Today I am going to be talking about my 3 day adventure in Berlin. We might have been there for a short period of time, but we definitely used it wisely. It was very go go go because we wanted to see as much as we could in the short amount of time that we were there. This city is full with incredible history and it was cool see and learn about everything that happened in the past. If you are heading to Berlin here are __ things that you must do!
1. Hop on, Hop off Bus
I definitely recommend the hop on hope off bus especially if you have a short amount of time here. The bus takes you to all the iconic monuments such as the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Cathedral, Oberbaum Bridge, and others. Its convenient because you can enjoy the on board audio system where they explain all the history at each monument, and you can hop off at any of the stops to explore on foot and take some amazing pictures. Especially if you do not know exactly what you want to see, this bus literally takes you all around the city and runs all day. Also, the price is pretty cheap at about $30.00 per person. We had the bus for two days, so $60.00 and we got to take our time and see everything. I will leave a link here for which bus we went with, as there are many different companies. I would recommend buying the tickets here, as you will be paying more if you buy it in Berlin.
2. The Jewish Memorial
One of the stops on the Hop on, Hop off bus was the Holocaust Memorial to remember all of the fallen Jews. Its crazy to see this history right infant of you and not be in aw. Around the memorial are little readings explaining the history of Berlin during World War II, what the city looked like at the time and explaining the execution of the Jews. Definitely recommend hopping off the bus to explore on foot and read some of the history.
3. The Berlin Wall
Another stop on the bus tour was The Berlin Wall. There is a small portion of the wall remaining that you are able to walk beside and read about the separation of the city between the East and West. In addition, there is a whole inside and outside museum right behind the wall explaining the full history of Berlin and their part in World War II. It also shows you timelines of events, all of the fallen Jews and their stories, the role women took in the wars, the role different countries took in the war such as Italy, and so much more. We spent so much time here seeing everything, that we actually missed the last bus pick up. So a tip for everyone, make sure you keep track of time so that your not across the city from where you are staying.
Berlin was awesome to see and I am so happy we went. I honestly did not think I would like it as much as I did. I wasn’t one to really care about Social in school. However, when the history is right in front of you, it makes a huge difference. This was a short post but I hope you found it helpful. I am super excited to be talking about Greece next week and the incredible things to see in Athens and Santorini! If you missed my other two blog posts I'll link them below.
Welcome back to my Europe travel series! Today I am going to be talking about our first stop on our trip which was Amsterdam, Netherlands. This is a place that I completely fell in love with, because I did not really care about it at first. However, the vibes in Amsterdam were great and the people there were super nice. It was a great start to the trip, and I’ll definitely be going back in the future.
The list below will discuss all the amazing things we did in Amsterdam, and some tips if your heading out there.
1. I Amsterdam card
This card gives you access to a lot of the attractions Amsterdam has to offer. If I am being honest we did not use it enough, because we only went to two things on theist of offerings. The good thing about the card is that you get free transportation. However, I would take a look at all the excursions the card offers, and choose which ones you would really want to see and based on that you can decide if the card is worth it to grab. I do think that you get a lot for the price of the card, considering admission to these places can get quite expensive. I will leave a link below if your interested In the places the I Amsterdam card has to offer.
2. Madam Tussaud
With the I Amsterdam card you get a discounted entrance free to Madam Trousseau. If your unfamiliar of what this is, its a wax figure museum of all your favourite celebrities. Its pretty cool to check out if your in Amsterdam. We spent a good couple hours there, because there is so many wax figures to see and of course we have to stop and get photos as well. The only downfall I would say is that it was crazy busy and theres not really any organization, so some places were very crowded. Therefore, I would be prepared for that but still go and check it out.
3. Canal Tour
The Canal tours take you through the rich history of Amsterdam where you listen on their special audio system and learn about all the special landmarks that made the city what it is today. Plus, I found it quite relaxing and fun. The total ride I would say was about 30-45 minutes and something enjoyable, and relatively affordable to do. I believe we went with the Lovers Canal Cruises which costed around €16 each person.
