Sunday | August 9, 2020

Choosing The Right University

You’ve decided to attend university after high school, but now you’re stumped. How do you know which university is right for you? It can be a daunting choice. There are so many options to choose from, and even more programs to evaluate. How do you determine which is right for you? Here are a few things to think about when making your choice.

 

Do you want to go away or stay home?

​One way to start narrowing down the options is to decide if you want to leave home or stay at home. There is no right answer. In fact, it’s very personal. If you crave the experience of living on your own, you’ll want to focus your search on universities outside of your hometown.

​If you prefer to commute, begin researching options that will allow you to drive, bus or take the train to school. Some students are ready to make the leap and have the financial support to afford both tuition and housing. Others might prefer the comfort of home and be excited to save up while living at home.

Of course, if there are many universities of interest to you in your city, you might want to consider selecting one of them and still living in residence. Think about the best options for you and start your search with that in mind.

 

​What do you want to study?

​Certain programs are well known for business, science or language. Do you have your heart set on becoming a poet, nutritionist or veterinarian? What are you passionate about? Speak to your guidance counsellor, go online or pick up a magazine or guide book dedicated to delivering students the ins and outs of various programs. These resources will tell you about the different programs and what they’re best known for. Look at each program’s requirements.

​Have you taken the right prerequisites? Do you have the grades you’ll need to be considered? What else are they looking for in an applicant?. If you have already completed the requirements, that’s great. You’re ahead of the game. If you don’t meet the application requirements, you might want to consider taking a missing course, upgrading your mark or doing some extra volunteer work.

Do everything you can in advance so you can apply to the programs that interest you most.

No matter what your interest, you’ll want to look ahead. Do everything you can in advance so you can apply to the programs that interest you most.

 

​What kind of campus culture are you looking for?

​It’s not only the university’s academic reputation that can be important. Do you want to be part of a big campus or something smaller and more intimate? Do you want research and teaching opportunities or a school that is more social? Different universities and even programs and dorms within each university might be known for offering students various experiences.

​Think about what you’re looking for in a university experience and speak to people who already go there. Ask them what the university is like. What is their program is like? How are the students? What do they think about where they live? Visit the campus and explore it for yourself. What are your impressions? Do you feel safe, comfortable and happy there?

It’s important to check out more than one so you can compare.

 

​Are you looking for something specific?

​Do you want a school that offers joint degrees? Perhaps you want to study abroad and need to know if your school has relationships with international universities. What if you want to take a year off—will the registrar allow you to maintain your space in your program? What if you choose to switch universities—will your credits transfer or will you have to begin again? Will you be looking for an internship or coop placement at some point during your degree? Does the program you’re considering offer those kinds of experiences? If you want to go right into the workforce after graduation, what is your program’s rate of employment?

You might want to consider a program that puts you in good stead to find a job right away. Other programs might feed into further degrees, and perhaps that’s what you want.

​Look ahead and think about where you see yourself in the future so you know what questions to ask and what answers you’re hoping to find.

 

​Should you go with your gut?

​Sometimes, you’ll visit a campus and just recognize what’s right for you.

Once you’ve done all the research and have narrowed it down to a few universities or programs within those universities, apply to each one and see what arises. Maybe you’ll get your first choice, and that will be great. Maybe you’ll get your second choice and discover it was actually the best choice for you after all.

​Look ahead and think about where you see yourself in the future

February 6th, 2020

Posted In: Athletics, Community, Education, Parenting, Technology, Uncategorised

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Ensure You Are Not Raising A Bully

It’s every parent’s nightmare to find out your teen is being bullied but it’s equally as stressful to find out your teen is the bully. As parents, you have the responsibility to make sure your teen isn’t abusing their peers. However, despite your best efforts, your teens may still become bullies.

Contrary to popular belief, simply instilling kindness in your teens may not be enough. According to a Harvard University project, entitled “Making Caring Common”, nearly 80% of kids said their parents taught them that personal happiness and high achievement were more important than caring for people.

To ensure you don’t raise bullies, you need to incorporate the following parenting tips into your life.

Take Interest in Your Child

Most parents don’t actively engage with their teens. Active engagement with your teen goes beyond supervising; you need to interact with them at a personal level to know who they are really are. This requires time, interest and dedication on your part.

Take them out for ice cream or pizza and spend some quality time without letting other distractions interrupt. When teens are happy, they are more likely to open up and share the details of their life with you.

These One Hundred Questions suggested by a Care.com user can really help you learn more about your teens.

