Tuesday, 23 December 2014

New Year, Fresh Start

It's winter break and I'm slightly exhausted after weeks of sleepless study nights and a bit too much caffeine. I want to share a few things I am planning to do during the next two weeks to lift my spirits and start fresh for the new year.

1. Read!

Personally, I love to read, but the only thing I've been reading during the past four months were my course notes. Winter break is a great opportunity to curl up, relax, and read your favourite novel. However, aside from that, you can also read articles and blogs that interest you. This can definitely help you keep up with what's happening in today's world! Reading is the best way to improve your vocabulary and expand your knowledge, so I recommend you take time to sit down and read.

2. Exercise!

It is important to keep both a healthy mind and a healthy body, and that can be especially hard when you are constantly busy and stressed out. Play sports, do yoga, or work out- getting at least an hour of exercise each day is mandatory in order to stay fit and healthy. Also, it relieves stress and you will be in a better mood.

3. Spend time with family and friends!

The holidays are time for you to relax. As students, we spend hours upon hours studying in isolation and it's good to take some time to socialize. Catch up with friends and enjoy yourself!

What are you planning to do this winter break? 

Friday, 3 October 2014

In Full Study-Mode

School has finally started!

It has been two weeks into Grade 12 and things are in full swing. It is a little overwhelming to come back to a regular 8am-3pm schedule after an extended summer, but I'm definitely glad to be back. As our chemistry midterm is approaching and other homework starts piling, everyone is getting on the study grind. Cheers to effective studying!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The start to a new year!

It's finally time to go back to school! This summer was definitely a refreshing break for me to relax and prepare for my final year of high school. 

This September is not like any other I've had. The BC Teachers' Strike is ongoing and is yet to be resolved. This means that public school has not commenced yet and as of today, we are one week into the regular school year. Though we are all uncertain of what is to come, I am trying to keep a positive outlook and make the most of the circumstances. 

Despite this situation, universities are still in session and we have started our Chemistry 121 class at SFU. University is a whole different story than high school. Gladly, the seats in the lecture hall are extremely comfy, SFU students are very friendly, and our prof is quite clear. Our TA's are helpful both during labs and tutorials. However most importantly, you have to take initiative to learn. So far, concepts from both Chemistry 11 and Chemistry 12 show up in this course, so a note to perspective students: don't forget your chemistry because it isn't going away anytime soon... :) 

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Year one = complete

 *breathes a sigh of relief*

Wow! It seems surreal to say that we're halfway through the Science Academy program. This year felt like it was never going to end, and I am definitely glad to say that it is officially summer! This year has been the craziest rollercoaster ride ever- there were some pretty bad lows along the way, but just the same, some great accomplishments were achieved as well.

I think many can agree when I say, this is the first year of highschool where I was constantly being challenged in all of my subjects, and there were no "easy classes". One of the most important things I've learned, and I've probably said this quite a few times before, is time management. Many of us take part in extracurricular activities, sports teams, school clubs, or hold a part-time job. On top of that, think about maintaining a pretty high average and having somewhat of a social life.. now that's a challenge! (but we made it, halfway, at least)

As per prospective Science Academy students, here are some other things I've learned this year. Surround yourself with people who have the same mindset as you, so you all can grow together. That doesn't necessarily mean only people from Science Academy- sometimes it's good to take a break from the people you sit with for 2.5 hours every day. Also, find what works best for you- many of my friends realized they studied best at school after hours, while I realized I was most productive at home or at the library. Study groups are really useful, but if you find yourselves getting distracted, set time aside to study alone as well. To add, as a Science Academy student, be prepared to take on a lot of work and with that, stress.  On a good day, you will probably sleep at 1 AM, but don't worry- coffee is always there for you. Even when taking into account all of the late nights, tears of frustration, and stress-filled days, I can honestly say Science Academy is worth it. I have yet to see the full results of my hard work, but so far, I have grown so much as a student, and it has been a great learning experience. Sure, there were many times where I questioned why I was putting myself under so much stress and pressure doing this program, but I always reminded myself that if I wasn't challenging myself, I was doing it all wrong.

I would like to thank all of my teachers, my parents, and wonderful friends for all of the support you have given me this year. It has been a great year, and I look forward to Year two!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Why I Joined Science Academy

Learning is all about making connections. May it be during English class, Science labs, or in our daily lives, making connections is what allows us to develop our skills and knowledge. In Science Academy, one of the main goals of the program is to make connections between science and math, in order for us to gain a better understanding and expand our learning.

