I don’t think I’ve ever had so many things on my to do list before with such little to no motivation to do any of it.
I don’t know what to do.
To give you a visualizer, I have my Calendar and Reminders apps open together on one desktop screen so I can keep track of what I have going on in the day plus what I have to do (homework assignments, work assignments, other things to do, etc).
While this makes me feel like the most organized person in the world at times, it is really letting me down right now. Rather, I am letting myself down here.
I have almost 20 back-logged items on my to-do list and I have no clue how to catch up.
Okay, well, that’s not all true. I have an idea—a plan, if you must—of how to get through it all, but execution is a completely different subject.
Note: I’m taking this blog post as a moment to think out loud right now, so bear with me.
It’s 1:05 AM right now on a Friday. I’m planning to wake up in about six hours to get ready for school. I’ve got meetings on online classes on more meetings and then in-person classes all lined up for the day, so there is no room to mess this up. BUT TOO LATE. THE MESSING UP HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE.
I should be finishing up my part on a group assignment—a report, to be a little more specific—right now because our group needs to present this in nine-ish hours. Now, that doesn’t seem terrible, but I have been pushing off this report for the past five days, so what makes it seem like I’m going to write it right now?
It doesn’t help that I’m thinking out loud instead and not actually typing words onto my page, but I could use a moment to think.
At the beginning of the week, I assigned myself certain tasks to complete on certain days, and I will say that the first day worked out pretty well.
I gave myself two assignments to work on (and keep in mind that these assignments should have been done back in January, but who’s keeping track, and I right?) on Monday and I got them done before the end of the day.
Very proud moment.
That feeling of checking two items of the list in one day was like… getting off work three hours early and still getting paid for those three hours.
I could not be more relieved and at ease.
And then Tuesday came around, and I did nothing. Yes, I went to class and had everything in my calendar all figured out and lined up… but the comfortable habit if slacking off had returned in no time.
So, here we are on an early Friday morning, half asleep with my report open, and eight other assignments to get done before tomorrow because I didn’t feel like doing them earlier. How convenient.
Moral of the story? If I’m going to tell myself that I need to get something done today, I’m going to get it done. Enough of this ‘I’ll do it later’ or ‘I can just push it off till tomorrow’ talk. I’m not helping myself in anyway shape or form here—unless you like to think like me and call this a moment of utter perseverance hehe, which is just a half-glass-full way of looking at this situation.
It’s time to get something done for once and that time is… well… a few hours from now, once I’ve finished up my part of the report and gotten a solid four-ish hours of sleep, and survived my back-to-back meetings and classes, etc. You get the gist.
I will get something done today, and I hope you do too. Cheers.
It’s March 2023—almost a full three months into the year—and it seems like every academic and student (and their dog) has brought up artificial intelligence (AI) in their conversations and discussions. Whether it be in the form of chatbots, facial recognition, or smart assistants, artificial intelligence, or AI, has formed a strong presence in today’s world.
While AI is such a popular topic of conversation, it is not always for the best reasons. With newer inventions like ChatGPT, universities have become weary of the use of AI in the classroom. Some schools in the US have even banned the use of ChatGPT by students for fears of cheating and the spread of misinformation—something to discuss shortly (Rosenblatt, 2023). At this point, I would not be surprised to see schools in Canada do the same.
Seeing how far technology has come in the 21st century, I would argue that ChatGPT has great potential in the classroom setting, and this technology should be leveraged to promotecreativity and critical thinking.
Follow along with me to learn more about this AI and how it can be used as a learning tool rather than a learning threat in schools.
What is artifical intelligence?
Before I dive into my argument, let’s take a brief look at what artificial intelligence, or AI, is.
The origins of AI date back to the 1920s as just a mere concept. Over the years it has developed from Alan Turing’s Imitation Game to Yann LeClun’s Convolutional Neural Network, to the plethora of smart technologies that we have today (Ergen, 2019, p. 6).
While AI has been around for decades, everyone’s definition of it differs.
Rapaport (2020) explains artificial intelligence as a scientific study of computation in problem-solving and task-based scenarios (p. 54). Meanwhile, Ergen (2019) describes AI as a “technological wave” that has enabled machines to partake in human cognitive functions (p. 5).
