Monday, 28 April 2014

Fiiiiiinally.... Finals: A Look at Student Life During Exams


With the last week of the semester in full swing, here is a quick look at the final exam wrap up at the U of A:


Study Rooms
The all too familiar taken signs are spotted all across campus during exam season – here is a quick peek behind these “taken” rooms.

Student Studying
Environmental engineering student Brett McMillan has his study mode switched on – do not disturb!

Time for a Study Break
From Left: Radhika and Rabia take a much needed study break after a back to back study session.

The Final Report - Done and done!
Petroleum engineering students get their final year design project all bound up at SUB Print – phew that report was an entire semester’s work!

Late Night in the Library
This is what a library looks like at 9pm during finals - good luck finding an electrical outlet for your laptop.

Unwind your mind during Final Exams
The one stop shop to find unlimited ear plugs at the libraries.

Paper People - Installation Art - Rutherford Library
Speaking of libraries, don’t forget to check out the art exhibits at Rutherford.

The Rabbits are turning brown! Hooray!
Lastly, summer is just round the corner – the bunny believes in you. Good luck on finals!! And get ready to say hello to the spring semester!

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About the Author













When I am not busy with engineering school, I love painting in abstracts. I am also a huge movie buff and will watch anything with zombies in it.


I would like to share stories that are personal and reflective of the great community we have built here at the U of A. My experience at the university so far has brought forward a tremendous amount of personal growth, and I can’t wait to help share the wonderful stories and student experiences of this amazing university.

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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Totally Random (But Great!) Classes to Consider for Fall 2014


With Winter 2014 classes wrapping up, many returning students will be drafting potential schedules for the fall. If you’re like me, you’ll likely change your mind and make last minutes substitutions. But to help you make an informed decision, here’s a brief sample of the intriguing classes being offered in September. (Keep in mind that I'm in Arts... so these are a few of the classes that I'm currently eyeing.)
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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Napping 101: Where to Sleep on Campus


Napping 101: Finals Edition


Over the course of my time here I have gained a number of skills and learned a great deal. The most important of these is, of course, mastering the on-campus nap. During the assault on your brain and sleep schedule that is finals, finding a good place to take a power nap can be the difference between happiness and a complete loss of sanity. I've scoped out lots of napping places over the years and now that I'm about to finish my degree I'm finally comfortable sharing them.


The Rubric

In order to give a good assessment of each napping location I have created a very scientific method for reviewing them. Each napping location is graded according to the following criteria:


Comfort:

Comfort is essential to a good power nap and this category will evaluate the comfiness of couches, chairs, and various other things to prop yourself on. 


Ambiance:

Lighting, background noise, privacy, and the beauty of your surroundings before your eyes finally close are important parts of having a restful sleep. This category will evaluate how easily you can feel at home.


Traffic:

The most intimidating part of the on-campus nap is worrying about the people walking by. Nobody likes to be overseen drooling onto their jacket or murmuring in their sleep so this category will evaluate the amount of people that might happen to walk by.


Quiet:

Quietness is essential to having a good nap. Nothing ruins a day like a rude awakening from a nearby crowd or some sort of bustling. This category will evaluate the quietness of the location and the potential to be woken up.

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Mechanical Engineering Lounge


Mechanical Engineering Building - Best Napping Spots

Tucked away in the bottom corner of the MechE building, the lounge features a number of couches of all different shapes and sizes.

Comfort:

The ability to use the big, older style couches or the slightly smaller new ones presents a good opportunity to find the right place for you to lay your head. The couches are comfy and can be pushed together to form a comfy couch bed. Grade: A

Ambiance:

Windows overhead give the room a nice glow without sending sunlight directly into your eyes. Its place in the corner of the building makes it fairly private too. Grade: A-

Traffic:

The lounge is located near a pair of doors but it is not the most used entrance in the building. It is located next to a number of lockers but the traffic surrounding the area is fairly moderate. Grade: B+

Quiet:

The aforementioned lockers create a little bit of background noise here and there and you can expect a moderate amount of white noise but the area is fairly quiet, especially given its location in a very noisy building. Grade: B+

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The Old Arts Lounge

Old Arts Lounge - Best Napping Spots on Campus


Located on the main floor of Convocation Hall, the lounge is one of the best kept secrets on campus. The Old Arts Building is a campus treasure and history will seep into your dormant brain when you sleep there.