 

Teach Them to Respect Others From An Early Age

According to Janet Lehman from EmpoweringParents.com, kids aren’t born with the inherent ability to respect others. In fact, they learn to manipulate the world around them to get what they want. Therefore, the onus is on the parents to teach their them how to respect others. As parents, you need to teach your kids:

  • That everyone is unique
  • To treat everyone with kindness
  • How to process negative emotions in a healthy way

Regardless of your teaching, your kids might be disrespectful to people – and as parents, you need to catch that early and correct them with respect. Learn more about how to to change the attitude of your teens with regards to respecting others.

 

Don’t Ignore Sibling Aggression

While many parents see sibling fighting during childhood as a normal occurrence, the nature and frequency of sibling aggression can have serious consequences. For parents who don’t spend a lot of time with their teens, it is difficult to differentiate between sibling fighting and bullying. According to Joe Magliano from Psychology Today, parents need to read the early signs when their teens’ behavior is bordering on bullying.

Here’s what you can do address the growing sibling bullying and stop it from getting worse.

 

Get to Know Your Teen’s Friends

Teens tend to pick up the negative traits easily, especially from their peers, either in school or the neighborhood. As parents, you need to see who they’re friends with and how it affects their choices. In general, guiding your teens about their choice of friends is a very tricky affair. You need to be respectful and not question their choices outright.

Learn about their friends – you can invite them to family events or offer to carpool. In this great guide, Valerie Frankel from GoodHousekeeping.com, tells you how to deal with your kid when they buddy up with an unruly child.

Foster Empathy

Bullies lack empathy, so it’s essential that you foster empathy in your teens. Sympathetic teens are less likely to develop into bullies. More importantly, you need to exercise empathy while dealing with your teens in difficult situations – modelling empathy is the best way to inspire your teens to be empathic.

 

Take Responsibility

According to researchers from Harvard study on bullying, many parents and teachers tend to pass the buck and put the onus on the kids alone. When adults refuse to walk the talk, it sends mixed messages to children. Teens look up to their role models and mimic their behavior. Researchers say parents should learn how to acknowledge their own mistakes and listen to their teens, acting as an example of good behavior.

 

Help Kids Manage Destructive Feelings

One of the major difference between adults and teens is their ability to process destructive emotions such as anger, shame and envy. In fact, these are the emotions that hinder the ability of your teen to be kind and empathetic. Parents should teach their teens that these negative emotions are normal and they can be handled in a healthy way. When your teens understand this and weigh the potential consequences of their harmful actions, they can better manage these emotions and curb their tendency to be bullies.

 

Final Thoughts

Every parent wants their teen to be happy and successful but occasionally, they end up fostering an aggressive attitude and raise a bully. As parents, you need to see whether your drive to see your teen succeed turns them into a bully who is bereft of any empathy. It could be time to rethink your parenting strategy.

 

                Teens look up to their role models and mimic their behavior.

January 21st, 2020

Posted In: Education, Parenting, Uncategorised

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How To Successfully Manage Test Anxiety In High School

Test anxiety is essentially a state of excessive fear or worry about situations involving formal evaluations such as tests or major papers in schools or colleges.

While feeling stressed and jittery before major tests in a normal phenomenon for some, others might find it hard to cope with the pressure. According to the American Test Anxieties Association, about 16-20% of students have high test anxiety which makes it the most prevalent scholastic impairment in schools today. In fact, the majority of students report that they are more stressed by tests and schoolwork than by anything else in their lives.

 

What Causes Test Anxiety?

There are several reasons that contribute to test anxiety; it primarily stems from worrying about one’s self-worth. Students suffering from test anxiety tend to think that acceptance by peers, parents, and teachers depends only on their academic achievements.

According to Dr. Robert Pressman, director of research for the New England Center of Pediatric Psychology, test anxiety has primarily three distinct components such physiological, behavioral and psychological.

Students suffering from anxiety tend to demonstrate typical physiological symptoms such as feeling light-headed, sweaty, tensed as well as experiencing knot in stomach, nausea and rapid heartbeat. Similarly, in terms of behavior, they may either have disorganized thoughts or go completely blank as well. Some common psychological traits during test anxiety range from restlessness to feeling restless and insecure.

 

How to Manage Test Anxiety in High School

From midterms to college entrance exams to finals, high-schoolers face a slew of tests which push their nerves and make them anxious, especially when the dates of these comes approach.

