Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Taking a Chance on Me...

It has been a few years since I came to Canada, and I have been amazed at how different I have become.

Given, I wasn't a bad student when I was back home, but I wasn't the best either. I will say I was slightly above average, but nothing spectacular. And I'm pretty sure you would have found a few teachers who would have said "she can try harder", or "she's not applying herself".

But things have...changed.

I now work my behind off for my grades, and it won't satisfy me till I know I got the best grade I could have gotten. I will review all exams and assignments during my professor's office hours even if the score was as perfect as could be. In fact, I've had a couple of exams where I scored higher than perfect because the professor felt I deserved some "bonus" points.

What changed?

I think it was because I found something I enjoyed. I actually enjoyed the subject material and I enjoyed the way things are structured.

I enjoyed that I could ask as many questions as I wanted, I enjoyed that I could experiment with my own hands, I enjoyed that I could discuss "taboo" subjects without fear of prosecution, and I enjoyed learning that it was okay to share your accomplishments without being labelled a "boaster".

Am I the brightest crayon in the box? No...

Am I the most talented? No...

But I am hardworking and I don't give up easily. And if there's one thing I learned in Canada, it's that it's ok to speak of your strengths and weaknesses.

In fact, my supervisor in university said one of things that helped me land a job was because I could acknowledge my weakness to my supervisor-to-be. 

I've also learned that it's ok to aim far, but you should be prepared to work for it.

Does anyone owe you a living? No.

But someone might just take a chance on you if you work hard, just like they took a chance on me.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Learning to Trust that Things Happen in Due Time...

This time last month, I was stressing like crazy about going to Vancouver for my interview. This time this month, I'm still stressing, but I'm reminded that all things that are meant to happen will find a way of happening.

After my posting about the job, I got an email from a reader of this blog (I'll keep her unnamed since she didn't publish the comment and emailed me instead) sent me an email offering assistance. She is a fellow Malaysian who moved to Vancouver a few years back. We're now already talking about furniture and where to go and eat when I get to Vancouver, and she has even offered to pick me up from the airport if I need it (thank you! I will keep that in mind if I get horribly lost).

Balloons from cousins to celebrate the Snoopy-themed presentation I did for the interview.
It then turned out a friend of mine who is a researcher in a long-term health care facility here told me his wife got her Ph.D. from UBC, and offered assistance. She has been a lot of help advising on neighbourhoods that are safe and close to the university.

My colleague-to-be has also been of tremendous assistance with accommodation and services in Vancouver, which I'm very grateful for.

And then my cousin's friend's friend heard of a Baha'i family doing homestay on the bus-route to UBC. So I will be staying with this family, and having home-cooked food three times a day!

And then I go on to find out that my supervisor/professor stayed in BC for 6 years doing her MA/Ph.D. and had some ideas about life in Vancouver and had some valuable advice about certain things I hadn't thought about.

Now it's just the nitty-gritty paper work and waiting for the work permit to arrive (argh!)...

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Got a Job!

About to cross Capilano Bridge!

I am so happy, I could plotz (I have been watching the Nanny, hence, the Yiddish)!

I just got offered a research-tech position at the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Lab in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Was in UBC for a few days for an interview and just enjoying Vancouver. It is a beautiful city, with gorgeous greenery and beaches.

I am very excited about the position as I would be able to put to use many of the skills I learned in Trent--I am still finding it hard to believe that I found a lab that I liked that much! I felt at home the minute I walked in (ok, so I am very young at heart)!

Now, I'm stressing about the second big move in three years or so. The first was, of course, moving from Malaysia to Canada. And the first step is to find accommodation...which is ridiculously expensive in Vancouver...