Comfort:

With a number of couches and chairs around the room, the lounge offers an average amount of comfort. It's hard to shuffle chairs around to make the perfect napping nook but the seating is perfectly acceptable. Grade: B+

Ambiance:

The lounge's location in one of the coolest buildings on campus gives the place a great ambiance. Windows along one wall provides a little bit of light without being too bright. Grade: A

Traffic:

There is very little traffic moving past the lounge and the people entering and exiting the room usually keep to themselves. Grade: A-

Quiet:

While the lounge is not a designated quiet area, it's usually pretty silent. Expect to hear the occasional conversation around lunchtime but for the most part it's pretty quiet. Grade: A-

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Education South Lounge

Ed North - Best Napping Spots on Campus

The most exclusive room on this list is located at the top of the stairs in Ed north. To access the room you have to take the elevator to the 9th floor then take the stairs up one more level to access this hidden treasure. See? I told you my time here has paid off.

Correction: An earlier publication of this post had listed this lounge as being in Education North... it is in fact in Education South. There is a pretty great lounge on the fourth floor of Education North though, so really either Ed tower you pick should have a pretty great spot for catching a few zzzz's.

Comfort:


Like the Mech E lounge, this lounge has a number of couches of all different sizes, types, and softness. With seating that can be easily reconfigured, the lounge has a number of ways to get comfortable. Grade: A+



Ambiance:


The lounge is undoubtedly a little bit old with some of the chairs creaking and the tables wobbling but the blinds on the windows, easy access to water, and relative privacy of the room more than make up for it. Grade: A

Traffic:

The lounge is rarely busy but is occasionally used by larger groups to host events. For the most part there is very little traffic though you never know quite what you'll get when you make the trek up to the 10th floor. Grade: A-

Quiet:

When there are other people in the room you can expect quiet conversation. The versatility of the room also makes it a place where large groups get together for activities which can be a real nap-disruptor. The quietness of this room varies so be wary of the long journey if you're dying to sleep right away. Grade: B+

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2nd Floor SUB

SUB - Best Napping Spots on Campus

With the construction happening in SUB, the quiet room isn't so quiet anymore. Those looking to have a power nap in SUB can check out the couches just outside Dinwoodie for a good alternative.


Comfort:


The long couches leave plenty of room to sprawl out. Rest your head on a sweater or backpack and the SUB to make yourself at home. Grade: A-



Ambiance:


It doesn't quite live up to the SUB quiet room and nowhere in SUB is particularly comforting but this spot is serviceable. Grade: B

Traffic:

The first two floors of SUB are fairly high-traffic but the people frequenting this area are mainly heading to the AgFor pedway. Nonetheless, the proximity to a fairly frequently used walking area makes the traffic in this area difficult to ignore. Grade: B-

Quiet:

The quietness of this location is wholly dependent on if anything is going on in the nearby Dinwoodie lounge. The recent influx of dance competitions have made this spot wholly undesirable but when there aren't any events happening it is fairly quiet. Grade: B-/C+

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Humanities Lounge

Humanities Fish Bowl - Best Napping Spots

Over my many years here, the lounge on the 2nd floor of Humanities has probably been the place that I have napped most frequently. It is a perennial favourite and will be missed when I graduate.

Comfort:

In the Humanities lounge it is essential that you find two chairs, and put them together. This forms a perfect bed where you can dangle your feet over the edge or curl up on. I personally think this might be the most comfy configuration of chairs on campus. Grade: A+

Ambiance:

The windows on all sides of the lounge can make the room pretty bright at times but throwing a jacket over your head can easily negate this and provide some anonymity. Grade: B+

Traffic:

The humanities lounge is located in a fairly high-traffic area but is tucked enough to the side that very few people walk directly past you. If you can snag a spot along the back wall the traffic won't bother you at all. Grade: A-

Quiet:

When classes are in full swing there is a good amount of noise during class transitions but the building is virtually silent during exams. Grade: A

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Depending what matters most to you in your choice of nap location and which place is most convenient, you now know some of the best places to lay your head and recharge your brain. If you have any favourites that you're willing to share, leave them in the comments. Happy napping and good luck with finals, everyone!
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About the Author













Hello there! I'm Trenton and I'm super excited to be a YouAlberta Student Communicator. Though I spend a staggering amount of my time thinking about a syllabus for an imaginary Batman 101 class, my major is actually Political Science. I love to read, eat, and play around in Photoshop (sometimes all at once). If you're ever looking for someone to debate about a variety of nerdy topics, I'm your man.

