Must take photos during your time on campus (get exploring) 

Whether you live for the perfect Vancouver photo to highlight on your gorgeous Instagram feed or are a photographer looking for interesting spots in the area for amazing shoots, UBC (University of British Columbia) campus has something for everyone. There are countless hot spots to take perfect selfies, landscape shots and much more on its vast grounds. Without further ado, here are a few places one must abide by at UBC. 

1. Main Mall  

You will have to wait till the leaves change to red and yellow in the fall to produce a carpet along the bustling walks of Main Mall for a shot there. With a photograph of this important location, you can undoubtedly capture the soul of UBC. Even in the summer, the Main Mall is lovely, with luscious trees under the sun beaming brightly. Find a quiet spot to take it all in and get the whole experience of October in Vancouver. 

2. Wreck Beach  

From sunny picnic days to dramatic sunsets and bonfires, UBC students love this backyard beach. This location is especially magical for your Instagram account on days when the sun illuminates the heavens in every shade of pink and orange. Pose your models against the rocky shores or use the ocean as a backdrop as you explore deeper down the beach. Alternatively, take a quick landscape shot of the water and sky. 

3. Nitobe Gardens  

These lovely gardens are tranquil, calm, and picture-perfect. The lush greens of the mossy ground and the gently swaying trees make this a true hidden treasure on the UBC campus. Make sure to bring your camera along to capture the beauty of the Nitobe Gardens, whether you are going there to relax and breathe between sessions or take a walk through the verdant grounds.  

4. The Pharmacy Building  

This location is aesthetically attractive in an unexpected way. The design of the Pharmacy Building creates a fascinating backdrop, and the grey tone is ideal for adding bursts of color in the foreground. Use a broader angle to capture the entire structure in its astounding cubist proportions or take some basic yet eye-catching selfies. 

5. Irving K. Barber Library  

The façade of IKB is stunning, even though the chances of obtaining a fantastic image at a place we are wary of during the exam period are few. The stone edifice is similar to an antique church or something dark academia reminiscent. Sit on the stairs and take a picture with this incredible structure as your stunning backdrop or do some simple architectural photography. Either way, you cannot go wrong with a shot at this spot. 

6. The Rose Garden  

The Rose Garden is a beautiful place to visit. A famous location for lovely photographs, especially in the summer when the roses are in full bloom and come in a rainbow of colors. The Rose Garden is notably busy around graduate festivities and campus tours, but it is a small piece of heaven if you can find a peaceful moment throughout the week. Take a shot with the multicolored blossoms against a blue sky as your incredible backdrop. 

Life after grad studies: Next steps?

Whether you are a master’s student about to enter the job market or a Ph.D. candidate thinking of paths outside the professoriate, graduation can be a time of great satisfaction and great concern. A common observation among most career strategists is that many grad students seldom think about life after graduation until their studies end. Grad students should consider the future of their professional portfolio in the present. However, it is never too late to think about life after graduation and strategize for a smooth transition even if you do not. Furthermore, here are some steady steps to take laid out in this article! 

1. If you have not planned, start immediately 

It is important to note that panic and stress undermine decision-making and act as a barrier to your next steps. Overcoming this entails taking ownership of what is in your hands: your life. Planning now will require serious self-reflection and taking advantage of resources all around you, especially at school. It may also help to contact your school’s academic or career advisors for more input. 

2. Utilize all your experience  

Knowing how to articulate your qualifications and what you can professionally bring to the table speaks volumes about how equipped you are for success. Write out all the work or volunteer jobs you have done in your time as a grad student and even before. Then carefully craft at least four resumes and cover letters to suit specific industries you are interested in.  

Note that simply including your duties in each role is good, but what is even more remarkable is using exciting keywords that appeal to employers and the tools they typically use to scan applications. Try words like “oversaw,” “managed,” and “provided” to seem more like you were a leader in your role. Not only will you impress employers, but you will improve your confidence in yourself. It is also a great opportunity to self-reflect and avoids imposter syndrome (Something that plagues many grad students).  

