Yoohyun Park/Production Coordinator

By: Ardena Bašić, Contributor 

Taking on too many commitments causes undue stress and declining quality of work

In a day and age filled with endless opportunity, we can be quite eager to try out different pursuits. Especially as students focus on education and career-building, the prospect of new extracurriculars appears promising.  

A kind addition to one’s resume or LinkedIn page, an answer for an interview or even a conversation starter with a professor or classmate are among the various benefits of such activities.  

However, although it is often overwhelming when we take on too much, it is difficult to say “no” when we ponder all the paybacks. For students especially, we need to allow ourselves to say “no” more often and be honest with ourselves about how much energy we can really afford to put out.  

The process of getting into schools and obtaining jobs is becoming increasingly competitive. Admission rates to many universities are reaching record lows and the job market for new graduates is especially complex, with employers setting standards far higher than in the past.  

The process of getting into schools and obtaining jobs is becoming increasingly competitive. Admission rates to many universities are reaching record lows and the job market for new graduates is especially complex, with employers setting standards far higher than in the past.  

Ardena Bašić, Contributor

In this sense, it seems logical for students to want to take on more clubs, volunteering positions, internships and part-time work. After all, anything could be the advantage that sticks out to a recruitment officer at a firm or school.  

Reflecting on this idea makes it challenging to quit any opportunity, even if it may make one’s life far too overwhelming.  

School is already challenging given deadlines, expenses and long hours required by most programs. Adding a reasonable number of other commitments can be managed to an extent, but there comes a point of diminishing returns.  

For example, choosing to write blogs for three websites as opposed to one might reduce the time and energy one can put into them and by extension their quality. Moreover, choosing to do many sports over focusing on one or two makes it difficult for one to put their full energy in.  

Yet, it looks good on a resume, doesn’t it? A future employer might find it impressive that one juggled so many pursuits, no matter the overall quality of them individually. It is this circular thinking that can cause undue strain and pressure on a student’s already busy life.  

Although it may be difficult, students need to be honest with themselves about how much they can reasonably take on. How many hours — outside of school — do you have to spend on putting quality energy into a pursuit?  

Although it may be difficult, students need to be honest with themselves about how much they can reasonably take on. How many hours — outside of school — do you have to spend on putting quality energy into a pursuit?  

Ardena Bašić, Contributor

Then, look for where your passions lie. This might mean balancing some things you don’t love, but look good on your resume, with other things that light up your spirit. Our life is filled with compromises and our time as a student is no exception.  

Furthermore, analyze what you’re doing in your free time. It is easy to pick up our phones and scroll through social media and then fret about not having enough time for other things.  

Being more cognizant of these factors through critical reflection will help us better manage our time and be able to pick and choose our endeavours more accordingly.  

Overall, students can easily get caught up in the chase of doing as much as we can to gain the most reward. This will catch up to us eventually in not being able to put as much effort as we want into what we’re doing.  

Stepping back and asking ourselves tough questions: what we really want, like and hope for can help us make more prudent decisions in how we fill our time. It is this process than can help us overcome yet another hurdle of being a student and improve this season of life for the better.  

 

Shloka Jetha is a woman who has always been on the move. After growing up in seven countries, the 23-year old has finally settled in Toronto and is pursuing her dream of working with at-risk youth. Part of what appealed to her about the new Professional Addiction Studies program at McMaster Continuing Education is that it’s online, which means she can set her own schedule and study on-the-go when she’s away from home.

But of course the biggest draw is the way Jetha feels the program will complement and expand upon what she learned in her McMaster degree in sociology, as well as what she is currently learning in a Child and Youth Care program at another school. With the goal of someday working in a clinical setting like the Sick Kids Centre for Brain and Mental Health, Jetha believes the more practical information she has about addiction and mental health, the better.

“I’m learning a lot in my current Child and Youth program,” Jetha enthuses, “but for me there is a bit of a knowledge gap that the McMaster Professional Addiction Studies program will help to close. It’s an incredibly complex field, every situation is new, and you need to be able read between the lines and understand the difference between what a troubled kid is saying and what’s actually going on in their life.”

