Of two minds: study at home or abroad?

I came home from Explore last week, pensive.

Thinking Man Statue

Thinking Person

I was happy to be home. Truth be told, I did not enjoy Explore as much as I thought I would, and so, coming home was a relief. I also came home from Explore with a massive to-do list, and on the list: graduate school applications.

When I returned to school in 2012, it was with the intention to pursue graduate studies – a Masters and a PhD. I wanted to apply to the top schools in the UK, i.e. Oxford, Cambridge and LSE. I thought I would apply to Canadian schools as well, but I would pass up American schools as I did not want to write the GREs.

In April 2014 I was certain I would follow my plan to apply to graduate schools in the UK and Canada. But, after coming back from Explore, I am uncertain as to what I will do. This summer, I will be preparing my graduate school applications including my personal statements, reference letters and research proposal, but, I am now unsure of where I want to end up.

When I enrolled for the Explore program this spring, I found it difficult to be away from my husband. It was difficult to concentrate, enjoy activities, and appreciate the culture and people around me. I struggled with my decision to leave my family in order to study each day of the Explore program.

I am (now) concerned that if I choose to study overseas that my family and I will be miserable apart; and I will compromise my ability to study and to excel. But if I choose to study at home, I may also compromise my ability to get a job after I complete my Masters and PhD.

Where you decide to go to school matters, especially when you are thinking of a career in academe.

If I go to a university closer to home, I will save money, but more importantly, it will ease the stress of being away from my family for a long time. This may make a significant difference in my ability to concentrate and enjoy my time at school. I haven’t decided what to do yet. This chapter is still in progress.

I would love your help. If you are a mature student and you have happened to come across my blog, please do let me know what you think. I would love to have a conversation with you.

Ttyl,
Neena

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Explore Jonquière

Actuellement, je suis à Jonquière pour la programme Explore. C’est ma deuxième jour. J’ai choisi de rester avec une famille d’hôte.

Explore

Explore

Je suis heureuse que j’aie une place dans la classe avancé. Je prendrai l’avantage d’améliorer mon français. Avec ce bon esprit j’ai décidé que j’écrirai tous mes postes en français pendant que je reste à Jonquière.

Bien que je suis heureuse de participer dans la programme Explore, je suis nerveuse aussi. Je connais avant d’arriver que je serai l’aîné de la groupe, alors je m’inquiète à comment je m’identifierai avec les autres étudiantes. Au présent, tous va bien. J’ai une colocataire et nous nous entendons bien. Je suis rencontrée des autres étudiants adultes aussi.

L’expérience d’apprentissage est différente comme une adulte. Je ne me sens pas le pression d’être compétitive ou de faire des choses que je ne veux faire. Mais, je pense que c’est plus difficile d’être parti de sa famille. Je veux rentrer chez moi. Mais, c’est seulement le deuxième jour. Tous les chose sera mieux tôt.

S’il y a des autres étudiantes qui participent dans la programme d’Explore, j’aimerais de vous entendre.

À la semaine prochaine mes amis.

Neena

Is there anyone else out there who is a recovering caffeine addict like me?

On April 9/14, after my last exam, I decided to stop drinking coffee and tea. At that time, I was drinking 3 cups of coffee/tea a day, I was getting 5 hours of sleep a night, I was eating terribly and I felt like crap. Did I mention the weight gain?

How did things get so bad?

Continue reading

I don’t work 9 to 5, but you get the idea

Hi Friends,

Apologies up front- I am late in my post. Last week I promised you a post USA Symposium 2014 wrap up. I am all excuses this week as there is simply too much to do for the end of term – I have essays, exams and presentations – you name it, I got it. It’s crazy! My post-symposium wrap up will come next week. Promise.

This week, I am going to leave you with the classic song, 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton, in salute of my G7 team. Thank you ladies for coming together – our event was truly successful all thanks to our hard work and dedication.

Salud!

I’m in the home stretch!

 

picture of the statue of liberty

Statue of Liberty

USA Symposium 2014 is one week away!

This year, I am a member of the Symposium Team at Glendon College. Symposium is a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to conceive, organize and host an academic conference featuring a country of their choosing. This year, we chose to showcase The United States.

We have a strong group of panelists speaking about a wide range of topics, from Obamacare to the Yes Men. We have scholars from the Fulbright Centre and scholars from the  International Studies Association.

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Balancing Life, Staying Focused

Last night, we had dinner with a friend of my husband’s. We were all talking about the need for passion in anything that you want to accomplish. Passion is the thing that keeps you going  in the face of adversity, when any other rational person would have called it quits. I agree. But this type of single minded focus does have consequences on your day to day life. Continue reading

Life begins at the end of you comfort zone

Beginnings are intimidating, especially in the context of writing essays and papers. My husband tells his students that the blank page can be very intimidating because you have to create meaning out of nothing. No easy task, eh? Whether it is writing a blog, an essay or a personal statement, beginnings set the tone. The writer is under a lot of pressure to get things right.The best advice I got about writing a beginning was also from my husband 🙂 Skip the beginning and start writing the body. This actually works! Continue reading

Yes you should follow your dreams, but be prepared to face your fears

When I decided to return back to school it was so that I could create the career of my dreams. I have always wanted to work as a diplomat. To build this career, I made a plan. First, I wanted to complete a degree  in International Studies. Although I have one degree from the University of Toronto, I opted to complete a second degree at Glendon College; to improve my research, writing and critical thought. I will complete graduate studies  after my second BA and ultimately pursue my PhD and a career with the Canadian Foreign Service. As I am in my thirties, I do have quite a bit of work experience. When I am applying for internships I am often unsure if this works in my favour. I think that more often that not, internships are intended for students who lack work experience. I have work experience, with many transferable skills. I don’t have much of experience in the field I want a career in – International Relations – and so, much of my extra time is being spent trying to accumulate that experience. I am putting myself out there, applying for every possible opportunity to try and catch my break and have a door open (so to speak). Continue reading