Book of the Month: Put on the Armour of Light

For the first month of 2015, January starts off with a book by a new local author in my city of Winnipeg called Put on the Armour of Light and it’s written by Catherine MacDonald. If you want to buy it on amazon, click here.

Here is what’s written on the back of the book to give you a synopsis or a little bit of background:

In June 1899, the Reverend Charles Lauchlan's industrious life as a young Presbyterian minister is knocked off the rails  when he learns that his former university roommate has been arrested on murder charges.
The chief of police says it's an open-and-shut case, but Sergeant Setter — labelled as a misfit by his fellow officers — disagrees. Lauchlan and Setter become uneasy allies in a search that takes them from the sleaziest bars to the most sumptuous drawing rooms of turn-of-the-century Winnipeg. On the way, Lauchlan uses his pastoral skills in ways never anticipated in the seminary. As time runs out he must risk everything, even his heart, in order to find the real killer.

Just got to love mystery right? I can’t wait to start this book. Plus it’s based off of my city (Winnipeg) with a lot of historical contexts!

Book of the Month and 10 Benefits of Reading

Hey guys, so I was thinking that since one of my New Year’s resolutions includes reading a book, I was thinking that maybe I should do a book of the month type of thing to get you guys reading books too. I was thinking that each month, I should read a new book and at the end of the month do a book review! Sounds good? I think it is!

Now before you guys go crazy, let me explain why reading everyday is good for you.

1) Stimulation of the mental mind: Since you’re keeping your brain active, you lower your risks for Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Just like your muscles in your body you need to exercise your brain as well, so just remember the phrase “use it or lose it.”

2) Stress Reduction: With all the stress in our daily lives slipping into a nice story or an engaging article is a no brainer. Just letting go and relaxing into a nice novel will smooth away your stress and make your mind healthier.

3) Knowledge: Whatever you choose to read, it fills your brain with new little bits of information that you’ll never know would come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the more efficient you are when it comes to tackling obstacles. And knowledge, unlike money, can never be taken away from you.

4) Vocabulary expansion: Did you know that the more you read, the more exposure to new words you’ll receive? It’s a fact! When you read, your brain finds and stores new words and their meanings that you can use in professional and academical circumstances! It’s also seen that those who are more articulate in language and composition tend to be more knowledgeable, which can come in handy in your career.

5) Improving your memory: Let’s face it. When we read books, we have to remember the characters, chapters, plots, places, problems, situations, and the contexts of what is being read in order to understand. So amazingly, your brain is trained to remember these in order to make connections with the rest of the story. Interestingly, when our brains do this, it makes new pathways for future content and strengthens old ones.

6) Powerful analytical skills: When you read more and more, your brain is able to pick up familiar patters that makes you predict similar or even precise outcomes when reading a novel or story. This is very handy when you’re required to explain the plot of the story or the author’s intentions. Having strong analytical skills can aid when trying to solve problems as well.

7) Focus and Concentration: Yes, similar to that hand clapping game of concentration but even more amazing. When you read, you’re able to train your brain to focus on absorbing information, instead of being distracted by the world around you. This can help you when you’re required to read a text in class in a short period of time because due to your ability of focusing on the meaning of the text.

8) Improved writing skills: When you read, you learn and when you learn, you’re able to use it when writing complicated writing pieces. Increased reading, teaches you different writing styles from different authors, which can help you with your own writing.

9) Peace: In addition to relaxation and tress relief, making yourself quiet and reading is similar to meditating where your mind is at a spot where it can be nourished.

10) Entertainment: This may not apply to everyone but, reading is very fun. If you think about The Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, Harry potter, etc. The reason why they’ve become movies is because, the books were very well written and therefore, entertaining to the reader that they wanted to bring it to life. Speaking of brining words in the book to life, did you know that one of the secrets of reading is imagination and creativity? When you read, you illustrate your own pictures of what is going on in the story, which is the same pattern that directors do when they decide to bring a book to your screen.

Now that you know the 10 benefits of reading, I think it’s time for you (and me) to pick up a book and start that wonderful journey!

 

 

Welcome to 2015 with Rants of an AP Student

About one year ago, I started Rants of an AP Student to help primarily high school students get across the complex world of High School and how to succeed in any way possible. And I am just grateful for everything that I’ve done in the past year.

