Application Burnout

There has been a lot of content generated around the idea of “YouTuber Burnout.” This type of burnout happens when YouTuber’s or other content creators allow their online careers and personas to become more relevant and important than their actual life. They spend more time working on their content and engagement and slowly lose touch with their health, their family, and any semblance of a life that doesn’t involve a computer screen.

This phenomenon is not new, it’s just taken on a different form as our lives have evolved to be more technology based. People who had 9 to 5 cubicle jobs for 40 years would probably say that they felt burnout too and perhaps list some similar symptoms. Burnout happens to all of us, but what happens when you burn out before you’ve even begun?

Application burnout. It’s common among intern-seeking college students and job-seeking recent graduates. They send in application after application, wondering when they will get a response. At most, I would say I have seen a 10% response rate to my value propositions. I’m still not sure if this is typical or if I need to analyze the way I market myself.

Let’s dig deeper into this idea: what are people doing wrong?

First, they’re not doing their due diligence. I recently submitted my first summer internship application in a long time. I took a break from looking for positions because I felt discouraged by the lack of response. When I found this most recent application, I felt some bit of hope I hadn’t felt in a long time. The company was smaller, very straightforward in their posting, and requested that applications be sent to an email.

Three reasons why I loved this:

1. Even though I have prior experience, I’m technically still an entry-level employee. I want to work with smaller companies so I can build connections, gain experience, and learn new skills in an easier to navigate environment.

2. This one is easy, everyone loves straight to the point job postings. Writing an application for a job is already stressful enough without trying to decode their requirements and ideal candidate characteristics.

3. Sites that offer an email to send applications to are 100% better than sites that outsource their applications through an online program, in my opinion. Those outsourced application sites usually mean that the company is really big and might not even have time to get to your application. It also means that you’re lumped in with everyone else and have very little chance of differentiating yourself.

Application burnout is still in the back of my mind, but I seem to have beaten it for now. By figuring out what I wanted from a company, I was able to seek out those types of positions. Having a glimmer of hope for an internship that really excites you will encourage you to do your part in crafting an amazing application.

It can be good and bad to apply to everything that is within your grasp, but quality still reigns over quantity. Crafting customized, well written, and well-researched applications will make sure you seek out companies that mean something to you. Happy internship hunting!



Questions to Ask Yourself This Week

I find that I go through periods of asking more questions and periods of being quieter. This last week, I asked myself a lot of questions regarding what I want from my future, why I’m excited about what I do, and how I should work towards reducing my stress. I compiled a list of some questions that you can ask yourself this week to help reflect on what you are doing now and how it will help shape your future:

Why did you start? When I get frustrated about what I’m doing or bogged down with work, I find that going back to the beginning and reminding myself why I started is a great way to refocus.

What will this add to your future? Maybe you started a project a few years ago and kept it going because you felt an obligation to it or you didn’t want to let it go. If you don’t have any time in your schedule, maybe it’s time to question if some of your older projects are acting more as burdens.

Is your method of stress relief effective? A few weeks ago, I found myself incapable of relaxing. Unless I felt like I was achieving something, I would be unsatisfied. I started asking myself what had changed in my stress relief routine recently, and I realized I had missed a lot of workouts so that I could study more. Simply adding more exercise back into my routine fixed the problem in no time. Make sure you take a look at what helps you relax and don’t neglect it.

What does progress look like? Depending on your time frame, the answer to this question may be incredibly varied. If you have an essay due at 11:59 this evening, progress might look like a first draft done within the hour. On the other hand, if you have a video project you’ve been continuously working on, progress might look like filming today, editing for the next three days, and uploading in four days. Determine your progress timeline and remember to glance at it when you get discouraged.

Are you being honest? There are days where I say that I worked 8 hours, but I really spent 8 hours half-assing what I could have gotten done in 4 hours. Sometimes things will be slower and sometimes you’ll be a powerhouse of productivity. No matter where you fall, what matters most is that you’re honest with yourself about how much effort you are putting in.

Have a great week,


Does Your Life Allow It?

When I began my education at McGill, I was determined to continue the side projects I had going already. I had a quick and rude awakening when I realized that my life didn’t allow for it. I took a look at what I was doing with my time and if I had optimized it before trying to take on my serious projects again. Fortunately, I was able to make time for my work outside of school. The fear of thinking I had to spend 3 years confined to academics alone lit a large fire under me.

Your primary source of income or progress should not take up 1000000% of your time. If you find that you can’t do things that you want or need to do, it means that your work is consuming your life. Needless to say, this is a dangerous situation.

Developing a schedule that allows for “extra curricular activities” is important. It allows us to diversify what we spend our time on. Asking if your life allows for something you want to do is a great way to gauge how in control of your time you are. If the answer is no, your life won’t allow for that, then it’s time for a time audit.

There are a lot of templates for time audits out on Google, but I think it’s best to keep it easy. Use a tracker, either the stopwatch on your phone or something a little more advanced like Harvest to track your time. This will depend on you being honest about how long you spend doing something. If you’re switching from work to Facebook or other distractions all the time, your tracking won’t be truthful.

