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In honor of Nutrition Month, spice up your diet!

How we all eat is influenced by our cultures and food traditions. No matter what traditional practices we follow, whether eating from a bowl or right of a full plate or being curious about the cultural foods we consume, they all ultimately influence our nutritional needs. Hence, March being Nutrition Month is vital because it is a time to honour the countless foods and cultural dishes we eat and our hardworking dieticians. A healthier future requires various ingredients that dietitians explore during Nutrition Month. As well as components that can positively affect one’s health, there are significant changes like recommended eating schedules that can be implemented for the masses, not just now but also in the future. Dietitians also explore food sovereignty, food justice, food policy, and combating misinformation about our foods, eating habits, etc.
So with Nutrition Month in full force, we urge you to do something different with your diet. Embark on a new tasty journey and try some other culturally delicious dishes. Here is a list of some to enjoy:


1. Feijoada
BRAZIL
In addition to former Portuguese colonies such as Macau, Mozambique, and Angola, this dish originated in Portugal. The stew is made with beef, pork, garlic, onions, and bay leaves and is traditionally eaten on Saturdays. However, pace yourself as it is quite a heavy meal.


2. Borscht
UKRAINE
This soup is famous in Eastern and Central Europe and originated in Ukraine. The main ingredient in borscht is beetroot and stock and sauteed vegetables. It may be served hot or cold, so it’s perfect as low stress and quick meal.


3. Goi Cuon
VIETNAM
These delicious spring rolls include prawns, pork, rice noodles, and vegetables wrapped in rice paper. They are typically eaten by dipping them in a spicy chili sauce mixture.


4. Paneer Butter Masala
INDIA
Indian subcontinental cheese called paneer can be paired perfectly with butter masala, a tomato-based sauce rich in creaminess and spices. You can have either rice or flatbread as an aside with this dish.


5. Paella
SPAIN
It is a notable Spanish dish and is well known globally. It is cooked with chicken and seafood, but sometimes vegetarian renditions are available. Its title is inspired by the Latin word patella, roughly translating to the phrase “frying pan” in English.


6. Bacalhau
PORTUGAL
Bacalhau is Portuguese for cod. It consists of potatoes; however, garnishings such as parsley, hard-boiled eggs and olives are also included.


7. Bunny Chow
SOUTH AFRICA
Hollowed-out bread stuffed with curry forms the basis of this South African tasty dish. Migrant Indian workers discovered that bread was a convenient way to transport curries between sugar cane plantations and their homes. And thus, this meal was born.


8. Koshari
EGYPT
A tomato-vinegar sauce is mixed with rice, macaroni, and lentils and topped with fried onions and chickpeas. Vegetarians can enjoy this filling meal at roadside stalls and restaurants throughout Egypt. Garlic juice and hot sauce are sometimes added.

We would love to hear what you think about these dishes? If you have tried them or would like to try. We would love to feature you on our social media channels. Upload your favourite dish and tag us #ubcgssfoodies on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

VP External Relations 2021-2022: NATALIE CAPPE

 Natalie Cappe is our VP External Relations for the 2021-2022 session who hopes her advocacy for students will be heard and responded to with equitable changes so that graduate students are provided with safe and opportune environments for success. Through this questionnaire, you’ll get to know fun tidbits about who she is and all her colorful aspirations for this role. So, without further ado, read on to learn more about our hardworking and passionate executive. Hopefully, you discover something new.

What is your favorite thing about/at the UBC campus? 

The incredible people in my program at the School of Community and Regional Planning. My cohort spent our first year together on Zoom and it has been so nice getting to know everyone in person this year.

What do you most admire about the GSS community and organization as a whole? 

Our provincial reputation and effective advocacy efforts that have improved the accessibility of graduate education.

What was the last book, movie, or TV show you read/watched? 

Wanda Vision! I need a season 2.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Climbing mountains with good friends.

What secret talent do you possess?

I sang in a choir for 10 years before starting grad school.

Do you have a non-university-related passion or hobby? What is it? 

Anything outside! Hiking, skiing, running, cycling, you name it.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 

I wish I didn’t spend so much energy questioning past decisions instead of living in the moment.