It is my hope to tell a wide array of stories about the sides of campus life and student life that may not be immediately apparent. In doing this, I want to showcase the diversity, passion, and community at the U of A that constantly inspires me. My time at the U of A has been truly trans-formative and, as I enter my final year here, I can't wait to listen to and tell stories about the University and its students.

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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

6 Things To Do To Wrap Up The Term (Aside from exams...)



Finals have arrived. You should be writing them now-ish. Or studying for them. Or celebrating the fact that you've just finished them (hooray!). But what else should you be doing? Here's a list of the things you should be doing to wrap up your Winter term:


Sleeping

Getting Ready for Bed - Stich
Image courtesy of mickeyandminnie.tumblr.com


It's been a long semester, but the time is about to come for you to catch up on some much needed sleep. Wrap yourself up in your quilt and just enjoy being restful. 

Just make sure that you get up on time for your exam...


Sleeping During an Exam
Image courtesy of The Guardian



Getting hired

Get a job meme - jobbies
Image courtesy of FunnyJunk.com


If you're wrapping up your degree then this one might take a little longer to do, but don't fret -finding the perfect post-university job can take a little time and patience (as most good things in life do), so use your job search as an opportunity to learn about yourself. Approach each opportunity available as a personal learning experience. Finding the right job is a little like finding the right outfit; it might not look exciting on the rack, but could be fabulous when you try it on for size. 

And if you aren't graduating just yet, you should still try to use your summer job as a learning opportunity. Sometimes summer jobs are the perfect way to fall into your dream career and other times they can provide you with the chance to learn what kind of career you don't really want to pursue. 

Check out our post about getting hired and make a trip over to CAPS to find your summer fit.


Taking a walk around campus



Once you've wrapped up your final final, take a little time to wander around a little. Visit your old study spot, take a selfie in your favourite classroom (provided that there aren't people writing an exam in it), or grab your favourite snack from campus. Just try to enjoy the place where you've spent the last eight months studying. This is your campus, so take a look at it. 

(Note: Yes, I do realize that the trees haven't quite begun to bloom yet and we need a good rain to get rid of the grime on the sidewalks, so try to look up at the lovely buildings we have and just enjoy the mellow mood of campus.)


Cleaning

Spring Cleaning
Image courtesy of explodingdog.com


If you live on campus, now is the time to start cleaning up your dorm. Start sorting what you want to keep and what you really want to just go. Residence Services and the Office of Sustainability should have a number of PODS and bins set up near East Campus Village and Lister to help you donate and recycle the items you no longer need. And you can always take any non-perishable food or un-opened toiletries to the Campus Food Bank if you want a little less to haul home.

And if you don't live in residence, you can still do a little spring cleaning too. Sort through your notes and decide what you'd like to keep and what you'd like to recycle. You can also figure out which of your textbooks you would like to keep and which ones you would like to sell. Or, just clean up your room/apartment so that it can fit your summer lifestyle. 


Planning your summer movie guide

Watching Movies Like A Pro - Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
Image courtesy of complex.com


Summer movies are about to hit hard! Pick out which ones you'd like to see, stock up on your cheap student movie passes (while you're still on campus), and get ready for blockbuster season.



