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Dating: Long Distance
PLEASE READ! Long distance relationships are not what they are portrayed to be. They are not as hard, emotionally draining, or as impossible as people assume. Right now, I am living 3 hours away from my boyfriend (who plays a varsity sport). We see each other once or twice a month. We are both happy, both with room to live our own lives but always being able to catch up at the end of the night. We still love each other, nobody has been unfaithful, and it is relatively easy. The time we spend together is always quality time, and I do not regret staying with him.If you love someone and think you they could be the person for you, go for it. The worst that could happen is that it doesn't work out and you part ways. It is entirely possible, do not give up just because of what you THINK might happen.

Pros of a long distance relationship...
1. The time you spend together is really exciting and precious
2. You have the freedom to be yourself and make friends on your own terms
3. You always have lots to talk about with your S/O because you're apart during the day
4. It tests whether the relationship is really worth it
5. Meeting their new friends means more friends for you!
6. Sex/physical intimacy is so much better when you've been waiting for it
7. It will show you how much your partner really values you
8. You don't need to pick between your friends and partner during the week
9. It helps keep you focused

I hope that this helped anyone that needed to hear it.
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How do you repair an iPod Touch that underwent water damage
Hello there, I know this discussion is not related to anything about school or scholarships, but I really need some advice on how to fix an iPod that has water damage. 

The iPod is still fully functional, except that the water evaporated behind the backlit screen and I believe some LED lights burned out. Should I continue charging the iPod on a daily basis or would that be dangerous (considering short circuits and stuff alike)?

Also, does soaking the iPod in uncooked white rice overnight help?
Political Science Students: what's your experience like?
Just really wanted some insight into the actual polisci experience as a prospective polisci student. It would be awesome if you guys could answer the following questions based on your experience within your program & anything else you'd like to add/wish you'd known before entering the program.

1. Institute of Study & year
2. Was co-op available? Where have your placements been? What has your experience been like at those placements and how have you been able to grow networking wise from those placements?
3. Other networking opportunities available at your school of study + unique experiences that have been made available to you through your program of study/institution of study (guest speakers, courses abroad, conferences, bilingual program etc.)
4. How have you enhanced your degree (clubs, volunteering etc.) and how has it helped you build skills & experience in the field?
5. Best & worst parts about the program in your opinion 
6. Ways the program has challenged you (critical thinking, essays, assignments etc.)
7. Advice for prospective students 
8. Hardships in the program/institution (profs, courses, lack of student support, financing experience/studies etc.)

Thanks guys! All the best to you 
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Varsity Swimming
I am currently a grade 12 student and I have been doing competitive swimming on my local team for the past 7 years. I am not the fastest on my team, my times are around regional standard level, and I am contemplating if I should try out for varsity swimming next year. I love swimming but my only concerns are that practices will take up too much of my time and my marks will suffer. Right now I practice about 15 hours/week and school is easy to keep up with, my grades are easily in the high 90's. I am prepared for my average to drop next year, but my goal is to get into medicine or pharmacy post grad so I know I can't let my marks drop too much. I was wondering if anyone had any experience with varsity swimming at either McMaster or Queen's, what is the practice load like, how difficult is it to make the team, when should I reach out to the coach if I do decide I want to swim, and just any other comments or experiences with either of these teams would be super helpful! Thanks :)
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How Sports Can Lead to Better Academic Performance
Lots of people drop out of sports and don’t participate in physical activity because of the extra time commitment. Who wants to spend time sweating when you have multiple exams to study for? However, there are multiple benefits to juggling the two disciplines, including:

  1. Time Management: I remember once in high school I had to skip track practice because I had a major assignment due the next day in one of my classes. The next day at practice, my coach told me that doing homework was not an acceptable excuse to skip practice and to get better time management skills. As my coach can be kind of scary, never again did I skip practice for school, and my marks didn’t suffer the consequence either. I have become better organized, self-disciplined, and more time efficient from balancing my sport and school workload.