Here are a few tips on how to manage your test anxiety in high school:

 

Be Prepared

Even as this sounds pretty obvious, it’s one of the best ways to avoid test anxiety. The more prepared and confident you are for the test, the less you’re likely to feel jittery. It’s that simple. Don’t start studying the day before a test. Give yourself a few days to let the material sink.

​Want to determine your preparedness for the upcoming tests? Take a look at the test prep experts at The Princeton Review and discover your test readiness.

 

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Cramming isn’t an ideal way to prepare for the test. In fact, it makes increases the anxiety about your preparedness. Many high-school students tend to pull an all-nighter, which negatively affects their nerves and their ability to think clearly during the exam. If you want to stay cool, calm and collected, the right approach is getting at least 8 hours of sleep.

​According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need about 8-10 hours of sleep each night to ideally function. However, a study found only 15% of the students reported sleeping for 8 ½ hours on school nights. Let your brain and body rest well before the test.

 

Fuel Up

If you want to have an optimal state of mind, it’s important to eat healthy and stay well-hydrated before the test. Many students skip their breakfast out of sheer anxiety while others indulge in crash dieting, both of which are detrimental to your body and mind. As a matter of fact, eating healthy has been found effective in improving test scores. According to a research by the University of California, Berkeley, a healthier diet positively affects students’ test scores. Make sure your foods are rich in nutrition to keep a healthy regimen.

 

Listen to Relaxing Music

It’s only natural to feel a bit nervous before the test. However, if you want to avoid letting negative thoughts cripple you, listen to relaxing music before the test. Once you let your body and mind sync with the music, your heart rate will come down its’ normal range.

 

Get to Class or the Test Early

​The feeling of being late for the test is real and it can add unneeded anxiety. To avoid feeling rushed, pack your stuff the night before the test and set your alarm clock to get up early and reach the class for your test with time to spare. If it’s an online test, make sure you browse site beforehand to get a feel of it, especially if it’s your first time.

 

Develop Positive Mental Attitude

Negative thoughts fuel test anxiety for high schoolers. Make it a practice to cultivate ways of staying motivated no matter what the situation is. Surround yourself with friends with a positive bent of mind. Read some inspiring quotes and listen to a motivational talk before the test to stay inspired.

 

Read Carefully

​It’s always a best practice to read your questions and directions carefully before providing an answer. This applies to multiple choice, long form questions and essays.

​Don’t spend too much time on a question that appears tricky right off the bat. Move on to the next question to get in a early groove.

 

Don’t Pay Attention to What Others are Doing

Students can often worry about what others in the room are up to, therefore distracting them from thinking clearly. This happens especially when you’re not self assured and feeling nervous. Rather than looking around, focus on one question (the easiest ones) to build your confidence as you progress through the test. You can even try wearing ear plugs if this helps you block out sounds and disruptions from your classmates.

 

Watch the Clock

At the beginning of the test, spare a moment to scan the questions and determine in what order you prefer to answer them. Once you have allocated time for each of those levels, stick to the plan. Getting started without any plans can leave you tense when you realize you’re out of time for the remaining questions.

 

Practice Calm Breathing with These Mobile Apps

Deep breathing is a tried-and-true method that helps you slow down your heart rate and keeping it stable. Calming exercises such as yoga and meditation are also effective ways to stave off your nerves and reduce anxiety. There are many mobile apps that can help when you know you have stressful events coming in your life. Universal Breathing, Paced Breathing, Breathe2Relax, Relax Stress, End Anxiety, and Breathing Zone are all worth trying.

 

Get Help

If you feel you need help and support to battle test anxiety, you should consult your teachers or school guidance counselors. Simply speaking to someone about your anxieties can be a good first step to help you cope with it.

Tips for Parents: How to Help Your Teens Deal with Test Anxiety

It’s very common for teens to undergo anxious moments before the tests. However, parents can play a huge role in helping their teens cope with test anxiety.  If not treated early, it can translate into a bigger issue throughout your teens life. Here are a few things that you can do to help.

 

Listen to Their Concerns

It’s natural for your teen to be unsure about a test and its outcome. However, as a parent, you need to reach out to them and be empathetic about the challenges. Speak to them honestly and be realistic about the whole issue. Telling your kids that you’re there for them regardless of the outcome of the test can be a good starting point. However, sometimes, you need to understand the underlying problems that trigger tension in your teens.