Discover something you'll only find on campus

Tiny Baby Rabbit
Image courtesy of faithcomethby.blogspot.com


While a number of us will still be here over the course of the summer, a larger number won't be back to campus until September, so now is the time to try and find one new thing you haven't tried before on campus. It could mean that you check out something fun AND educational (like the pop-up book exhibit in the Bruce Peel Special Collections over in Rutherford South), or it could mean hanging out in a building you've never ventured to before (like the Mechanical Engineering building, where you can enjoy lunch while over looking a working workshop), or maybe it means searching to see if you can spot a baby rabbit. Think about it, how often do you see a tiny jack rabbit on campus? Now is probably the best time to start looking to see if you can spot one. (Just don't touch! Or get too close! Admire from a distance.)



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Monday, 14 April 2014

6 Tips To Get Your Summer Job



I don’t know about you, but now that the weather is finally on the balmy side, I’m dreaming of spending my summer days sunbathing at the beach. But then I realize if I want to pay tuition next year, I’m going to need to spend my summer at work! Here’s some tips on how to get and keep a summer job!

Search High and Low

Find a Job Button (If only...)
Image courtesy of expectingchange.comIf only finding a job was as easy as pressing a button.
There are so many ways to find a job – make sure you check out as many as you can, to ensure that you find the perfect job for you. Networking, job fairs, employment websites, or even just a walk in your neighborhood can help to make you aware of opportunities that are around you. Even if you aren’t totally sure about a job – apply! If you’re offered an interview, it’s a great chance to figure out whether or not the job is right for you… and even if you don’t end up taking the job, the interview will be good practice! 


Make an Impression 

WORST. RESUME. EVER.
Image courtesy of sodahead.com

 Don't be this guy. 

Make your resume stand out, and write a cover letter that shows your personality. Have a friend or family member proof-read your application, mistakes are a definite no-no! If you’re interested in getting some help with your resume, CAPS on campus offers tons of resources to help you make your resume the best it can be. 

Dress to Impress

What to wear to a job interview: This, not this.
Images courtesy of allabroaduk.com and nerdlife.com


For job interviews, the rule of thumb is usually to dress a level higher than the position you’re interviewing for.  So that means if you’re applying to be a summer camp counsellor, business casual is appropriate, but if you’ll be working in an office situation, a suit would be more appropriate. Like it or not, your outfit is one of the first things potential employers will notice when you walk into the interview room!

Stay Cool 

Job Interview: Nervous?
Image courtesy of citizenschools.org

Employers can tell when you're stressed, so keep your cool.


I’ve had the opportunity to sit on the other side of the interview table a few times, and I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is getting too nervous, and taking things too seriously. Do your best to stay calm, and think of the interview as a conversation rather than an interview. You will come across more approachable, level-headed, and easier to work with than when you are feeling nervous. 

Follow Through

Positive affirmations to get the job.
Image courtesy of desertnews.com

If you say it, you should be prepared to show it!

It’s easy to talk yourself up in a job interview or on a resume. But it’s important to follow through with what you’ve promised once you’ve actually started working. Be on time, try your hardest, and be your best self! 

Keep it Professional 

Don't be THAT co-worker
Image courtesy of actasifblog.com

It can be tempting, but stay away from workplace gossip! 

Keep your cell phone tucked away, don’t tell stories about the crazy night you had on Saturday, and don’t complain about anything (or anybody) in your office in an unprofessional way. Staying professional throughout the whole summer will help you get a great reference, and make your day to day working life so much better!

So whether you’ll be working an office job, at a summer camp, or at the mall, I hope these tips will help you to get and keep your perfect summer job! 


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About the Author

















My name is Erin and I’m going into my eighth, and final, year at the University of Alberta. When I grow up, I want to be a fairy princess… but since the U of A doesn’t offer that program, I am working on completing my Bachelor of Elementary Education.

I can usually be found consuming excessive amounts of caffeine in the library, volunteering with my sorority sisters, or hitting up the latest campus events.

What I love most about the U of A is how different the experience is for everyone, and how many experiences each student can have. I hope to share my stories and yours, so that together we can discover what this amazing campus has to offer!

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Friday, 11 April 2014

Leading Questions: Part 2


With the last week of classes here, it’s time to start finishing up our final papers, putting the finishing touches on our assignments, power reading the final few chapters of our text books, and getting ready for exams…. AND, I’m going to suggest that we take a few moments to try and really appreciate the people that we’ve had around us all year. We are fortunate enough to have strong and positive community of students in our classrooms, residences, student groups, and in student governance. Each one of us contributes to our campus, and hopefully we have each been able to positively impact one another. 

