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Losing the Motivation to Volunteer? Read This.

Senioritis. If you’re starting your last year of high school, you know what I’m talking about. That exhaustion, lack of motivation, and stress about upcoming university applications leave little room for anything else. Chances are, you haven’t thought about volunteering since you completed your 40 hours or got enough to put on your resume. The last thing you want to do in your final year of school is commit yourself to something else. And what’s the point, right? Why spend the precious little free time you have left doing something that isn’t even for yourself?

Volunteer from the Markham-Unionville Terry Fox Run we attended!

A volunteer from the Markham-Unionville Terry Fox Run we attended!

If this is your train of thought, you aren’t alone. Most of us have once been guilty of thinking of volunteering as something we do for ourselves to make us look better to job recruiters or universities. But we have to remember that the purpose of volunteering was never meant to be for some sort of gain on our end; at its core, volunteering is about helping others. I know that as we face our last year of high school, thinking about anything that doesn’t affect our university applications seems like a waste of time, but if you shift your perception of volunteering and do it for the sake of helping others instead of yourself, you may find yourself feeling more motivated to take a step into our world. Here are a few ways you can motivate yourself to get involved: Read more

Dive into Volunteering!

I’ll admit that when I entered Grade 9, I began with the mindset that I had plenty of time for volunteer work; after all, only 40 hours were required to graduate. I’m no mathematician, but that would only mean that I had to devote 10 hours a year. On the complete other side of the scale, I had classmates that were constantly volunteering any chance they could get. I would always think to myself, ‘ Why? Why are they putting in so much unnecessary work?’

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2018-2019 Executive Applications

That time of year is here again – we’re opening up applications for the 2018-2019 Project 5K Executive Team!

If you haven’t heard of us, Project 5K is a student-run non-profit organization dedicated to helping students find meaningful volunteer opportunities. We’re looking for passionate, innovative, and hard-working individuals to join our 2018-2019 Executive Team! If this describes you, we want YOU to apply!

Depending on your role as an executive, you’ll have the opportunity to learn (or develop!) valuable skills, such as event planning, graphic design, blog writing, finding sponsorships, and working with other organizations on a professional level.

Keep reading below for detailed descriptions of all our available positions!

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The Most Important Lesson I learned in High School

The summer before grade 9, I watched multiple youtube videos about advice for high school students. I heard the same advice multiple times. “Time manage well, join clubs, talk to new people.” Of course, that’s great advice. However, during my time in high school, there were still some situations that I did not know how to cope with. As I am writing this article, I am in grade 12. These four years are gradually coming to an end and there have been some lessons that I’ve learned in high school that will stay with me throughout life.

I want to share the most important lesson that I learned: You’ll be so much happier when you accept both the strengths and weaknesses you have.

Self-acceptance is something that people of all ages work towards. In high school, academics is the number one priority so it’s not a surprise when students are having trouble accepting their academic abilities. I know I still have trouble with this.

In grade 11, there were some subjects that I did not excel in and it completely destroyed my self-confidence. Since I wasn’t good at the subjects that were deemed more prestigious (e.g. math, science, etc), I believed that I would not be successful in the future and I felt hopeless. I convinced myself that I would not be able to earn a good job and that I’ll work on a low salary.

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As a result, I had no motivation to do anything because I did not see a point in trying anymore since it would not lead me to a good place in the future anyway. As you can tell, I had an extremely bad mindset. I didn’t even know that I had a negative mindset. I honestly believed that it was true. Not to mention, I kept thinking about how my friends would have a better life than I would, and my life would look like nothing in comparison.

However, the whole time I was focusing on all the opportunities that I don’t have and all the abilities that I don’t have. I was so busy comparing myself to others that I never once thought about the abilities I do have and I didn’t try to further refine those abilities. It is extremely painful to go continuously compare your life to someone else’s instead of focusing on what you already have. And hey, someone else may wish they have the abilities that you have.

