How To Survive College in Canada

Note: This blog post was written on April 26, 2018 right after my last week in college.

 

Wow. 4 years in college. Doesn’t it sound intimidating? To me, 4 years ago, it wasn’t that much of a big deal because I really needed to graduate and get that diploma. But halfway through it, it became scary. I mean, I’m halfway through but why does it seem so overwhelming now? I was ready to drop out (again) because of circumstances but thankfully I didn’t do it. And here I am, I just finished taking my graduation photo and #gradwaiting. I mean, my grades aren’t up until next week, hopefully I pass all my subjects, but I am awaiting for the convocation eventually. So, how did I do it? How, as a new immigrant in Canada, did I finish 4 years of college here? It wasn’t all ups, there were a lot of downs as well but one thing is for sure… God is with me. Along with that are some of my tactics on how I survived college:

1. Be friendly towards your classmates

Canadians are naturally friendly. So naturally you are expected to be friendly as well. Where I came from niceness sometimes can lead to the wrong idea, it’s either you are called “plastik”, a fake person, or you’re naïve. But here, it’s the norm and one of the reasons why I like being in Canada because they are genuinely nice. You will survive college if you’re not a rude person because if you’re friends with your classmates, they can update you if you are absent in class regarding the lesson that was discussed and groupworks won’t be hard for you.

2. Be open minded

Don’t be small minded or thinking just inside a bubble. Think outside the box and use your imagination. Also, use Google for almost everything you think of. Accept love and don’t tolerate hate. Accept and understand different religions because Canada is a diverse country with different nationalities living here. Never get pride get away with your emotions or think you are better than anyone or else you won’t get any friends in college.

3. Check your school email regularly

The school email is like, the Daily News, per se. It’s where the teacher communicates with the students, not only the teacher but the Dean, Course Coordinator, Advisor and the head of the school communicate with the student. It’s where you’ll know what will happen to class, what you can ask the teacher what happened to class if your absent or any information you need to know you can email directly the teacher. I mean, you can call them, but mind you, they prefer email because they can reply faster there.

4. Use the tutoring services/ career services

When I first started going to college, I was advised by my mentor (from the SMILE program) to use the tutoring services for almost everything that you could think of if they can help. I asked them for tips in essay writing for my english courses, I had a weekly tutor for math and accounting subjects and even general education courses they can help as well. As for career services, I attended workshops on how to build resume, cover letter, what are my career goals and steps, etc. They can help you succeed, and indeed they helped me succeed in college.

5. Your school website is your best friend

The school website has everything. It has your class notes, your grades, references, resources, MLA Citation tips, many to mention. You need to know it by heart if you want to survive college. Usually the username and password gets changed every now and then for security. If you have a Laptop, Tablet and a Phone (who doesn’t by the way), download the app for the website so you can access it anywhere. They have computers at school as well so you can log in anytime at school if you need to print a document or make a last minute presentation.

6. Get a part time job or volunteer

You don’t have to use your brain all the time in going to college. Use your body as well so it’ll balance out. Get a part time job so you can have money and explore the city so you can unwind. If you think getting a job is too much stress on top of school, you can volunteer so it can be at your own time. OSAP isn’t enough to sustain you though, I’ll tell you that, that’s why I prefer you to get a job at least in the first half of college life and in the remaining half you can now concentrate on graduating.

7. Have fun sometimes but not all the time

All work and no play makes James a dull boy. I think that’s the phrase. Anyway, it’s true, if you can’t learn to unwind once in a while, you might become nuts! And mind you, you don’t want to experience that (Been there). You can hang out with your friends, or family, and go out and eat once in a while. Go bowling. Check out the scenery in Toronto. Go snowboarding when it’s winter or ice skating. Whatever. Just don’t forget that assignment that you’ve been putting off because the deadline will surely come. Do your best to live life but don’t forget your priorities as well.

8. Surround yourself with people who believe in you

This is significant. For me, I surrounded myself with people who are go getters only, not toxic people because if they fall, you will fall as well. Gratefully, I have a family who believes in me even though I was at my lowest point that I didn’t think I would finish college anymore. Thankfully God is with my family, they helped me get back up on my feet and run the race once more. When you surround yourself with people who believe in you, you rise up and in the end hit that goal that you’ve been wanting to reach.