This week, YouAlberta will be celebrating a few of the individuals who have made an effort to improve your student experience this year. Some might call these individuals leaders, others might simply see them as that face that they see around campus, while others still would just call them “friend.” 

Here's a look at one of our student leaders:


Student Leader - Sharon Mvundura


 “Everything that I’m involved in is something that I really believe in whether it’s food insecurity on campus or promoting engagement for political science students or just giving an avenue for students to be involved on campus, I think a good leader cares about the greater U of A community and wants to make connections.” 

These are the reasons that Sharon Mvundura has chosen to get involved on campus. And these are the same qualities that have inspired me to get involved too. 

Sharon, who has been a mentor to me both personally and professionally, is the Assistant Executive Director of the Campus Food Bank and the President of the Political Science Undergraduate Association. As I’ve known her, Sharon has served as a lightning rod of enthusiasm and compassion, as she’s acted as a rallying point for volunteers. Over the course of her journey from a volunteer to a team leader and finally to Associate Executive Director, her enthusiasm has been infections and the support she offers to others is unrivaled. 

When I first joined the CFB as a volunteer, I only expected to pitch in a few tasks here and there during my obligatory 2 hours per week. However, over the course of my time with the organization, I’ve been given the room and the encouragement to do so much more. Sharon was vital to my development as she continually reassured me that I had what it takes to tackle more responsibility and she encouraged me to push myself to be better. By working with her more, my perceptions about my own leadership abilities began to change – I began to recognize that maybe I too could take on more challenges. “Leadership isn’t always about being the person at the front of the room,” she said,  “sometimes it’s about being supportive and empowering the people you’re working with.” That approach to leadership is definitely what motivated me to pursue my own leadership opportunities.  She supported me unwaveringly and the combination of her encouragement, belief, and necessary nagging resulted in me doing more and more in the organization.


Supporting students, one meal at a time
When asked about what motivates her to take on so many roles, she happily replied “I personally feel better when I’m doing more things. The more engaged I am, the happier I am.” 

The relationships she builds with the CFB volunteers makes the whole organization run more smoothly while also empowering volunteers at an individual level. She has taught me the type of work ethic, openness, and compassion that not only makes a good leader but also makes the CFB a great organization. Leaders like Sharon tap into the enthusiasm and energy on campus while coordinating and organizing people to help them harness, develop, and channel their skills and passions. After all, like Sharon likes to say “the U of A has really special students and as a whole the campus is made up of people that are different in so many ways and really want to be involved and passionate about things no matter what they are.”  


Looking to inspire


Despite how much I’ve learned from her, it turns out that Sharon still feels like she’s learning too. She’s told me that for her “involvement on campus has made me so much more open-minded and so much more aware of other people as well as the values that I cherish the most. It’s helped me grow and learn the value of community." In thinking about her words, I can see what she means; as students, we’re all learning more about ourselves through our experiences and encounters both in and outside the classroom.

Thanks to Sharon, I believe that I (and my fellow CFB volunteers) have gained a lot, and I hope that someday, I might be lucky enough to inspire inspire someone as much as she’s inspired me. When reflecting on how leadership and involvement in the U of A community has changed her since her first year, Sharon departed with these salient words: “I've gained so much from this community and I'm really sad to be leaving. I think my leadership roles on campus have given me what I need to be able to go on and do whatever I choose in my life and I think everyone who's involved on campus, whether it's a leadership role or a smaller role, can really attest to that. It really prepares you for the world after graduation. Just because we're students or just because it's at the university, it doesn't make it any less important or valuable."

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About the Author














Hello there! I'm Trenton and I'm super excited to be a YouAlberta Student Communicator. Though I spend a staggering amount of my time thinking about a syllabus for an imaginary Batman 101 class, my major is actually Political Science. I love to read, eat, and play around in Photoshop (sometimes all at once). If you're ever looking for someone to debate about a variety of nerdy topics, I'm your man.