2. Focus: Mental training is a huge component of any sport. You have to be able to block out any distractions keeping you from performing at your best. This can be really handy when you need to buckle down on an assignment or stay focused during an exam. 

3. Decrease Stress: It is well known that physical activity is positively associated with reducing stress levels. Exercise is a huge benefit to reducing the stress associated with being a student. 

4. Communication: You need to be able to communicate effectively with your coach and teammates in order to achieve success. Communication is a crucial skill to have when you have a group project or need to network. 

5. Confidence: Sport is a great way to build your self-esteem and confidence levels. Having a good self-image will benefit you in all aspects of life, including the classroom.

6. Scholarships: Sports look great when applying for scholarships. The more scholarship money you receive, the less you will have to work to pay for school. The less you work, the more time you will have to work on your grades. 

 If sports aren’t your thing, staying physically active is also great for academic success and health! 

-Michelle Young, yconic student ambassador
Backpacking on a Student Budget (Read: No Money)
Backpacking is something that is on the bucket list of most students. While you technically can’t do it with “no” money, it is possible to do on a student budget. Having backpacked to over 40 countries as a student, here are some of my tips for maximizing your travel dollar:

#1 – Student Discounts  
Make sure you pack an ISIC (International Student Identity Card) before departing. Depending on your university, it is either free or $20 – either way, you’re eligible for some unreal discounts at major attractions like the Colosseum, Acropolis, and Louvre.  

#2 – Intern Abroad
In second year, I worked at Henkel in Düsseldorf, Germany for 6 months. Every weekend, I was off to a new place. By booking my travel weeks/months ahead, I was able to take advantage of cheap bus/train/plane tickets for travel throughout Europe; I don't think I paid more than 45 Euros round-trip per weekend, and I went to places like France, Poland and Scandinavia. Interning abroad is a win-win because you require little savings to actually do it – your salary is your travel money.  

#3 – Volunteer At A Youth Hostel   
Since youth hostels are cheap, most require on volunteers/cheap labour to function. Many have volunteer programs where people can do different things (reception work, cleaning, bartending) in exchange for a bed (and sometimes meals). Each hostel has its own unique volunteer rules.  

I volunteered at a hostel in Tallinn, Estonia for 4 weeks. For 7-14 hours of reception work per week, I had a bed to sleep in every night. Apart from making lifelong friends, I also backpacked to Sweden, Lithuania and Russia. Also, living in picturesque Tallinn for a month was incredible (Google it).  

Have any budget travel tips? Would you do any of the above? Comment below!  

-Neal, yconic Student Ambassador
Extracurriculars: Quantity and Quality
Quantity vs quality is an age-old question for students everywhere trying to find a balance for their student portfolio. This isn't a post about how passionately you should invest yourself in your extra-curriculars but rather how you should allocate your time so that when application season comes for scholarships/programs, you will find that you have no problem filling out your supplementary applications

Before I share my own method of approaching ec's, it's important to understand how they are often structured. More of than not, major supplementary applications ask for 1-3 essays with questions like "Describe what you consider to be your most significant volunteer contribution to date in terms of its value to your school or larger community. Why was it important to you and to others (word limit:300)?"-(Loran Scholarship 2016). In addition to essays, supplementary applications may ask for a list commitments ranging from school activities, sports, artistic pursuits, awards, employment etc

The goal is to strike a balance between your extracurriculars so that you maximize your ability to apply for every scholarship/program without having to invest an unreasonable time on extracurriculars at the expense of a social and academic life. 

Over the last four years, I have taken an approach that my mentor shared with me. It encompasses how you should differentiate between major and minor commitments as well as how varied each should be.  By no means is this an exhaustive or foolproof equation but I have found success, having been invited for interviews with major scholarships as well as winning several smaller scholarships. 