When you’ve tracked your time for a day or a week, then put it all into an excel spreadsheet and turn it into percentages. It’s easy to create charts on excel or Google Sheets, and it will help you visualize. Using a pie chart tends to be my preference, but whatever gives you the best visual. Here’s an example of what my pattern of time usage has been lately:

As you can see, I spend almost half of my time in my day sleeping. Now, I give myself some credit when it comes to this. I’m under a lot of stress with my exams, I’m 18 and I exhaust myself every day, and I love to sleep. It makes me happy. Yet, I have learned recently that my days become much more productive when I wake up about 2 hours earlier to go exercise before my day starts. I only sleep for 8 hours, but I get extra energy from the time I didn’t know I had.

There’s an example of how a time audit can change your perspective on what you can and can’t do. Examine how you spend your days and then try to change what you don’t like one step at a time. Go to bed an hour earlier, go to an earlier exercise class, spend one less hour working but make sure you’re working the whole time. You are your best friend when analyzing your life. Be honest, remember that this is meant to help you, and DO IT!



How are You Making the Connection?

Someone that I have a lot of respect for asked me this question recently. We were having coffee with a group of people, and I happened to be the only one (I think) that had chosen to go to college. When scheduling this meeting, I knew I might face some questions about my choices and the practicality of them, so I prepared myself.

The absolute truth is that university alone is not enough anymore. I love what I do at McGill, but I can’t just do school work if I want to be successful in the future. That’s why I love side projects. Working with Social Evolution is a side project. Working on Original Path is a side project. Going to ballet and Orange Theory is a side project. Everything that I do outside of my primary focus (university) is a side project. They keep me sane and they keep me well rounded.

When this question popped up, I was ready to answer. I told them about my projects and all of the things I was doing outside of university to keep myself in the realm of professionalism. I also told them how much I enjoy the work I do in Linguistics and Philosophy and how it has made my life much richer and more collaborative. Showing them the connection between the value of the education I wanted and the value of everything I work on outside of school made me feel confident in my decision to pursue a degree.

So, how are you making the connection? Are you working on side projects? Are you keeping your health and happiness in mind? Are you considering passions that you may have been disregarding?

Any decision can be valuable, but you have to have reason and logic behind the decision. I struggled with knowing what I wanted to do for almost a year before realizing that I can do everything I want to. It may not happen all at once, but imagine if it did? That would be even worse, what an organizational nightmare.

Start thinking about how everything in your life is connected to your personal and professional development. You probably will be asked to justify your choices one day. Instead of worrying that it’s unfair or stressful, think about your choices, think about your connections, and fill in the gaps. Be prepared to answer the questions. You’ll be surprised how much more confident it makes you in your decisions.



Developing Your Portfolio

Well, the semester sure started with a BANG for me. A kidney infection and ten days of recuperation in Charleston have left me feeling stronger and ready to tackle the work I have ahead of me. Just in time for the midterm season too.

A few weeks ago, I received a golden opportunity to have my resume analyzed and torn down by someone who I – and many, many others – consider to be an expert in this field. I immediately jumped on it and just made it into the pool of candidates. A week later, I got a video response in my inbox. I knew my ego would take a major hit, so I didn’t open it for three days.

Fortunately, I was wrong and the person was very honest but also very kind about it. I appreciated the unexpected bits of praise that were thrown around in the response. Before they looked into my resume though, they asked me what job I was aiming for and if I had a portfolio to accompany it.

I have my portfolio on this website, which is a fantastic representation of what I have been able to get done in roughly 2 – 3 years. As great as that portfolio is, it doesn’t zero in on what I want to sell myself as – a marketer. My first question was “is the portfolio I have on my website something I could sell as a ‘marketing portfolio’?” The answer is no, it is not.

When applying for marketing positions, I usually take quite a bit of time to develop a project specifically for the company I am applying for that relates to a hole in their marketing or audience, one of their current goals, or a potential client. The projects vary by company, but that’s the gist of it. So far, it’s been great for me. Even though I didn’t get every position I applied for, I was still building my portfolio. I just didn’t know it.

So, I pulled together what I could into a makeshift file and called it my portfolio. It’s not my strongest work, but the realization that I needed to start compiling my past samples in such a way was perhaps a better achievement. It helped me to understand a few key elements of applications that can be used for almost any position:

  1. Your portfolio should be easy and efficient for the reviewer to look through. Use your best 5 – 10 works depending on how long you’ve been in your career.
  2. Focus on what they are looking for. Really narrow the details of the job posting or description. A custom or even semi-custom portfolio for each application could help tip the scale in your favor.
  3. Building a portfolio takes time. If you’re 18, like me, your portfolio might be small and that’s ok. The best thing you can do is continue to apply for jobs, continue to learn new programs and skills that you can put into use in those applications, and save every last bit of work you do.

Resumes are great, but portfolios are even better. Put yourself in the reviewer’s shoes, figure out how you want to present your abilities, and make it happen. Understanding what control you do have over your applications will help you refine them and make better impressions.



