2nd Annual Nursing Networking Night: From Graduation to Occupation

On Monday. February 22, 2016 – 6pm – 9pm – I had the opportunity to attend the second annual Nursing Network Night at Ryerson University – “From Graduation to Occupation”, hosted by the Nursing Course Union and Canadian Nursing Students Association (NCU-CNSA). This event began last year as a way to engage nursing students at Ryerson to be more involved, engaged, and take initiative in their career and professional development. It turned out to be highly successful in 2015 and garnered a lot of positive feedback from attendees. So this year, they announced their second event in order to continue encouraging nursing students at Ryerson to facilitate a smooth transition from graduation to occupation.

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The evening began with a few words of welcome from representatives from both NCU and CNSA. Then we jumped straight into a few words from a representative at Ryerson’s Career Centre, who shed some light on the basics of Networking. She was able to teach us the ins and outs of the process of networking – the do’s and don’ts, and the how to’s. She was also there to advocate and speak for the resource available on campus that is Ryerson’s Career Centre. The Career Centre is a highly valuable resource for Ryerson Students when in the pursuit if a job or to help facilitate an easier transition post-graduation to work and career life. They help students with things like making the ideal cover letter and resume, building your LinkedIn profile, interview tips and practice, etc. If you’re ever in need for great ways to build and improve your professional self, you can find Ryerson’s Career Centre at POD60 (located just below The Hub).

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After the presentation from Ryerson’s Career Centre, a couple of speakers who were Ryerson Nursing Alumni, spoke about their own personal stories and their journeys. They shed some light and inspiration as they talked about the different ways in which they were able to reach their goals of becoming an registered nurse (RN). This portion of the evening was especially helpful for the nursing student attendees as we were able to truly relate to these alumni, knowing that not too long ago, they, too, were in the same situation that we currently are in. Their stories of their journeys were captivating, motivating, and inspiring. It truly highlighted how personal the process is of becoming an RN and how nursing students can better prepare themselves for not just a job, but a long-lasting and fulfilling career.

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After the presentation from the alumni speakers, the evening moved forward to the dinner, graciously supplied by Chipotle.

After dinner was the highlight of the night: the Q&A panel. NCU-CNSA was able to get nursing managers from the major hospitals in the downtown to represent each hospital organization, and answer any questions we may have. The nursing managers and representatives came from Michael Garron Hospital (formerly known as TEGH – Toronto East General Hospital), UHN (University Health Network – comprised of Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre), and The Hospital for Sick Children. The line up of panellists truly excited the nursing students in the room – the majority of whom eager to work for such established and world-renowned organizations. The Q&A panel was the opportunity of the night to ask any and every question running through every nursing student’s mind.

“What is the ideal candidate for you?”

“What kinds of people do you prefer to hire – internal or external applicants?”

“What are the different kinds of interviews you conduct?”

“Do you hire applicants prior to completion of graduation and/or NCLEX examination?”

“How do you build a strong mentor relationship?”

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Needless to say, the Q&A of highly experienced registered nurses in executive positions within the most renowned hospitals in the country, did nothing short of answering each questions with clarity and efficiency. Not only did they answer questions well to the highest degree, they also offered valuable insight and advice as to how to begin your career as an RN. They were more than generous with their time and their thoughts on how to transition from a nursing student, graduate nursing student, to RN. The panellists were gracious and true role models for each nursing student attendee in the room.

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The night was a great success, as anticipated! Everything went smoothly, all in attendance enjoyed themselves, and nursing students were able to connect with their peers and their prospective employers. We learned how to market ourselves in the health care industry, how to appeal to employers and organizations, and how to prepare ourselves for the near future.

