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Resources I Wish I Knew About in First Year

Hi everyone! My name is Shivanthi, a fourth year Honours Biology student, and I am one of the Peer Mentorship Coordinators for the LSS this year!

Coming into university, there is usually a lot of information thrown at you regarding tools and resources that students can make use of. A lot of these tools, I either forgot about or never found use for - simply because I didn’t know about it. Today, I hope to share some of the resources that I have grown to rely on and use on a regular basis in university.

1. Overleaf for Resume and Cover Letter Building

Overleaf is an easy to use, online LaTeX editor which is perfect for creating resumes and cover letters. When I first started university, I had a very simplistic resume that I had built in grade 10 civics and careers and was using that as my main template. One of my friends introduced me to overleaf, and while it may seem like something that many people in computer science use, it’s in fact very user friendly for someone like me that has never coded anything. It has a lot of pre-made templates you can choose from depending on your preference and then you can simply edit the text and it will develop your resume on the other side of the page. Your work is saved online so you can continuously update your resume as you gain more experience. Another really cool feature is that it allows you to have embedded links within your resume for when you share your resume online, so you can easily add links to your website or LinkedIn account!

2. The Undergraduate Writing Centre

The undergraduate writing centre is an incredibly helpful academic tool that I wish I had made more use of throughout my first few years in university. This service allows you to get individualized support on your writing by a trained peer. As a science student, I found that my writing skills were never the best, and this service would have been really helpful for classes where I had to write essays or papers. It’s really easy to book, all you have to do is go on OSCARplus and book an appointment through the Academic Skills service. I would definitely recommend using this service for anyone that would like the extra support on brainstorming ideas for papers, or if you’re looking to improve your academic writing!

3. OSCARplus for Jobs on Campus

Being a university student can be expensive! And to make things worse, looking for a job can be really scary and nerve-wracking for some of us. One thing I love about McMaster is how accessible they make it for students to find jobs on campus! And the best part is that we are all usually on campus pretty often anyways, so working for a couple hours a week to get some extra money can be a good way to keep yourself occupied while also making some cash! OSCARplus has countless job listings that are posted throughout the year and they are all usually really easy to apply to. From working at Second Cup in Peter George, to giving incoming students tours of campus, to working at the Service Desk at the gym, there are opportunities for jobs everywhere. What I really love is how flexible the managers are in terms of hours. For example, I work as a campus tour guide and my hours are entirely decided by myself. I have the flexibility to work a lot of shifts if my schedule allows for it, or just work the minimum number of shifts if I have a lot going on at school! So, if you’re looking to make a bit of extra money while you're in school, I would definitely recommend checking this out.

I hope you find value in some of these resources as you venture throughout your undergraduate degree! Wishing you all the very best with the rest of the semester:)

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