3. Use all resources on your belt 

Always have people around you to emotionally support you. But besides that, family and friends may know of countless opportunities to approach. All you must do is ask. Utilizing school resources like your school career and academic advisors, networking events, and even asking professors will take you a long way. Together, these pursuits can drive you to achieve your long-term career goals as a seasoned professional.  

4. Use your research skills 

If you are a grad student, it is practically ingrained in you to be a seasoned researcher by now. Moreover, career exploration is that much easier for you. Sourcing information now to aid your search has never been smoother. Resources like LinkedIn present a great way to network. Optimize those networks for possible informational coffees, and job opportunities, develop relationships with employers to ask more personal questions about their companies, etc. 

It is ultimately a great spot to access the hidden job markets and talk to people right in the middle of it. However, while researching and chasing that lucky referral, keep in mind what innovative skills you can bring to the table and which companies attract you the most.  

5. What does your future look like? 

The present often determines the future. What are some urgent changes you need to get done? Do you have loans to pay off or a financial plan to get started? Do you have a house to buy or rent to take care of? Realizing that current expenses need to be dealt with does not mean indefinitely pushing aside your long-term career goals. It may help to have a side job to handle your current expenses while applying for your dream jobs and taking advantage of all opportunities. A side job could turn into something much more profound than you imagined and lead you even closer to your ideal career.  

GSS has started an unofficial Spotify playlist for our vibrant community

Some students have expressed that listening to their favorite tunes while working helps with their focus and general ability to complete tasks. Songs (especially specific melodies, playlists, or genres) can be used as cues to trigger habits. According to James Clear, a habit loop includes:  

Cue, Craving, Response, Reward.  

And it all boils down to a concept called classical conditioning. Ivan Pavlov, in his study, realized that the dogs serving as his subjects drooled when they were served meat during his study of digestion. In the case of Pavlov’s dogs, the mere sound of a bell was enough to make them drool in anticipation of food (in a similar way, we can train ourselves with music as a cue). Just like waking up to a dinging sound from your phone or lying down in bed makes you sleepy, listening to a song or playlist can encourage you to perform better and boost your productivity.  

According to an Accountemps survey, 71% of professionals report feeling more productive at work when music is playing, and Spotify’s survey showed that music is the leading productivity booster for their workforce. So, if some songs work for you, you should probably go on playing them. However, finding or curating the perfect music playlist isn’t always easy. With endless music streaming services and songs out there, it gets a bit difficult to narrow down the right one.  

So, GSS has started an unofficial Spotify playlist for our vibrant community to add all our favorite tunes to. Please share your favorite songs that get you pumped up and ready for productivity by contributing to our playlist; we’d love to hear them.  

Disclaimer: The GSS do not endorse any of the songs or artists on this track.

What type of companies to apply to right now (and why)

It has been implied by the United Nations that global economic conditions are reducing the availability of viable and well-paying jobs. For instance, many professionals find the job market even more challenging as a result of the global pandemic. However, it is still possible for proactive and skilled individuals who are motivated to work to find numerous opportunities for their careers despite the global employment market struggling to recover fully from the recent recession.  

There are still numerous opportunities for passionate professionals who are motivated to work, especially grad students thinking about their post-grad careers. It is reflected in the growth of multiple sectors that continue to create brand new jobs for people with similar interests and aspirations. For instance, many Canadian banks have really stepped up their game in terms of looking out for their employees.

So, without further ado, here are some key things to look out for while applying to companies, scouring the perfect one for you. Hopefully, it helps you find your dream job in no time at all. 


It has a healthy work culture and the structure of the company is such that employees work as a team. Inclusion and diversity remain central to who they are and what they do. Regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, language, or experience, people aren’t held back by differences of any kind. If they have any initiative to address the lack of relevant experience, skills, knowledge, and networks that some young Canadians in marginalized communities need to succeed in today’s rapidly changing work environment, that’s a plus. Of course, there should be an abundance of opportunities open for individuals in this group. 