4. Rijks Museum
If you love art museums, the Rijks museum is a place you definitely want to check out. Its a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. With the I Amsterdam card you get free admission to this museum, which is great because admission is expensive. This museum is one of the most popular museums in Amsterdam, and one of the biggest. You can easily spend half a day here, especially if you love and have a passion for art. Even if your not that artsy, like me, this is still something cool to check out!
5. Smullers & Febo
Problaly one of our favourite things in Amsterdam as a group was Smullers and Fibos. These two places offered many traditional dutch favourites out of a type of vending machine. Everything from Croquettes, Frikandel, to Kaassoufflés, and others food such as burgers. It was great because they were always opened late, and always tasted fresh. We snacked countless times in Amsterdam at Smullers and Febos, and it just got better every time we did. Also, make sure you put in exact change because the machines don’t dispense the difference. Don’t worry theres a sign, but if your like me and don’t read things, then I am telling you now. Your welcome.
6. Shopping/ exploring
Make sure you bring your wallets with you because there is tons of shops to check out in Amsterdam, and many places to eat. You can easily spend a day shopping and enjoy all different kinds of cuisine. In addition, there are some cool street performances that happen during the day.
7. Red Light District
The Red Light District is an interesting place to walk through if your in Amsterdam. Due to the legalization of prostitution and sex oriented businesses, you’ll find many adult activities there. Of course, if your just an observer like me, it can be quite interesting to see and learn about the history of the Red Light District and see how different things are around the world. Its not for everybody, but its a very touristy place and just something cool to check out during the day or evening.
If you haven't seen my first blog post in this series I will link it dow below. Its all about the planning process that went into this five week adventure across Europe. There is a lot of tips and advice if you are planning a trip yourself. I hope you enjoyed reading about the experiences in Amsterdam and found them helpful. Next post is all about Berlin. Stay tuned! <3
Exploring Europe for five weeks was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I want to share my experience with all of you in a five part travel series that talks about my adventure, and each unique place that I visited. For today, I am breaking down my booking process and how the trip came about. So if anyone is planning a trip to Europe you might find these tips useful.
Here is a break down of the booking process:
1.Decide a time to go that works for everyone, whether its just yourself or a group
2. Create a Budget
3. Decide where you want to go, and a time frame for each destination
4. Plan your route
5. Book flights and places to stay
6. Find excursions and activities
8. Your off….
Best time to go
Its important to do your research on the best time to travel to certain places. The reason for this is because you can be saving tons of money just based on the time you go. For Europe High season is June-August and Low season is March-May. We went from May -June which Is in the middle, but was relatively cheap and worked for everyones schedule. Give your time to figure out when you want to go instead of booking last minute. Having an approximate time you want to go months in advance so that you can look for good flights and hotels will help you score major deals and save a lot of money.
Create a Budget
Europe can be a very expensive vacation if you do not have a budget in mind. The way I created my budget was by asking people who went and doing research online. Depending on when you are going, costs will definitely be affected. For five weeks I budgeted $5000, and I stayed below what I budgeted. When you have a budget in your head its easier to book things that are within your means. Give yourself time to save as well, so you know exactly how much is set aside for your vacation. This trip was something I knew I was going to do years before it happened. So with that being said, I casually did research here and there and already had money set aside before booking or officially planning anything. I recommend doing your research and taking everything into consideration; travel costs, accommodations, activities, food, and spending money. Once you create a budget and time frame you’ll know exactly how many places you can visit, and budget accordingly in each place.
Places to Visit
This is a very optional step because there is so many places to visit in Europe, and it would be nice to visit them all but depending on your time frame its probably impossible. So pick places you always dreamed of going. Some of my favourite places on the trip that I 100% recommend checking out is Santorini, Cinque Terre, Amsterdam, and Tuscany. I loved everywhere we went but I definitely have highlights at these specific places. Keep in mind your time frame, and decide how long you want to stay in each place. This is something I recommend researching too because sometimes we want to stay somewhere for 2 days but people recommend staying for 3 days depending on what you want to do and see. Once you have achieved this your ready to plan your route
Plan your route
The best way to plan your route is too travel to destinations that are close together so that you are saving time, and money. We did a circle starting in Amsterdam, then Berlin, Athens, Santorini, Rome, Florence, La Spezia (Cinque Terre), and Paris. Another thing to check is if there are events or holidays going on at the time you want to go to a different destination as this can save you a lot of money. For instance, our Berlin flight was $200 because we flew on the weekend the Prince was getting married. Take a look at different forms of transportation, to make sure you are getting the best travel deal. We found that flying was the cheapest and quickest way to travel Europe. But depending on where you are going that could be different. Be flexible to change your route if its cheaper to do it a different way. When you start to look at flights or other travel accommodations look for the best route combination. We did not no where we would fly too first, but with the help of Hopper we found a really good deal with KLM to fly to Amsterdam and so we planned our trip starting there and making our way down.