9. Friends are important in your journey

Friends are friends even if it’s a small circle. I had a small group of friends back home in the Philippines but here I only have 3 friends, nevertheless I thank them for being understanding of what I went through and for being a beacon of light to my darkest days. I’ve met many acquaintances whom I thought were friends in the end they just let me down. You really have to choose your friends in college because it can make or break you.

10. Understand that everyone has different time zones

I was supposed to finish college in 3 years. But because life has its many surprises and mysterious ways, I ended up finishing college another year due to (again) circumstances. But nonetheless, the Lord is still good. You have to understand that college isn’t a race or a sprint, it’s a marathon. Even though you may not finish in time that your peers, it’s okay, as long as you can get there and get that diploma. It took me 7 years in total, shifting from nursing school in the Philippines to business school here in Canada. But in the end, it’s the same. You will still get that diploma no matter how long it takes.

 

And there you have it, my tips on how to survive college here in Canada. I hope you got something out of the things I have said. By the way, feel free to comment below your thoughts on my write up.

 

‘Til next time,

 

Toodles!

I’m at My Happiest Now

It’s been a long time coming, and finally that state of happiness arrived in my life. Before, I used to think that if only I have a relationship with a guy, I will become happy. Now, I realized that even if I was in a relationship, I will never be happy if I am not practicing contentment for whatever it is that I have in my life as of the moment. I was always looking back at the past, now I stay focused on what’s in my present. Even though I may be single, I try to become happy of who are in my life – my family/ friends/ loved ones – and I become hopeful and expectant of God’s blessings in my life. But it wasn’t an easy ride. It was seven years in the making, it involved experimentation and a whole lot of faith.

When I came here to Canada, I had absolutely no clue what was going to happen to me. As I am reminiscing my early months in this what seemed to be a foreign land at that time, I realized I was hopeful but naive. Coming from a place where a lot of people knew me since childhood (and I knew a lot of people as well) to living in a city where you have to mingle with strangers using a language that is familiar but still foreign, it was a big jump. And I wasn’t ready for that leap as what I thought I would be. And that resulted to what people have known me as now – that girl living with anxiety and depression.

If I could go back and try to change what happened to me, I wouldn’t go back anyway. You know why? Because even if circumstances happened and it resulted into what seems to be a negative thing – this anxiety and depression – I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because those seasons where I was in a dark place made me who I am today. And to be honest I am proud of who I am right now, yes, even though I am living with this condition.

I could tell you my backstory, but it will be so long. I’ll save it for another time. But the gist of my story is this: no matter how many times you have been beaten up by life, you will always win victoriously with God on your side. Victory may not be superficial, it may be low key as well. For example, I may not be popular, recognized with a lot of awards, or wealthy (as what the world wants you to think about as the definition of success) but I am Christ-driven, a loving daughter/ friend, and most importantly I have Jesus. He’s all I need. And that’s the secret, friends, to happiness. It’s knowing your identity in Christ. It’s not a boyfriend or a girlfriend, not a status in life if you are earning a lot or earning little, it’s not popularity even if you have a strong support system at the end of the day, it’s your life not theirs. You only have one life to live, why not live it to glorify and expand His kingdom? And that’s exactly what I am doing right now.

I’m not blessed because of what I can do but what God can do through me.

I’m at my happiest right now, all thanks to my new found joy in Christ.

Hallelujah.

Hello Love Goodbye: My Thoughts

Wow, I don’t even know how to begin. This movie was just breathtaking. From Alden and Kathryn’s on-screen chemistry, the lightings/ cinematography, to the climax of the story up until the ending, every scene shot was a masterpiece. When I decided I would watch the movie, I didn’t expect it to be this good. I just wanted to watch it so I could ride with the hype of my filipino friends. In the end, I’ve learned a lot from the theme of the movie. Out of all the filipino movies I’ve watched, this by far is my favorite one. I could relate to it so much, not only because it depicts that Canada is the dream destination of the main character, Joy, but because of the depth of the story. How it is much more than just a love story — it’s an ode to Filipinos searching and finding that greener pasture for their future. I could relate to it as a person living abroad and, my fave part is how it gave me nostalgia, most especially of my first love.

