If you’re a normal person and not a weirdo like me, then you probably hate essay questions on exams.
I mean, exams are already a huge source of anxiety….but essays, too? This means that you actually have to think; you can’t just circle “B” for each answer and hope for the best.
The thing is, although you may have to sound a little bit more formal for school, writing an essay for an exam is the same as writing for any other reason:
- You want to persuade your readers of your ideas clearly and simply
- You want every sentence to make your reader want to read the next one.
This means that although it’s not as hard as we make out it to be, clear and concise writing is still hard in practice.
This post is all about how to make essay questions more bearable — and how to get a good grade for an essay answer.
Throughout university, commuting has been both a productive and frustrating experience for me.
I studied in downtown Toronto while living with my parents in the suburbs about 15-20 miles away. Because of this, I commuted about 3 hours a day for 5 years, and I did it with every form of transportation you can imagine: car, train, bus, subway, hands and knees (okay, that last one might be an exaggeration).
My worst commute horror story happened on the day of my last exam of university, of all times:
- The subway line lost power because of a notorious Toronto snowstorm
- I had to run go back to my car (which I had already paid the $6 parking for) and drive 1.5 hours to get to school
- I could only take slow, inside roads and not the highway because of the rush hour standstill
- A huge block of snow fell on my windshield as I was driving and bent my wiper out (so I had to get out in the middle of the road at a stoplight to fix it)
- I had to pay another $25 to park in downtown Toronto where my school was
- I was 1 hour late to a 2-hour exam that I absolutely had to pass to graduate
You’ll have to read till the end to know the ending of this story, but if this makes commuting sound like a nightmare, let me set the record straight: it usually isn’t.
If you’re like most people, you would probably rather die than present in front of a classroom. I’m not exaggerating: in this Gallup poll from 2001, the fear of public speaking is ranked #2, ahead of the fear of death (#6).
From my experience, the main reason why people are afraid of public speaking is because they don’t want to mess up in front of others.
In this blog post, I’ll help you prepare and deliver a presentation that not only staves off embarrassment, but also makes people sit up and pay attention. Read More…
In my 3rd year of university, I landed a competitive co-op position (a.k.a. paid internship) at one of the Big Four global accounting firms. And although I have decided not to pursue accounting, having this firm on my resume has opened a lot of doors for me in the corporate world, including a short stint as a poster child for my business school: Read More…
Just before I started writing this blog post, I was helping my mom make dinner.
As I was chopping the onions, she told me to sort out my clothes, wash the cucumbers and the blueberries, make six smoothies, wash the strainers, and give her my tax slips afterwards.
Of course, being the goldfish that I am, I promptly forgot about the strainers, left the cucumbers and blueberries sitting in vinegar in the sink (pickled blueberries, anyone?), and started sobbing from the onions.
That’s what I get for trying to do everything at once. Classic multitasking. But the truth is, there’s different kinds of multi-tasking. And in this blog post, we’ll dig deep into what multi-tasking actually is, in addition to some more effective strategies to use, in place of it. Read More…
In The War of Art, Stephen Pressfield introduces a concept he calls Resistance:
“Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard, or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. Its is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.”
Basically, Resistance is that evil thing that makes us procrastinate and stops us from doing our work. It’s not tangible. We can’t shake it off or fight it physically. And we sure as heck can’t ever be complacent and think we’ve beaten it for good.
In fact, if you don’t read any further than this paragraph, I want you to take away one concept: Have a singular focus.
Research shows that our brains are wired to work on tasks serially, and not in parallel. This means that our brains suck at multitasking…but that we are good at focusing on one thing at a time.
According to a study done by TheLadders, that’s how much time a recruiter or hiring manager is going to give your resume.
I know, I know. That’s sad and discouraging to hear, especially if you’ve just spent hours and hours painstakingly crafting every word and tweaking margins and font sizes to achieve god-like resume status.
(At least you’re not a professional speed stacker, whose career depends on how quickly you can build a cup-pyramid and tear it down in much less than 6 seconds. But that’s beside the point.)
I’m not a coffee snob, but I like making and drinking coffee.
- I have a regular subscription to Toronto’s Pilot Coffee Roasters who send me two different bags of freshly-roasted beans every few months
- I have a little digital scale where I measure out exactly 18g of coffee beans, just enough for that morning’s cup
- I also hand-grind the beans on demand (I never grind in bulk ahead of time – sacrilege!)
Most of all, I enjoy having that warm drink to keep me company in the early morning hours as I ease into my day. Read More…