Both definitions have their nuances based on each individual’s area of study, but in essence they surround this idea of technology processing information as humans would to perform tasks.
As surprising as this may be, AI technologies can be found in our daily routines. From Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri, answering any questions you may have to Netfilx providing you with curated watch suggestions based on your activity on the platform, AI surrounds us more than we may notice.
If you’re looking for a quick-and-easy run-down of ‘artificial intelligence,’ I recommend watching this short video from Duke University (2021), which explains the topic in less than two minutes.
The current state of AI in schools
As I mentioned, the discussion of AI in the classroom can bring out mixed emotions amongst university students and instructors. For instance, if you are currently a university student—or just a student in general—you may have heard of ChatGPT.
ChatGPT is an AI chatbot that launched in November 2022 and grew exponentially in popularity over the following couple of months. It’s recognized for its ability to produce language in a conversational manner with the help of user-generated instructions (OpenAI, 2023).
Going back to the article from NBC that I linked earlier on schools banning the use of ChatGPT, I can understand the reason for it. Rosenblatt (2023) notes in the article that this technology has inspired students to cheat on their assignments and exams and created a learning environment prone to “negative impacts” on students’ learning experience.
A representative from New York City’s Department of Education went on to argue that ChatGPT’s ability to answer questions does not enable students to think critically and engage in their problem-solving skills—both essential skills needed to strive in academics and in life (para. 3).
While I agree with the representative’s claim that AI technologies like ChatGPT don’t enable students to fully participate in critical thinking and problem-solving, I believe that these technologies can still be used to promote creativity and critical thinking in terms of the use of AI technology in the education system.
Why AI should be used in schools
At the rate that AI technology is growing in popularity, it will be difficult to rid school systems of its use entirely. Instead, schools should embrace the presence of ChatGPT and use it to challenge instructors’ and students’ creativity in the production of ideas and critical thinking in terms of the use of AI in education.
Mhlanga (2023) supports this argument, noting that not only does using ChatGPT in the classroom “modernize” learning, but it can be used as a means of learning. Teachers can use ChatGPT to gauge students’ preferred learning techniques and create new means of assessing students’ skills based on their preferences. Meanwhile, students can question the accuracy and reliability of the information produced by ChatGPT as part of their work. Ultimately, both teachers’ and students’ findings can provide them with opportunities to collaborate with one another and encourage the generation of new ideas to support each other’s learning journey (p. 10).
Halaweh (2023) makes a great point that builds on this. He explains that if schools want to ensure the safe, responsible, and ethical use of ChatGPT, there should be policies and guidelines enacted regarding the use of this AI technology in students’ works. In his example, he list that students should “examine and evaluate” the information produced by ChatGPT, as well as clearly disclose the use of the chatbot in the creation of one’s work (p. 5). By engaging in a full set of guidelines for the use of ChatGPT, schools can support the use of AI technology in the classroom without risking the obsolescence of creativity and critical thinking.
All in all, ChatGPT has its drawbacks in the classroom setting. However, with its rapid growth in popularity and use, we must consider the benefits of leveraging this AI technology as a tool to help teachers and students. While ChatGPT can cause concerns for cheating and unoriginality, it can challenge both parties to think about the means through which learning is evaluated and the ways in which the contents produced by ChatGPT are inaccurate and lacking context. Ultimately, this AI technology can be used to promote creativity and critical thinking skills.
Welcome to University. First rule of University is: Don’t miss the second week of classes. You’ll never recover.
Just kidding. But seriously, don’t miss the second week of classes. The ride ahead of you is no fun, trust me.
I caught a cold a couple weeks back, and you’d think that it being the first week or so of classes that there wouldn’t be too much to miss out on. Well, I was very much wrong.
What ever happened to being a kid?
As a kid, getting sick meant you had to stay home from school. Isn’t that just the worst? You have to stay at home for a week or two and get better while you get to sleep in, watch TV, stay up late, and do whatever else kids do when they get sick (no homework, of course).
Yes, you miss some time at school, but it’s not the end of the world.