This is a place where you may pursue your dreams and achieve your objectives in a safe and welcoming environment. Every employee has the chance to have a significant effect on the business by collaborating with skilled colleagues on fascinating tasks. The company might pledge to have no job losses as a result of COVID in 2020 and has specifically educated HR specialists to assist in the reassignment of staff from one business to another as the organization adapts to changing demands.


From tackling issues like cancer cures to natural disaster prevention, the company takes pride in revolutionizing its operations. They invest in groundbreaking research and are committed to environmental and social responsibility. Additionally, they vocally advocate for those in need with campaigns.


There are many possibilities for developing and enhancing your career with the company due to its well established name. Furthermore, it’s a positive if it is so confident in its abilities that it is willing to evaluate a broader spectrum of candidates, relying on talent evaluations rather than specific job criteria or histories. 


They financially meet your needs. They have fantastic leadership that has provided you the opportunity to further your education, work in a welcoming workplace, and have a good work-life balance.

A Joint Letter Addressing Student Safety as Omicron Surges

Dr. Henry and Minister Kang,

As many students in this province are set to return to campus for in-person learning, the extraordinary spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant represents a real and continued threat to the safety of post-secondary students and staff, specifically those who are immunocompromised. We, the undersigned, strongly urge the Provincial Health Officer to change the guidance issued to post-secondary institutions on December 21st, 2021, which “strongly recommend[s] continuation of on-campus instruction for post-secondary institutions in January 2022.”[[1]]

Since the Provincial Health Officer’s guidance to post-secondary institutions was issued in mid-December, the COVID-19 situation in BC has drastically changed. As of January 20th, the total number of COVID-19 cases in British Columbia was 305,715.[[2]] The number of active cases in the province as of January 20th was 37,430, with a total of 2,520 deaths to date.[[3]] In Canada as a whole, the total number of cases has increased to ​​2,868,862, with 32,220 deaths.[[4]] The Omicron variant has shown “evidence of increased transmissibility,” as well as the risk of reinfection for those who have previously contracted a former variant of COVID-19.[[5]] The highly transmissible Omicron variant poses a serious threat to many student demographics.

Post-secondary institutions must take an approach that acknowledges local health conditions, the size of their institution, and the needs of students and staff who are immunocompromised or living with those in high risk categories. For the safety of all students and British Columbians, institutions need to maximize their hybrid learning capabilities and allow students to attend online or in-person, depending on their own comfort levels and circumstances .

Post-secondary institutions look to the Provincial Health Officer for direction when making decisions related to COVID-19. The current guidance encourages institutions to take an approach that will result in an unsafe environment for students and staff. Every student navigates post-secondary education differently, and while there are those who prefer the in-person model, there are many students who face great risks to their health and safety by coming to campus.

Post-secondary institutions have been refining hybrid learning since the beginning of the pandemic. In the midst of the Omicron surge, post-secondary institutions must continue to utilize these online and hybrid learning models that help ensure the safety and well-being of all students. We believe the Provincial Health Officer should be encouraging them to do so.


[[1]] Provincial Government of British Columbia, Ministry of Health, Office of the Provincial Health Officer, December 21, 2021, (accessed January 12, 2022)

[[2]] Government of Canada, “COVID-19 Daily Epidemiology Update”, January 17, 2022 (accessed January 12, 2022)

[[3]] Ibid

[[4]] Ibid

[[5]] Government of Canada, “SARS-CoV-2 variants: National definitions, classifications and public health actions”, December 23, 2021, (accessed January 12, 2022)

Welcome to new GSS VP External Relations – Natalie Cappe

The GSS is excited to announce the appointment of Natalie Cappe as your new VP External Relations. A Master’s student in Community and Regional Planning, Natalie comes with comprehensive understanding of the role as she has been serving as the GSS External Policy Assistant since August 2020.

