Archive | November, 2008

Video: Tips for the Scholarship Application – Queen’s Major Entrance Awards

Series: Tips for the Scholarship Application
Name: Queen’s Major Entrance Awards
Length: ~38 minutes
Requires: Adobe Flash Player
Important Links: Scholarship Website, Application Form

NOTE: It may take a minute or two to load depending on your browser.

Additional Info. on the Creativity / Original Thinking Section

I have been asked about whether doing a collage (like I did) is still a good or bad idea. I think doing a collage is a great idea, and I wouldn’t worry too much about other people doing something similar. However, I think it’s really important that you have a theme or concept behind the collage itself – that is, while there is some creativity involved in the way you construct the actual collage, I think the even greater creativity comes from the theme/idea behind it. And I would say the same thing goes for whatever medium you use for this section, be it a collage or not.

For example, for my collage, I called it “The Artist” because I wanted to convey the idea/theme that humanity is inherently artistic and creative, and so all of us are artists in our own right, despite the traditional themes normally attributed to the idea of an artist. That is, that athletes, for example, are just as much artists of their craft as painters are. That I’m not an artist because I draw and paint, but I am an artist because I am human. While I’m sure the judges liked my collage, I think they were more impressed by the deeper meaning I had behind it.

So as long as you have some important theme (a theme that should be obvious, unless you plan on writing a paragraph like I did), I think doing any type of collage is fine – and given that you have to do this on the paper, a collage might generally be one of the easier and better ideas.


If you have any further questions about the Queen’s Major Entrance Awards, please leave a comment, and I will do my best to answer them!

Secret Project Revealed: New Video Series

So this is the secret project I have been talking about the past week. I’ve decided to start creating some Video Series that I think you guys would find helpful.

To do this, I went to Future Shop the other day to purchase a pretty good microphone: the Logitech USB Desktop Microphone.

I heard some good things about the Camtasia Studio screen recording software, so I downloaded a free 30 day trial version of that. If I want to keep it past 30 days, it’s about $300.00, so I’m not sure if I will. But the software is simply fantastic! It makes recording powerpoints and computer screens super easy, and I didn’t even have to read a tutorial or anything.

Tonight I will be releasing my first video in a Tips for the Scholarship Application video series, where I take a look at the applications for different Canadian scholarships, and break down how I would approach them, and talk about some important things to keep in mind while filling these scholarship applications out. This first video will focus on the Queen’s Major Scholarships. Since the December 1, 2008 due date is coming up for that, I figured it would be a good one to try this format out on. My next video will be on the Millennium Excellence Awards, since that one is due December 12, 2008.

I think the video format will be much better than writing about them because it allows me to actually show you the parts of the application form, so you can go through them with me. In addition, considering that I imagine the videos to be anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour, it means that writing this type of content out instead would take both longer for me to do, and also probably longer for you to digest!

I actually made one initial version for my first video, watched it over and realized I spoke too darn fast in a few places, so I completely redid the video from scratch – not to mention the first time I redid it, I had done about 7 minutes of the video before realizing my microphone was not on! I’m really glad I redid it though, and I’m very happy with the result.

Anyways, that video on the Queen’s Major Scholarships should be up by tonight – hope you enjoy it!

Work and Happiness

A few weeks ago in my Social and Political Philosophy class, we learned a bit about some of the theories of Karl Marx. He is probably most famous for his work on communism, and although many people might disagree with that aspect of his writings, his reasons for communism are based on a very interesting concept that at the core, I really like and quite agree with.

Several years before writing his renowned Communist Manifesto, Marx wrote an article about Alienated Labour. In this article, Marx argued that capitalism created two classes (owners and workers), and that in this system, the workers become socially alienated or separated from the world around them. Marx believed that pursuing meaningful work was an essence of being human, and that the type of labour workers were forced to do in this system inhibited them from fulfilling this essence.

In short, Marx was saying that we can’t truly live and be happy unless we are allowed to pursue work that is inherently meaningful to us.

I thought most people hated work?

