Tag Archives: McGill

My biggest weakness

I haven’t updated my blog in awhile because I’ve been quite busy but I hope to get into a better routine and update it more frequently.

Lots of things have happened recently. I graduated from McGill, with Honours. I got a great summer internship at The McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy (which ends next week), I am almost finished a summer writing course at Concordia which I took to improve my writing skills and I got offered a full-time job in September.

But the thing on my mind today is group coupons, my biggest weakness. Since this phenomenon began just a few months ago, I have been addicted! I’ve bought manicure and pedicure deals, massage treatments, hair styling and even food. I keep on thinking I am getting an amazing deal, and usually I am, but it’s only a good deal if you actually would buy that item full price anyways. If you wouldn’t, then it’s just money wasted.

As I start moving on with my life after graduation, I hope to start managing a budget and tracking my expenses. I never really did that in university and instead just trusted myself to know how much I am spending and not waste money on superfluous things. Now that I’m “all grown up,” I want to keep a detailed account of what I do with my money so I can start saving for my future. My major obstacle will be these impulsive group coupon deals!

If that’s my biggest problem in life, I’ll count myself lucky. For now, I’m off to redeem one of my deals.

 

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Perspectives: Making the Most of McGill’s offerings

If I took a survey of first-year students, I imagine that most of them don’t use more than one or two services offered by McGill. I know I haven’t. In my first year of university, I was completely unaware of the many things I could do at McGill—it took me a year to discover the school paper (and another year to discover that there was more than one), two years to discover McGill’s career services (CaPS) and three years to discover the McGill gym. I knew the gym existed and that I paid $120.50 a semester in Athletic fees. But I believed that walking around campus and up the mountain to my residence was exercise enough.

Many soon-to-be graduates will tell you that as graduation looms closer, a sudden desire develops (coupled with a panicky feeling that the end is coming) to try everything McGill has to offer. Recently I’ve tried to soothe the anxiety that I will never again be a student, will never take another McGill class, and will never again walk the halls of Leacock, by making the most of the services I haven’t yet used at McGill. And so, after overcoming the protests of my out-of-shape body, I bought a gym membership and trudged up Pine Avenue to visit the McGill Fitness Centre.

I’ll admit that I’ve never really been to a gym. I’ve been blessed with good genes, and even though I love eating Oreos and Pillsbury cookies, my body hasn’t put on all the weight it should have. But when I run from class on Peel to my next one in Trottier, my heart is beating rapidly and I’m short of breath.

My desire to try the McGill gym might also have something to do with the course I’m taking called “World of Chemistry: Food” where, behind the details on which vitamins to take, and which food to avoid, the underlying conclusion is that we need to eat less and exercise more.

Visiting the McGill gym is both scary and exciting. At first, I had no idea where to go and couldn’t ask anyone for directions because I didn’t want anyone to guess that I wasn’t a real gym enthusiast. So, despite the wrong turns that led me to a locked stairwell where the only entrance led to the snowy outdoors, after walking around the gym back to the front entrance, I found the fitness centre, hopped on a treadmill, and started my workout.

You don’t need the details of my first workout. But I will tell you that I can now check another item off my do-before-I-graduate list.

It’s hard to believe that in first year, I didn’t even know where the gym was or that McGill offers activities other than academics. Did you know that there are clubs for virtually everything? There are even clubs catering to people who just want free food or people interested in playing imaginary games that only exist in Harry Potter books. If there’s one thing McGill and the Students’ Society should devote more time and money to, it’s promoting the many programs they offer that students may not already know about. Maybe they covered it in orientation week, but shockingly enough, students don’t remember everything they learn in orientation—I know I don’t. McGill students: get to know your school. You’ll save yourself much anxiety later on and when graduation comes, you’ll know that you got the most out of your university experience.

 

Perspectives: Confidence and Female Achievement

When it comes to diversity in politics, Canada has a long way to go.

This is true even compared to the United States. Only one woman has ever been elected as a premier in Canada, and we’ve had only one female prime minister. The U.S., on the other hand, currently has eight female state governors, and 22 states have had female governors. When it comes to representation by immigrants and visible minorities, Canada falls even further behind. The U.S. has one governor of South Asian descent, a Latino governor, and, of course, an African-American president. Comparably, Canada’s ministers are almost uniformly white males. The two most notable Canadian female political figures, Adrienne Clarkson and Michaelle Jean, were both Governor-General, a largely symbolic role. Despite a relatively liberal immigration policy and more female births than male, Canada’s political institutions remain overwhelmingly comprised of males of European descent.

Not surprisingly, this can negatively affect how confident women are in their own abilities. As I found out in my political science class last week, even though women now excel in many “male” fields, they tend to feel less confident, often negating their own skills and expertise. I was struck by this paradox: women have advanced their careers, achieved political milestones like equal pay, voting rights, and acceptance to previously barred fields. Yet even as women become more capable and more confident, they are rarely as confident as men.

It seems that this research hits close to home at McGill. I haven’t had the opportunity to conduct a study to determine if women and men are equally secure in their abilities as students and educators, but there is a clear discrepancy between the two in higher-level positions. For instance, out of 13 student senators on the university senate, only four are women. How can we expect women to feel equally confident when there are so few apparent examples of female achievement? Luckily, there are efforts to overcome obstacles to female political involvement. McGill’s Women in House is a great program that encourages women to get involved in politics. It offers female students a trip to Ottawa to hear politicians speak and to shadow an MP. Through this program, McGill encourages its young women to develop their interests and achieve the expertise necessary to give them confidence in their own abilities. It’s time we spend more on programs that encourage political engagement from all backgrounds and introduce new voices to the student body.

Canada prides itself on being a multicultural, inclusive, and tolerant society. But the leaders of our political parties are far from diverse or multicultural, especially when compared to the leaders in American politics. Canada is proud to be a country where political representation does not depend on money or image, as it often does in the U.S., but it too often seems to depend on something else entirely: irrelevent biographical details like gender or ethnicity. It’s time we see more female faces representing our diverse society.

This article was published in the McGill Tribune as part of my column, Perspectives.