It is my hope to tell a wide array of stories about the sides of campus life and student life that may not be immediately apparent. In doing this, I want to showcase the diversity, passion, and community at the U of A that constantly inspires me. My time at the U of A has been truly trans-formative and, as I enter my final year here, I can't wait to listen to and tell stories about the University and its students.

Share:

Leading Questions: Part 1


With the last week of classes here, it’s time to start finishing up our final papers, putting the finishing touches on our assignments, power reading the final few chapters of our text books, and getting ready for exams…. AND, I’m going to suggest that we take a few moments to try and really appreciate the people that we’ve had around us all year. We are fortunate enough to have strong and positive community of students in our classrooms, residences, student groups, and in student governance. Each one of us contributes to our campus, and hopefully we have each been able to positively impact one another. 

This week, YouAlberta will be celebrating a few of the individuals who have made an effort to improve your student experience this year. Some might call these individuals leaders, others might simply see them as that face that they see around campus, while others still would just call them “friend.” 

Here's a look at one of our student leaders:


Emerson Csorba - Student Leader


Haaave you heard of Emerson? If you've been at the U of A in the last three or four years, then you'll likely say yes. And if you haven't heard of him, you will. (Especially if you keep reading this article...)

Emerson Csorba is the founder of Gen Y Inc. and The Wanderer Online, the co-editor of Leading U: Inspirational Stories from UAlberta Alumni and Students, the former SU Vice President (Academic), one of the many athletes you'll see running across campus in his toe shoes, and he's a student. I sat down with the always busy Emerson to understand what motivates him to do so much and to learn how he does it without the aid of Hermione Granger’s time-turner.

Our interview began with a question that perplexes so many of us: given the demands placed on students (i.e. a high GPA, paying for school, work, social lives, and the expectations of yourself and others) why on earth would someone want to take on more responsibility than they absolutely have to?  

The answer is simple for Emerson- "it becomes addictive."

Even if you don’t know Emerson personally, I’m fairly confident you’ve heard his name somewhere. His busy schedule and frantic pace is matched only by his unrelenting drive. He explains: "For me, I'm the first one in my family to be going to university and that really drives me. I want to set a high standard and take advantage of all the opportunities that I have but –“ he pointed out to me, “there are different things that drive everyone." 



Making Connections


So if everyone has different motivations for wanting to get involved, how should they even start? Emerson’s told me that his suggestion is to “establish your baseline interests and get engaged with a little bit of specialization, which for me was writing. Then you build on that: I focused on governance and student issues and then that manifested itself in the SU. Through my connections with the SU, the Wanderer Online started which really connects to that love of writing I had at the start of university. Finally all of that spawned into Gen Y Inc which is really just making a business out of all of it." 

Regardless of the trajectory that one takes, the most unique facet of leadership on campus is that it is heavily self-motivated. Unlike the professional world where a great deal of obligation can come from superiors, leadership on campus is almost entirely self-directed. Despite the personal nature of this motivation, however, it is also inspired by the energy present in the campus community. "It's the community that motivates me and the community that makes great things happen,” Emerson told me with a smile spread wide across his face, “but there's a lot of initiative needed by the individual. Studying alone could consume what you're doing in life but I'm really impressed by all the people that begin their own startup or establish a non-profit or get involved with the SU on top of everything else they're doing. That initiative is a really important part of the university experience." 


On the way up - Emerson Csorba


So much of the learning that occurs at the U of A takes place beyond the classroom and the skills and knowledge that we gain inside the classroom and outside of it have widespread effects. "The people that emerge from the U of A go on to do lots of great things around the city,” said Emerson with pride. “The things that people are learning and the experiences they have are leading to companies or to non-profits or to different initiatives across Edmonton. If you look at a lot of the really innovative businesses, there's some connection to the University." For Emerson, the motivation to be a leader comes from not only going on to do bigger and better things but also by inspiring others to do the same: "I like seeing others have those 'a-ha moments' when they realize that there's something that they love and that they're working on something they want to pursue." 

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About the Author














Hello there! I'm Trenton and I'm super excited to be a YouAlberta Student Communicator. Though I spend a staggering amount of my time thinking about a syllabus for an imaginary Batman 101 class, my major is actually Political Science. I love to read, eat, and play around in Photoshop (sometimes all at once). If you're ever looking for someone to debate about a variety of nerdy topics, I'm your man.