Book flights and places to stay
We used a lot of apps such as Hopper, Skyscanner, Air BnB, and Homeaway. The nice thing about Hopper and Skyscanner is that they find the best deals for flights and hotels and give you predictions of whether to book now or wait because they predict prices will go lower. I use these apps no matter where I go, even if I am not fully sure I want to go. Its just nice to look ahead of time so that if you find a good deal it might help you decide for sure. As for sleeping accommodations we booked mainly BnB’s because they were relatively cheap when split between five people. That is why I recommend travelling in a group so that you can share the cost of accommodations. However, if you are traveling alone, hostels might be a better option. Read reviews on different BnB’s to make sure that you know what to expect when you get there. For instance, we looked for places that were close to train stations, grocery stores, and not far from the main attractions. If you plan to go to Santorini or Cinque Terre keep the following in mind:
Find Excursions and Activities
Sometimes its beneficial to book activities ahead of time because they can be pricy if you book them there. We booked 4 things before leaving and got good deals for each. WE used Trip Advisor and Expedia to find the best options. We got I Am Amsterdam cards, a sunset cruise in Oia with dinner, a colosseum tour in Rome, and a wine tour in Tuscany. If I can find the exact ones I booked I will link them below. You don’t have to book everything but having a couple things booked ahead of time could save you time and money. You got to remember that if you decide to book in Europe that it will be more expensive because of the Euro.
For this five week adventure we used backpacks and one carry on luggage to fir all of our toiletries. My family was shocked that I was bringing so little with me for five weeks. However, I packed more than I actually used. I also shared clothes with my friend which is also a benefit in traveling in a group. In addition, majority of our BnB’s had laundry machines to wash our clothes. For a vacation where you are changing destinations every few days, you do not want to be carrying a lot with you. For clothes, this is what I packed:
There you have it! My experience booking a five week Europe trip. If you have an questions or comments, leave them below and I’ll be happy to get back to you! Next week I talk about my experience in Amsterdam, so stay tuned!
Finally had the opportunity to photograph my first wedding! Although, challenging at times I learned a lot about different lenses, posing more people at a time, and using external flash. First off, I would really like to thank Elena and Rob for trusting me with photographing their special day. It was beautiful, and I wish both of you nothing but happiness. Secondly, I would love to thank my lovely cousin for being my second shooter for the wedding. Check out her page on Instagram:
For this being my first wedding, I was obviously nervous but excited for the opportunity. The getting ready shots, are some of my favourite pictures to look at, so naturally I was excited to captured some on the day. Its nice for the couple to look back on these memories and feel the exact same emotions as they felt in those moments.
One of the main things I learned was that unexpected things may occur on the day of the wedding. This day, unfortunately we got rained out of our photo location, and we did not have an indoor location to fall back on. Nice enough, the ____ hotel where the groomsmen were getting ready offered to let us use their hotel lobby for bridal party pictures. After moving around a little bit of furniture, the place worked perfect under the circumstances.
I loved photographing details of the wedding, because I think little things like shoes or table settings can sometimes get lost in our memories. Having the photos of these items brings you right back to those moments, and the beauty of the day.
For candid images I really fell in love with the 70-200mm 1.4 lens. It was my first use of the lens, and I loved the quality, and the versatility. It captured some beautiful raw emotion from the day, and its definitely a lens I would use again.
There was so much love on this day, and I had so much fun being part of it. With that being said, I am really excited to announce the launch of my official wedding packages that meet the needs of different individuals. Thanks to everyone for all the support so far, it truly means a lot. If you have a wedding coming up, message me! I would love to chat!