I can see bits of myself as I move through my past posts and quotes and see the evolution of my sophomore self to the my current junior self and I just can’t believe how change has kept me going ever since.

One thing that I’m so grateful for since the launch of Rants of an AP Student is being able to share it with you guys (my followers. If you’re not one yet then hit that follow button). It’s my audience who always kept me inspired to write and help those who want a boost in their high school career and that’s what I will continue to do.

This year, 2015, is going to be jammed packed (trust me it will be) and I can’t wait for it to grow with you and myself for Rants of an AP Student is a blog about the “woes and highs of an AP Student”. Thank you very much/Merci beaucoup.

A boy. A blog. And a laptop
B.J

 

My Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

It’s like a final curtain finally at an Oscar or broadway show and I think that it’s time that I (and a bunch of you guys reading this) to start thinking (before continuing this line, I suggest that you actually switch on that thinking section of your brain so that this will work) about your New Year’s Resolutions.

Look, 2014 is coming to an end and 2015 is knocking (forcefully) at our doors and it’s probably a good idea to be good a host (or hostess for those beautiful talented women out there) for the next year and treat 2015 as our honourable guest (don’t worry it’s only going to be 365 days).

So without further questioning, let’s get to read what I’ve come up with for the New Year of 2015:

1) Put the -E in Effort in classes and assignments: I’ve realized that I’m starting to slack off now that my first semester is ending, which is terrible because I haven’t even finished my mid-term exams and not to mention my reviews. So if I want to pass mid-terms with flying patterns, I better get my act together and not just for this semester but for finals as well (I basically have like 6 months left so I better get things sorted out).

2) Save money: I realized that every time my mother gives me allowance I automatically want to spend it. I think that it may be wise of me to just save it for emergency situations. For instance, I usually spend it at my school’s cafeteria food (which are totally over priced and unhealthy like seriously? $5.00 for a small poutine?). I think that I should start packing my own food like those good old days. This means that I’m saving money and my body from the evil lunch ladies (seriously I actually do feel scared of them).

3) Cut out the junk at get more of the gunk: Junk food is like smoking (it kills you) and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to die before turning 30. Getting more of my legumes (isn’t it ironic that I’m a vegetarian but I don’t get more of the vegetables? Well, fruits are juicy) is going to make me a powerhouse of health (like one of those health packs in video games!).

4) Get more Zzzzz’s: I’m young and I should try to retain my youth my prolonging my sleep instead of taking naps throughout the day (totally messes up your sleeping schedule). Plus, I think this will help me wake up early and on same time (not to mention to re-deuce my stress in school).

5) Read a book: Anyone else forgot what a book looked like? I did! And what’s worse is that when I was a child, I was a book-worm! Since that technology is dominating teenagers’ lives, I see myself focusing more on shows on T.V than on literature. So reading a book should be on my new list of hobbies.

6) Workout: I don’t know if this counts as a resolution for me since that I work out everyday but I guess it’s beneficial to maintain my body. So a lot of cardio and strength training for me!

7) Be more confident: Since it’s the New Year, I think having a clean slate will enable me to go through life with more confidence. I do want to build new relationships and I think that it’s time for me to have this boost!

8) Spend time with family and friends: They can leave your life any second therefore, spending time with my loved ones will sure be an important one for the New Year.

9) Go back to church: It’s been for how long that I’ve stepped foot in my faith? I really do miss praising the great almighty and I think that without him, I wouldn’t have the blessings that I have in my life.

10) Take the plunge and apply to that new school: I’ve been thinking about switching schools for the better, and I’ve decided that it’s time for me to make that happen although, I don’t guarantee that I will get in but doing it is the first step of conquering my fears.

Well, that’s that! If you have any resolutions, put it in the comment below and remember to stick to them (and not just put it on a sticky note but actually stick to making them happen)!