It is my hope to tell a wide array of stories about the sides of campus life and student life that may not be immediately apparent. In doing this, I want to showcase the diversity, passion, and community at the U of A that constantly inspires me. My time at the U of A has been truly trans-formative and, as I enter my final year here, I can't wait to listen to and tell stories about the University and its students.

Share:

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Working Towards Something: Student Leadership

With the last week of classes here, it’s time to start finishing up our final papers, putting the finishing touches on our assignments, power reading the final few chapters of our text books, and getting ready for exams…. AND, I’m going to suggest that we take a few moments to try and really appreciate the people that we’ve had around us all year. We are fortunate enough to have strong and positive community of students in our classrooms, residences, student groups, and in student governance. Each one of us contributes to our campus, and hopefully we have each been able to positively impact one another. 

This week, YouAlberta will be celebrating a few of the individuals who have made an effort to improve your student experience this year. Some might call these individuals leaders, others might simply see them as that face that they see around campus, while others still would just call them “friend.” 

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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The Last Lecture: Not A B-Movie


With the last week of classes here, it’s time to start finishing up our final papers, putting the finishing touches on our assignments, power reading the final few chapters of our text books, and getting ready for exams…. AND, I’m going to suggest that we take a few moments to try and really appreciate the people that we’ve had around us all year. We are fortunate enough to have strong and positive community of students in our classrooms, residences, student groups, and in student governance. Each one of us contributes to our campus, and hopefully we have each been able to positively impact one another. 

This week, YouAlberta will be celebrating a few of the individuals who have made an effort to improve your student experience this year. Some might call these individuals leaders, others might simply see them as that face that they see around campus, while others still would just call them “friend.” 

We're starting today off with a look at the individuals who inspire us inside the classroom:

Provided by Edward Spink, After U




-->
The Last Lecture - it sounds like the title of a potential B-list movie. In reality, it’s something a lot more valuable than some movie you’ll find in a $5 clearance bin at Wal-Mart. The Last Lecture gives the opportunity to a professor to answer the question “If this were your last time to address a group of students, what would you say to them?” I can’t imagine this to be an easy question to answer. It’s like asking a hockey player to play their last game or asking a police officer to go on one last patrol before they retire.



No, this isn’t like the last lecture of a semester where your professor rushes to teach you everything, or holds a Q & A review session, followed by you applauding them for all the hard work they’ve put into teaching you the entire term. At the Last Lecture, a professor has the chance to forgo the syllabus, the lesson plan, the powerpoint slides and the laser pointer. Instead, they’ll be able to speak about whatever they like, whether it be a stories of their experiences being an undergraduate student or perhaps some inspiring life lessons. Whatever it is, you can expect their words to come from the heart.



I nominated Dr. David Begg, a professor from the Faculty of Medicine to be this year’s Last Lecturer. Naturally I was excited when I found out he was one of the three finalists along with Dr. Linda Kerr, and Dr. Robert Burch. I nominated Dr. Begg because he truly cared about his students and he really respected them. He inspired me to do what I love and I know he would’ve given an amazing Last Lecture. Although Dr. Begg didn’t win, I’m still excited to hear Dr. Burch speak at the Last Lecture. Despite being the ones standing in front of a lecture room, the ones you may be a bit intimidated to ask a question or visit during office hours, professors are human beings. They too have experienced the ups and downs of being a student. They’re tasked with the job of passing the knowledge of the universe onto each generation of students. They all have unique and incredible life experiences and adventures you never get to hear of. Whatever knowledge Dr. Burch has to pass onto this generation of students, I know his words will be from the heart and will be truly inspiring.



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Monday, 7 April 2014

8 Characteristics to Look for in a Student Leader


With the last week of classes here, it’s time to start finishing up our final papers, putting the finishing touches on our assignments, power reading the final few chapters of our text books, and getting ready for exams…. AND, I’m going to suggest that we take a few moments to try and really appreciate the people that we’ve had around us all year. We are fortunate enough to have strong and positive community of students in our classrooms, residences, student groups, and in student governance. Each one of us contributes to our campus, and hopefully we have each been able to positively impact one another. 