A recap of my week-and-a-half off
Anyway, here’s a quick recap of what I was up to for the week-and-a-half that I was stuck at home:
Had myself convinced that my sneezing was from severe seasonal allergies (in the middle of the winter season, of course);
Slept very few hours because there was so much for me to do and yet nothing at the same time;
Hoped everyday for a class to be cancelled or postponed (and some of my classes were indeed cancelled or postponed);
Looked out the window for longer than I wanted too (but what else is there to do when you can’t leave the house?); and
Spent much of my study time cleaning my room or reorganizing my Spotify playlists.
It was quite the productive time if I do say so myself. I still went to work—and thank goodness I work from home—and did the assignments that needed to be done, which means I’ve pushed everything else with a flexible deadline off my plate.
Will the procrastination add up later? Absolutely. Though, do I have the effort to care right now? No.
Right now, it’s sometime very, very late at night—or at this point, early in the morning—on who knows what day, and I am just about ready to freak out over my much-too-long to-do list. I’m in that state of the stress cycle (if that’s even a thing) where I don’t know what to do, where to start, or how to start anything. I could sit here till morning, staring at my screen and waiting for something to happen, but we all know that nothing is going to happen.
Well, let’s just see how things go. I’ll get over it eventually.
Lesson learned? Don’t miss the second week of classes.
To be honest, I feel like I never had this one, crazy, amazing skill that would shine light towards my academic path. I was never exactly into science or math, but I feel like I grew up to have just enough skills for each subject and if I didn’t I would teach myself. I’d say I am well rounded, which is why I ended up in the school of Communication as the program reflected me so well.
Before my gap year
I was set on taking some Business course but completely changed my mind after the gap year. I wasn’t ready to jump in right after high school. I picked up a part time job as a content writer for a travel agency and I fell in love. During the gap year my best friend and I also started Defects Official, our very own startup t-shirt brand. This opened my eyes to writing and digital marketing. So, I thought Communication studies would be perfect as I was looking for a mix of writing, culture, the new world of media and art.
As of now
I am loving my major and am honestly still figuring out which direction it will take me. I have taken courses that I didn’t fully enjoy, which only made myself learn and explore other options. This provided a clearer image of where I could see myself going with this degree. Some days I think about how easy it would be to have my mind set on one thing, but this makes life a little more exciting. This goes for every course and major, as you may hate or love it, and from that you can take action and do something about it! Also, I am currently applying to internships with an open mind to different opportunities.
For anyone confused with picking a major, I simply just trusted my gut. I knew deep down business was not what I wanted and I wasn’t ready to start a new chapter right after high school. I was nervous to take a year off and to get into communications, but I listened to myself and I couldn’t be happier. Everyone is different when it comes to this but don’t be scared to challenge yourself, because in the end you’d much rather be doing what you love. However, for someone open to learning new things and experiencing the dynamic world, communications is the way to go. There is so much opportunity and growth with this degree. There’s a touch of politics, sociology, research, media, technology, democracy, art, pop-culture, philosophy, the list goes on and on!
Over a month ago, when COVID-19 ramped up significantly and caused my classes to go online and my jobs to close, I made the decision to go back to my hometown and quarantine with my family. I’m so glad I made that decision, as I can’t imagine how I’d be feeling if I was alone in my apartment right now.
Temporarily moving back home has been pretty weird. The first few days, I just worried about everything going on, but I slowly calmed down and tried to be more positive. I started adjusting to my new normal, and now I’m completely used to living here. I truly never thought I would live with my parents again, but this is a pretty unusual situation, and at the end of all this I will be heading back to Vancouver, although being there will surely feel different.
My initial plan while staying here was to be extremely productive and do everything I’ve never had the time to do before, but I quickly realized that that was not going to happen, and that’s okay. I needed to relax and focus on my mental health for the first little while before I could think about doing “productive” stuff. I watched movies and tv shows, I spent hours on reddit, I talked to friends constantly. It was actually really nice to have a break – I think I needed it. Life has been pretty crazy, with COVID-19, me finishing my last semester of university, and my post-graduation plans being thrown out the window, at least for the time being. I needed to just unwind and take a break.
