Healthy eating habits for students

(Above) Always make time for breakfast, which can be as simple as a bowl of cereal with milk.

Between assignments, final exams and maintaining a social life, if you’re a student, healthy eating probably may not be high on your list of priorities.

However, you should realise that poor eating habits at this period of your life – as you transition into independent university life – could cause problems further down the road.

Your unhealthy eating habits could eventually lead to insufficient nutrients in your diet, cause fatigue, and even result in problems in learning.

In Malaysia, hypertension, diabetes and heart problems are among the non-communicable diseases linked to unhealthy lifestyles. So, if you thought that skipping meals and eating way too much junk food has no effect on you, think again!

Adopting healthy eating practices does not have to be painfully boring and by just following these few simple tips, you might just be on the right track.

Never skip breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it helps improve concentration and performance during lectures. And while it might be tempting to skip breakfast because you are in a rush, it is not wise to do so.

A study conducted by Nutrition Society of Malaysia (NSM) indicated that those who skipped breakfast show low physical activity level. So, if you do find yourself facing a busy day, just make sure to a have a hardy, healthy breakfast.

Plan your meals

Apart from the health benefits of planning your meals, making your own packed lunch every day will likely be more cost-friendly than grabbing something during your lunch break.

When planning your meal, try to base it around simple things that are healthy, within your budget, and are also easy to prepare.

Smart snacking

It’s normal for students to be snacking in between lessons and study sessions because the brain needs glucose or energy to function. However, this may not be an easy thing to do, as most students would prefer unhealthy snacks.

Instead of having instant noodles or chips, why not opt for healthier alternatives including fruits such as papayas and bananas, fresh vegetables, wholesome grains, milk and soy drinks for a memory boost.

Also, consuming dark chocolate before a test or a study session has been claimed to help relax the brain as studies showed that it helped to reduce blood pressure and promote blood flow to the brain.

Drink plenty of fluids

According to a study by researchers from the University of East London, consuming water has physiological effects on the cognitive performance of students. Basically, that means ‘drink more water, get better results’.

The study highlighted that drinking water before exams helped alleviate anxiety (while those who were thirsty during exams were more easily distracted) thus allowing them to concentrate more and perform.

That being said, carrying a bottle of water seems handy, especially during late night study sessions.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2EV3wG4

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How to discover your passion

‘Do what you’re passionate about’ is perhaps one of the most common pieces of advice people give when it comes to studies and careers, but what if you have no idea what you’re truly interested in?

For those of you who are studying or working in fields that generally guarantee financial stability, finding the ‘ultimate’ passion may sound farfetched, perhaps because the interests you wish to pursue may not provide a good income, or maybe the effort in doing the discovery is time-consuming.

Still, doing something that involves tasks, skills or subject matters that interest you will make your studies or career a lot more enjoyable.

If you want to search for your passion, but aren’t sure where to begin, here are a few tips to guide you through:

Find time for yourself

Your first step in finding your passion is to take a step back and reflect on any clues that you otherwise wouldn’t notice when you’re too preoccupied with your routine.

Breaking away from your daily grind for new experiences can also be a good opportunity to gain or enhance essential life skills, such as creative thinking, decision-making, and resilience.

Build self-awareness

Having time for yourself allows you to do some self-assessment, which means becoming more aware of your interests.

You can do so by recalling childhood or current hobbies that you feel you should take more seriously, listing down tasks you like and dislike, or simply asking yourself whether there are any activities you’ve seen or done that actually fire you up.

Another way of building self-awareness is taking an interest assessment, particularly the comprehensive kind where your assessment results can provide you a list of career options that match your interests.

Meet people with the passion

If there are several fields you want to explore, consider speaking to those who are already working in those areas.

Aside from networking possibilities, meeting experienced individuals allows you to have a better understanding of these fields, be it their day-to-day activities, prerequisites of entering the industry, or expectations of the job.

If the opportunity arises, gain some experience in that particular field before fully committing to it, and if you’re a student you could do this by working part-time or doing an internship or apprenticeship.

Keep trying

Above all, until you’ve found your passion, keep experimenting with various kinds of activities, even if it means getting out of your comfort zone.

The more successes you gain from certain accomplishments, the greater your chances of narrowing down your selection of interests.

Most importantly, don’t rush when searching for your passion, because your journey in finding it is a greater learning experience than your destination.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2E3W91J

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Millennials’ guide to making a good impression in the workplace

According to most articles online, millennials are often perceived as lazy, entitled, and unproductive workers.

While this may not be true, if you’re a young working adult who just got hired for your first job, making a good impression on your co-workers is vital to disprove those stereotypes.