A Positive Outlook for 2016

Every new year offers a wealth of new opportunities for everyone. It’s a chance for personal reinvention – a chance for self-discovery and exploration. It is during this time of the year where the saying: “Carpe Diem” (Seize the Day) rings loud and true for us all. While we take the time to reflect on the previous year – the highs and the lows, the successes and the failures – we begin to stipulate how we can learn from the previous year and take all that we’ve learned to better ourselves in the new year. Already being a few days in to 2016, some of us are either on the path to self-improvement or still trying to figure out what that path looks like. Whether it’s the first day of the year of the last, there is no right person to be. It’s okay to be the person just figuring things out just as much as it’s okay to be the person who has figured things out already. As long as you’re moving forward and investing in yourself, you’ll be okay.

The new year offers many opportunities to accomplish self-discovery. You can try something new like water-skiing or enrolling in a course or adopting a pet. You can continue to do things you enjoy and are passionate about, like write or take long walks early in the morning or take pictures more often. Perhaps you want to challenge yourself and do something that is completely out of your comfort zone, like learn a new sport or perform on a stage or travel to a new country. Seize the day – seize the new year. Allow yourself to do what you love and what is familiar, while also allowing yourself to try new things that challenge you and push you out of your comfort zone.

While we set these goals for self-betterment in the beginning of the new year, we have the idea in mind that by the end of the year, we’d have already achieved what we set out to do in the beginning of the year. In our heads, by December 31, 2016, we have already become who we set out to be in January 1, 2016. If this was a perfect world, this is what would happen for all of us. Unfortunately, we are all flawed and we live in a flawed world. So it’s okay to not have things completely figured out by the end of the year. It’s even okay to still be figuring things out at the end of the year. There is no set time line to develop a Bette sense of self (and if you want my opinion, 12 months is not enough time). So don’t be so hard on yourself if you didn’t manage to go to the gym 5 times a week like you promised yourself, don’t be so hard on yourself if you still manage to procrastinate a little bit throughout the year – mistakes are a crucial part of this journey to self discovery. As human beings, we are entitled to slip up from time to time and that’s okay. As long as you continue to pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes, and move forward, you’ll be okay. You never want to aim for perfection – you want to aim for growth.

Growth is vital when a new year starts. The only thing you don’t want to be doing for the new year is restricting your growth. You don’t want to be exactly where you were in 2015 – making the same exact mistakes and never learning from them, doing the exact same things and never learning anything or doing anything new. All these things limit your growth and as the years go by, neither you nor I get any younger. We owe it to ourselves to nurture our growth each year and make sure that this year, and the many years after, are used to develop yourself in as many ways possible.

Looking ahead into 2016, we have the world at our feet. We are free to do whatever we wish. Just make sure we use this free will and the promise of 2016 to make a positive mark on this world for you and for others.

2015 was a remarkable year for us all. Let’s make 2016 even more remarkable.

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4 Tips To Tackle Stress This Exam Season

Happy end of the term classes to all Ryerson students! Today marks the final day of classes for all students across campus, which unfortunately also marks the beginning of finals week for this semester. Stress levels are high and the campus is filled with scrambling student, all attempting to gather all necessary notes for all of their exams. Professors are finalizing exams and answering a million emails a minute, answering questions from stressed and nervous students. It is that time of the year when everyone is eager to delve into the holiday festivities, but also trying to find the best way to cope with and manage all the stress that comes with finals week and being a university student in general. It’s a happy but tough time of the year. Lucky for you, I have some tips that can maybe help you get through the stress, have you motivated for your exams, and ready for the holiday season!

TIP #1: COFFEE IN MODERATION

We all need our daily fix of Tim Hortons or Starbucks and when you’re a university student, it’s almost necessary. Coffee contains the magic C (CAFFEINE) that helps keep us alert for the day and focused for the lectures/labs/tutorials ahead. It’s especially helpful after an all-nighter spent studying, working on a project, or doing a paper (or perhaps simply getting lost in the world of Netflix…). Coffee is great – in moderation. Students tend to turn this “daily fix” during exam season to a “multiple times a day fix.” This can get dangerous and really impact your health negatively – it’ll send your heart rate through the roof, your blood pressure can be through the roof, your diet will be compromised – a lot can go wrong. Don’t over-do it with the coffee. It’s not something that you need to depend on to do well on your exams – your hard work and effort determines that for you. Limit yourself whenever possible and find other ways to stay away (i.e a cold shower in the morning, exercise, breakfast, etc).