My love story isn’t as mature or as intense as the story in the movie. But I guess with regards to leaving a country for my goals and dreams and choosing family over a relationship — that’s what hit me. Regarding my first love, I have already accepted the fact that we’re never meant to be. He his happily in love with someone else already. However, sometimes I do think, what if I just stayed in the Philippines for a longer time? Will it still matter? Will it still be us? It’s true, as what the movie lets us understand that sometimes people come into your life as a passage-way that leads to where you are meant to be. For me, it took me 7 years to finally move on from my ex. Although when I came back to the Philippines sometime last year, I still had feelings for him. My friends say I should definitely forget about him because for sure he has forgotten about me already. And I could see that. He looks so happy and contented, I wish him health and happiness.

I guess, that’s the dilemma of OFWs or people living abroad too huh. You can never really tell what is going to happen when you leave, but you still take the risk for your dreams and future. Through the movie, I now understood why I had to leave my old life in the Philippines before. So that I could have a better life for my family, and myself included. No regrets, even if I failed a long time ago. Because everything falls into place when you have faith in Jesus. Romans 8:28.

Well, Hello Love Goodbye, it was heartwarming to watch that movie. Some people want to have a part 2. But me? Naahh, it’s better to leave it as it is and let imagination run its course. Leaving something hanging but somehow hopeful can be a beautiful thing as well. Not everything needs to be explained or finished. It’s the mystery that makes it worthwhile.

How I lost 30lbs in a Month

Disclaimer: I am not in any way a diet guru or a diet coach. These tips that I will mention are from my experience and from the research that I did only thru the internet.

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It has always been a dream of mine to lose weight ever since I gained a significant amount of weight in 2015 due to my medicine intake for health purposes. Every year since then my weight just kept adding and adding until I was near to 200 lbs. I was scared for my life, so I decided to do something about it. Almost a month now and I lost a good amount of 30lbs all thanks to healthy diet and exercise. I started with 198lbs in a little over a month ago and here is my weight after 3 and a half weeks:

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It’s 170lbs! I took this a few days ago, though I might have gained a little weight since that time because of a break from exercising due to an injury, but right now I can fit a medium size t shirt and I can also fit my shorts from 2016! Praise God! To be honest, I could never have done it without first and foremost, Jesus, for letting me realize that my body is a temple and it should be taken care of. Next, my family who never tires of reminding me to check on what I eat and to lose weight and not compromise with becoming overweight, or worse, obese. To my friends, most especially my bestfriend Kima who inspire me to work out. And to those I look up to for weightloss transformations, you the real MVPs! I will continue to grind until I reach my goal weight which is my normal Bmi. Right now I’m still overweight but that won’t stop me from becoming the best version of myself. I’ve been beaten up by depression and anxiety and it took a toll on me which affected my body but not anymore! I know it will be harder from now on to stay motivated but I will not give up!

Okay, enough about me. You want to learn how I lost those pounds in 4 weeks, am I right? So here are a few tips I can give you to get a headstart, along with my diet plan and my workout routine.

  1. It’s all in the mind – You have to think and know you can reach your goal of losing weight and motivate yourself each and every time that you can do it!

When I started, I had a wake up call. I was 198lbs – it was difficult when I walk and my body hurt a lot. I was also scared about my weight especially that it’s near to obese. One day, I saw a post on facebook of a before and after photo of this girl losing a lot of weight and it was motivational! The next day immediately, I told my brother I am going to enroll in a gym, did my meal plan, brought groceries, looked at myself in the mirror and told myself, “You can lose weight, you can do this!” By the grace of God, and with effort as well, I did. And look at me now, glowing and healthy. If I can do it, you can too!