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The best advice I can give is that you can not belittle yourself because you don’t have the same abilities as someone else. Your interests, your strengths, your abilities, and even your weaknesses are part of who you are. Not to mention, you can’t determine your whole future based on what happens in high school. You may come across a career that you didn’t even know existed when you were a teenager. You can even start researching about the careers that are available in the field that you’re interested in now so you can see all the paths that you can still take. You won’t know what can happen in a few years so please don’t underestimate the accomplishments you can achieve.

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If you have patience and faith, you’ll be surprised where you’ll end up. 🙂

Hermione Wilson – Creating your Path


Hello Everyone! Welcome back to Project 5K’s podcast series. Today, we are joined by Hermione Wilson who is a journalist and assistant editor at Dovetail Communications. Dovetail publishes business-to-business magazines in various specializations including spa, food science, wood design, and biology. Hermione will be sharing her path to becoming a journalist and advice for students who are considering options for post-secondary.

What challenges did you have upon finding a career that you enjoy?



When we were children, there was a certain career that sparked our interest and we couldn’t wait to pursue it. As the years go by, our childhood dream fades as we realize that it’s not what we want anymore or we become intrigued with another career. There are also people who feel lost as they don’t know what they want their future to look like.

For many people like myself, post-secondary is quickly approaching and we have to decide on a path that suits our abilities, interests, and career goals. It is hard to envision a clear destination point especially when we are not exposed to many careers.

Hermione started as an English major at an American college. After a few weeks, she decided to switch into a communications program with a double major in French.  After graduating, Hermione was debating if she should pursue further education or look for work immediately.

This is Hermione’s journey to discovering journalism:

1.She volunteered at an organization to support Haiti after the earthquake in 2010.

2.The volunteer coordinator discovered that she knew French and offered her an opportunity to visit Haiti.

3.After her trip to Haiti, she worked as an advertising manager for a small, Christian magazine in her hometown.

4.She eventually took on a writing role at the Christian magazine.

5.She pursued an accelerated post-graduate journalism program at Humber College.

6.She received a position at Dovetail Communications!

There is a lot of pressure for us to plan out our entire life at a young age; however, one opportunity will lead to another and we will eventually end up in the right place.

What advice do you have for students who are unsure of what to pursue in post-secondary?


There are some people who know exactly what they want to become and have outlined specific steps to reach their goal. It can be frustrating if you are unsure of what you want to pursue when your friends seem like they have everything figured out.

Hermione suggests researching about careers that you can apply your strengths to, job shadowing, and speaking with people in different professions. She also suggests starting with a degree in a subject area that you enjoy in highschool. Your opportunities are never limited by the first degree you receive because pursuing further education is always an option.

How did you overcome doubts about whether or not you’ll succeed as an adult?


There are so many successful people out there and you might wonder if you can become like them. Throughout life, there are going be times when you doubt yourself and believe that you can not achieve your goals. Surround yourself with a good group of people who encourage you to see your potential.

During Hermione’s undergraduate degree, she focused on getting through the five years. After Hermione graduated, she was a bit overwhelmed as she was unsure if university had prepared her for the real world. To ease her worries, Hermione said to herself,

“I put in the work, it’s just a matter of finding opportunities.”

It will be hard and competitive to achieve success, but perseverance and a good work ethic will open up opportunities to you.

Being a journalist, does writing become a chore rather than an interest or a passion?



There are certain skills that are required for each career. For example, journalists need to write on a daily basis. Sometimes, doing a task repetitively can become a chore even if you loved it in the beginning. Nevertheless, an advantage Hermione enjoys about writing so often is the improvement she sees in her articles.

“There’s a story that really sparks [my] interest again or [I] speak to an interesting person and I want to convey that in my writing.”

Every job eventually becomes a routine, but there will be certain moments that remind you of why you became intrigued with it in the first place. However, if you completely lose interest, it is never too late to have a career change.

From being a student to working as a journalist, how have your experiences changed you as a person?


Believe it or not, Hermione used to be a shy person and found it difficult to approach people. However, she became confident over time as she had more practice with interviewing people. To succeed in a profession that fascinates you, take as many opportunities as you can to master the required skills.

How can someone become a confident and effective communicator?