Now that I feel sufficiently relaxed, I’m ready to start being productive. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself – I initially planned to write an entire novel while in quarantine, but the pressure to do so caused a lot of anxiety that led to me being too scared to even start. I’ve since made my goals a little more realistic, and have subsequently started working out, started reading again, and started writing blog posts again (guess I’m doing pretty well so far). There are a few more things I’d like to do, including video chatting with friends, as I’ve done this once so far and found it much more enjoyable than talking over text, plus I would really like to talk to people other than my immediate family. I would also like to do some creative writing, but this time, I’m not going to put as much pressure on myself – I don’t need to write an entire novel, I can write short stories or slowly start writing a novel without pressuring myself to get it done right away. I think if you put too much pressure on yourself, it impedes your ability to actually get things done (or maybe that’s just me).
Apparently, we have at least another month of social distancing left until things go back to “normal”, and in a weird way I am grateful for that, as it means more time with my family and more time (hopefully) being somewhat productive while I actually have time to do everything I want to do. Nobody knows how long this will last, but it’s important that we all take care of ourselves and our mental health right now and do what is best for us, whether that be accomplishing nothing at all or being super productive. We also need to show empathy to others, as not everyone is lucky enough to relax at home and not have to worry about their loved ones. These are truly extraordinary times, and hopefully when everything is said and done, we can work to make this world a better place.
It’s my second solo trip and this time I’ve picked Toronto – a city where two of my best friends from primary and secondary school life. They immigrated to Canada over 6 years ago and rarely go back to Hong Kong. It’s my first time to visit them in Canada, in fact, it’s my first time to visit friends in a foreign country! The last time I met with them was already 2 years ago when we first entered university. That time we talked about the struggles of adjusting to uni life, reminiscing the good old days in secondary school. Two years later today, we are one year away from graduation and we start discussing worries of stepping into adulthood – internship, graduation, life and etc. It’s shocking how fast time passes which we are about to step into a new stage of life. We started to think more about our future and in a more mature manner, it was different from the time where we did silly stuff together in primary and secondary schools, but I am glad that we’re witnessing our growth despite our long-distance friendship.
It’s hard to believe that
another year has gone by. 2018 was a very long and difficult year for me, but
now that it’s over, I can look back on it with appreciation. It was filled with
many ups and downs, but I learned a lot, and for that I am grateful.
Some things I learned
this past year:
I need to stop
pushing myself more than I can handle. I had some serious mental health issues
this year because of pressure from school and pressure that I’ve put on myself,
and it made me realize that I need to stop trying to be a perfect student and
prioritize my mental health over everything, even school.
I need to be more
open with my loved ones about the issues I’m facing. My mental health issues
got so bad that I realized that I had to tell someone about them. I opened up
to my parents, my boyfriend, and my doctor, and it helped a lot. Just being
able to talk about what I was going through and have people supporting me made
a massive difference, and I hope to continue to be open about these issues.
Not all friends
last forever. I recently lost the last of my friends from my first year of
university. Though I had slowly lost touch with most of them before this, it still
sucked because it forced me to acknowledge that that part of my life is over,
and that the people who I thought would be my friends for life actually
weren’t. Though I still look back fondly on my memories with them, I know that
those friendships wouldn’t have worked long-term and that I will find true,
lasting friendships in the future.
While I went through a
lot of tough times last year, I also had some really positive experiences:
I finished my
third year of university, making me more than halfway through my degree.
I went back to my
old job and I’m really enjoying it. It’s fun and interesting, and I love my
I moved into a
one-bedroom apartment and got to experience the thrill of having my own place
and not worrying about a roommate.
I made a lot of
friends, and I’ve become very close to some of them. I haven’t had many close
friends in Vancouver over the past few years, so it’s nice to finally have met some
people with whom I have a great connection.
I started this
blog, which has been super fun and has encouraged me to get back into writing.
2018 was a very mixed
year, but I am looking forward to 2019. I’m much happier than I was a year ago,
and I think this will be a good year for me. I don’t have any concrete
resolutions, because I absolutely never follow through with them, but I do have
a few small-ish goals that I would like to accomplish.
I want to eat less
red meat (sorry, Mom!). It’s partly because I am a huge animal lover and feel
super guilty eating meat, particularly that of very smart and/or affectionate
animals like cows, and partly because animal agriculture is a major cause of
global warming, and I want to help reduce its impact. I’m not going vegetarian,
as I am a very picky eater as it is, but I am hoping that I can eat less or
even no red meat (and maybe less meat in general) to do my part to help save
I’ve been saying
this forever, but I want to exercise. It’s partly because I want to get in
shape and be physically healthy, partly because I want to improve the look of
my body so I can be less insecure about it, and partly because physical
exercise helps improve mental health, which is something that I want to work on
This is kind of
lame, but I’d like to be more social. I am very introverted and I have a busy
schedule because of school, but I want to devote more time to maintaining the
amazing friendships I’ve made in the past year, and I think spending more time
with friends and less time worrying about school will be good for me.