 

Help Them Balance

More often than not, teens get nervous because they are unable to strike a balance between balancing their studies and other activities. As a parent, you need to push them to scale back on other things, letting them find more time to focus on studying. You need to help him manage their time for the upcoming tests, setting up a schedule to fully prepare for  the test(s).

​​Teaching them the art of prioritization and time management will help them throughout their lives.

 

Help Them Anticipate the Test Beforehand

Many teens lose sleep over the types of questions that may be in the test, regardless of how well prepared they are. Some of them don’t really know what to expect from the test. Help your teens anticipate different types of questions that could appear. If the test is on a previous chapter in a text book then take a look at that with your teen. Look at any practice questions that may be available for that chapter. They can then prepare for them well in advance and this will help them eliminate any surprises in the test.

 

In Conclusion

Success in exams isn’t just about good study habits; they are also about learning to stay calm and being able to fight off your nervousness. With the above mentioned tips, you can manage test anxiety and optimize your academic performance.

November 1st, 2019

Posted In: Community, Education, Parenting, Technology, Uncategorised

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Finding a Great Student Job

If you’re a high school student, getting a part-time job can be a wonderful idea. In fact, according to data provided by Child Trends, almost half of all young people ages 16 to 24 in the U.S. work either full or part-time. In Canada, 56 percent of undergraduate students have jobs, with the average working student putting in approximately 18 hours a week.

Some studies show that 18 percent of high school students have jobs. This can be a great way to have extra spending money or to save for travel and post-secondary school. Tuition rates are rising and parents are not always able to help fund the hefty cost of post-secondary education. Working is a fantastic way to ensure you have money on hand to contribute to your future.

But there are even more great reasons to work as a teenager. It teaches responsibility, as well as time management and organizational skills. Working will give you a sense of independence and help you gain valuable work habits and experience. Being employed as a teen is also linked to increased rates of graduation and greater earnings in the adult years.

The key is to ensure you’re finding a balance. Studies show that students who work more than 20 hours a week have lower grades than students who work fewer hours. Working too much can conflict with class and leave less time to study and complete school work. It also might detract from participating in extra-curricular activities, such as sports, drama and music. These activities also provide important benefits, so you don’t want to give these up.

With balance in mind, there are some great job opportunities available for students interested in working part time.

The first step is to think about your interests, goals and your current schedule. For instance, do you like sports? Math? Computers? Kids? You might want to offer skating lessons or help coach a team if you’re a hockey whiz. If you excel at math, maybe you can tutor. Ask around or put up signs offering your math services. If you are great at computer coding, there are several small businesses that teach coding to kids. Why not approach them and see if they need help with an after-school program? If you like kids and tend to be free on weekends, maybe you want to babysit. There are many opportunities you might not have considered that tend to be perfect for students. For instance, you can be a lifeguard, camp counsellor, take on a student internship, caddy at a golf club or help a landscaper.

This is also the time to think about your goals. If you want to be a teacher, working with kids or tutoring can be a great entry into that field and will look great on your resume in future. If you’re more entrepreneurial and dream of having your own business one day, this might be a great time to start thinking of ways to make your first business happen.

It’s also important to consider how much time you have available. Do you tend to be busy during the week with academics and extra-curricular activities? You’ll want to look for jobs you can do during the weekends or perhaps during the summer instead of during the school year. If you have an easier semester and tend to have time in the evenings, consider a job that would enable you to work evening hours.

Go online and do some of your own research. There are many job search sites that feature jobs for students. You might find some you’d never considered before. It’s often just as helpful to find jobs you’re not at all interested in doing. This will help you narrow your search and focus in on your interests and needs.

Write down some ideas as part of a brainstorm. Get your friends, parents, a teacher or guidance counsellor involved—they are sure to have some thoughts on how you can proceed. They want to see you succeed and can be helpful in providing guidance when you need it most.

Once you’ve figured out what you want to do and how much time you have to devote to it, get your resume started. If you have one already, that’s great—you’re ahead of the game. Make sure to read it over and polish it off, updating it with a new goal or objective. Start approaching potential employers to let them know you’re interested in applying for a job. This might lead to a phone or in-person interview. Be honest about your goals and the time you have available.

And make sure you have a bank account set up because soon enough you’ll have money to deposit.

May 3rd, 2019

Posted In: Community, Education, Uncategorised

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What I Would Tell My Younger Self About Planning a Great Career

For many teens, deciding on a career is fraught with uncertainties which make them nervous about their career choices.

Should a career reflect their passions? Does pragmatism always have to involve going with the grain? What if they have to start their career all over again looking for newer possibilities in an evolving industry? In short, how do they make smart choices?

