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Category: Life (page 1 of 2)

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.

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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How to Set Resolutions and Make It Happen

Howdy! This blog has been on hold for a few months because we’ve all been sucked into a really nasty combination of school, work, and sleep deprivation. Burnout, flameout, you know how it is. But hey, it’s the new year, and that means it’s time to get everything back on track.

One of the best tools for the new year and getting things done is setting goals! Or you can call them resolutions, that works too.

The whole point of setting resolutions is to have something you want to work toward. Over the course of the year, you can measure your progress against your original resolution and see whether you are making any progress towards your goals.

Now it might seem a little lame, and I am not going to bore you with talk of SMART goals. You’ve probably have already hear enough of that (if not ). Instead, I sort of wanted to discuss some really interesting ideas about goal setting that I’ve read up on and also how to make sure that you actually manage to finish those goals. No point in setting a goal if you don’t actually do it right?

It’s a “new year” and it’s time for a “new you”. Here are some of the things I’m going to be trying out to make sure I’ll be hitting all my goals for the year. The first two are actually straight from the mouth of Warren Buffett. He’s a billionaire, so he must be doing something right.

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Pummeling Procrastination

“I have a math assignment and English presentation tomorrow. Math is second period and English is first period, so if I practice my presentation on the way to school then I can do math in English. I mean, I could do those things now, but Game of Thrones exists.”

I think you know what’s going to happen next. I’ll mess up my presentation since I only spent about 10 minutes practicing. Then I’ll get 70% on my math assignment since I didn’t have time to check it over and did it under stress. Something new will be assigned, but that won’t get done until the last minute either, and the cycle repeats itself.

If that sounds familiar, then you, my friend, are a procrastinator. But that’s okay, because I am too. At one point, when my procrastination was really bad, I was literally finishing my work as I walked to the teacher to hand it in.

Maybe you procrastinate that much too. Maybe not. But I think that one thing we all have in common is that we want to stop procrastinating – or, at least, tone it down a bit. After all, procrastination is crazy stressful, and I think that everyone’s lives would be better without it.

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Bored? Take a Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone


Same shit, different day. Wake up, go to school, go home, eat, cram procrastinated homework, sleep late. Rinse and repeat. Every once in awhile, you might splurge and meet up with some friends to go watch a movie.

That’s what life starts to feel like once we get back into school. We get sucked into a boring routine day after day, and up doing the same things over and over again.

Yawn.a^2 + b^2 = c^2

But here’s the thing. Even though we might complain that life is boring, on some deep level we all enjoy following the routine. It’s safe. You always know what expect when you walk into math class. Textbooks and Pythagorean Theorem. We’re in our comfort zone, and we don’t want to move out anytime soon.

That’s a boring way to live.

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The How-to On Organization – It’s Not All Planners and Lists

Take a few seconds to think about the messiest, most disorganized person you know – maybe they forgot when their exams were. Maybe their room looks like a crime scene. No matter how disorganized they are, forget that person and put eighth-grade me in their place, because not only did I create messes, I was a mess.

In the beginning of the year, I would always tell myself that I would keep my things nice and neat. But no matter what I did, I would always end up staring in confusion at the solid mass of old clothes, assignments, and shoes spilling out of my locker. I would forget about due dates, assignments, and homework questions, and then pull all-nighters to try and make up for that. Ever seen this triangle?School triangle.

Two years ago, I couldn’t even choose one of them, let alone two. But if you looked at me now, you’d have absolutely no idea about my old, disorganized, procrastinating ways. I ended grade 10 with a 96% average, get nearly eight hours of sleep a night, and went out one or two times a week. So, how did I change? How can you change?

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Volunteering Can Suck, 5 Reasons to Do It Anyways

It is currently 12:44 A.M ( I sleep at 9, usually) and I’m coming back from helping out at the Richmond Hill Lawn Tennis Association.  Every so often you can find kids at the local court looking to play in the upcoming tournament. They often need help with their serve or backhand. They put in hundreds of hours of practicing, counting and relying on the mentors who drop in and give their time to help out. That’s it, no volunteering hours for school, no recognition and a lot of work. I’m ready to flop on my bed and go to sleep.

I keep on asking myself, why do I do this? Pushing back important work and school projects to volunteer in the community and help out. Sometimes my friends ask me whether all this volunteering is worth the effect that it has on school work, but I truly believe that with the right mindset, the impact you create from volunteering  is worth magnitudes more than an insignificant number on your report card.

Change your fixed mindset of what volunteering is and what it should be. It’s more than just putting in hours at a summer camp or library. Want to travel the world? Learn new skills?

Here are five simple steps to reach your goals through volunteering that will redefine why you should go out and volunteer. Read more

How You Can (help) Make More Than $6 Million

Why should you bother volunteering when you can be making money? It seems to make so much more sense to help yourself. Right?

Something that I’ve thought about is how a lot of volunteering can get really mundane and boring. There are a few particular words and events that we throw around in 5K that make us sort of shudder and wince. “Flyers”, “sign holding”, and “route marshalling” are some of them. “. How does that help anyone? How is that helping volunteers and students make a difference in the community?Project 5K volunteer helps at Toronto Yonge St. 5K run

You know what, we get it. Standing in the cold waiting for runners to cross the finish line sucks. That’s why here at 5K we try and make our own little internal events so that you can see the impact you have, but you know what, the “boring volunteer events” like runs, walks, and festivals can have a big impact. Sometimes you just have to step back and realize that small, little, mundane task you are doing can help make a big difference. A $6 million difference.

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