Grad student tips for low burnout and high productivity

Right off the bat, it is crucial to mention that going to graduate school means setting apart a large amount of your time to prioritize post-graduate school work. But it is also crucial to mention that it is more than worth it as the feeling of earning a post-graduate degree is unmatched. 

To thrive as a graduate student requires the blossoming of a healthy study-life balance to avoid chronic burnout. You already know how strenuous 40 hours a week of work (I.e. writing countless papers, making presentations, writing funding or grant proposals, library research, TA tasks, etc.) can be on your psychological and physical wellbeing.  

Hence, in this article, we give some helpful tips on how to avoid said burnout to achieve optimum productivity while working hard all throughout the year. 

1. Time Management 

Calendar

Avoid procrastination! Students who prepare in advance for any task such as assignments or TA work experience less burnout. It also allows you to spread out your workload more evenly. And a good way to do this is by keeping track of things with a calendar (preferably digital ones which send you notifications closer to deadlines). 

Pareto Analysis Method

For more specific techniques, another option is the Pareto analysis method. It’s an 80/20 rule created by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto that entails 20% of actions are responsible for 80% of outcomes. Utilizing the Pareto analysis method allows you to prioritize tasks that are most effective at solving problems.

Pomodoro Method

You can try the Pomodoro method as well. Created by entrepreneur and author Francesco Cirillo, this time management method requires some sort of timer to divide work into intervals. Every interval is referred to as a Pomodoro, named after a timer that Cirillo made. 

For more information on the techniques above and some others to try out, check out this article: 9 Proven Time Management Techniques and Tools.

2. Set Reasonable Goals  

Stress often leads to full blown burnout. And students who set unrealistic vague goals constantly find themselves drowning in a workload far more than they can handle, leading to high stress and the urge to give up entirely. Make sure you never take on more than you can handle and always communicate with people like employers or lecturers if you feel overburdened.  

SMART Method

A very helpful way of doing this is by making sure each of your goals adhere to the SMART method:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic, results-based).
  • Time-based (time limited, time/cost sensitive).

Now we all know what a SMART goal is, but what makes a good SMART goal?

Keep in mind that while setting goals, you can’t cheat. The easier your goal is, the less you’ll put in an extensive effort to do it. If you set difficult and vague goals, you’ll have to put in the most effort. So think deeply about what you truly want.

It’s important to make sure your goal is as specific and well-suited to you as possible. For instance, most people have the intent to study more. But their intention isn’t as well fleshed out or as specific as it could be in order to actually achieve them. Instead, they could say they want to “study for 30 minutes a day to get a 30% increase in their grade by the term’s end.”

When you finalize that, use the SMART method to double-check if it is suitable. If it is, the next step is to write the goal down. Having it right in front of you to read rather than floating around in your mind will always keep you on track.

Next, formulate an action plan. How exactly will you achieve the goal? What necessary steps do you need to take to get to where you want to?

It might also help to keep some sort of timeline where you note the steps you took; any that worked and any that didn’t, until you finally achieve the goal.

To learn more on how to use the SMART method and make your goals achievable, check out this article: The Ultimate Goal Setting Process: 7 Steps to Creating Better Goals.

3. Maintain Good Health  

It may sound obvious but many students neglect their health due to how tasking graduate studies can be. Avoid the temptation of eating inexpensive take out or staying indoors around the clock. Fast food has high sodium and an immobile lifestyle contributes to stress, so it’s ideal to cook your own meals and find stress-reducing activities such as taking regular walks, swimming or yoga.

To make these sorts of healthier choices more commonplace, try figuring out a way of implementing them as a part of your personal lifestyle and making them better suited to you. For instance, if you personally eat large quantities of food and find that you have a lot of energy in the evenings but hate extremely long exercise sessions, a healthy choice you can make specifically suited for you is to have only 30% of each meal (no matter the quantity) as carbohydrates and processed fats. Additionally, you can spread out your exercise sessions in the week, making each one less than 30 minutes, and only do them in the evenings.

