Welcome to Home Room

March 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

It was the first class of the day. You would show up and mostly chat with your friends, while your poor teacher tried to instill you with some of the basics for surviving the ‘real world’.


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How to Start Your Research Paper

May 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

The Student Learning Commons at Simon Fraser University invited me to propose an independent project related to my work as a writing facilitator. So…I went in search of a way to communicate about academic writing that combined both my interests in teaching and video production. I envisioned three possible applications for the vid 1) an intro to undergraduate writing workshops facilitated by the SLC 2) a tool for instructors or TAs to show or share their students and 3) a stand alone resource on the library’s site for students to access along with the university’s many other excellent research/writing resources. I animated the video using Keynote, Mac’s Presentation Software–a simple program that lets you take the average slideshow to the next level. Feel free to share or adapt (and if you’d like the source file, get in touch)!

The New Four Letter Word: Busy

November 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

This has to be the one thing I struggle most with. Working toward a PhD is demanding. I like to think of myself as someone who values health, cooking, good food, exercise, getting outdoors etc. But I’m learning, regrettably through much trial and error, that I can only ask so much of myself each day without sacrificing my health. Staying up until 2…4…6am to meet deadlines that fit around someone else’s schedule isn’t prioritizing my health. I have to own up to the fact that agreeing to unrealistic deadlines is my choice and that saying ‘no’ is a really important decision that I need to start being comfortable making. I’ve posted about the word ‘busy’ in the past, but this wonderful article from Port Moody Integrated health was a timely reminder for me. This is the passage that hit home for me:

“Our days are full of choices and decisions.  Every decision we make, we are also making a decision to not do something else.  We don’t have time to do everything we want to do everyday, but we do have time to do everything that we value as important.  If eating healthy meals, exercise, drinking water, sleep, are not valuable to you, then chances are that you will fill up the time with what is more important.  Even if we could add hours onto the day, you would still fill that time with what is important to you.  When you decide that health is important, you will find the time to do the steps necessary to take care of your body.”

via The New Four Letter Word: Busy | Port Moody Integrated Health.

Why does feedback hurt sometimes?

October 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

As a PhD student and a teacher, this perfectly articulates the sensitive nature of giving feedback and the challenge of accepting it.

The Thesis Whisperer

This letter was written by an experienced academic at ANU to her PhD student, who had just presented his research to a review panel and was still licking her wounds.

The student sent it to me and I thought it was a great response I asked the academic in question, and the student who received it, if I could publish it. I wish all of us could have such nuanced and thoughtfu feedback during the PhD. I hope you enjoy it.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 7.27.05 PMA letter to…My PhD student after her upgradeWell you did it. You got your upgrade. But from the look on your face I could tell you thought it was a hollow victory. The professors did their job and put the boot in. I remember seeing that look in the mirror after my own viva. Why does a win in academia always have the sting of defeat?

Yeah, it’s a…

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Thoughts for a new year

January 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

Why busyness isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and a challenge to put it behind us.

Read the full article here

Laying or Lying? An ‘open letter’ to Miley Cyrus from Sufjan Stevens

October 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

So far, the best open letter to Miley Cyrus. Bravo. There’s no rebuttal for poor grammar.


Dear Miley. I can’t stop listening to #GetItRight (great song, great message, great body), but maybe you need a quick grammar lesson. One particular line causes concern: “I been laying in this bed all night long.” Miley, technically speaking, you’ve been LYING, not LAYING, an irregular verb form that should only be used when there’s an object, i.e. “I been laying my tired booty on this bed all night long.” Whatever. I’m not the best lyricist, but you know what I mean. #Get It Right The Next Time.




Apparently French Canadians Don’t Make Exclamations

October 9, 2013 § Leave a comment


I recently received a French typewriter. According to the original bill of sale, it was purchased by a one James Hess on January 10, 1952 in Montreal. Now, my knowledge of the French language is just enough to recite O Canada and my favourite pizza toppings, and I’m no veteran at using a typewriter…but how come there isn’t an ! on the keyboard? How will I say anything?! It’s probably the universe telling me to cool it with the exclamations. Did you know Woody Allen is still writing a movie/year using a typewriter?!

8 Punctuation Marks That Are Now Extinct

October 8, 2013 § Leave a comment