2017 has been the year of firsts for me. I had the opportunity to explore many different areas of photography with some amazing people. I am very thankful that I had the chance to advance my skills as well as built my portfolio. I launched my website in 2017, started blogging, learned photoshop, bought new equipment to enhance my photos, and took a variety of different photos. In no particular order here are some of the highlights of 2017!
First Toddler Shoot.
Adriana's 4th birthday was my first time photographing a toddler. Although, shy at first Adriana definitely got more relaxed and had tons of fun throughout the shoot. Especially when her balloons, bubble gun, and surprise cupcake came into the picture. I learned that Shutter Speed is your best friend when photographing children, because they are constantly moving and looking around. Overall, I really enjoyed the final look at this photoshoot.
Alicia's 18th birthday photoshoot, was the first time I experimented with boudoir photography. This is a completely different ball game from birthday shoots or anything I've done. This particular photography involves finding the right angle to make your subject stand out. Its a very unique process with the individual. Another thing that really makes or breaks boudoir photography is making sure your subject is comfortable, and that they trust you. This Photoshoot was my most viewed throughout the entire year and I look forward to photographing more boudoir in the future.
Giselle gave me the opportunity to shoot my first maternity. This was a mix of portraits and lifestyle pictures. Again, it was something completely new , and out of my comfort zone. It brought new challenges, but overall help grow my skills. Challenges here, including getting the best lighting for the shot and positioning in comfortable ways for both mom and baby.
First Newborn Shoot
I did my first newborn baby girl and boy this year and it was the best experience. It would have to be my favorite experience out of everything I did in 2017. The reason for this is because how nervous I was to do these shoots. I have all older cousins in my family so I haven't been around babies to often so it was definitely out of my comfort zone. I got to explore lifestyle newborn shoots which is something I fell in love with. I am very grateful for the parents that trusted me to take these photos. Especially, being so new at the process. I would definitely be open to exploring more newborn photography in the future.
Graduation photos were fun to do but also chaotic because of how many people are at the vicinity. Things I learned from graduation shoots is to make sure to book time slots. Being there all day doesn't ensure you the best photos because your subjects want to be with their friends and enjoy there time, and you don't want to disrupt them of that to pose for a picture every second. Also, with the amount of people there its hard to get a good picture without a lot of traffic in the back. However, I loved photographing the girls in their dresses, working on my portraits and reminiscing on my own grad.
First Business Headshots
Near the end of 2017 I got to take some business headshots for the first time. Again, this helped me work on my portrait photography and gave me more opportunity to explore different light and angles. Shooting on a backdrop vs. outdoors is very different because with natural light you just have to focus more so on the positioning. However, on backdrops with artificial light, you control everything and you have to move the light and adjust it according to your subject and what you want to achieve. Overall, I felt my first go around with business headshots was not to bad. For more of these photos check out my facebook page at:
I hope 2018 is filled with a lot more new experiences and opportunities. Once again, I would love to thank all of my wonderful clients in 2017 and I look forward to meeting some new clients 2018. Cheers to the New Year!
Many speak of opportunities - "when one door closes, another one opens" But rarely about the hallway. The transition. The in between where you are and where you are headed. The hallway doesn't have to be a dark, scary, endless confusion - It can be a space of massive transformation, great memories and peace.
As Christmas quickly approaches us, I reflect on my life and how it has changed in the past 6 months and how different this holiday season will be. I also realize many others could be facing difficult or different situations this year as well and I wanted to take the time to reflect. I love the holidays, and regardless of the hardship that has endured, my heart is full.
Many people talk about overcoming huge obstacles in their lives and becoming a completely different person because of them. They are inspiring stories, and make others realize that everything eventually will be okay. When we go through hard times you hear everyone talk about how strong you'll be at the end of it. But what the transition period? The stage where things are recovering, you feel yourself changing, but your not quite as strong, or where you want to be. If there is one thing I have learned about facing adversity this year is that it will come out of nowhere, theres no way to prepare, and you just have to go through it. The transition period is a time for A LOT of reflection, and getting brutally honest with yourself and those around you.