6 Practical Ways to Cure Procrastination

Who here has ever had those moments where your teacher assigns a 6 paged paper to be done in 3 weeks? All of you guys? Yeah, I’m no Doctor (not yet anyways) but I think you’re diagnosed with chronic procrastination (*gasp*). Anyways, so in the beginning you’re all confident and had this goal of being the over achiever and said “Hey! You know what? I’m going to get this done in 1 week instead.” So then you go on your laptop, open up Word and started typing out a couple of sentences. Then you got tired and went on Facebook for 2 minutes which turned into 2 hours then Tumblr came along knocking on your door so you invited him in and of course your favourite show came on. And that blinking cursor on Word is forgotten… This continues on for the next two weeks and then you realized that the paper is due in 5 days and started pulling off all nighters to just get the whole 6 paged paper done. Then you hand it into your teacher and you promise yourself that you won’t ever procrastinate ever again… Until the next assignment comes then the cycle restarts all over again.

1) Breakdown your work into small little bits: I don’t mean that you should take your papers and shred them to pieces but just make sure that when you’re working that you focus on one step at a time instead of simultaneously working on multiple steps. For instance, if you’re working on a research paper/essay do the following steps one by one- (1) Research (2) Deciding on the topic (3) outline (4) thesis (5) rough draft (6) good copy. When you take little nibbles of your work (don’t actually eat it, I’m pretty sure that excuse will land in you in a place worst than detention), it makes you think that the big assignment is actually just a bunch of small little tasks.

2) Change your environment: The term workplace refers to a place where you’re able to do work efficiently not just work and get nothing done. I want you to get up and look at your workspace (just don’t forget to come back). Are you back? Good. Now let me guess, you had a hard time trying to come back because of all of the distracting things. Yeah, it’s time to get rid of those distractions by revamping your workspace where it’s noise free, has a lot of light and comfortable (but not too comfortable; you really don’t want sleep knowing that your assignment is due the following day).

3) Create a timeline with specific deadlines: This is an extension of the first step mentioned above but, if you give those tiny little tasks a deadline, it actually has a profound effect by keeping you motivated to get things done. Just make sure that you get to actually follow that timeline and not just leave it to the side. Unless if you like working without knowing when to stop or not (if you do then the only Dead-line here is you when you get a zero on your assignment or the dead straight-line of a heart monitor).

4) Get a restraining order on those procrastinating thugs: The screen in front of you has a lot of traps that will get you procrastinating so I suggest hat you disable any automatic notifications. This also means to close any tabs that has a social networking site like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc. (If you have any of those or anything similar close them down right now, I mean it; you’ll thank you later).

5) Be friends with those who work hard: Use this to your advantage! If you have a partner for a class project or presentation, picking someone who works hard can inspire you to work hard as well (it rubs off!) and working with people whose only goal is to get things done will limit distractions like useless conversations that does nothing but guarantee you a failing F- on your report card.

6) Remember to Zen but not Zzzzzz: Keep things balanced! Don’t forget to feed yourself and get relaxation time. When your mind is healthy then your work effort will be just as healthy. Exercising is a great stress reliever, trust me (it also keeps down freshman 15).

Now that you know the 6 practical ways to stop procrastination, get to it! Oh, and if you’re reading this to procrastinate now you know. I also have a video for you on how to stop procrastinating:

8 Great Things to Do While on Winter Break!

Bored over break?

It's two weeks off so don't just let the weather or those crazy busy holiday preparations get you down!

1) Get your fair share of the cold element (literally): Life is considered short so don’t miss out on what’s outside of your house! I know, I know! Mother Nature is just so cold. Well, if you think about it, you can make the cold weather an enjoyable atmosphere of fun! Try getting your friends together to have fun in the snow! Try building snow forts or igloos, trust me that’s one of the best parts to do while the snow is still here! Ice skating, tobogganing, or even hockey can get you in the winter festive mood! Just remember to be responsible and dress for the weather! Oh, and drink hot chocolate with your family and friends after a day of fun!

2) Plan a get together with the close people of your life: Now that you’re home from a long semester filled with work, it’s time to put the books away and hit a new type of novel, relationships. Two weeks off will go by pretty fast and then you may not have that time with that special person in your life or even your friends when the upcoming mid-terms kick in! So, go to the mall, and just build those relationships for the best while you still have them! One of the most classic ways to capture those memories is taking a group selfies at a cool Christmas party! May I suggest a picture with Santa Claus to finish that thought?

3) Polish up that résumé: The winter break is a great time to polish up your résumé and pursue your dream internship. Update your résumé by adding your latest work experience, relevant course work, and volunteering activities. It’ll put you steps ahead of the competition!