Major and Minor Commitments

Major Commitments (Have 2-3)
-Hours Committed for each: 100-300+
-Should be used for the major essays
-Should be a major part of your student journey (e.g. entrepreneurship, volunteering at a hospital weekly, etc)
-Demonstrate commitment, other important qualities, etc 
-References from major commitments tend to be stronger

Minor Commitments (Have 8-15)
-Hours Committed for each: 5-10+
-Should be used for the lists (Refer above)
-Can be a one-time thing (e.x volunteering at a parade)
-Will not be discussed in detail so time commitment it is not a big issue 
-Should be varied

-Should not only be school activities. Extra-curriculars should encompass commitments with out of school organizations as well. 
-Having employment/entrepreneurship experience demonstrates time commitment, maturity, amongst other things
-Artistic Endeavors: Whether this might be being part of band, art club, etc. Artistic endeavors can usually help demonstrate that you are passionate about something beyond the usual scope of extra-curriculars that other students may have, therefore setting you apart. 
-Physical/Team Involvement: Being part of the school team or something as simply as a playing  badminton as a hobby can show that you are invested in working well with a partner, or a team trying to achieve a common goal. 

By no means is what I shared going to guarantee you admission to a program or acceptance for scholarships. At the end of the day, having a variety of major and minor commitments is important. But equally as important is how well you portray yourself in your supplementary application so that you will distinguish yourself from all the thousands of other applications.

What did you think about my list? Do you agree or disagree? Have your own approach that you have found success? Share in the comments below!

-Benson Law 
Yconic Student Ambassador
How to Find the Right Community Service Placement in Ontario
Did you know that for Canada’s 150th birthday year, Ontario has a big push for 150 hours of community service to match? If 150 hours sounds out of reach and you are struggling to complete your 40 hours of community service in order to graduate, here are some tips to get you started:

1. Go to the Volunteering in Ontario website 
https://www.ontario.ca/page/volunteering-ontario?_ga=1.85545947.379753821.1480948890 2.

2. Click on the link - Spark Ontario: This site allows you to narrow down your search based on the duration you would like to volunteer (ex. one-time, short-term, ongoing, or special events), groups in which you would like to work (ex. adults, seniors, youth, people with disabilities, people with English as a second language, or even opportunities online) and select a location that works best for you! 

3. Volunteering doesn’t have to be boring if you find the right placement. I recommend picking a placement in an area you enjoy and would like to participate in even if it was a mandatory part of high school. Do you love to socialize? There is a panel on Spark Ontario called Friendly Visiting in which you can organize spending some social time with clients that do not have many social supports, in which you can play cards, video games or set up social outings like taking them out shopping.

4. Volunteer Toronto: Here is a great site where I found my current Girl Guides volunteer position for those living in Toronto. Most municipalities have a website dedicated to volunteering positions. Within a week, I was paired with enthusiastic young teenage girls, going door to door to selling cookies and helping them achieve the goals they set to achieve throughout their program. I look forward to attending the weekly meeting as it is a lot of fun, even as a leader! 

5. By following this link, you can find out which organizations offer PREB-Ontario certificates. These certificates provide a record of your skills and achievements from your volunteer experience and can come in handy when preparing a resume or a professional portfolio. http://prebontario.ca/Listings.php?ListType=CertifiedUsers&MenuItemID=7 

Instead of watching another hour of Netflix a week, take the chance to help someone in need or clean up our amazing province for its 150th birthday! After all, a little goes a long way.

-Michelle Young, yconic student ambassador
Should you live on campus in 1st year university?
For some students, living at home is not an option. Their university of choice is out of province, the program of choice is not available in their local university, etc. The question is then: to live on campus, or to live off campus while completing your education?

Pros of living on campus
- You'll become immersed in your community and make life long friends.
-It's a risk-free form of independence
-You'll be able to walk everywhere
-Fees are all inclusive, so you don't have to worry about budgeting for rent and food

Con's of living on campus
.-You get what you pay for...even if you don't need it
-Mandatory meal plans
-Sharing a crowded bathroom might not be your idea of a good time

Have you lived on campus? tell us what you found amazing and what sucked in the comments below!