The Good in the Bad
Transitions are tough to go through especially when change is forced upon you. However, where relationships break, others grow. Somehow you'll always find clarity in the blur of things, and it becomes so beneficial to your well being. Whether or not we are aware of it all of these things happen and it shapes us. Does it suck somedays? Yes. Unfortunately, some days are harder than others and it will be like that for a little while. The days when things are well are the times you cherish, and just be in the moment. Its sad sometimes that we need something devastating to happen to us in order to appreciate things but unfortunately thats the truth. Life is lessons, growth, and love.
The truth is adversity actually helps us stay connected with others. Everyone goes through many things that are life changing, and what it does is make you more understanding when you know others are going through a hard time. A misconception we often make as people is thinking that we are the only ones going through stuff. We often question "why me?" But the reality is everyone is facing some kind of struggle. The truth is the "hallway" is the most vital part of change. Its where you find answers to where your going, learn to face fear, and find peace.
What I have Learned this far
1. Let change make you BETTER not bitter
Its easy to let things get to us. If we let life destroy us, it will. Find ways to keep yourself going especially when you feel like you have nothing left. These are the times when you really have to love yourself and have your own back.
2. Reflect on the good that came from the bad
When life is overwhelming, always look back and reflect on what you have gained. It might not seem like a lot until you let yourself actually think about it. Lets be honest, its hard to look at anything positive when theres so much negativity around you. However, reflecting helps make things a little bit easier.
3. Think before you speak, and do not let emotions determine what to say
"Respond, don't React" take time to think about how the situation makes you feel and how you can talk about it in calm matter. I know for me, sometimes it could be hard to not cry, but I visioned and thought about explaining myself in a way that made me calm and that really helped.
4. Let yourself feel
Let yourself cry if you feel sad and don't feel guilty when you feel happy. Its not good to hold in emotions all the time and avoid them. As well as, not feeling happy because you think you shouldn't. Take everything as it comes and know its okay to be emotional, vulnerable, and happy in the same period of your life.
5. Always do your best
Always show up, and be authentic. Be happy for those around you regardless of what your going through. Be proud of yourself that you have made it through this far and know that better day are coming.
I am nervous, but also hopeful and excited for what is to come in my life. I love my family and friends, and I am truly happy when they are happy. I hope that everyone going through a transition finds clarity and looks forward to a better time. A Big thank you to my lovely friend and mentor Bertilda Arguello for these beautiful pictures. I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and to cherish these moments with your loved ones. <3
This was my first photoshoot using all natural light. It was so much fun and I gained a lot of knowledge through this experience. Again, I feel that I really push myself to improve on each photoshoot that I do for new clients. This is baby Nolan, and he was so precious to photograph. Although, sometimes it was tough to be a model all he needed was a little attention from mom and dad, and he was back at it being the adorable baby he is.
This photoshoot was in the morning so the natural light coming through the windows was perfect. It was beautiful to see the connection between Nolan and his loving parents Chantal and Ryan. One of my favourite things about lifestyle photoshoots is the genuine intimacy between the people I am photographing. I love when I capture something that is real and that it shows a connection or bond. I want all my photography to represent that genuine intimacy and that connection between people.
This was one of my favourite pictures because I felt that it was unique and taken from a different perspective that you do not see too often. Usually in Newborns shoots the little one is asleep for majority of the time, but those shots you get with their eyes open looking at their parents are so special and beautiful.
I think I really found a joy and passion in newborn photography that I will continue with as my photography experience grows. More specifically lifestyle newborn photoshoots I really love because its more personal. I'm still opened to learning all about portrait newborn photography and hopefully combining the two to get the best of both worlds in my photoshoots. Again, I like to thank my clients Chantal and Ryan for trusting me with taking their photos. To see more of Nolan's photoshoot click the link below.
If anyone has any questions regarding lifestyle newborn sessions please feel free to contact me by pressing the link below.
I had an awesome opportunity to do my first maternity photoshoot earlier in June. Although, I was nervous it was a great stepping stone for my photography. I faced challenges with getting the correct lighting and poses but everything ended up working out. I learned more about how I wanted my photos to look if I continue with maternity photoshoots. My favourite thing was that this photoshoot was a lifestyle shoot that was taking in the family's home. I always loved these types of photoshoots because they are more intimate and sentimental.
I loved this photo in the nursery as it represents the coming of a new family member. The subtle details such as the book which is titled "I am a Big Sister" makes the picture that much more unique.