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TIP #2: FIND A DESIGNATED STUDY SPOT

Finding a place to study and actually be productive is difficult. This is especially difficult in the middle of the busiest city in Canada – Toronto – where Ryerson is so centrally located. Luckily, we have the Student Learning Centre (SLC) to cater to our Study Spot Needs. First, it’s important that your study spot include a desk or a table of some sort to support whatever your study materials are. Avoid anything too small – the more space, the more room to support laptop, textbooks, notebooks, phone, etc. Second, try to find a bright space, perhaps anything with a big window or light coloured walls. Studying in a bright space with lots of light does a lot for your visual senses and makes it easier for you to sit somewhere for a prolonged period of time, staring at a bunch of words and/or numbers. It definitely lessens the load. Lastly, make sure your study spot is not confining. This means to make sure that the spot you choose allows you to get up once in awhile and move around. Not only does this gives you a break from sitting in a chair in front of your computer for hours, it also prevents any sores or muscle aches from happening, which comes with sitting still for hours. If you’re looking for the perfect study spot on campus, I definitely suggest the SLC (specifically floor 5! Not too eerie and quiet, but also quiet enough to give you some peace).

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TIP #3: DON’T FORGET YOUR DIET

Stress-eating can manifest in two ways: over-eating or under-eating. Some people can binge on junk food and resort to comfort food during such a stressful time. Some people can be so pre-occupied and busy that they may forget to eat and incorporate proper nutrition into their diet. It is important to find some sort of balance in your diet during exam season. Take comfort in moderation – have a donut here and there, get a Frappucino instead of your regular cup of coffee, get some ice cream. Also, it’s not the end of the world if you miss breakfast or have a late dinner. It is expected that your diet will not be at its healthiest during exam season, but it is important to keep in mind that proper nutrition is the best way to keep the mind and body focused and ready to face the day. An improper diet can actually lead to increased levels of fatigue and stress – which is something none of us need any more of during finals weeks. What we do need is increased brain power, which is something fruits and vegetables offer ample amounts of.

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TIP #4: SLEEP – TRY IT

Sleep deprivation – we all have it. Many students have grown accustomed to functioning on a lack of sleep but this tends to get worse during exam season, when we stay up and spend the night cramming and/or getting last minute things done. As a result, the lack of sleep can lead to even more fatigue, an increased dependence on caffeine, and even worse – the chance of sleeping in and maybe even sleeping through an exam. Yikes! The best way to avoid this is simple, but hard at the same time – get as much sleep as you can. Whether that means sleeping earlier and waking up earlier or taking short naps throughout the day, do what you need to do to get some rest and relax your brain. An overworked brain will only lead to more stress and sleep revives the mind, making it easier to study and tackle exams. Sleep is important and most importantly, it’s so relaxing!

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I wish all fellow students at Ryerson and all other schools all the best of luck during this semester’s finals week! Study hard, study well, and do your best! Surround yourself with positive vibes and do what you need to do to stay focused and motivated. We are so close to a well-deserved holiday break so we’re almost there! Hang in there. I’m rooting for you!

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TedX Ryerson U 2015: Iconoclast

On Saturday, November 14th, TedX RyersonU held its annual conference. This year’s theme was “ICONOCLAST,” focusing on topics and ideas to change and enhance the future. There were numerous speakers – from current students at Ryerson, graduates of Ryerson, and established professionals – all who spoke of concepts surrounding creative and innovative ways of thinking, and the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration. There were three sessions held throughout the day, each with the intention of inspiring Ryerson University students to make significant impacts for the future through their work, and how to go about making a change. It was a successful event, with approximately 400 students and community members in attendance, all eager to learn about what it means to be iconoclasts of today and tomorrow.

