What is rest?

I took a week off. This week off happened to be planned ahead of time and focused on plenty of sunshine. It may or may not have included an all you can eat buffet, but that’s beside the point.

This particular vacation was much needed. I have been sitting on the edge of a cliff (metaphorically) for about a year now. Between leaving a place I had just begun to settle in to to starting a new long-distance relationship and a university education all in the same 3 month period, I was understandably exhausted all the time.

I don’t think exhausted always has to equal unhappy though. Being able to meet people who were studying what I was studying and having insightful conversations with them would tire me out while bringing so much light and excitement to my life at the same time. Making an effort to see my partner every single day was difficult for both of us at times, but it made it possible for us to spend an entire year as a long distance couple. Exhaustion and difficult tasks don’t always have to be things that correlate to a lack of fulfillment or joy.

However, prolonged exhaustion, no matter where it comes from, will drain a person. I’ve spent the last year balancing my family, friends, education, and future in the palms of my two very tired hands. I deserved a rest and I acknowledged that.

You were not born to run yourself into the ground. Find a way to enjoy your life, otherwise you’re willfully wasting it.

Eloragh

How to Create a 501c3 Non-Profit Corporation.

Hire a lawyer.

Ok, jokes aside, hiring a lawyer may be a good option. Filing for a 501c3 is difficult and comes with a lot of variation depending on the state you are filing in. You don’t only have to deal with the IRS, you have to deal with the Department of Revenue Services in your own state as well as the members of your new board.

If you don’t want to hire a lawyer, there are a lot of resources out there that can help you create a checklist for your state. The issue that I’ve run into is A) it’s not my corporation, so I tend to have to ask my supervisor a lot of questions because she is the director and the only person who can give me the ok signal when needed and B) filling out tax forms can really really suck. They require a lot of information and will time out constantly while you’re searching for stuff.

The bottom line is that either option, hiring a lawyer or doing it yourself, will have pros and cons. The decision will most likely rest on what aspect of your life is currently most valuable: money or time.

Best,

Eloragh

“I’m So Spoiled”

I went out with a friend yesterday. Instead of a sit down restaurant, she suggested that we pick up something to go and then find somewhere to sit down outside. It was a beautiful day, which Montrealers cannot afford to waste, so I thought the idea was perfect.

We walked down to an outdoor art installation and sat down for our “urban picnic.” As we were talking about our lives and what we’ve been up to, she suddenly said “You know, I’m so spoiled. I don’t know how I got so lucky to live in a city where I can sit anywhere, see beautiful art, walk another few blocks and do something completely different.”

My thoughts paused for a moment. I had been having trouble talking to her because all I wanted to do was complain. I have been feeling stuck in an in-between phase of leaving and arriving. I’m moving on Saturday, but a lot of my friends have already left Montreal for the summer. When she exclaimed about how spoiled she was, it really shifted my perspective.

I am incredibly spoiled, just like her. I’m fortunate to live anywhere I want, receive a fantastic education, work at with amazing people, spend time with my loving partner, and see my family whenever I want. I truly am spoiled. Montreal has been the most wonderful city, even during the peak of it’s harsh winter.

More importantly, I’m spoiled by my friends. Having people like her around remind me that positivity and love exist in every form, even in simple things. Walking around in the Montreal spring, looking at the street art and stopping in every little shop that caught our attention was such a treat. Her contagious love and passion for her city was a reminder that I am happy. It reminded me that the person I was a year ago would be so proud of who I am now. In that moment, I couldn’t believe I had ever uttered a negative thing about my life.

It’s good to have friends that you can complain with, but mutual grumbling can’t be the only form of friendship in your life. Find people that always have good things to say and spend as much time with them as possible. You never know what simple thing they may say that pulls your mind out of a rut.

Eloragh

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.

Eloragh