These black and white ones probably turned out to be my favourites out of the entire photoshoot. I love the light from the window, and how I ended up capturing the photo. I found some inspiration for these photos on Pinterest but figuring out how to capture the light with the subject became a challenge at first but I ended up getting a great shot.
For this photo, I had to do some subtle lighting corrections because it ended up coming out a little darker then I wanted. Throughout my journey learning how to shoot in proper light I am also learning to adjust things in photoshop. This ended up being one of my favourite pictures in the shoot because It helped me learn more about exposure when shooting and how to adjust more in photoshop.
I really want to wish this beautiful mom to be the best of luck throughout the rest of her pregnancy. She looked absolutely stunning in all these pictures and I am truly grateful for her letting me photograph and share my first maternity shoot. Make sure to stay tuned as I will be posting more from this photoshoot very soon. Until then, I hope everyone has a good rest of there week.
I am finally back from exams, and I had an awesome start of my break by getting to photograph my first Boudoir photoshoot. Alicia really wanted to do something different for her 18th birthday and so we thought we do a more transitional photoshoot where it shows the coming of age. This shoot shows the fun, sexy, and beautifulness of being a woman. I knew I always wanted to shoot boudoir because I love the empowerment it brings and to show woman that they are beautiful and to be comfortable in their own skin. After getting a boudoir photoshoot myself and remembering how confident I felt after, was the best feeling in the world and it would be awesome to help other women feel the same. I was defiantly challenged creatively during this shoot because I knew that I wanted to create something different and flattering. I was also a little nervous because I wanted to make sure that I kept some sophistication throughout my photos. I learned a lot about light, and posing in this photoshoot especially because different lighting can be unflattering just as certain poses can be unflattering on certain people. The props definitely stepped up the game in these photos. With the rose pedals, champagne, cigar, and bubble bath we ended up creating something really beautiful and sexy. Combining the props with certain poses was an awesome challenge as well and really made the photos unique. Alicia also put a lot of thought in her shoot as well and had a clear picture on how she wanted these photos to look. Therefore, that was quite a challenge for me because I wanted to create exactly that image for her.
I always respect feedback from people because I am obsessed with learning how to improve my photography, so I always love when people let me know how I did or if they are satisfied with the pictures. Here is what Alicia had to say about her experience:
"Super satisfied! it was exactly what I had pictured in my mind, if not better. She came up with great ideas, and at the same time accommodating with what I wanted. I also felt super confident and comfortable throughout the whole time" -Alicia
I think by the end of the entire process the photos exceeded both our expectations which is awesome because she got what she wanted and I defiantly stepped up my photography with this shoot. I am really happy that she enjoyed the entire process, and that she felt comfortable because that is the most important thing for me.
I would recommend every woman to try a Boudoir shoot whether or not they want to share the pictures with others or keep them for themselves. Getting beautiful photos helps to stimulate a sense of confidence and comfort with your body. Even having them just for yourself to look back on is great as well. I know for a lot of woman its a struggle to feel beautiful, and love their bodies. In a social media world, when we do feel good in a photo we love to share it because we feel good about ourselves. I know for some woman getting a photoshoot like this comes with a lot of fear of being judged. Woman are always critiqued so feeling scared of being judged is a huge affect on our insecurities. In my opinion, There is nothing wrong with sharing a beautiful photo that makes you feel sexy and beautiful in your own skin. People can judge you for posting a picture wearing a body suite or a silk robe and call it inappropriate but have nothing to say if you were to post a photo on beach in a bikini. You see the contradiction? Its the human body, its beautiful, its unique, its life. Alicia was proud of her pictures and allowed me to share them because she loved how she felt and looked. I guess what I am saying is don't let the fear of people judging stop you from doing what you want and feeling comfortable with who you are. People are going to talk anyways, so mine as well give them something good to talk about.