4. Turn Off Your Social Media 

Social media updates are endless and this ultimately overwhelms students. So, it’s key that we understand these updates can wait, especially when it’s time to go to sleep. Besides constant updates, light from screens can keep people awake and ruin body clocks. A helpful trick to overcoming this is at least one hour before going to sleep, turn off your gadgets or put it on airplane mode. 

The right questions to ask at virtual grad student job fairs

Campus career fairs are some of the best places for graduate students to broaden their careers. You could be there for whatever reason; curiosity about various companies, looking for jobs, looking for valuable networking opportunities, and so on. No matter your aim, they cater to most needs and degrees because employers are always on the lookout for passionate and highly educated individuals such as graduate students.  

These days, more and more career fairs are being held online as a basic precaution during the pandemic. However, this does not have to hinder your experience and the benefits you derive from going. Graduate students can attend from their homes, offices or even while grabbing lunch at a favorite restaurant. Strong connections with recruiters from companies that you are interested in can still be made online, especially without some notable inconveniences traditional career fairs present (e.g. waiting lines). Not only that, but scheduling chats with recruiters is much easier online and the process is much quicker.  

However, while all that is settled, the most daunting thing about career fairs is not knowing what to ask. What are the right questions graduate students can ask to secure a network and possibly, a dream job? 

Without further ado, here are some great questions to ask employers and really make a long-lasting impression. 

A Specific Open Position 

Don’t ask for an open role outright. Employers will easily tell that you didn’t do your homework. Plus you have no excuse because during virtual fairs, you have the luxury of being able to search online any available roles even as the fair is going on. Instead, do research beforehand or at the very least, discreetly check if there are any existing ones before asking the recruiter a more suitable question at the fair like:

“What specific traits they require from an ideal candidate of (a specific role)”. 

The Hiring Process 

It’s a simple question but most often don’t utilize it. Not only does this allow you to get valuable input directly from someone reliable so you can utilize it while job hunting, but it shows the recruiter that you are serious about being thoroughly prepared; you clearly are passionate about catering your application to their needs and not just using online search to find vague requirements. And ultimately, you never know—they could be so impressed they reach out to you a few months down the line to offer an open job to you first. Try questions like:

“What does the hiring process for (open role) look like?”

“Can you tell me more about each stage in the hiring process for (open role)?” 

The Recruiter’s Experience at the Company 

In order to join a company, you have to ensure if it is a good fit for you. After all, you don’t want to waste your time as well as a recruiter or company’s time. Hence, it will be beneficial to learn about its work culture and its proudest achievements through a reliable source such as a recruiter. Besides, the more personal you get, the more unforgettable you seem to them. Say something like:

“What do you personally think is the best quality about working at (company)?”

“What are some of the challenges you’ve faced at (company)?”

Growth and Evolution 

Something as simple as these example questions goes a long way in showing the recruiter you will be a dedicated and long lasting employee; you’re already thinking about your future working with them.

“What does development look like in (open role)”

“I believe that the workforce is always evolving. How does (company) upskill its employees to evolve with it?”

You can also take advantage of virtual fair formats by suggesting that the recruiter could share some links to where you can discover more personal testimonials from workers. Furthermore, this can send the message that you know your worth and you also care about how fellow professionals are being treated.

Services and Recent News 

While doing research on open positions to ask about, also take the time to read about their recent accomplishments and familiarize yourself with their services. For instance, they may have released a new product so it is a great opportunity to ask:

“I recently heard (news) and I am thrilled about it. How has it impacted employees and the company?” 

You can mention you did some readings of your own but you want to take advantage of virtual fair formats by asking the recruiter to share any links to news they’re most excited about.

Saying Goodbyes and Staying in Touch 

Wrap up your productive chat by collecting contacts (e.g. LinkedIn, email, etc.) so you can reach out afterward and ensure a long-lasting relationship. Say something like:

“What would be a great next step to take after meeting you here?”  

Also, after the fair, you could send a simple email thanking the recruiter for their time. It’s a good way to leave a positive impact as well as discreetly remind them that you’d like to stay connected and have further discussions because you find them interesting.  

Good luck and stay positive!  