Connecting with different people is amazing because you can listen to their stories and learn from their experiences. However, the first step is to approach people. Never let your insecurities outweigh the opportunity to get to know someone. Try to erase the negative thoughts in your mind telling you that you’re not good enough or smart enough to talk to someone. As Hermione says,

“Don’t be afraid to open up to people, be curious, and be willing to admit that you don’t know everything.”

Asking someone a question can flourish into a great conversation; fear shouldn’t be the only thing holding you back from cultivating a bond with people.

Final Words


There was a video production lab at Humber College that Hermione wanted to attend. However, she thought that it would be too technical for her. Hermione regrets letting that opportunity slip away because learning is the objective of being in an academic setting.

Many different opportunities will be presented to you in life. If it interests you, even a little, take the chance and learn more about it. There will be times when you shy away from something because you don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of people who are more experienced than you. However, everyone needs a starting point to improve their craft.

“Especially when you’re in school, learn new skills. Don’t be afraid to try everything.”

Even though the future may seem foggy right now because you can not see where you’ll end up, having patience and working hard each step along the way will bring opportunities to you if you’re willing to take them.

You will find a path that makes you happy. Good Luck!



Don’t do it for the Resume

As I enter my final year of high school, thinking about post-secondary fills a good chunk of my already barely-there free time. And, of course, this isn’t just me. Many people are frantically researching schools and programs, furiously scrolling through university forums in hopes of finding helpful application tips, bombarding their post-secondary friends with questions ranging from campus life to academic workload, and trying to beef up their resume.

We all know that grades are important, but they are not everything. [Don’t get me wrong, getting the highest grades you possibly can is always a good idea.] More and more universities are including personal profiles to get a glimpse of who you are as a person. Yes, a book-smart student probably will succeed in university, but a book-smart student with excellent communication skills developed through community involvement is even better. Rounded students who have a background in many different areas, ranging from academics to sports to various other extracurriculars, are sure to have essential skills that traditional school simply cannot teach. Being immersed in teams that depend on you, making professional connections, and leading a team are just a few of many experiences that help you to develop skills for future (and present) success.

That being said, I have heard countless students say, “I need to join as many teams as possible so I can put it on my university application” or even “I don’t like doing this, but it will make me look more qualified for this program.” Essentially, they are doing it for the resume/university application. And this is NOT what you should be doing. If you are truly passionate about the activity and are willing, even excited, to put time and effort into it, then you should 100% go for it!

On the other hand, if you are only doing it for the resume, I advise you to think again. Do you really want to be spending your time on something you don’t even like? Are you going to put in enough effort into the activity so that you will learn from it?

Most of the time, doing things for the resume does not only affect yourself. Most likely, you will be involved with a team. And, as I am sure you can relate, nobody likes having a team member who doesn’t care and doesn’t do anything.

Demonstrating leadership, commitment, teamwork, and creativity in a small organization are way more significant than just saying “I was a part of this giant charity.” Simply being a part of something doesn’t mean that you have done something.

With this in mind, do things you are interested in. Do things that you will put effort into. Do things that you will learn from. And, by all means, fill your university applications with descriptions of what you have done, the impact you have made, and what you have learned in the process!

The takeaway? Do things you love, regardless of how “good” they look on a resume. You will learn much more this way.

Do you have a Keeper?

No matter how old we are, we all need friends who we can share funny stories with, spend time with, and overcome hard times with. Throughout life, we’re going to meet many different people. If we’re lucky, the friends we meet in high school are going to stay in our life. When we grow up, we can talk about all the embarrassing things we did in highschool and how we were stressing about that 2% mark drop on Teach Assist. So, what qualities does a good friend have? Not everyone’s values are the same, but if we have friends right now who have these qualities, we have keepers.

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Andrew Yang – How to Start Up your Future


Meet Andrew Yang. He’s the founder of a marketing execution firm called 3 Avenues. His focus is on using technology and creativity to help his clients launch themselves forward. Fun fact, he originally wanted to be an astronaut or an astrophysicist, and he didn’t actually end up studying business in school. He graduated from Queen’s University with a degree in… math.