4) Get those New Year Resolutions Going: It’s the last month of the year! So reflect, think back and of course try to come up with atlas 3 new goals for the following year! Make sure you choose something that you can do and something that will make a huge impact on your life! It’s doesn’t need to be a huge big goal but as long as the commitment is there, it’s a goal that’s worth for shooting at! For a majority of us, eating healthy, exercising, maybe taking up a new hobby or sport can be great choices for your New Year’s Resolutions. Got any ideas? Write them down, just remember to do them.

5) Try to fix that upside down sleeping pattern: It may be tempting, but pulling off all nighters just because you’re on holidays isn’t actually a risk to do. If you really value, your health, body, spirit, and your mind read this very carefully. Okay I said read this carefully not get close to the screen. Anyways, try setting up a new sleeping pattern so that you can sleep on time, wake up early and not have those marathons to brush your teeth to eating breakfast. Trust me, when the break ends you’ll be thankful for taking this advice!

6) Read a book: Do you know that literature gets more entertaining though age? There’s so many different types of novels to get into for the holidays! Most of them were turned into movies! So go to your nearest book store or library and get a book to read. It really does improve your literacy skills! It also makes you look smart.

7) Go get a new wardrobe: It’s out with the old and in with the new this season. Do you still remember those old shirts that you hardly wear? Yeah, it’s time for them to go. No! Not in the garbage, people in developing countries were forced to make that! Donate them to a thrifts store or anywhere where they can be given to the less unfortunate, besides it’s the holidays so it’s a good thing to be charitable this season!

8) Review past lessons and assignments: Yes I know, I know. It’s winter break but, that doesn’t mean that you can let that noggin rot now. It’s a good time to just brush up on past assignments and class notes so when exams come, you might be the only one in the class who actually gained a couple of IQ points for the win!

Sam Pepper: A Joke Going Way Too Far?

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Hello fellow Tumblr peeps,what I’m going to write about is not really connected to any of my activism work or any of my journey through my high school life, but a post that is centred on a current “prank” that occurred on one of my favourite prankster’s Youtube channel, primarily Sam Pepper’s new prank titled “Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank”. Before talking about it how about that we actually watch it.
First off, I just want to say that he is one of my favourite people to watch on Youtube and that I’m not here to attack him but more like to comment on his actions and trying to delve into his mind. Likewise, this post is just an opinion and I know that everyone has their own therefore, I’ll try to be discreet as much as possible to avoid hurting any of the other fans.
Anyways, lets just say that yes that prank (to me; in my perspective) was very wrong due to the fact that it puts emphasis on the sensitive issue of women’s rights and that it shouldn’t have been done. I know that it was only a prank and just a good hell of a joke but come on, if you know that it’s wrong to make a prank involving cussing out the N-word or pulling your eyes out to make them look small, then you would know that making a prank of women as a sexual objects is no different. 
I know, I know. Women who look attractive are very beautiful but please bear in mind that their beauty is just a replica of what our society has done, A.K.A the beauty industry. Therefore, Sam Pepper shouldn’t have down that.
Now that I got my rant out of the way, I think it’s time to focus on our dear friend Sam. I know how it feels to be carried away by something and I’m pretty sure that Sam didn’t mean it. For heavens sake, he’s an entertainer and all he was trying to do was make us laugh. It’s just that sometimes finding new ideas is kind of tricky and trying to take risks is a common one. So yes I agree that Sam Pepper was being (forgive me for this) being an idiot but hey, everyone is an idiot at some point, right? Like, I’m human and I’ve made a ton of mistakes and his was no different. 
Sam Pepper is still a funny and cool guy but let us just take a moment to reflect on his mistakes, and others as well, to teach us or remind us that regardless of what a woman is, her body is not up for discussion nor is it respectful to touch her parts without her permission.

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And to Sam Pepper, everyone makes mistakes don’t worry you were just trying to make us laugh. And you haven’t lost me as your fan but instead you reminded me of what not to do. And to the others out there, give him some credit, it’s better to make people feel better and be the bigger person than making them feel worse about their mistakes (keeping in mind that we all makes these ones). So please, don’t send hate messages to him (I am familiar about the freedom of speech act but that only implies to speeches of kindness not blasphemous) and just treat others in the manner of respect and dignity. Thank you and I send my wisdom of love and truth to all of you.
Oh and keep on Ranting!