I want to read
more. I’ve barely read anything for fun since I started university, but I have literal
piles of unread books on my bookshelves, and I want to actually get around to
reading some of them this year. It can be hard to motivate myself to do it,
especially because I have to read so much for class that it can sometimes take
the fun out of it, but I really want to make an effort this year. Over the
winter break, I finally got around to reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and it reinvigorated my love of
reading, so I’d like to continue pleasure reading, even if it’s just in the
summer when I have more free time.
Lastly, I’d like
to write more. I’ve loved writing posts for this blog, and I’d like to continue
it for as long as possible. I also want to do some creative writing, which is
my true passion but which I have not done for years. I constantly write down
potential novel or screenplay ideas, but I never manage to follow through and
completely plan them out, let alone write them, so this year I’d like to do
some creative writing.
I am looking forward to
(hopefully) accomplishing most of my goals this year, as long as I stay
motivated. What are some of your goals for 2019? Since I posted this so late
(sorry!), have you had any success with those goals so far?
It’s that time of year again! (No, I’m not talking about Christmas)
It’s time for term papers, finals, and an unbearable amount of stress. There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than by spending all of your time and energy focusing on school, right?
For real though, the end of each semester is always the absolute worst. As an English major, I always have multiple term papers and at least one final exam. This semester, I have three research papers, which I hate writing because finding journal articles is super difficult and time consuming, and I’d rather just write a simple essay analyzing the text. To make matters worse, all of my papers are due around the same time (as usual), so I have to scramble to get them all done. I am currently on the verge of a breakdown because of all the work I have to do, and this isn’t even counting the final I have for my online class, which I am super behind in because it’s so boring that I’ve just been putting it off for the last month (which I bitterly regret now).
As my general motivation continues to drop every semester, so does my motivation at the end of each semester. It’s been three months, so the last thing I want to do at the very end of it is write a bunch of papers and study for exams. I’m already completely burnt out at this point and have very little energy left to give, so I can’t be expected to do my best work. I tend to write papers as quickly as possible and only do minimal editing because I’m so done with the semester that I don’t care anymore and just want it to be over. I know I should be working my hardest at the end of each semester, and technically I do (because I have the most work to complete at that point), but I don’t put in as much effort as I do earlier on in the semester when I’m not totally dead inside.
My lack of motivation at the end of each semester is exacerbated by my tendency to procrastinate, so in addition to not wanting to write a bunch of essays, I also tend to put them off to the last minute. I say that I won’t do this every semester, and yet here I am in the same situation I’ve been in at the end of every semester of my degree. You would think that I would’ve learned by now, but apparently not. In fact, I think it’s gotten worse. This semester is a prime example of that, as I haven’t even started my biggest term paper and it’s due in a week. I had plenty of time to work on it earlier, as I had very little homework the last few weeks, but instead of getting a head start on any or all of my papers, I just watched YouTube videos and hungout with my boyfriend. I wish that I hadn’t been so lazy in that last few weeks, because if that was the case, I could have been finished my term papers by now (okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but I’d have a lot more work done for sure).
Now is the point when I’m supposed to offer advice for motivating yourself and not procrastinating in the last few weeks of school, but, as you can probably tell, I’m not in much of a position to be giving anyone advice. All I can say is that you do not want to be in my position right now, because I’m literally spending all day every day doing homework, so try your best to work on it earlier. The sooner you finish, the sooner you can relax and just watch Netflix all day (or go out if you actually have a life).
Right now I’m trying to get all my papers done as quickly as possible because once this semester is over, I can spend all my time doing Christmassy things, like listening to Christmas music, watching cheesy Hallmark movies and classic Christmas movies from my childhood, and dragging my boyfriend and friends to as many Christmas events as possible. I suppose having something so great to look forward to makes it a bit easier to get all this work done.