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BSS Summer Academy Math Scholarship

The Bishop Strachan School and Girls E-Mentorship have a Summer Academy Math Scholarship available for young women entering Grades 9 and 10 next year. Last year, Isha received this scholarship. After her summer course, she was offered the chance to apply for a scholarship for Grade 9 at The Bishop Strachan School. The following is an interview with Isha about her experience and why she says she’s always on the lookout for new opportunities.

What made you decide to apply for the Summer Academy Math Foundation Scholarship?

Getting this scholarship was really important for me because I want to be a good role model for my younger siblings and I want to show them how it’s not impossible to do great things in life. Before this summer course I never thought it would be possible for me to ever do something this great in my life. I thought my life would be like my elder sisters, but I always wanted to do something different. I wanted to show myself that it’s possible to change the way life is going, that there are lots of different paths you can choose from. I really like the feeling of not knowing my future, now that I’m on a different path than my sisters. I think this helps you take more risks in life. My parents always said that I wasn’t ever afraid to try new things. They always tell me how nothing will ever stay the same and you can’t ever depend on anyone, that you need to write your own story, a story different than everyone else’s.

What was the Math Foundation course like? What did you learn?

It was like a regular course, but with less people. It was clear what was expected of you and what you need to do in order to be successful in this course. The course was really focused on math, and you had to keep up with the class, otherwise it was really hard to catch up later. The lessons were always well planned and there were always moments when you were allowed to do what you wanted. I thought it was a great course and I got to meet lots of new people. I’m really glad that I was able to get ahead by doing my grade 9 math course before I started high-school.

Why would you recommend the Math Foundation course to other girls?

I had a great time and I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on this. It’s a one time opportunity. This course opened up lots of new doors for me and made me think about life in a different way. I love math and in my old school I couldn’t ever go ahead and learn new things, but this course made you explore and try new things. My teacher in this course encouraged me to explore grade 10 math.

What other opportunities did the Math Foundation course open up for you?

This course changed my life, and made it possible for me to get enrolled in a school like a BSS after the course was done. After taking this course I’m in grade 10 math, while I’m still in grade 9. Also, it showed me the real world and how there are so many great opportunities in life and you just have to look for them. You can’t ever stay home and just expect a great opportunity coming knocking at your door, you have to go out and look for them. Through this course I met great people, like Ms.Powell, Ms.Dias, Rochelle, Ms.Ranson and my math teacher Mr.Underhill. They guided me through the hardest moments, and were always there for me.

How to help your mentee deal with job rejection

At GEM, we believe that young women should be ambitious and unafraid to go after their dream job. As many of us know, ambitious people often face a lot of rejection before they land in a place they want to be. Learning to deal with job rejection is an important part of a young woman’s professional development.

With summer fast approaching, our GEM girls have started searching for summer jobs. Mentors play an important role in all stages of their mentee’s job search, from helping to prepare for the search to dealing with job rejection to celebrating success. Here are some ways to help your mentee deal with job rejection.

Validate her feelings

Many high school students searching for their first summer job may have never faced job rejection before. Being rejected can really hurt, especially the first time it happens. It’s important to let your mentee know that it’s okay to feel down. Interviewing can be very tiring and it’s easy to feel like giving up after not getting the job you wanted. Remind your mentee that she’s not alone; a 2014 Times Higher Education poll found that students apply for 12 jobs on average before getting their first role. Almost everyone goes through job rejection a few times in their lives!

Help her put her rejection into perspective

A high school student may have difficulty seeing the bigger picture, especially if this is her first attempt at getting a job. Remind your mentee that job interview outcomes are not a measure of her success or her professional growth. Interview decisions are made based on all kinds of reasons that may have nothing to do with the interviewee. Tell your mentee that she should measure her success based on her own goals and accomplishments unrelated to the outcome of a job interview.

If you can, share your own story of job rejection with your mentee to help her put her situation in perspective. Emphasize the fact that you continued to learn and grow professionally after the rejection and eventually ended up where you wanted to be. It just takes a bit of resilience and patience!

