is one of my favourite authors. This one contains detailed tips on how to write a great paper, take notes for math classes which is different from taking notes in humanities classes, how to manage time so you get good grades and still have time to go to the gym and hit up a toga party. #goals

 

Medical School 2.0: An Unconventional Guide to Learn Faster, Ace the USMLE, and Get Into Your Top Choice Residency

If I get into medical school, I follow the advice in this book. I have already used the Paul Farmer study method this year to study for MICB 202 and it helped. I also got introduced to the notion of Paul Farmer through this book. How have I not known who Paul Farmer is all these years? Crazy, considering how much I look up to Paul Farmer now.

How to Be a High School Superstar: A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing Out (Without Burning Out)

This is a book that guided through the high school and helped me get into university. As an university student, I still find these tips helpful. If you’re a high school student trying to tune up your study habits and get into a competitive post-secondary education, read it!!

SUPER SECRET TIP for reading to end of this post: If you’re starting or already in university, you can get free shipping! Use it to buy your textbooks, leisure reading books, school supplies, new computer, clothes, whatever. Join Prime Student  FREE Two-Day Shipping for College Students

Thank you for reading!

BIOL 260 – Fundamentals of Physiology

Tips for an A+

• The weekly pre reading assignments are really short and easy. Do not stress about them but make sure you do them.

• clicker marks are participation based so don’t worry about getting them wrong. • Important: Keep up with your pre readings.

• Even if you take notes on a computer, bring a pen because there are hand-in at the end of the lecture assignments.

• Come to class early to get a seat near the front.

• There are no old exams available to study from but the professors make a ton of practice questions for you. • Do as many practice questions as you have time for.

• Befriend a classmate through the course online forum. I befriended Erica through the forum! • Share your answers to the practice questions with your classmates.

• I left the midterms and finals wanting to cry. If you feel this, don’t cry and have faith that the TAs may think that your answers sound more coherent than you think they do.

Suggested professors: Dr Schulte and Dr Tortelle

MICB 202 – Medical Microbiology and Immunology

• Do the pre readings

• Be sure to buy the Custom textbook for this course. It will help you a lot because the professors do not have time to cover everything in their lectures.

• The wording of the quizzes can be tricky.

• The exams are really easy (especially the midterm) and are multiple choice only.

• Be prepared for entertaining analogies

• Lecture attendance is not mandatory. There are no clickers.

Suggested professors: Dr. Tracy Kion, Dr. Thompson