 2. The Keto Diet – MEAT, VEGETABLES, SEAFOOD and EGGS, NO SUGAR, LESS SALT

Here is my meal plan for 4 weeks, you can follow it if you like or make adjustments to it:

Reminders: MEAT, EGGS, SEAFOODS and VEGETABLES ONLY

SALT, PEPPER and CAJUN for SEASONING

NO SUGAR

 

Week 1

Days 1-3

Wake Up then Apple Cider Vinegar drink (2 tbsp ACV, ½ lemon, honey)

Breakfast: Oolong Tea with honey

Lunch: Beef seasoned with Cajun

Scrambled eggs with onion and tomatoes

Dinner: Chicken seasoned with cajun in olive oil 

4 hard boiled eggs

Vegetables with italian dressing

Snacks: Avocado crisps

 

Week 2

Grocery list:

Meat: chicken breast, beef striploin

Seafood: pampanu fish, mussels

Dairy: Almond milk, 2 dozen eggs

Vegetables: sweet kale, cauliflower, eggplant

Misc: mayonnaise, coconut secret coco aminos, cajun, olive oil, organic snacks, butter, shirataki noodles

Days 1-2

Wake Up then ACV Drink 

Breakfast: Oolong tea with honey

 

Lunch: Cajun chicken breast with cauliflower rice

Dinner at 7pm: Fish meat with vinegar

Cauliflower rice

Day 3

Wake up then ACV Drink

Breakfast: Oolong tea with honey

Lunch at 12pm: Oatmeal with almond milk and blueberries

Dinner at 7pm: Mussels with dynamite sauce (mayo & sriracha)

Cauliflower rice

Snacks: Any organic snacks

 

Day 4-5

Wake up then ACV Drink

Breakfast: Oolong tea with honey

Lunch at 12pm: Cajun beef with hardboiled eggs

Dinner at 7pm: Chicken adobo with coco aminos sauce

Scrambled egg whites with sweet kale salad 

Snacks: Any organic snacks

 

Week 3 

Grocery List

Meat: chicken breast, beef strip,

Seafood: salmon fish

Dairy: Eggs, Almond milk

Misc: Oolong tea, soy free stir fry sauce, avocado, mozzarella, cream cheese, cheese slices, olive oil, cauliflower 

Days 1-2

Wake up: ACV Drink

Breakfast: Oolong tea

Lunch: Beef Cajun with Scarmbled Eggs

Pre-workout: Avocado shake with honey

Dinner at 7:30pm: Salmon seasoned with Coco aminos, pepper and salt

Cauliflower rice

Day 3: Wednesday is Rest Day and Cheat Meal

Days 4-5

Wake up: ACV Drink

Breakfast: Oolong Tea

Lunch: Kale Chicken casserole with cream cheese and mozzarella and cauliflower rice

Pre-workout: Avocado Shake with Honey

Dinner: Stir fry beef with Shirataki noodles and eggs

Snacks: Any organic snacks

 

Week 4:

Grocery list:

Meat: chicken breast, beef round of eye steak, ground beef

Seafood: Pampanu fish, mussels

Dairy: 1 dozen eggs

Misc: Avocado, cauliflower, Organic beef patty, ground beef, romaine lettuce, organic bacon, chia seeds

Days 1-2

Wake up: ACV Drink

Breakfast: Oolong tea

Lunch: Chicken Adobo in Coco Aminos

Sunny side up eggs

Dinner: Pampanu fish seasoned with Cajun

Cauliflower rice

Day 3: Cheat day

Days 4-5:

Wake up: ACV Drink

Breakfast: Oolong tea

Lunch: Organic beef patty seasoned with Cajun

Cauliflower rice

Dinner: Chicken Adobo in Coco Aminos

Sunny side up eggs

 

3. Learn how to home cook – As they say, weight loss is 70% food 30% exercise

It’s better if you eat home cooked meals, and that you are the one who prepared it because you know what ingredients are used to make your food. If you eat out, you wouldn’t know what’s in your food and if it is healthy. Choose healthy options.

4. Work out – Target areas in your body that needs improvement and work on it

Here below is my workout routine, I exercised up until the 3rd week, but because of an injury, I took a break for a week to recover. You can follow this if you’d like.

Kudos to my brother, Kyle, for making this workout routine for me:

Some motivational quotes to live by:

“Train insane or remain the same.” 

“Your body is a temple, take care of it!!”