I hope you guys enjoyed todays post! To see more of the Boudoir session click the button below and I will talk to you all next week. xoxo
I encourage everyone to watch this video because there could not be more truth about this issue. This is one of my favorite videos on the Internet because its about something that I truly care about. Our education system is light years behind our time. With all this innovation its hard to believe that education is something that has fell so far behind. This is a social issue that people need to come together to solve. We wonder why people hate school, and feel not good enough. That’s because they are restricted to one way of learning and expressing. When people have these restrictions on them they make it define them and their capabilities. For someone who loves to learn and experience its saddens me to have to go to school everyday and not learn one thing. I really want to spread my concern for this issue so people become aware of this issue that is affecting the future of our society.
Let me start off and say that growing up I did love school, and I was close to my teachers. Especially in elementary, I wanted to go to school on the weekends. However, looking back on it I realized how early my test anxiety started. I was having test anxiety at the age of 5 (grade 1) over spelling tests, and math tests. These tests gave me no enjoyment (duh). Everything I enjoyed learned, and retained in school especially in elementary was unconventional. I never learned anything out of a textbook. No, I was obsessed with activities and the unconventional ways of learning. I loved playing with the cubes while learning addition, subtraction. I loved that we planted flowers to learn about photosynthesis. I loved the projects we got to do to learn about other cultures in social studies. The math fair project I got to do in grade 6, which was so, much fun. I remember filling a jar up with water and measuring how much was in it everyday to learn about evaporation, and when we burnt sugar in grade 2 to learn what chemical reactions happen when you add heat to sugar. Learning about composting in grade 4 using Red Wiggler worms. I remember these activities so clearly because I am all about experience and activities always have helped me learn. It was exciting because I learned but also got to explore my creativity as well. Field trips were always my favourite, not because I was missing school but because I know it was going to be really cool, fun, and I was going to come home to tell my mom everything I learned that day. I know they have started to remove tests out of elementary schools, which I think is great. The only downfall would be if they also don't change junior high's, high schools, or post secondary these kids will suffer from more anxiety and depression because it will become a lot and overwhelming. Especially if they didn't experience any paper tests in elementary. SO its simple, lets change those too.
I never understood why as soon as Junior High, and High School came activities shattered and everything was test based. Of course we still had the occasional project, and experiment in science. However, rarely did the project or experiment information go towards our exams. I don't think there was one question on my science PAT in grade 9 about my experiments in class. I was so anxious in these years because I needed Honors to be accepted, to be smart, capable, and successful. I did get Honors throughout junior high and high school, but did I actually learn anything? If it wasn't for some amazing teachers, I probably wouldn't have learnt a thing. But again, nothing I learned came from writing a test. I always performed worse then what I actually knew because I was so anxious. I had some pretty awesome teachers in junior high and high school that really made classes engaging. For the most part, I liked going to classes especially when I had a good teacher who liked what they were teaching because you'll always learn the most by people who are passionate. I remember my grade 12 English teacher and how she made a class that was always so difficult for me easy and enjoyable. For once in my life, I liked english. Anytime before that, english always made me feel dumb, that I wasn't good enough and you know what? all that structure crap you do for essays, not needed in university. I never understood why I could get marked so poorly on Personal Response. Key word PERSONAL. It was an opinion, and an experience and I got marked on that? Never understood. Then they tell you well do a creative response. So now they are marking you on something you made up and found so interesting, and were so excited to write about and tell you its not that good. As result of that, your destroying the creativity of students. If they are going to be grading anything it should be punctuation , but have you noticed how small of a portion that is on the marking rubric. ANYWAYS, my grade 12 English teacher did the opposite, I felt like my ideas were acknowledged, I was able to explore my creativity, and that she genuinely cared about everyone’s success in the class. We defiantly need more of this.
The problem is not teachers though, they that have to work through a system where they are confined to these curriculums that are created by people who have probably never taught a day in their lives. If we gave teachers the opportunity to be creative in their classrooms I guaranteed they would be more passionate in what they are teaching. Give them the concepts they need to teach, but let them go about it there own way. Stop telling them well you HAVE to have a project in this class you HAVE to read Shakespeare, you HAVE to have an exam after every chapter blah blah blah. Let them create the learning in the classroom, stop restricting them.