Talk about next steps

The most important part of dealing with a job rejection is to learn from the experience and continue moving forward. Encourage your mentee to request feedback from the interviewer so she knows what she needs to work on. Although many interviewers will not provide detailed feedback, it’s worth a shot!

Start talking to your mentee about her plan B (or C or D or E!) and discuss how she is going to prepare for her next interview. It’s important to stay positive and energized during a job search. After all, when one door closes, another one opens!

Sarah McNeil is a volunteer with GEM, a recent graduate from Mount Alison University and is currently pursuing her diploma in Corporate Communications at Seneca. She is an avid traveller, photographer and writer. Sarah has seen the power of mentorship in her own life and is thrilled about the opportunity to give back at GEM. Follow her on Twitter: @sarahleamc

GEMinar 5: Networking IRL

No matter what field you are in or decide to go into, networking is crucial. You shouldn’t miss any opportunity to do so because you never know how many connections the other person may have. I’ve always enjoyed meeting new people and networking but I never realized how it was such an important skill to possess. It will always be beneficial and aid us in our future career prospects.

Luckily enough, our girls got the chance to attend a ‘Networking in Real Life” GEMinar on Friday February 5, hosted by Lisa Orr of Orr Etiquette. Personally, I thought this GEMinar was amazing and I feel that I really needed this. It was especially relevant at this point of the school year and before going off to university, where I’ll be meeting new people every day. By the end of the event, I felt a lot more confident about the way I interact with other individuals and meeting new people.

GEMgirl Fatima Waheed said, “This was, by far, one of my favourite GEMinars and also the most applicable in real life. People say ‘first impressions aren’t the last’ but I think when it comes to job interviews, this isn’t true because people don’t have time to get to know you personally. First impressions do matter a lot but now I feel more confident about mine,” We couldn’t agree more, Fatima!

The GEMinar facilitator, Lisa, was very friendly and made the GEMinar fun and informative at the same time. When I came into the room, I saw a bunch of people in shiny, blue capes and stepped back thinking maybe I came to the wrong room. However once I stepped in, I realized I was just in time for the second activity, which was introducing yourselves to a new people and then having them comment on the back of your cape. I was astonished by the results of this and still have pictures saved of what was written on mine. Someone said “You’re very friendly, very confident and I could talk to you all day.”

Throughout the session, one of the most important things I learned was how to strike up a conversation by asking people questions about themselves. A simple “what’s your favourite book?” is a very good trick because who do people like talking about most? Themselves, of course.

To end off the event, we got the best swag bags ever; our own business card! Thank you to the GEM team and Orr Etiquette for that. Can’t wait to start giving those out!

Shanzah Zulfiqar is a grade 12 studen at Marc Garneau C.I., a GEMgirl and Creative Writing Intern at GEM.

Exam Writing Tips

Years of exam writing has prepped me for this moment: the day I get to share all my exam writing wisdom with you! Kidding. The truth? I didn’t know I had tips. That was until my brother called me a few weeks ago, panicked, half an hour before his high-pressure exam asking for help. This is what I shared with him moments before his exam (he passed!). Note: if you haven’t started studying, first check out our Study Tips blog.

  1. Stop Panicking & Put on Some Gangsta Rap. Yes, it’s stressful, but getting yourself  “In The Zone” will serve you better than a downward spiral. Put in your headphones, turn up some Biebs (or whatever your flavour) and get into it.
  2. Put Away the Notes. You aren’t going to learn anything new in the next half an hour. Studying right up until your exam will just cloud your head. Put down the notes, I repeat, put down the notes!
  3. Don’t Talk to Anyone. Stay away from the other people panicking—not cool energy. You don’t want to be picking up wrong answers from friends or classmates and clogging your mind before going into your exam. It’s okay to be rude right now.
  4. Skip What You Don’t Know. The first time through the exam, skip the questions you don’t know. Answering what you do know will keep you feeling confident and flowing. Come back to those answers you skipped after you’ve worked your way through the exam. Now that you’ve done a first-read you may pick up clues to help you answer those pesky Q’s
  5. Cover the Answers (Multiple Choice). Multiple-choice is designed to throw you off.  Answer the question, in your head, before you look at the prompts and select the answer that best reflects your initial thought.
  6. Get to the Point (Long Answer). Graders can read through filler language. Use key words that will get you marks, bullet your answers where you can. If the passage is graded out of five, be sure to write down five points to your answer.
  7. Stay Calm. You’ve read our Study Tips blog. You’ve prepared. You got this! Stay focused. Remain calm. It will be over shortly.