Math is super cool and all, but what? That’s pretty unorthodox. But we’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg.

Andrew is the founder of the FLOW dance club in Kingston, now one of the largest organizations of its kind. Of course, that means he’s pretty good at dancing. So good, he once performed as the opening act for a certain Canadian band by the name of Hedley.

20,000 people? No. Big. Deal.

We talk about his experiences being bullied, being broke, and everything in between. So I hope you enjoy Nick’s interview series with Andrew. The motto is “I like to have fun with everything I do…. And make a little bit of money, too”

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Reaching for Stars with Ali Nasseri : Passion

The idea of space, a symbol of endless curiosity, has always fascinated me, as I am sure it has for many others. It has especially inspired my first ever guest, my instructor UofT’s DEEP, Ali Nasseri. He is an aerospace engineer, a researcher, and the chair of the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) in Support of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications.
Ali discussed how passion and persistence led to him achieving his huge dream of being involved in the space community.

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Live In The Moment

Back in June, we desperately wanted exams to be over and dreamed about summer. For most people, especially the ones in grade 11, it was a year full of emotional stress, tears, over thinking, and life talks with friends.

So how come when we have 2 months off to think about whatever we want OTHER than school, our minds are still frantically racing about reaching the cut-off average for university or what program will be right for us?

We are always told to do what makes us happy or do what we’re passionate about. However, at this age, we don’t really know ourselves and especially not what we want to do for the rest of our lives. Sometimes we wonder if something we enjoy now will be a chore if we have to do it as a career. Even though we’re just teenagers, something we also have to consider is what will make us money.

The other day at work, I was having a conversation with a colleague about two different programs I’m thinking about applying for university. “Choose whatever makes more money, that’s what it’s all about these days.” Sad, but pretty accurate. “Be realistic.” 17 year old me may want to do something that I think will be fulfilling, but 30 year old me may wonder why I didn’t listen to what everyone said about money when I’m unemployed. Exaggeration or reality? Who knows. It makes us question the reasoning behind why we must follow the systematic route that society molds for us just to make money in the end.

There seems to be certain steps that we have to follow in life to be deemed as “successful.” Being a student, school is our whole life. It’s hard not to seek self-worth from getting high grades or being accepted into a prestigious university.

Everyone wants to get it right on the first try. We want to pinpoint one specific destination that will provide a happy and comfortable life. Not to mention, we feel the need to know how to get to the “perfect” career. No one wants to work hard towards their goal just to fail and have to start all over again… or realize what they wanted to do so badly isn’t what they want anymore. Truth is, most of us will switch careers a couple times throughout our life.

At the camp I worked at this summer, a colleague worked in finance for multiple years, but decided that she doesn’t like it anymore and wants to be a teacher. So, she went back to school and worked at Summer Institute to network and gain experience. She’s working with teenagers and people in university, but she had the courage to take action and pursue a different career. We just have to learn to accept uncertainty and embrace change.

Everybody hates hearing “There’s still time.” But, there really is. Focus on now, and let the future shape itself because it is non-existent right now. It’s the experiences, mistakes, lessons, and knowledge that we gain now that create our future. No matter how badly we want to wave a magic wand so it can paint a picture of our future, we really can’t.

Through all the stress during school, there has to be some things that were enjoyable. For me, the first highlight of my year would definitely be travelling to Greece, Italy, and Spain for our school trip. From climbing the Acropolis in Greece, visiting the Piazza Del Duomo in Italy, and eating Paella in Spain, it was something I never thought I could do at this age. The second highlight would have to be that I interviewed a spa director and wrote a feature article for Spa Inc. Magazine for my co-op placement at Dovetail Communications. I wanted to gain journalistic experience and I got a huge opportunity to write for them which I am thankful for. Think about two things that you enjoyed and remember that the upcoming school year will be bearable thanks to the good moments.


Everything will work out.


Thanks for reading! Are you someone who stresses about the future too much? Well, remember to RELAX. Let me know what you enjoyed about your school year. 🙂

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