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Career Spotlight: Thrive Natural Family Health

We all know about Family Doctors, and surgeons, and many of us pursue these careers, but how many of us know about complimentary health professionals? At our Thrive Medical coffee chat, GEM girls were able to sit down with a chiropractor Dr. Jennifer Wise, a Naturopath Dr. Kristen Heins, and a Psychologist Dr. Chelsea Sherrington to chat about their careers, and the path they took to get there.

It is an expectation, that by the time we get into high school, we have a career path planed out. As if we are supposed to know at 14, what we want to do for the next 50 years of our lives. Many of us choose obvious jobs in fields that interest us; if you are interested in medicine, you chose Doctor, if you are interested in the Arts, you chose painter, and if you are interested in Law, you chose lawyer. The Doctors at Thrive, thought us that the career you choose in high school does not necessarily have to be career you end up pursuing.

The three women, who seem to have everything planned out, and in order at their cozy midtown office, reveal that it was not always that way. In high school, Dr. Sherrington took advice on her major from a stranger on the phone, and ended up with many classes she did not like due to this Major in politics. Eventually she figured it out, and found a way to switch her majors and her classes to suit her interest in Psychology. Doctor Kristen, was on the path to become a lawyer, until she also eventually found her passion, and became a doctor.

The point is, being high school students it’s okay to not know, or to be unsure of what you are going to be doing for the rest of your life, and it’s okay to change your mind multiple times. That’s the point of University, you get to explore the different career options available in the field you’re interested in, or maybe even fields that you have never considered before.

Thank you to Dr. Wise, Dr. Heins, and Dr. Sherrington for hosting the GEM girls and for the insightful coffee chat.

Tabassum Lakhi is a Creative Writing Intern at GEM and also a GEMgirl.


March Break. Are you bored yet? Ideas to make the most of it

March Break: a much needed time off from high-school. The obvious thing to do during these 120-hours of freedom is to sleep in and relax. But in order to make the most of your March break, you have to do the most. There are little distractions, like school, homework, and extra-curricular during the break, so the opportunity is ideal for getting things done.

University/College Campus touring:  If you are going to spend more than a year at one school, it is in your best interest to tour the campus. Taking tours will also help you learn about the resources, and events available on the campuses, before you start classes. Most schools hold open houses during March break, so high school students can attend.

Catch up with the newest episodes: Normally I would never recommend binge watching TV shows due to how time consuming they can be, but for this one time, I’m making an exception. I’m sure we can all relate to being several episodes behind due to real life obligations. It’s alright if you take just one day to stay in, make some popcorn, and watch some Netflix.

Staycation: You only have one week off, so why not go and see all of the Toronto and nearby attractions that you’ve never seen. Maybe a day at Ripley’s Aquarium, or talk some friends into heading to Niagara Falls?  We all look forward to getting out of our normal routines, so make the most of it and act like a tourist in our fantastic city.

Make that Appointment: I happen to be one of those people that always puts off making appointments.  Make that doctors or dentist appointment, and while you’re at it that hair appointment too, because if we’re all being honest, those split-ends need to go.

Try A New Recipe: One of my favourite things to do is to try new recipes. Usually the outcome is worth the pain you go through. One of my favourite things to make are dessert or snacks. If you’re into really sweet, and chewy cookies, try this recipe. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/9589/chewy-coconut-cookies/

Volunteer: In case you’re not doing anything, and have time to spare, there are many places looking for volunteers. A quick Google search can find you plenty of kids’ camps and workshops, who will love the extra help. It’s also a great way to finish your 40 volunteer hours requirement for school.

Don’t forget to make time for your family and friends. March break is the perfect time to tick things off your checklist, so don’t waste a moment.

Tabassum Lakhi is a Creative Writing Intern at GEM and also a GEMgirl.

Exams are done! Now what?

As I sit in front of my TV watching yet another episode of Scream Queens, I wonder to myself what that nagging feeling is. I fidget around trying my best to relax after a tough week of exams and weeks of studying. I try to think of something I may have to do and have forgotten about, but nothing comes to mind. The reality is, after a long period of stress, and full schedules, I finally have free time, and I don’t know what to with it.