Today, in Physics class, we actually related the physics material to both Chemistry and Math in ways I would never have thought about otherwise. We took the concepts of Electrostatics and used them to calculate the different charges of atoms in ionic bonds. Furthermore we represented the formula for Coulomb's Law graphically, and learned how we could manipulate any formula into the form y=mx+b to indirectly determine the formula's constants! Who knew that math from grade 10 really mattered. 

Since the students in Science Academy are like-minded and have a passion for science/math, it makes it easier for the teachers to teach extensive lessons that go beyond the curriculum, without losing the interest of the students. This is quite beneficial and I think that though it is hard work, I have learned more in this program than I ever would have in the regular school system.

By making connections between science and math, it makes it easier for us to appreciate why we are learning the material. For example, today I realized the importance of the simple math equation y=mx+b, and how it can be applied by physicists outside of the classroom. Making these connections helped us (me, at least) see the bigger picture, and it kept me more engaged. I had to think critically and use my existing knowledge in order to make the connections. This lead me to another realization- in order to make connections, you need to retain the knowledge from previous classes ... which means NO CRAMMING. Cramming may be an effective way to pass a test for some people, but it definitely won't help you remember the material in the long run. But that's whole different story.  

Sunday, 2 March 2014

If you laughed, you're a nerd.

Well, I was going to make some chemistry jokes too but all of the good ones argon. 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Chemistry Fun

Today we presented our organic chemistry projects, in which we explored an organic molecule of our choice. We were to investigate its chemistry, properties, history, and impacts on society. Aromatics, TNT, Testosterone, and Morphine- these were just a few of the many molecules that were presented. As expected, it was quite an interesting class (thanks to my charismatic peers). This is what I love about Science Academy- in Chemistry last semester, we learned about the different parts of simple organic molecules and this was our chance to  apply our knowledge to molecules we come across everyday. We had the opportunity to inquire about our own curiosities, and curiosity is the best way to learn!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

A glimpse of the future...

Yesterday we visited our future ... literally. We went to SFU Burnaby Campus, where we got to meet two amazing profs and take part in a few labs. With state of the art equipment and an immense amount of space, it was both exciting yet overwhelming! We conducted two labs, first a "Reduction of Silver" lab, followed by an "Endo/Exothermic Reactions" lab. The concepts of the experiments tied in with what we were learning in school, and this was a great way to get a feel for the university lab setting. Cheers to the future!

The product of the first lab. And yes- that is real silver. 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Motivation for Finals

As the semester is wrapping up, finals are nearing as well. While the stress of exams, final projects, and assignments is increasing, our motivation may just as well be decreasing. It is at this time at which I often see people just "giving up" because they are basically "done" the course. This, ultimately, may affect your grades but more importantly, shows your level of perseverance. Though finals may not be worth much in high school, university is a different story. The majority of your grades are based on one or two tests which cover an immense amount of material. Therefore it is critical to build up your aptitude before you enter the mysterious world of post secondary education. Here is a motivational speech which I found quite inspiring- I hope it motivates you to study hard for your finals as well!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Semester 1

Wow- semester one of Science Academy is coming to an end! I can hardly believe we've already come this far, both in time and in learning. Four months ago, I didn't think I had it in me to work a little faster,study a little harder, and sleep a little later. As they say, "no pain no gain"- I can definitely say I have gone through some struggles along the way, but more importantly, I have gained so much!

This past semester has been quite an eye opening experience. I learned a lot about myself- my strengths and weaknesses. I have been exposed to stressful situations, and this has challenged my skills, judgement, and abilities in a way I had never been tested before. I realized that cramming for a test the night before may get you somewhere, but that somewhere may not always be where you want to be. I also realized that as long as you know you have worked to the best of your capabilities, the rest will come easily.

For those of you who are currently deciding on taking this course next year, I highly recommend it. Though it has only been a few months, we have been given an abundance of opportunities to expand our learning outside of the classroom by the most hardworking teachers in our school. Do not underestimate your abilities- you will be surprised at how quickly you will adjust to the course. Everyone will have to face stress and failure at some point in their lives, and it is optimally better to do it now when you have time to develop your skills. Most importantly if you work hard, I can assure you, you will see results.