An Introduction to Our 2021-2022 Executives

If you didn’t know them already, we would like to introduce the GSS executives for the 2021-2022 academic year who are truly bringing great things to our community. Through a special questionnaire, you’ll get to know fun tidbits about who they are and all their colourful aspirations for their roles. So, without further ado, join us in reverencing our hardworking executives by learning more about who they are as passionate grad students.  

KIMANI KARANGU – GSS President 

YURAN ZHANG – VP University & Academic Affairs 

SAM KENSTON – VP Students 

TAYO OLAREWAJU – Financial Officer 

NATALIE CAPPE – VP External Relations

Financial Officer 2021-2022: TAYO OLAREWAJU

Tayo Olarewaju is our Financial Officer for the 2021-2022 session who plans to complete a GSS financial policy and procedure manual in collaboration with relevant committees, explore ways that GSS funds can be prudently invested to yield maximum returns to the benefit of graduate students and support other executives in achieving set goals. Through this questionnaire, you’ll get to know fun tidbits about who he is and all his colorful aspirations for this role. So, without further ado, read on to learn more about our hardworking and passionate executive. Hopefully you discover something new! 

What is your favorite thing about/at the UBC campus?  

The scenic attraction – it is a beautiful campus  

What do you most admire about the GSS community and organization as a whole?  

Diverse intelligent minds coming together to enhance knowledge 

What was the last book, movie, or TV show you read/watched?  

King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild  

What is your idea of perfect happiness?  

Delighting in what is most delightful 

Who is your role model and why?  

I have many role models. For this purpose, I choose William Wilberforce. He was elected to parliament as a student and spurred profound changes 

If you could change the world in one way or the other, what would you change? 

Increase love and eradicate hate  

Do you have a non-university-related passion or hobby? What is it?  

I love playing table tennis.  I have fond memories of playing for hours 

What life lessons have you learned this past year?  

a) Seeming insignificant choices can have lifetime consequences

b) Journalling may be helpful

What is your life motto?  

It is well

VP Students 2021-2022: SAM KENSTON

Sam Kenston is our VP Students for the 2021-2022 session who wants to support and collaborate with Affiliate Organizations in organizing events, classes and activities that will help to achieve GSS core mandate of promoting the academic, social, and cultural interest of graduate students. Through this questionnaire, you’ll get to know fun tidbits about who he is and all his colorful aspirations for this role. So, without further ado, read on to learn more about our hardworking and passionate executive. Hopefully you discover something new! 
 
What is your favorite thing about/at the UBC campus? 

The garden and the museum. I often take a break from academic work to just visit any of the museums or take a walk in the garden

What do you most admire about the GSS community and organization as a whole? 

The diversity!!! GSS is a wonderful place to work with people from diverse academic and cultural backgrounds

What was the last book, movie, or TV show you read/watched? 

I just finished reading the book “Becoming” by Michelle Obama

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Be content with what you have and live every day knowing that you are not where you used to be, and you’re blessed

What is the trait you love most about yourself? 

My humour and desire to put a smile on the faces of strangers (people I do not know and may never get to meet again) 

Who is your role model and why? 

Cristiano Ronaldo, his positive attitude to life, tenacity and self-confidence

What secret talent do you possess? 

I can fix the Rubik’s cube 

If you could change the world in one way or the other, what would you change? 

I would change the way we were taught to look at people as “coming from different countries/continents” and rather teach people that all humans are the same, and equal, we just happen to live in different parts of the world

What is your greatest fear?

 I fear the day the so-called powerful countries will start fighting and may end up destroying the world using bombs

Do you have a non-university-related passion or hobby? What is it? 

Make videos (vlogging) for my YouTube channel

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 

Nothing, I am fine the way I am

What do you consider your greatest achievement? 

When I became a medical doctor

What life lessons have you learned this past year? 

I should not worry about things that are beyond my control

What is your life motto? 

Love one another, in every situation, give thanks 

VP External Relations 2021-2022: ASHNI GILL

Ashni Gill is our VP External Relations for the 2021-2022 session who hopes her advocacy for students on issues such as sexualized violence, discrimination, mental health and funding, will be heard and responded to with equitable changes so that graduate students are provided with safe and opportune environments for success. Through this questionnaire, you’ll get to know fun tidbits about who she is and all her colorful aspirations for this role. So, without further ado, read on to learn more about our hardworking and passionate executive. Hopefully you discover something new! 
 