Get to know Natalie Cappe and her priorities:

My name is Natalie Cappe, and I am completing a Masters in Community and Regional Planning. I am running for the position of Vice President External Relations to leverage my knowledge of effective student government to improve the lives of graduate students at UBC. I have served as the External Policy Assistant of the Graduate Student Society since August 2020 and have gained a comprehensive understanding of the role of the GSS’ Vice President External Relations. I have worked alongside the past two students who have held the position of Vice President External Relations at the GSS (Alireza Kamyabi and Ashni Gill) to advocate for UBC graduate students at a provincial and federal level. Some of the most notable initiatives in which I have been involved include: the extension of the BC Graduate Scholarship to offer more funding opportunities for graduate students, the publication of a report outlining the importance of graduate education in Canada, as well as a critical review of UBC’s Sexual Misconduct policy to improve safety and wellbeing of graduate students. I have also been involved in the establishment of Canada’s first informal federal alliance of graduate students. In addition, I have worked closely with UBC’s Alma Mater Society where we advocate for solutions to issues that can affect all students such as affordable housing and improved access to mental health support. If elected as VPX, while in office, my priorities include:

    1. Collaborate with Graduate Students of Canada (GSSC) to advocate for improved federal funding (such as tri-agency funding) for graduate students that accounts for inflation
    2. Continue to work with UBC’s Alma Mater Society to advocate for: improved affordable housing for students, improved support for Indigenous students, and mental health support
    3. Work with UBC administration and student leaders at some of our partner organizations (those affiliated with the Alliance of British Columbia Students) to facilitate improved training and education surrounding sexual misconduct

As a result of the experience I have gained and the relationships I have built working in student government thus far, I am confident that I can effectively serve the Vice President External Office.

Natalie’s office term will start immediately and end in April 2022.

Thank you to the other candidates for their interest in serving the UBC graduate student community. We wish you all the best.

GSS Engagement Survey 2021 Highlights

In Fall 2021, the GSS ran a survey to assess the engagement of UBC graduate students with the Society. The survey consisted of the following topics: awareness, past events, and future events. The results will be instrumental in targeting certain events and engagement methods that have provided the highest participation.

Here are some highlights from the survey results: 

Response rate: A total of 413 respondents started the Engagement survey, and 387 respondents reached the end of the survey, for a completion rate of 94%.

GSS Awareness: 91% of respondents are aware of the Graduate Student Society. Among respondents who know about the GSS, 70% of respondents do not know anyone involved in the GSS. The top three social media platforms that graduate students use to follow the GSS are Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, respectively. 

GSS Past Events: The top three GSS events that graduate students attended in the past are career-building workshops, networking events, and organized sports. In the past six months, 72% of respondents did not attend any GSS events and 25% of respondents attended one or two events. 

GSS Future Events: The top four events or services that respondents want the GSS to hold in the future are outdoor events or hikes, career-building workshops, subsidized tickets, and networking events. Near half of the respondents (43%) prefer in-person events and another 43% of respondents would attend the events either in-person or online. 

On weekdays, the best time window for graduate students to attend GSS events is from 6 pm to 8 pm. Generally, they prefer to attend events on Friday more than other weekdays. On the weekend, they can attend events from 10 am to 8 pm with an overall preference for Saturday over Sunday. 

Thank you to everyone who has completed the survey!

For more information, please contact

GSS’ New VPUAA: Yuran Zhang

The GSS is excited to announce the appointment of Yuran Zhang as your new VP University and Academic Affairs.

A master’s student in Food Science, Yuran self-identifies as a passionate, conscientious and organized student leader. Read her appointment statement:

I’ve always been enthusiastic about advocating for students’ rights and building community on campus through events. Back in my undergraduate studies at Jiangnan University, I was a VP Multimedia Communication at the Students’ Union, where I was able to foster my skills in communication, problem-solving, and coordinating events. In 2019, I joined AIESEC Canada as a Business Development Manager at AIESEC Guelph and built connections with over 50 local companies. Through our efforts, we were able to assist companies to hire international interns and ensure their financial and healthcare benefits. That was the time I realized that I wanted to dedicate myself to advocating for students and young talents. Therefore, after joining UBC, I volunteered in various faculty events and joined the Faculty of Land and Food Systems (LFS) Graduate Student Council as a program representative. Now I hope, by joining GSS, I could contribute more to supporting students from diverse backgrounds and collaborate with awesome GSS members from different faculties.

