Monday, 22 June 2015

A New Chapter

We're done! Two years of Science Academy has officially come to a close. It's still quite surreal for me, but looking back, joining this program was one of the best and most worthwhile decisions I have made. It was one of the hardest adjustments during high school, but the amount I have grown both academically and mentally is rewarding. Along with learning an abundance of material well over the high school level, I've gained many invaluable skills that are applicable to my future. Time management, commitment, perseverance, determination, study habits, and maintaining balance are only a few of the many.

One of the most important things I've recently learned is to start living in the present; the now. I spent the entirety of this year thinking about the future. Just trying to get through the now so I could enjoy the future. Until December, I was wishing for winter break. Until March, I was wishing for spring break. Until May, I was wishing for our AP exams to be over. Until June, I was wishing for summer! However, I never really realized that life is less about the final destination and more about the journey. I realize now how much time I had let go, dreaming about the future. From now, I've decided to stop focusing about how great the future will be, and realize how important right now is. It took me two years to realize that, but I'm happy that I finally did.

Another important thing I learned throughout these past few years is what a large part my friends, family, peers, teachers, and anybody else I interact with influenced my life. Coming into the program, I always thought studying was something you had to do alone. I went to class, did the homework, and studied on my own. Despite that, in Science Academy, I found a group of like-minded friends, where we all studied together, discussed the material, helped each other with problems, and provided support to. I wouldn't have been able to learn as much as I did or become as successful as I did academically if it wasn't for my friends.

On my very first post on this blog, I emphasized how learning was more important than grades. Looking back, I don't think I really knew the importance of this concept. Though grades are important in that they provide a sort of means for post-secondary institutions to evaluate us, in some aspects they do not show an accurate portrayal of learning. I have learned to find a balance between the value I place on my grades, in comparison to the skills, experience, and knowledge I learn. Accordingly, this year along with my academics, I immersed myself in my passions. Youth engagement, environment, and health science are three of my main passions. Over the year, I've conducted workshops, ran clubs, established programs, and even planned and executed a three-day leadership conference. These experiences have allowed me to become a dynamic leader in my school and community. I want to emphasize that even though Science Academy comes with a heavy workload, it is important to continue pursuing your passions and extracurriculars alongside it.

Now, I am moving on to bigger and better things! It's been a great time being a part of the Fraser Heights Science Academy, and I've enjoyed sharing my journey on this blog. Finally, if you are a prospective student who has any questions, feel free to leave comments or email me at I'd be happy to help out! 

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Our Exams Are Over!

Our last AP exam was on May 7th, so now the hardest part of our year is over! Personally, the exams were more difficult in terms of time over content. This is the first year the AP Physics B exam was split into two exams, so we didn't know exactly what to expect. On the other hand, the exams were fair. Here are the main three tips I have for future AP exam-takers:

1. Be prepared: Start studying well in advanced. Plan out a schedule, and start doing the practice exams from a review guide at least a month prior to the exam. Studying over a long period of time is often more effective than cramming on the weekend before the exam.

2. Learn test-taking strategies: To write the exam effectively, you not only have to understand the material in depth, but also how the exam is formatted. You should also take plenty of timed practice exams, because time is a key factor for these exams. Finally, you should make sure you answer all of the multiple choice questions, even if you have to guess. There is no penalty for wrong answers! Read the first few pages of a study review guide, because they have important information regarding test-taking strategies.

3. Don't stress: Being prepared can help you feel less stressed. Further, make sure you sleep and eat well the day before the exam. Learn how to stay calm so you can concentrate and perform to the best of your abilities.

We are spending the next month or so wrapping up loose ends before the year is over, going on a few field trips, and working on our final Capstone project.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Home Stretch!

It's spring break, which means I am coming to the end of my very last semester at Fraser Heights! It seems so surreal, yet at the same time it feels as though I've been waiting for graduation for a while already. Nevertheless, these new few months call for my full focus as exam season rolls around.

These next two weeks are the calm before the storm; the storm being our SFU Finals, three AP exams, and in my case, a provincial exam, which all fall between April and early May. These tests will showcase our learning throughout the past two years, and hopefully leave us feeling accomplished.

With exam season comes the responsibility of studying (of course!). One of the most important things I have learned from Science Academy is finding my ideal study method. You may have heard of the common saying, "Study smarter, not harder." As most of us have probably experienced, at times I've seen my marks inaccurately reflecting the extent to which I thought I understood the material. I then began to realize that to excel on an exam, not only did I have to understand content, but I also had to be an effective test-taker. To elaborate, I had to be concious of my time, be able to maintain a clear, focussed mind, and also understand the format of the test. Additionally, I had to better prepare myself prior to the test. While I was studying for a good amount of time, my study methods were not working for me. Over time, I discovered that rewriting notes worked better for me than flashcards. Watching tutorial videos often helped me retain information more than reviewing textbook material. I also found out that studying with friends was beneficial after I revised individually. While I have yet to master my study techniques, I believe that I am more apt than I was in Grade 11.

One of my year-end goals is to be a better test-taker, and I see my upcoming tests as an opportunity to prove to myself how far I have come in my journey of learning. With this mindset I plan on studying harder smarter during the upcoming weeks!

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!