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Just as in other TED conferences, TedX Ryerson held three sessions throughout the day: one session for technology, one session for entertainment, and one session for design. Each session is meant to showcase a set of speakers involved in technology, entertainment, or design, as they speak about the given theme of the conference. With the theme being iconoclast, each speaker delivered powerful speeches about what it means to be innovators of the future, and how to challenge the status quo, in order to break barriers and create change. Each message delivered was captivating, inspiring, and challenged students to think critically about what it means to be iconoclastic.

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A session that resonated with me the most was the first session – the session of technology. The focus of this session was about the future and how to become innovators of the future. The speakers during this session spoke about how to think outside of the box and push boundaries to develop creative ways of thinking. They emphasized thinking through alternative perspectives apart from your own, and challenging traditional ways of thinking. The importance of interdisciplinary collaboration was also emphasized, as the speakers forced students to find ways to incorporate other disciplines in their work. Interdisciplinary collaboration has been found to offer new perspectives and alternative approaches that may not have been considered prior. It offers new opportunities of growth and maximizes learning.

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This session resonated with me the most as it exposed me to new methods of achieving personal and career goals. It allowed me to think about how to affect change and develop the future through creative and innovative approaches. It pushed me to think outside of the box and to step out of my comfort zone to learn something new and offer new perspectives. It also allowed me to see that interdisciplinary collaboration is essential for iconoclastic work. Working with people from a multitude of different disciplines means having a team with a variety of different sets of knowledge and skills. These different sets of knowledge and skills each offer something unique towards the development of a certain goal, and offer more opportunities for achieving this goal in unique and innovative ways. This session pushed me to embrace change and explore the unknown in order to find new ways, better ways, to create a better future. The discussion from this session really drove home what it means to be an iconoclast of today and tomorrow.
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The Opposite of Loneliness

What is the opposite of lonely? I asked myself this question after I began reading Marina Keegan’s book of short stories and essays entitled, “The Opposite of Lonely”. In this book, she describes the opposite of lonely as her current state; a state of tranquility while completing her studies at Yale University as a writer. It was a state where she was surrounded by support from friends, professors and her family. It wasn’t what I would consider a ‘typical’ answer to the question, as I figured many would touch on the significance of their relationships and the intimacy that corresponds with it. I hadn’t expected it to be an answer regarding the happiness and comfort that comes with school surroundings and the journey towards a desired career. This question really got me thinking, what is my opposite of loneliness?   Opposite-Loneliness[1]

It had hit me a couple of months back when I had started at a new yoga studio and was attending religiously three times a week. Prior to my current relationship, I had been single for about five years and although I learned a lot during that time and I can appreciate the experiences that came with singlehood and the desire that came with finding my inner identity, I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a sense of loneliness now and again. Since being in my new relationship, as much as I want to be able to count on someone other than myself and allow myself to become vulnerable to others, I also want to be able to stand on my own two feet, regardless of my relationship status. So it was there in that yoga studio during my evening shavasana that I realized, I was no longer alone. Not just because I had someone to hold at night, but because no matter who came in and out of my life, no matter how much love or pain I felt, I would never be alone; I would always have yoga. It sounds silly but it was a relief knowing that no matter how much I loved someone and no matter how much pain I would feel if that love was no longer there, I knew I would always have my yoga practice to keep me grounded, to keep my strong, to help me to relax and to love me back.

I had found my opposite of loneliness prior to having read this book. However, after having read this book, it made me realize the varying opinions and experiences of what the opposite of loneliness is. With that said, I decided to ask some friends what they thought the opposite of loneliness is.

One friend touched on the idea of social atmosphere as being the opposite of lonely and when asked for a specific scenario when she felt this way, this is what she said:

“An example would be like having heaps of different people contacting you and making plans etc. Maybe like before I came to Canada [from Australia], I was catching up with everyone before I left, so I was really social. So to me that would be the opposite of lonely.

One friend kept his answer short and sweet, to him, the opposite of lonely is:

“Waking up beside someone you love and loves you back”

And another simple and to the point response:

“The opposite of lonely? Probably when you’re surrounded by family or friends.”

