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

No one is perfect, that’s why pencils have erasers

picture of people attending the undergraduate research fair in 2013

Ungergraduate Research Fair 2013

This week I found out that a paper I submitted for the York University Undergraduate Research Fair has been accepted! I will now have the opportunity to present a paper I wrote in 2013 at the Research Fair on February 25th and have the opportunity to win an award for Best Upper Year Project. I am excited about this as a young researcher. I will pursue my Master’s after completing my BA in International Studies – participating in this research fair has given me confidence; I am on the right track! Continue reading

To Drop or not to Drop, That is the Question

Last week I was confronted with a difficult choice. I had just received my midterm grades for two classes; I did not do as well as I hoped. In addition to the disappointment, I also faced a decision: do I drop this course or do I remain in the class? Do I hope for the best but expect the worst? There were a lot of things to consider, but the two most glaring concerns had to do with academics and finances.

Fifteen years ago, I was a student at the University of Toronto. One of the things that I wish I had done differently was dropping courses that I was not doing well in. For instance, Introduction to Economics – I struggled in this course; by the midterm I had serious doubts about my ability to pass the course. I didn’t even consider dropping the course because I felt that it was a waste of money to do so. I also did not want to increase my OSAP debt any more than I needed to. So I remained in the course and prepared my Mom and Dad for the possibility of failure. Final Grade: 52%, D minus. Come graduation, this mark would be one of the marks that would pull down my GPA.

Fast forward to today. What to do? As a mature student, finances are probably the biggest challenge to doing well in school, the second is time management. To make this decision, I needed to put into context why I decided to return to school. I returned to school to complete an undergraduate degree with the unwavering intention to pursue graduate studies; preferably graduating with first class standing so that I am considered for scholarships and bursaries. After getting my Masters I intend to take the Canadian Foreign Services Exam and build my career as a Diplomat. To do any of this, my GPA needs to remain my first priority. Remembering this, the decision became easy – I dropped the course.

When deciding whether to drop a course or not, it’s important to remember that the decision is personal and needs to be put into the context of your life. Try and remember why you are in school and also what you need to do in order to build your future. If graduate studies is not part of your plan, then having one or two lower marks will not really matter. But if you intend to pursue graduate studies, good marks should remain your top priority. Protect your GPA! This is what I am doing my second time around.

Ttyl,

Neena

¿Cansada o Casada?

C’est difficile d’apprendre une nouvelle langue. Imaginez-vous si vous auriez appris deux ou trois! Chez Glendon, j’apprends français et espagnol en même temps. Quelque fois, j’ai confondu les deux. C’est frustrant. Par exemple, au lieu du mot “et” en françias j’écris “y”, au lieu du mot “pero” en español, je dis “mais”. Je me confonds et la personne avec qui je parle! En fait, c’est drôle 🙂 Continue reading

Tick-tock goes the clock

Last week I had my first presentation of the year. It was for my Foreign Policy Analysis class with Professor Edelgard Mahant. This is one of my favorite classes this year. My presentation was jam-packed; so jam-packed that I went over time. This was unfortunate. When I spoke to my husband about this he suggested that in the future I enlist the help of one of my classmates. He or she can provide a signal to indicate to let you know that your time is almost up. This is a great idea! There are other things that you can do to make sure you stay on time, like rehearsing. I didn’t rehearse before this presentation and this really affected my delivery. As I usually rehearse, I know it works!

Continue reading