This week, YouAlberta will be celebrating a few of the individuals who have made an effort to improve your student experience this year. Some might call these individuals leaders, others might simply see them as that face that they see around campus, while others still would just call them “friend.” 

Before we meet them, we thought that it would be a good idea to take a look at what draws us to embrace and support one another. Here’s what Erin was able to find out for us:


Graduating from the Emerging Leaders Program
Caitlin Field receives her ELP certificate from pleased Dean of Students' Frank Robinson and an ecstatic Rory Tighe (former SU President)


It’s easy to spot the leaders of our campus community – we often know who they are because of the work that they do. I was curious to learn more about what else they have in common, so I asked Caitlin McLeod, a recent graduate of the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), a co-curricular course that uses the social change model of leadership to help students build the skills that will help them to become confident leaders.  After talking to Caitlin about her experience in the program, I learned a few things. 

Although there are lots of leaders on our campus, the ones that really stand out are the ones that inspire positive change. Leadership styles vary greatly, but positive leaders seem to be the most successful. Here are some things they have in common: 

Positive leaders…


1) Are self-aware

Presenting self


 “By developing a clear understanding of your own leadership style,” Caitlin explains, “you are able to further explore your leadership potential. For example, ELP equips you with the tools to not only recognize your weaknesses, but to also improve upon these skills.”


2) Embrace Diversity


Soaring to New Heights - Student Leadership


It’s “inspiring to see what others [are] able to contribute to the university, local or global community,” Caitlin says. Accepting the strengths and insights of others and learning to look beyond your own experience can help to increase your network of support while also ensuring that you have a greater wealth of knowledge to draw upon to. 


3) Problem Solve and Collaborate

Solving Problems One Thread at a Time


Leaders cannot exist on their own (after all, you can’t be a leader with nobody to lead). Instead, leaders should help to inspire and support a team, each of whom will have the ability to positively impact the goals of the group. Knowing and recognizing the strengths of yourself and others can allow for the development of creative solutions to problems both old and new. 


4) Accept Controversy with Civility


Listen To and Acknowledge Different Persepctives


In any organization, leaders will face controversy. Whether it’s a major issue, or a small disagreement, not everybody gets along 100% of the time. The strongest leaders are optimistic in the face of controversy, are able to accept different viewpoints, and lead with grace even during difficult situations.  


5) Empathize

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Not only should leaders be able to recognize the viewpoints of others, they should also be able to truly understand where others are coming from, and how things might make them feel. Someone who can empathize with others is more able to lead in a way that is respected by others. 


6) Possess a Commitment to Action

Work Together for a Goal


Leaders are the driving force of organizations. They need to be able to commit to a goal, create an action plan, and follow it through to the end. In taking those actions, however, positive leaders not only have to take action, they have to incorporate all of the traits and skills that I’ve already mentioned in order to make the action positive action. 


7) Ethical Engagement and Citizenship

Engage


Leaders need to support the people in their organization and their needs, and should not be focused solely on their own individual desires. The best leaders are able to meet the needs of all members of their group, not only certain members or the majority. Being a leader is all about making decisions that impact people, and positive leaders are able to make decisions that make their group or project better for everybody. 


8) Inspire




After her experience in the Emerging Leaders Program, Caitlin revealed that, “you discover new ways of leading and igniting leadership in others. Supporting and engaging others to become effective leaders themselves is an important goal for anyone in a leadership role.” Leaders rarely stay in their roles forever, so it is important to support those around you, help them to reach their potential, and to inspire them to take on leadership roles in the future. 

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About the Author

















My name is Erin and I’m going into my eighth, and final, year at the University of Alberta. When I grow up, I want to be a fairy princess… but since the U of A doesn’t offer that program, I am working on completing my Bachelor of Elementary Education.

I can usually be found consuming excessive amounts of caffeine in the library, volunteering with my sorority sisters, or hitting up the latest campus events.

What I love most about the U of A is how different the experience is for everyone, and how many experiences each student can have. I hope to share my stories and yours, so that together we can discover what this amazing campus has to offer!

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