This article is written by Cassandra Hammett, Project Manager at Girls E-Mentorship. Cass loves to write, loves to laugh and hates when people don’t have a plan. She keeps GEM running like a well oiled machine and always has a helping hand and a cup of tea for anyone on the team that needs it.

GEMinar #3: Stylized Study Tips

“I’m not really a math person.” Says every other person I have ever met. I happen to be one of those people who will always understand math. I can ace the test without studying for it, but chemistry really confuses me. It takes a lot of hard work for me to maintain a grade in Chem. Maybe a week ago I would’ve said, “I’m not that much of a Chemistry person.” But after the fabulous GEMinar with Devra D’Urzo, I know that’s not true.

Devra helped the GEMgirls understand that not all people will learn the same way. Each person has a unique learning style and she helped us determine ours by giving us a survey. Devra was also able to give us lots of tips, on how to study and keep moving forwards.

Devra’s Stylized Study Tips

  1. Optimism: You’re most likely going to have to take a course you don’t necessarily need or like. You might even go through a unit in a course that you absolutely loath. But the thing is, no matter how much you dislike the class, you’re still going to have to take it and get a grade at the end. You might as well make the best of it, and keep a positive attitude to keep yourself motivated.
  2. Prioritize: All of your assignments won’t always be equally important. Invest more time into the assignments that have the most reward whether it’s the portion of your final mark, or the importance of the class to your future.
  3. Get Organized: Despite what your opinion on agendas may have been in middle school, the truth is they are really helpful. Students and adults living everyday life can really benefit from having an agenda. It’s nice to jot down your to –do list on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis. This way you won’t forget that really important thing you had to do. Plus do you know how satisfying it is to cross something off of your to-do list?
  4. Get comfortable: I find myself getting very easily distracted when studying. Things as simple as the temperature in the room or the kind of clothes I’m wearing can really change my mood when studying. I study best when I have a healthy snack to eat-that won’t cause a mess, a comfortable space to sit where I can keep a good posture, a comfy sweater, and all the supplies I may need easily accessible. I also turn my phone off, and keep it out of arms reach. That way I won’t always be compelled to pick up my phone every time it bings.
  5. Expectations: Simply doing only the assigned things won’t do. Take initiative to find some practice assignments you can do on your own, or even some reading. If you work better with other people, find a focused study group who you can work with, or maybe even a tutor if you think you will need it.

It’s terrible when you’re not prepared for a test that is the next day, or you don’t have the assignment that’s due tomorrow. Don’t be one of those people who start studying at ten p.m the night before. The best thing to do to ease the work load is to study a little bit every day, even if it is just ten minutes uninterrupted. Make the best out of your education. You only realize the value of what you have when it’s gone. It may sound cheesy but you know it’s true. Not everyone gets an education, or so many opportunities in school. And even though you absolutely hate math, the best thing to do is suck it up and learn the quadratic formula. You never know, one day you might actually need to find the line of best fit, or the slope of a hill in the park.

Special thanks to Devra D’Urzo, for presenting at the GEMinar.

Here is an online self-assessment to find out the type of learner you are right now. http://www.edutopia.org/multiple-intelligences-assessment

Apps to keep you organized

http://www.cnet.com/news/best-calendar-apps-ios-android/

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2600401/5-apps-that-keep-you-organized.html

For those of you looking for something simple, try a to-do list app.

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