Some of the greatest advantages for millennials is their comfort with technologies and the seamless integration of their lifestyle into the digital landscape. However this does not mean every young person would or should want a career in technology (ie. programmers, digital marketing etc).

It always bodes well to take stock of where we are and what we want, especially while planning a career. It can set the wheels in motion for a wonderful fulfilling future or can it turn out to be a long and painful professional life.

 

Looking in the Mirror

When it comes to making the right career choices, maintaining clarity with your thoughts is vital. While some career choices might seem appealing on the surface, they may not be so great in the long run.

Choosing the right career begins with exploring your passion and instincts. Teens should discover their likes and dislikes and think about choosing career options that are aligned with their strengths. Whether you choose technology over arts or a trade over law, make sure you know where your interests lie. Moreover, you need to prep yourself to be mentally resilient and flexible. It’s extremely important for teens to learn how to cope with setbacks in their career journey

 

Research, Research, Research

The easiest accessible database is Google. One can research a host of career options covering a range of interests. Whether your career motivators are financial, social, artistic etc., there is no limit to the research data available for you. You can even go to job sites to see the wide array of opportunities available. There could be roles to never realized that existed that excite you.

It also pays to look ahead ​​and see how industries and job markets are predicted to change in the future.

​Reach out to people who work in the chosen area of interest and communicate with them over email, social media or LinkedIn. Reading up about notable personalities who have made it big or following their blog posts also help assess your career direction.

​No online research can beat actual conversations with experienced people involved in industries or careers that interest you. Try to take every opportunity to speak to as many people as possible. And ask lots of questions about what they like/dislike about their jobs and what advice they can give a younger person planning a career in their field.

 

Start Building Career Skills Early On

As a teen, it’s really difficult to figure out your plans about your career. However, rather than fretting over what’s right or wrong, the best way to deal with this confusion is to do a couple of internships while you’re at school. This will give you ample scope to explore your strengths, likes and dislikes, which will eventually help you make the right career decisions. The good news is making mistakes in your internship won’t probably cost you a huge deal. Use the internship experience hone your skills that will stand in good stead moving forward.

 

Mentoring

It helps to develop healthy mentor-protege relationship. The mentor should calm your nerves when you are at the precipice of something new but also pick you up when you fall to hard. They are like a very wise human pros-and-cons checklist. They help in deconstructing your thoughts and provide strategies on how to move forward. People-pleasers are not great mentors. Seek those you can provide practical experience with unbiased advice for you.

 

Develop a Well-defined Career

Dreaming big is one thing but charting your career path is another. Many teens are instinctively ambitious but what they lack is the clarity about their career objectives.

Whether you want be a medical professional or astronaut, you should learn how to develop your career path accordingly. Gather as much information about your career goals as possible. Speak to industry professionals and practitioners and learn about the ground realities. Some career goals will require a decent academic performance throughout your high school and college degree. Be aware of the scores you need and the courses you need to complete to be better prepared for the competitive industry. The more you learn about your goals, the better are your chances of getting there.

 

Take Risks Early

No matter what your career options are, you need to develop a risk appetite for success. In the rapidly evolving world, it’s important to stay current with you career options and learn skills required to pursue your career goals. When you’re in your teens, it’s easier to take risks since you’re not really strapped with many responsibilities of a middle-age professional. As a parent, you need to encourage your teens to take calculated risks and extend support to help them through the journey.

 

You Can Change Your Mind

These days a typical working career can last approximately 40 years. That’s a long time.

​​Because it’s so long, you have time to start a job, learn what you like and dislike as you get more experience and then adjust your career plans accordingly. In fact this can be done several times over a working career.

​Nowadays it’s practically impossible to come across anyone that ends their career with the same company and profession that started in their 20’s.

​There has never been a time with more flexibility and options for change available to people in the workforce. This can take immense pressure off anyone starting to plan a career in their teens.

 

Understand the Meaning of Happiness

Remember that your career choices are ultimately the means to an end and not the end in themselves. Regardless of the career you pursue, it’s important to understand the meaning of motivation. There are many who make tons of money but are still unhappy with their life. While money is one key to leading a satisfying life, it doesn’t necessarily ensure an emotionally fulfilling life. If you’re in a job that continually stimulates and rewards with you then you are likely to lead a healthier and happier life. And that is the true measure of a successful career.

February 1st, 2019

Posted In: Community, Education, Parenting, Uncategorised

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