I identify myself as a passionate, conscientious and organized student leader which I think is what you are looking for in a VPUAA. If I am fortunate enough to be elected, I’d like to bring changes to GSS through the following:

    1. Make Peer Support service more accessible and more effective. Peer Support is definitely a great program but maybe less known within faculties. I personally think that it’s important to let students know there’s support here for them. This might be achieved by cooperating with the administrative coordinators of each faculty to circulate the information (which might also be helpful for hiring Peer Support specialists).
    2. Ensure graduate students’ benefits during COVID time. Being a TA and an international student in a research-based program myself, I could deeply feel the difficulties we’re facing because of the pandemic. The rising rents, confusing health care, unawareness of financial aids and losing sense of belongingness are the most common issues I heard from people around me. To better speak for UBC graduate students, we may collect results from university surveys and records of Peer Support.

Thanks for your patient reading. I’m looking forward to building a respectful and diverse community with you at GSS.

Yuran’s term as VPUAA will start immediately. Please join us in welcoming Yuran to the GSS Executive Team.

Thank you to the other candidates for their interest in serving the UBC graduate student community. We wish you all the best.

GSS Council Summary – August 2021

Welcome to the summary of GSS Council on August 19, 2021.

Congratulations to our new Affiliated Organizations: Physics and Astronomy Graduate Student Association, HLI Trainee Association, African Graduate Students (AfriGS) of Acadia, and Counselling Psychology Students Association.

Council this month was short and sweet, with no matters for decision.

The meeting began with one expedient matter: an overview of UBC’s Campus and Community Planning (C+CP)’s upcoming comprehensive campus-wide land use planning process (Campus Vision 2050) – Several staff from C+CP joined the GSS to raise awareness of their work, provide an overview of Campus Vision 2050, answer questions, and understand how the GSS would like to engage through this process.

Subsequently, there were several presentations for discussion, including a report on the House Finance Committee’s recommendations for the GSS to invest in mutual aid portfolios, a proposal by the Governance and Accountability Committee for splitting the FEOO position, and an update by the Strategic Planning Ad-Hoc Committee on the current draft of the 2022-2026 Strategic Plan.

As always, minutes will be available once approved on the GSS website for more details. The next meeting will be on Thursday, September 16, 2021 on Microsoft Teams. All graduate students are welcome to attend, and to join Council as departmental representatives! Contact and for details.

Written by Sophie Penniman

GSS Council Summary – July 2021


Welcome to the summary of GSS Council on July 15, 2021.

Congratulations to our new Councillors: Bukola Mary Ibitoye (Nursing), and Davi Monticelli (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences) and new Affiliated Organizations: Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Student Society, Biomedical Engineering Graduate Association (re-affilated), and InterVarsity Graduate Student Fellowship (re-affiliated).

Council dealt efficiently with several important items:

  • The meeting began with two expedient matters: the first was an introduction to decolonization and indigenization in higher education by Dr. Sharon Stein from the Department of Educational Studies – Dr. Stein will be expanding on this topic in the upcoming July Council Retreat; the second was an annual consultation from the Alliance of BC Students on the issues that matter most to graduate students

  • The annual appointment of the Financial and Executive Oversight Officer took place with 2 candidates making it to Council for the vote, including the incumbent. The vote was the closest seen in many years, but eventually the incumbent was voted in – congratulations Tayo Olarewaju on another year as FEOO.

  • The Governance & Accountability Committee came back with recommendations on addressing issues with the mandates of the Services and Elections Committees. Council approved the option of expanding the Services mandate to include engagement matters, dissolving Elections Committee, and considering a more temporary option for administering elections each year. Further steps to achieve this are forthcoming.

Finally, there were several presentations for discussion, including a report on the recently completed internal audit of the GSS by Bakau Consulting; a mid-term review of committees’ SMART Goals; an update on the 2021-22 executives’ goals; and the regular monthly financial overview

As always, minutes will be available once approved on the GSS website for more details. The next meeting will be on Thursday, August 19, 2021 on Microsoft Teams. All graduate students are welcome to attend, and to join Council as departmental representatives! Contact and for details.

Written by Victoria Gomez[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]