What is your favorite thing about/at the UBC campus?  

My favourite thing is the greenery. I love walking and seeing all of the trees that line the walkways. I even have a favourite one – outside of the Hennings building

What do you most admire about the GSS community and organization as a whole?  

I appreciate the effort and time that each student and staff member takes to advocate on the behalf of students

What was the last book, movie, or TV show you read/watched? 

I got on the YOU train so that’s my current Netflix viewing

What is the trait you love most about yourself?  

My work ethic

Who is your role model and why?  

My mamma because she has devoted her life to protecting her family 

What is your greatest fear?  

Heights

Do you have a non-university-related passion or hobby? What is it?  

I love plants; I never had a green thumb until COVID

What do you consider your greatest achievement?  

My ability to persevere 

What life lessons have you learned this past year?  

Social interaction is very important. Always make time for yourself an do not be afraid to ask for space

VP University & Academic Affairs 2021-2022: YURAN ZHANG

Yuran Zhang is our VP University & Academic Affairs for the 2021-2022 session who is absolutely passionate about advocating for graduate students to make grad school more accessible, affordable, and accomplishable. Through this questionnaire, you’ll get to know fun tidbits about who she is and all her colorful aspirations for this role. So, without further ado, read on to learn more about our hardworking and passionate executive. Hopefully you discover something new! 

What is your favorite thing about/at the UBC campus? 

The cherry blossoms in Springs! 

What do you most admire in the GSS community and organization as a whole?  

That people a respectful, supportive, and genuinely care about graduate students 

What was the last book, movie, or TV show you read/watched?  

The six – a documentary talks about six Chinese survivors of the Titanic 

What is the trait you love most in yourself?  

Sincerity 

What secret talent do you possess?  

Not sure if it counts, but I could make foods with different tastes every time even with the same recipe 😛 

If you could change the world in one way or the other, what would you change?  

KILL ALL DISEASES 

What is your greatest fear?  

Engineering drawing 

Do you have a non-university-related passion or hobby? What is it?  

Graphic designs. I used to make money from designing simple commercial graphics, but eventually quit because however you change it, they’d always use the first draft! 

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 

Procrastination! 

What life lesson have you learned this past year?  

Do not take anyone around you for granted 

What is your life motto?  

Whatever lets you sleep at night 

GSS President 2021-2022: KIMANI KARANGU

Kimani Karangu is our GSS President for the 2021-2022 session who plans to make GSS a bench marking society for JEDI. Through this questionnaire, you’ll get to know fun tidbits about who he is and all his colorful aspirations for his role. So, without further ado, read on to learn more about our hardworking and passionate executive. Hopefully you discover something new! 

What is your favorite thing about/at the UBC campus? 

Craziness of the main mall, and especially the daily random postings on the plaque outside the school of Engineering. 

What do you most admire about the GSS community and organization as a whole? 

The diversity and passion of staff and executives’ teams 

What was the last book, movie, or TV show you read/watched? 

One who dreams is called a prophet 

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Still looking for it hahaha  

What is the trait you love most about yourself? 

Selflessness 

Who is your role model and why? 

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, relentlessness on oppression 

What secret talent do you possess? 

Dancing 

If you could change the world in one way or the other, what would you change

More kindness to humanity is needed 

What is your greatest fear? 

Failure 

Do you have a non-university-related passion or hobby? Yes What is it? Swimming 

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 

Nothing 

What do you consider your greatest achievement? 

Leading the society for almost 4 consecutive years in different capacities 

What life lessons have you learned this past year? 

Nothing is to be taken for granted! 

What is your life motto? 

Discipline and Focus 

Study Room, Thea Koerner House, UBC

GSS Loft, Rm. 4202 of AMS Student Nest, UBC

Leon’s Lounge, Thea Koerner House, UBC

Thea’s Lounge, Thea Koerner House, UBC

Penthouse, Thea Koerner House, UBC