How to Go on an Exchange

Step 1: Get your shit together.

There’s no joke intended here. I thought I was an organized person before I started the process for an exchange, but I found out the hard way that I wasn’t that prepared. You need to have all your ducks in a row; that means your paperwork, your official transcript, your letter or statement of intent, the courses you intend to take at the institutions you are applying to, etc. etc. etc.

If you think you might need a piece of information or paperwork for your application, have it ready. Even if you end up not needing it, it is so much better to be over prepared than scrambling to find what you need at the last moment.

Step 2: Be a decent student

Most universities have a minimum GPA that you have to meet to be eligble to apply for an exchange. Plan ahead during the years and semesters before you apply for an exchange. Make sure you’re focused enough in your courses that you’re able to meet that minimum when the time comes.

Step 3: Do some research on the schools

When you have to write your statement of intent, you will appreciate having done some research on your schools. Your home university doesn’t want to hear that you want to go to Germany because you think it’s cool and want to meet hot German people. They want to hear that you have academic, cultural, and professional reasons for attending this university and how it will benefit you and your degree.

It doesn’t take a lot to impress people. I’m sure we would all be surprised at the amount of people who write less than lackluster statements of intent. Put some effort into this and it’ll payoff.

Step 4: Meet with your department advisor

I’m a Linguistics major. The school I go to has a course equivalency database which shows us what courses at other exchange schools are equivalent. It lets you know what courses you can take while on exchange and get credit for when you come back. This is very important if you want to graduate on time.

The best way to know if certain courses meet your department, faculty, or universities requirements is to meet with your department advisors. They can help you look at how you want your degree to be completed, in what time frame, and how to make that possible while still going on an exchange.

They can even help you apply for equivalency if you don’t find a certain course in your school’s database. Your department advisor is invaluable. Utilize their expertise and experience as much as possible.

Step 5: Write, write, write. Plan, plan, plan.

You’re going to need to prepare a lot of documents. Transcript, passport, degree planning sheet, statement of intent, courses you want to take, etc.

When I originally started planning for my exchange I thought “Paperwork, I do this everyday, no big deal.” Well, I was wrong, again. It’s a lot more than paperwork, it’s math, bureaucrats, persuasive writing, research, meetings, emails, and phone calls. It’s a hell of a lot of work. Please start before the application month comes, unlike I did.

Step 6: Be gracious towards those who help you.

My advisors, the faculty counselors, and the professors at both my home university and my exchange school have all been incredible. They’ve given me their time, their advice, their syllabi, and their support. So many of them have gone to bat and advocated for me. For all the shitty teachers I have had in my life, the Linguistics professors at McGill University have shown me the power and kindness that educators who care can give.

Be grateful and recognize their hard work as much as yours. Sending a kid off to a different country takes a village. Don’t forget to remember those that helped you along the way.

Good luck on your exchange.


Why Philosophy is Exhausting

Philosophy is truly an academic discipline. To devote yourself to a life of thinking, connecting the dots, and offering a conclusion just to have your premise beaten up and then do it all over again is arguably destructive. For those who can’t stand to be torn down, philosophy may be a hard area of humanities to dive into. The reality of philosophy is that it is exhausting, even to those who adore it.

Philosophy requires more than just the ability to think and comprehend ideas, it requires a keen sense of logic and rationality. When pondering thoughts of morality, one might be inclined to go by their intuition rather than think premises through logically. This can be observed in many cases that work in the area of moral luck. Here’s a common example:

Person A and Person B both leave a party drunk and make the conscious decision to drive home. Person A leaves a little earlier than Person B and makes it home on completely deserted roads. Person B takes the same route, but on their way home, a child runs in front of their car. Due to their intoxication, Person B is unable to stop in time and ends up hitting the child. 

Most people’s first reaction is to assume that Person B is more morally responsible for their actions. After all, they did kill a child. However, the fact that a child ran in front of their car was out of their control. The only decision they consciously made was to drive drunk, which is the same decision Person A made. So who is more morally responsible?

That’s just one example of how intuition can affect philosophers ability to craft a legitimate argument. 20th century philosopher Elizabeth Harman argued that intuition plays an important role in how we evaluate morality. Her writing was based on an argument made by Peter Singer about the morality of affluent countries. Singer argued that it is morally wrong for “affluent” people to help others that are lacking basic necessities. His argument eventually went deeper and he took the stance that “affluent” people should continue to give away their belongings and money until they have reached the same state as everyone around them, but most find that extreme and unable to be maintained. 

This is why philosophy is exhausting. It is hard to decide where an idea begins and where it should end. It is so easy and enjoyable to connect these ideas together, but when you are trying to reach an audience that perhaps is not ready to receive so much information at one time, a philosopher must learn how to pace themselves and offer the information they most want to share. 

A philosopher’s mind is never turned off. I can only hope to continue to cultivate my ability to think so that I could develop my own theories of morality, free will, and responsibility. The world of philosophy is so rich with ideas, I am excited by the possibilities I have yet to discover. I’m also exhausted by it.