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Yup, so it was officially announced that the York University contract faculty, teaching assistants and graduate assistants have decided to strike for an indefinite period of time.

I actually don’t think this could’ve come at a better time for me, personally. If there’s one thing I learned this year, it’s that there’s so much about myself I still don’t know or understand. I don’t think I’m as happy as I could be, and I want to figure out why that is. I want to try and find more things that make me happy.

Writing for this blog makes me happy, that’s why I’ve really enjoyed doing this. I really enjoy answering all the emails you guys send, and it makes me happy to know that the stuff I write is really helping some of you.

Like I mentioned in my previous blog post, now that the strike is happening I have an exciting project for this blog. It’s going to be more of an experiment initially, and if it goes well, I’ll do some more of them. What is it? You’ll just have to keep checking to find out =)

Essay Writing: The Importance of Writing with a Purpose

I am sure there are many extremely qualified candidates for medical school. In fact, I think there are probably significantly many more people who would make fantastic physicians than there are spots. And in some cases, I think it is possible for some of the most promising physicians to not get into medical school.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: for any admissions process, be it a scholarship, professional school, or job, it’s not the best or most deserving candidates that get selected – it’s the candidate who does the best at the admissions process. It’s the candidate who markets himself or herself the best, and makes the evaluators think he or she is the best candidate.

About a month ago, the day before Ontario medical school applications was due, a close friend of mine was busy typing up one of his admissions essays. He was really worried about it, as he thinks he’s not very good at these, so he asked me to take a look at it and provide some advice. My friend is super intelligent, and I think that he would make a fantastic physician. This essay could be the make it or break it part of his application, and despite how good of a physician he might possibly be, this essay is the one of the few pieces of evidence the admissions committee has to come to that conclusion themselves.

So I read his essay, and I could instantly see a few problems in the writing process that he had, and it is a problem I am sure many students make when writing admissions or scholarship essays.


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So it Looks Like I Won’t Have Class for a Bit

Apparently, the Teacher Assistant’s Union at York University is planning to go on strike this Thursday, Nov. 6 for an indefinite period of time. I honestly don’t know much about the situation. All I know is that an agreement between the Teacher Assistant’s Union and York University could not be reached, and they are in a legal position to strike on Thursday – and from what I hear, they are going to strike unless some absolutely miraculous agreement is reached before then. And if there’s a strike, the university has decided to cease academic operations, and therefore, no classes.

The last time such a strike occurred as several years ago, and apparently lasted six weeks or something close to that. So there’s a good chance this upcoming strike could last a month or something, who knows? Some students are upset about the prospect of having to finish the school year in May. Personally, I don’t really care, as I wasn’t planning to do anything particularly interesting next May… so I actually wouldn’t mind having a month break right now.

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Achieving Your Potential

The basketball player you see above is LeBron James. For those of you who don’t follow the sport, LeBron James is arguably the most gifted player to have ever played the game. The amazing thing is that he is only 23 years old, has many years left to play, and can only get better. I really can’t wait to see how good he gets.

Imagine for a second that LeBron James decided not to pursue basketball as a career. In fact, let’s go as far to imagine a scenario where he did not train on a regular basis, was completely out of shape, and could barely play basketball for five minutes without running out of breath – let alone playing 48 minutes of intense basketball every other night with the best in the world, which is what he’s doing right now. In that world, he would not even come close to being one of the best basketball players in the world.

Nonetheless, his potential to be one of the world’s best basketball players has not changed. In our hypothetical world, he simply hasn’t gone out and achieved it.

What is Potential?

I’m sure you’ve heard many stories of teachers telling parents “Oh your son has the potential to do well – if only he worked harder!”, or something to that effect. What does that really mean? gives two pretty good definitions for potential: (1) Possible, as opposed to actual, and (2) Capable of being or becoming.

From my perspective, your potential for a specific activity are the levels of achievement you are capable of obtaining, given your natural abilities. I don’t think circumstances (e.g. resources available to you) are involved with determining someone’s actual potential; rather circumstances are factors that affect your ability to achieve that potential.

Case Study: Potential for School Performance

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