Calling all yconic members!
We know it’s hard to think about but it’s almost that time of year again. Tell us your top 3 “Must Haves” for back to school and you could be featured in yconic's newest article.

Example:              1. My trusty Herschel backpack
                               2. Red TOMS shoes
                               3. My lucky pen
                              ~Jon, first year Queen’s student in Economics

Reply to this thread now for your chance to be featured!
How a Social Life can win you Scholarships
When we talk about scholarships, the two main traits that comes mind are Academic Excellence and Extra-Curricular Activities. Likewise, we often see having a “social life” as having a negative impact on our academic profile. Today, I am going to prove that this is a myth! Here is why having a social life can win you scholarships:  

The Interview: If you are looking at major scholarships across Canada and within Post-Secondary Institutes, you will notice that your academic portfolio will only get you to the interview stage. After that, it is a new ball game and how well you communicate and present yourself will get you all the way to the end.  

Builds Leadership Skills: Following up on the benefits for interviews, it is evident that through the enhanced ability to communicate, you are able to build leadership skills and be a role model towards others, which can then be reflected in both your EC’s and the interview.

The Network: It’s apparent in society that having a strong network of connections allows us to have more opportunities. This is the same for receiving scholarships, though more importantly, finding a job moving forward. So build strong rapports with those around you, get involved with faculty events, and meet new people!  

yconic Student Ambassador
March Break for the Non-Traveler
March break is known for people flying off to exotic destinations in hope of escaping the cold and/or stresses of life back home. However, travel is not for everyone. If you are a non-traveler here are some tips on what to do this March break:

1. Catch up on school work: If you are behind on your school work or would like to boost your average in hopes of getting into post-secondary school, dedicate some time this break towards bettering your study habits! Reviewing, organizing and making study notes will better prepare you for the last few months of school and towards acing those final exams.

2. Job shadowing: If you have connections in the area you are interested in studying, I would suggest spending a few days in the life of a professional. Real-life experience is the best way to find out if you will enjoy a particular career. There is nothing worse than getting half way through your practicum at the end of your degree to find out your dream job isn’t what you expected. 

3. Be Active: There are a whole bunch of ways to have fun while staying active instead of counting down the minutes you spend on a treadmill. I recommend trying something new to keep a variety in your workout routine to prevent boredom. If weather permits try skating, skiing/ snowboarding, horseshoeing, rock climbing, or go dancing. There are tons of ways to stay active if you don’t like the traditional gym setting.

4. Explore your own city: You don’t have to travel somewhere new to sightsee and have fun exploring. Chances are there are a bunch of fun things to do in your hometown or city. I would recommend visiting a new museum (or one you haven’t visited since childhood), trying a new restaurant, or hitting up some live entertainment. The possibilities are endless!

5. Catch up with friends and family: Sometimes when you get caught up with your school work and extracurricular activities/ jobs you don’t have the time to spend quality time with your loved ones. March break is an excellent time to do something fun or catch up with someone you haven’t seen or talked to in a while.

How do you plan on spending your March break?

  -Michelle Young, yconic student ambassador
10 Books To Read, As Told By A Journalism Major
Whether you’re looking for something to relax with, or are making “reading more” a new year’s resolution, there are always perks to reading. I love that you can delve into another world and live the lives of hundreds of new people just by turning some pages. With help from various sources, and my personal experiences, I’ve compiled a list of must-read books. This list is in no particular order because all of the books were too good to try to scale in numerical order!