Going into University was one of the biggest turning points in my life about education and its a reason for this post. First off, they are a business (a pretty greedy one I would add) not a school. I hate school now, I’m furious about it because I seriously don't learn anything and I DON'T feel like I am being prepared for my future. Before people say well "do you like what your taking at school." I'm not opposed to what I am taking in school but even if I didn't like it I've had teachers like my grade 12 english teacher who could turn a boring subject for me into something I loved. I had an amazing prof my first year university who taught Economics. I did not care about economics, and I was dreading going to that class. It ended up being my favourite class that I enjoyed going too, and I made sure I got the same teacher for the next level. You know what people in university who hire teachers look at? Credentials. "Oh well he's been working in accounting for 20 years he can definitely teach" WRONG. These universities need to make sure that theses teachers know how to teach, but you know how they do that? When they get the results beck from final exams and realize everyone did poorly but its too late anyway. I find that the teacher makes all the difference in school, and that is the number one thing about university, THE TEACHERS DO NOT CARE. I had many accounting teachers tell my class in a direct and indirect way that we would not enjoy our jobs in accounting. I am sorry, but even if you believe that you do not tell a classroom of students who are $10,000 into their accounting degree that there not going to like there jobs. I could take every single class online and it wouldn't make a difference because the teachers don't teach you anyway. Everyone there is there for a paycheque. I am a business student; we should be working on collaboration, networking, and team building. Textbooks don't do anything for us. In addition, the stress level in University is WAY beyond line. Its unnecessary stress because the school doesn't care that we have families, or our personal care. I remember when my school was so excited for a 24-hour study space for finals. Do you understand what this is telling people? Pretty much that the school is aware that people loose sleep for finals. Its ridiculous around finals, kind of scary actually. We are a bunch of robots. Its like this is the only thing that matters in life. Its so wrong. Let alone all that, but now you also have to spend thousands of dollars just to go through the stress. Also, I want to reach out to those who feel stuck in their degree or don't want to pursue what their chosen major is that its okay. You don't have to go into what your taking, never let school determine what you are capable of because then you'll just feel limited. Getting a university diploma/degree is safe in Canada because most employers require it, but it does not mean you are going to be living at a lower level then everybody else if you don't go to school. It is all mind set, and I truly believe that. I am in my third year accounting student, I've done an accounting job, but I'm on the fence of being an accountant. I also let school determine my success and capabilities for way to long, and I won't let it anymore. So if your feeling stuck, things will work out just stay hopeful.
Obviously, I know that change is not going to happen overnight, but things have already started to change, we just have to accelerate the process. Education is light years behind modern times, and we have a lot of work to do to get it caught up. However, its not going to happen if no one cares about the issue. There are so many countries that have changed their education systems, so why can't we? Lets focus on collaboration, creativity, and implementing many types of ways to learn a concept for different types of learners. I mean we've been taught about the different types of learners. Their is visual, hands on, books, and yet those learning methods were taught to use through one structured way, when there was a class full of students who learned differently.
To Current and Future teachers-
Be passionate, and try not to let the structure of the curriculums limit you in teaching your students. You have no idea what power you hold, and how you can easily affect a student. You are capable to be hero's for children and help them learn things that they WILL remember for the rest of their life. Also, its so vital for you to love your job. For those people who have teaching as their Plan B option because I hear that so often, DON'T. Not only will you hate it because its a lot more work then you think but you'll also will not care, and you need to care about your students when your a teacher.
Try and come out everyday and learn something. Don't worry about the grade because it does not determine how much you learned, or what you are capable of. All grades do is create unhealthy competition between peers, and tries to put you on a hierarchal scale. Search and try your best to get into classes with teachers that you heard were good, because you'll come out learning something when you have a passionate teacher. Its okay to feel lost and to not know what you want to do in the future, everything works out in the end, and your D that you got in english in your first year university is not going to matter. You are capable, and strong. You as well need to passionate and be hopeful in your capabilities.
This is an issue that I'll continue to voice my opinion on in hopes that maybe when I have kids or when people my age start to have kids that the education system will be different for them. I love learning, and I don't want school out of all places to suck out the fun out of it. I am very hopeful that eventually this will change, and that education will finally be caught up with all this innovation. I hope you guys read this, and realize the importance of our educations system and why it has to change. This might be all over the place, but I had so much to say and I didn't know where to start. Please share the video I posted to people around you to make them aware as well. I apologize for the late blog post but I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their weekend. <3