Jetha believes that having the rich background knowledge the Professional Addiction Studies program will provide, and being able to link that information to her work in the field, will help her excel faster. Most importantly, she feels it will make her better and more effective at helping and healing kids in crisis.

“I’m specifically looking forward to gaining more knowledge about pharmacology, but also about other things as it’s difficult to learn on the job,” Jetha says. “I can learn a tremendous amount from the kids I work with, and that’s invaluable experience, but coming to them with a deeper knowledge base will allow me to talk with them about drugs and alcohol in a way I otherwise couldn’t.”

Jetha has been fortunate not to be personally touched by addiction, but has lost friends and people in her community from overdose. She is also familiar with the impact of this complex issue through the volunteer work she has done.

Even though this is an incredibly demanding career path, it’s one Jetha is proud and honoured to walk. She feels the good outweighs the bad and is determined to continue learning and helping as much as she can. The Professional Addiction Studies program at McMaster Continuing Education is uniquely designed to help her achieve that goal.

Applications for Spring term are open until April 29, 2019. Learn more at mcmastercce.ca/addiction-studies-program

 

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Photo by Catherine Goce

By: Abirami Sudharshan

In October 2018, the McMaster faculty of health sciences launched the “Centre for Metabolism, Obesity and Diabetes Research,” an initiative ten years in the making.  

Since then, the centre has been working to engineer novel clinical applications in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of adult and juvenile metabolic disease.

According to the agenda from the Oct. 18 McMaster board of governors meeting, 25 per cent of adults in Canada and around the world are affected by obesity, type two diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Every year, the Canadian health care system incurs more than $30 billion per year in incurred related costs.

The founding of the MODR centre, which was approved by the senate in April 2018, allows for the accelerated progression of pre-clinical to human research.

This is largely made possible through the MODR’s collaborative and multidisciplinary approach to metabolic research, according to a report in the Oct. 18 board of governors agenda.

“The MODR brings together a rich and diverse group of researchers from across McMaster University… with expertise ranging from cellular metabolism, physiology, clinical epidemiology, population health, pediatrics, adult medicine and clinical trials… who share a passion for collaborating and sharing insights and perspectives,” said Hertzel Gerstein, the centre’s senior advisor at the McMaster faculty of medicine.

Co-directors Katherine Morrison and Gregory Steinberg are studying these diseases at the clinical and cellular level, respectively.

Under their guidance, the centre is set to flourish as a world expert in determining the biological drivers behind metabolism disruption, understanding their mechanics and translating this knowledge into feasible, effective and clinical solutions.

“Ten years from now, we hope to have made a significant impact on the lives of people living with metabolic diseases by having developed new therapies,” said Steinberg.

The MODR is currently facilitating a number of metabolism-related research projects.

One project Steinberg and Morrison are leading is the “Gene Environment Team on Brown/Beige Adipose Tissue” project, which aims to understand the underlying causes of obesity, type two diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

According to the project description, brown adipose tissue is essentially the body’s furnace, burning sugar and fat in the body.

In individuals with obesity or T2D the ability to  switch on BAT is compromised, but the reasons for this are not well understood,” reads a statement on the MODR’s website. “The GET_BAT team is examining how agricultural and food processing practices may regulate BAT metabolic activity, directly, or indirectly by altering the gut microbiome.”

The results from these studies are expected to help the researchers develop strategies to increase BAT activity and treat and prevent metabolic disease.

Another project underway, the “Baby & Mi and Baby & Pre-Mi Studies,” is investigating the impact of gut bacteria on long-term health.

In particular, the study will be one of the first in North America to explore factors that may alter the gut bacteria picked up in the first three years of life.

In another study, Steinberg will be testing new medicines that impact proteins in the liver and adipose tissue in effort to treat type two diabetes.

More information about the research being conducted at the MODR can be found at https://healthsci.mcmaster.ca/metabolism-research.

 

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