Workout 4x a week

Approximate time in gym: 1 hour 15 minutes

Alternate Upper body & Lower body

WEDNESDAY is REST DAY

 

Day 1: Upper body

15 min bicycle/ treadmill

15 min elliptical

 

5 min stretching

 

30 min exercise for upper body:

  1. Triceps pulldown 3-4 sets, 10-15 reps each
  2. Back lat pulldown 3-4 sets, 10-15 reps each
  3. Biceps curls 3-4 sets, 10-15 reps each
  4. Chest flys 3-4 sets, 8-12 reps each

Or Shoulder press 3-4 sets, 8-12 reps each

 

10-15 min abs

  1. Medicine ball exercise 5 min
  2. Sit ups with ball 5 min
  3. Plank 2-5 min

 

5 min stretching

 

Day 2: Lower body

30 min bicycle/treadmill

15-30 min elliptical

 

5 min stretching

  1. Dumbbell squat 3-4 sets, 8-12 each
  2. Horizontal leg press 3-4 sets, 8-12 each
  3. Leg extensions 3-4 sets, 8-12 reps each
  4. Leg curls 3-4 sets, 8-12 reps each

 

10-15 min abs (same as upper body)

 

5 min stretching

 

5. Give yourself a rest day and a cheat day

It’s also important not to deprive yourself once in a while. You can have a rest day and a cheat day, BUT REMEMBER not to continuously have cheat days or else you’ll regain what you lost. I am guilty of this as well. I gained some pounds but thankfully I can still fit medium size. However, I should stick to the plan if I want results so DISCIPLINE is significant.

So there you have it, my secret to losing 30lbs in (almost) a month. Thanks for reading and leave comments or like this post as well.

Catch y’all on the flipside!

xx,

Rikki

Five Ways I Healed and Finally Got Over My Past

A few years have passed since my last relationship. I wouldn’t call it an official relationship though because we never really did get to call each other gf/ bf, it was more of a “mutual understanding.” It’s also been a lot of years since my first boyfriend (I had a relationship when I was 15 years old). And yes, All these years since I’ve been single as a pringle, and I’ve had my frustrations as to why I became such. I was thinking maybe something is wrong with me or something is wrong with them, but then I realized, everything has its purpose. Maybe there is a reason why I am single and it looks to me, it will stay that way for a very long, long time. But it wasn’t a walk in the park, it took me YEARS to finally accept my frustrations in my past life and I thank God I was able to surpass it – I finally got over my past.

So what did I do in order to become healed? Here are the things I did in order to do so:

1. Worked on improving myself

Distracting myself productively as I get better in time was one of the best things that I did in my life in order to move on. I went back to school, got my college diploma, worked a few jobs, volunteered, networked and got active in church. Needless to say, I got busy. And boy, it paid off.

2. Got closer to God

I can’t say that during the whole time that I have been staying here in Canada, I’ve been serious about my relationship with Jesus. There was once a time, especially when I was still a newcomer here, that I went further away from Christ. But recent events in my life have given me a reason and meaning to the truth that Jesus, Father God and the Holy Spirit, is real! I’m not a perfect Christian and there are indeed times where I become weary in my faith, but I still press on. That is why I am blessed, it’s all because of Father God.

3. Became grateful of my family

When I was younger, I really thought of my family as this annoying group of people I have to deal with for the rest of my life. This is pertaining to my parents, most especially. I was so mad that I had strict and strong-willed parents. But in the long run, when circumstances happened in my life, they stood by me. Through thick and thin, they were there, my brothers too. Now, they look after me and always advice me to do the right thing, even if it is uncomfortable for me because it is needed for me to progress in life. I’m grateful for my family.

4. Hung out with new friends

Before, when I was a newcomer, I held on to my old friends so dearly. It’s not wrong to look back but when I saw that they were moving on, I felt stuck as to why I just can not move on myself. So now, I hang out with new friends, new faces, most especially my church friends and school mates from college. It’s really hard to go through life without friends. Therefore, always make new ones but keep the old sometimes.

5. Forgave my old self and the ones who hurt me

Just recently, I forgave a lot of people in my life. They don’t need to know, but deep inside in my heart, I have forgiven them. It’s hard to go around living life having a grudge on someone who have hurt you or did you wrong. It’s toxic. In time, I have learned that in order to set myself free from the baggage I have been carrying for a LONG TIME, I need to forgive. I’ve forgiven my ex-MU, my ex-boyfriend, the guy who ghosted me and the guy who rejected me. I also forgive those who bullied me in the past. Yes, I’m now free.

Healing takes time, courage and patience. If I can do it, so can you. The result doesn’t have to be right away, as long as you are doing your best in your own pace, you’ll get there. You’ll get over it.