  1. Bake or Cook. Don’t get me wrong, baking and cooking isn’t for everyone. It certainly wasn’t for me a couple of years ago. After trying out plenty of recipes, and failing at ninety percent of them, I did find a couple of things I liked to indulge in, and loved the process of making them too. A couple of weeks ago, during the winter break, my cousin and I tried out a cinnamon-bun recipe from scratch. Because of my many failures with baking in the past, I immediately doubted myself, and deemed it a failure before it even came out of the oven. Surprisingly, it not only looked like an actual cinnamon bun, but it tasted like one too. (Here’s the recipe, it’s definitely worth your time)
  2. Read. During most of the school year, I am not able to invest my time into a good book, unless of course it’s for a school assignment. This is because I lack self-control and once I open up a good book, I don’t put it down until I’m done. That results in many friends left ignored, and much of my school work done in haste. So snatch up the few quiet days you have left before you really get into second semester, and read at least one good book. The plus side with that is if you do get a book report later on in the year, you already read a book you can write it about and you’ll be ahead of the game. One of my recommendations is Room by Emma Donoghue, which was actually recommended to me by my mentor. It’s an amazing novel written in the point-of-view of a little 5 year-old boy named Jack, whose been trapped in a small room with his mother.
  3. DIY. You know all those DIY videos you watch online, but never do? Do them. Whether it be painting your nails in a unique style, customizing your clothes, or making some new room décor. You’ll get something done, and have a reminder of it. The item will also be unique to your style and different from what other people have.
  4. Socialize. Amongst your usual busy schedule, you may not be able to go out with friends as much. It’s important to take out some free time for your family and friends while you have it. Go out to a café, with some of your friends, or even just on a walk. One of my favourite places to go is near Saint Andrew station. The CN Tower is right around there, and there are so many cozy cafés to explore.

Exams are over… for now. Try to let go and relax before you have to get back into the normal school routine.

Tabassum Lakhi is a Creative Writing Intern at GEM and also a GEMgirl. Photo by Serge Bertasius. Photography courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Design Your Life: How to beat laziness this summer!

Two months of no school means no homework to complete, no tests to study for, and no group projects to stress over. However, summer can also be the reason we become lazy. I was worried that I might slip into laziness this summer, so I made a great plan to live my summer to the fullest! Here are my tips to beat   summer laziness and make the most of summer!

Apply for a job – I applied for a job in the spring and I’m working with Toronto Youth Leadership at a Summer Camp for 3-5 year olds. I find that having a job helps improve my time-management, communication and leadership skills. It’s also encouraging me to be social.

Earn volunteer hours – Volunteering at small or big events helps you meet new people and learn new things. My fellow GEM intern Vanessa Mugoa is volunteering all over the city at local events like Luminato, The Fringe Festival and the PanAm Games, she’s learning and having new experiences that are contributing to a fabulous memory filled summer. So check for events happening around your neighbourhood to volunteer at. I’m volunteering with both GEM and FranqGirl as a Creative Writer, and it’s keeping me on my toes.

Make plans with friends – I have made lots of plans with my friends this summer to help get me outside and go to places without the worry of having to go to school the next day. There is so much happing in Toronto this summer, so making plans to go to events together that are happening around the city and in your neighbourhood is turning out to be one of the best parts of summer.

Take a trip –  Travelling opens your mind and gives you the opportunity to explore a new place with new people. Whether you go to Quebec City or Australia, there is always something to see.

Be Fearless! – I’m not going to let the next two months off go to waste by not learning something new about myself. Whether it’s through my job, my volunteer work or the travel I’m planning. The only way to grow is to put yourself out there, and that’s exactly what I intend to do.
I hope sharing my plan to beat laziness helps you to have an extraordinary summer of growth and happiness! Do you have any tips on how to get the most out of summer? All of us here at GEM would love to hear them!

Selina McCallum is a GEMgirl in the 2014/15 cohort,  student at Marc Garneau C.I. and a Digital Journalism Intern for GEM.

Oats & Ivy: Healthy Street Food at its Finest


Toronto has a variety of things to do and see, but most of all I enjoy the variety of things to eat! I love finding new restaurants that offer options I know will provide wholesome fuel for my body. As a pescetarian (someone who eats fish and seafood, but no other animals), it can be hard to find fast, healthy, tasty, affordable food. Many vegan and vegetarian restaurants have opened up recently, but none of them compare to Oats & Ivy.

Oats & Ivy is a Toronto-based company that uses a bike cart as its storefront! Each day their employees can be found riding to different corners in the downtown core. This fast food joint offers a variety of healthy goods and everything is made from scratch! You can quickly grab cold-pressed juice or almond milk, lunch items, and heavenly desserts including the “Black Bean Brownie” and “Chocolate Maca Bites”. My personal favourite is their “Thai Noodle Bowl” featuring extremely delicious kamut noodles – and house made sriracha sauce!

Their focus – health food meet fast food – is revolutionizing the streets of Toronto.

To find out where Oats & Ivy will be next visit www.oatsandivy.ca or follow @oatsandivyTO on Twitter.