Two friends had associated the opposite of lonely with social gatherings, specifically Birthdays. They answered the question with saying:

“My 23rd birthday when a lot more people I expected came to celebrate it with me. I felt like I mattered to other people. I had a lot of fun with friends that night”

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“I guess at a big gathering with friends or family. Like thinking more about my birthday party because a bunch of people come out to celebrate with you and show that they care and are a friend”

One friend took a more sensitive approach to answering the question. Her parents had both passed away when she was young and so this is what she had to say about being the opposite of lonely:

“I honestly never feel overwhelmed with completeness…I just feel okay about situations. I’m like the worst person ever to ask … But I can say that when my mother died everyone came together to support me and made sure I was okay and I knew I wasn’t alone. (Even if I was feeling the most alone at that point in my life)”

Being the opposite of lonely has different meanings to different people. This feeling is embraced through social gatherings, time shared with family and friends, comfort received in times of need, embracing a state of completeness when achieving career goals and even embracing one’s Zen during yoga. I enjoyed reflecting on my own thoughts of this idea and enjoyed hearing what others had to say about it. So ask yourself, what is your opposite of loneliness?

Sources:

Novel: The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

Image from: http://www.buzzsugar.com/photo-gallery/34465740/Opposite-Loneliness

Quotes were from direct text messages I recieved

Fun things Toronto has to Offer [Part I]

As an international student, a student raised outside of the city or even a student who lives in Toronto, it’s always good to know your options when it comes to summer fun. Toronto is a gorgeous city in the summer when the sun is shining and people are out and about going on walks, bike rides and finding the best possible way to enjoy the nice weather. With that said, below I have listed a few options of how to get the most out of a summer in Toronto.

 Canada’s Wonderland

Just outside of Toronto in King City lies the infamous theme park, Canada’s Wonderland which holds over 200 attractions and 69 rides! This theme park contains some of the worlds largest, steepest and fastest roller coasters like Behemoth and Leviathan to name a few. With more tame rides like the merry go round, the log ride or the spinning barrels, this theme park is great for even those afraid of heights! With the huge Splash Works water park and endless rides, this is a great way to spend the afternoon. Not a fan of lines? You can also purchase a fast pass which will allow you the bypass the lines. If you’re on a budget and can’t afford a fast pass, go during the week or in the evening to avoid lines!

CN Tower and Edge walk

You can’t visit Toronto without having experienced the CN Tower, which at one point not too long ago was the worlds tallest free standing structure. Take a walk up the endless staircase or ride the glass elevators to the top where you can experience the glass floor. Want an even bigger thrill? Check out the CN Tower’s Edge Walk which takes place on the outer rim of the 360 Restaurant at the top of the tower 1,168 feet above the ground! You’ll walk the outer edge of this free standing building while harnessed in and your ticket will include pictures and video feed of your walk!

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Ripley’s Aquarium

Everyone is talking about Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada located next to the CN Tower. This aquarium features a large touch tank where you an interact with various sea life, Ray Bay where you can check out the smiling sting rays and Planet Jellies where you can observe the beauty of the jelly fish. Explore the moving tunnel where sharks, sea horses and other creatures of the deep roam free overhead. This aquarium is the first of it’s kind in Canada, so plan a trip, bring your buddies and your camera and experience what the deep blue sea is really like.

Toronto Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre

Another great way to spend an afternoon or evening is to grab a foot long and a beer while enjoying the sights and sounds of the Toronto Blue Jays. Even if you’re not a fan of baseball, it’s all about the baseball atmosphere. Grab a nosebleed seat for under $15, join in in the 7th inning stretch and sing along to the traditional “Take me out to the Ballgame”. With home games happening frequently throughout the summer on weekday evenings and weekend afternoons, you’re bound to find the perfect day to head to the formally known Sky Dome for a day of baseball fun.

Check in next week for Part II!

Image from:

http://www.edgewalkcntower.ca/

Sources:

https://www.canadaswonderland.com/things-to-do

http://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada/

http://www.edgewalkcntower.ca/more.html