1. Adulting: How to become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps, Kelly Williams Brown
This book is exactly what it sounds like – a how-to guide on how to be, and function like an adult. Have you ever had to call your mom from college, because you didn’t know how to make real food, let alone Kraft-Dinner? Because I’ve done that before. Have you ever taken a photo of the washing machine in your building and texted it to your mom because she did your laundry until you moved out when you were 18? My older sister did as soon as she left for college. I know this book sounds absolutely absurd, and like it couldn’t be useful at all, but it surprisingly is! Based on Kelly William Brown’s popular blog, ADULTING makes the “real worl” approachable, and manageable. Some things you’ll find in the book is: • What to check for when renting a new apartment-Not just the nearby bars, but the faucets and stove, among other things. • The secret to finding a mechanic you love-Or, more realistically, one that will not rob you blind. • Tackling your bills and your debt

2. Taking as Fast as I can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between), Lauren Graham
A New York Times bestseller, Talking as Fast as I can, is a must read! If you’re a Gilmore Girl fan, there is no doubt that you were probably anxiously awaiting the revival to come to Netflix on November 25th. Now, you can read a collection of personal essays by Lauren Graham (Lorelei Gilmore!) where she reveals stories about life, love and working as a women in Hollywood – and who doesn’t want a little behind-the-scenes look into what it was like filming the Gilmore Girls revival?

3. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them: The Original Screenplay, J.K Rowling
Growing up, I was addicted to Harry Potter. I’ve noticed that right now we’re in that strange no man’s land of people old enough to remember the first release of the Philosopher’s Stone (guilty.) and those who were far too young to be involved in the craze – but thankfully, J.K Rowling has opened the world of magic to us unworthy muggles again! I may be a bit biased, and super nerding out, but I highly recommened Fantastic Beasts. It was such an easy read, and was filled with quick wit and plenty pages of great humour (if you like sarcasm like myself, you’ll definitely be a fan of Jacob!) For those of you who were Harry Potter fans – the whole concept of Albus’ deceased sister makes so much more sense now! You have to read it!

4. The Girl On The Train, Paula Hawkins
With the recent release of this movie in theatres, this 2015 bestseller resurfaces as a must-read. An Excerpt from Chapters Indigo reads “Three women, three men, connected through marriage or infidelity. Each is to blame for something. But only one is a killer in this #1 New York Times bestselling psychological thriller about human frailty and obsession.”

5. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
The Book Thief is about a foster child who lives in Germany at the beginning of World War II. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. The Book Thief is an absolutely heartbreaking read (but an amazing one) that reminds us of the importance of books, and how they have the ability to feed our souls.

6. The Girl Who Came Home, Hazel Gaynor
This is another read if you like a historical aspect in your book, like me! It is a bit older of a book, but equally as good! The book flips between seventeen year old, Maggie Murphy in 1912 Ireland, and Grace Butler, her great-granddaughter, in 1982. The book blends fact and fiction to explore the Titanic’s impact and the aftermath on the survivors and their descendants. I read this book in less than three days, I was so captivated with it. 

 7. 13 Reasons Why, Jay Asher 
 “Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker--his classmate and crush--who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah's pain, and as he follows Hannah's recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.” – This book is perfect for those who like the mystery aspect, but I found this book to be super powerful. Thirteen Reasons Why changed me. It made me step back from my life and realize that every action I take affects someone else, whether it be good or bad. (This is something I was already aware of, but this book definitely but it into a bigger perspective.) 

 8. Harry Potter and The Cursed ChildJ K Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany
Sorry not sorry for another book by or related to J.K Rowling - I couldn't resist. Although this one screams "fan fiction" and feels like you're reading something completely absurd if you're a diehard J.K fan, it is surprisingly a fantastic read! 

 9. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs
This one some of you may have already read to prepare for the release of the movie this year, but just in case you haven't, i'm here to plant the bug in your head. You should read it! Even though I feel books will always trump the movie, this one was practically a tie. If for some reason you haven't watched the movie yet, I highly recommend reading the book. It's impeccable. 

 10. Humans Of New York: Stories, Brandon Stanton
Looking for some inspiration? Try reading Humans of New York: Stories. It's a bit more of a light read for those with heavy course loads, and minimal time to delve into a large novel. It's the perfect combination of photographs and stories. Like an adult picture book!

No matter whether you utilize this list or not, I hope that 2017 will suck you into different realms, and stories through the books of the past, present and tomorrow. Read on, bookies! 

yconic Brand Ambassador  
Best Residence at Western
Residence is a really big deal and I want to make sure I pick the right one. I think that I want Ontario Hall, it seems like the perfect mix of privacy while still having a social atmosphere, and it's really new looking. I also heard the food is really good lol, what's your opinions on the best residences?
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SHAD Valley
Does anybody know when SHAD acceptances are for the 2017 program? I remember when submitting the application, it said they would keep us updated on our application process. I haven't really heard from them other than an e-mail wishing a happy new year..does this mean I've been rejected??
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This was my biggest lesson this last semester...
The biggest thing I learned this past semester is that it is sometimes ok to say no. At the beginning of every semester, I get ambitious and feel like I can take on the world. I say yes to anything and everything that comes across my path. At first, it’s great, but once mid-terms come around everything begins to pile up and become overwhelming. Maybe taking classes, being a full-time competitive athlete, volunteering, working, studying, and starting an art project is too much to handle at one time. When you take on too many things at one time, your performance is compromised. Instead of excelling at one or two things, you are putting in a mediocre effort at 4-5 things. I have learned it is best to prioritize what is most important in your life and concentrate on your number one or two goals. 

Is there anything that you wish you had done differently this past semester? Or throughout your years of school?
EC for Ivey or Queens?
Hi, I was wondering if I could use trading equities/stock as an EC? I've been day/swing stocks in my free time for a couple years now and have made some very good returns. Can I use this as an EC on my application or is it just a hobby?

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Starting the Second Semester Right
One of the most exciting times of the year for a student is the beginning of a new semester. Whether we are in university or high school, the thrill of going to a new class, meeting new people, and starting off with a new slate academically is encouraging. As we progress through the months, we lose this excitement, however. To be successful, we must have the endurance to carry that energy throughout the entire semester, and that requires having a good start! Here is my list of ideas for starting of the second semester right!  

1. Setting Reasonable Goals
Setting reasonable goals allows us to not only measure our success throughout the entire semester but also gives us a roadmap towards much larger dreams that we have. Ultimately, it is important to ensure they are achievable so that we can stay motivated in knowing that we are able to reach them (And also gives us that confidence boost when we do achieve them)!

2. Get Ahead of the Game
While we have that extra energy in the first couple of weeks of the semester, it is important that we do not fall behind as the semester carries on. The best way to ensure this is to get ahead of your work early and to try to keep that lead moving forward. That does not mean trying to get through the entire course in the first week of school, but may consist of doing pre-readings for the week’s lectures the weekend before class.

3. Seek New Opportunities
Did you see a club event going on and wish that you could have gotten involved with them last semester? Well this is your chance! Not only are clubs looking for new members in the brand new semester but new clubs and programs are just starting up as well! Get involved and be an active part of the campus community!

4. Budget Your Spending
Yes, we all have that urge to spend all that Christmas money that we received over the holidays on that new sweater or a cup of coffee from Starbucks, but resist that urge! Create a budget for yourself so that you are able to make that money last through the entire semester (After all, we ultimately need it most when we are pulling those all-nighters studying for finals, am I right?).

5. Create a Timetable 
One of the most helpful things that I have done throughout the year is to create a timetable of all the activities that I am involved in. This does not only allow you to visually see your schedule but also hold you accountable to what you are committed to doing (And yes, you should include an allotted 8 hours of sleep in that timetable because it is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle!).  

Did you find this post helpful? Comment your thoughts and questions below and feel free to share your own experiences with the yconic community!

Mathieu Chin
yconic Student Ambassador