To create a good impression at work, these simple tips may help.

Email etiquette

For a generation that’s used to replying ‘k’ instead of ‘okay’, writing a formal email is a unique challenge.

When writing formal emails, remember that it’s part of your professional brand.

Do greet the email recipient respectfully and be clear, concise, and polite with regard to the content of your email.

Lastly, always end it with ‘thank you’. Also try keeping it professional by creating an email account with your first and last name.

Dress code

Unless you are working in the fashion industry, flashy outfits are definitely not acceptable when working in most offices.

For young adults, who just started working in an office environment, it’s important to find out if your company has a dress code or not.

Some companies may have casual dressing, while others may go for a formal dress code.

Communication etiquette

Different generations may have different styles in communicating.

Do note that when you’re speaking face-to-face, body language plays an important part in conveying your message.

If you’re too casual, you might be perceived as lazy or uninterested. So, do learn the correct manner of speaking to your superiors or your colleagues.

When communicating, keep in mind that you should always be trustworthy, honest, and respectful towards others.

Addressing conflicting ideas

For millennials, typically problems at work for you often arise from differing minds and the different communication styles of colleagues who are not from the same generation as yourself.

This is especially true now that the gap between generations is further widening due to the adoption of new technologies in the workplace and different working patterns.

When facing conflicts, remember that the people you work with are on the same team and have the same purpose as you, so don’t be too quick to judge or make assumptions about why they behave the way they do.

Instead, be obvious about your own motives and ask if you can share your ideas or concerns and always encourage your colleagues to respond or share their perspective on matters.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2DOWHrv

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Why we should strive to stay fit and healthy

In our studies or career, we sometimes tend to push ourselves beyond our physical, mental and emotional limits, thinking that we’re capable of overcoming any and all challenges.

As a result, our health and wellbeing end up taking the brunt of this push, and our bodies are forced to endure stresses that can be detrimental in the long haul.

Still, it’s never too late to start our journey to become healthy and with time, patience and commitment, incorporating healthy habits into our lifestyle is attainable.

If you think that adopting a healthy lifestyle is just about trying to look good or to lose the extra weight, you should think about the bigger benefits it brings.

Gain more energy

Last year, a workplace survey conducted by AIA Vitality showed that despite working long hours, Malaysians are the least productive.

The survey found that their low productivity resulted from a lack of proper diet, exercise and sleep, as well as experiences with work-related stress.

This suggests that our performance at work and in life is dependent on our energy level accumulated from what we eat, how active we are physically, how long we sleep, and how we manage stress.

Therefore, it’s vital to take care of yourself so that you have enough energy to handle whatever tasks at hand.

Build confidence

Establishing a healthy lifestyle can involve setting goals for improvement, for instance eating certain healthy food for the first time or running at a distance further than your previous record.

Besides the physical benefits, achieving these goals will help to boost your confidence and self-esteem, thereby strengthening your mental and emotional health.

Numerous studies have also shown that having healthy habits ensure a healthy brain by reducing stress and risk of depression, plus improve learning, judgement and thinking capabilities.

Save money

Practising healthy habits boosts overall health, meaning you could lower your chances of having cardiovascular disease, hypertension and other life-threatening illnesses.

This also means that you can keep your healthcare expenses down, allowing you to have sufficient finances for other commitments like bill payments or pleasures like travel.

Live for the future

Above all, staying fit and healthy is about your longevity. It means having more time to achieve your life goals, be it succeeding in your studies and career, or establishing your own business.

Accomplishing this, however, requires prioritising and being responsible for your own health and wellbeing.

So, eat right, get moving, sleep well and don’t take your health for granted.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2Bj3O69

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Study smarter by avoiding time wasters

Now that we’re already a couple of weeks into the New Year, most of us would probably be thinking how time flies, whether we’re having fun or not.

If you’re a student, trying to juggle classes, assignments, extra-curricular activities and a social life can be quite a struggle.

If you’re looking to use your time more efficiently, one of the keys is to eliminate time wasters from your day so that you can strike a better balance between home and study.

Most of us would probably agree that one of the most common time wasters is excessive usage of social media.

While social media may be a good platform for networking and information searching, it’s also a tool that easily distracts you from study-related activities or accomplishing your tasks, as it is often the main source of procrastination.

With social media, you will face a constant stream of distractions from your smartphones or laptops, which will undoubtedly affect your ability to focus.

Apart from social media, a lack of planning or poor scheduling could also be considered a time waster for students.

Planning or making a schedule in advance is the best way to keep track of your activities and is critical if you want to accomplish something as it provides you with a clear direction towards your goal.

Constantly reviewing and assessing your schedule can help you recognise whether you need to make a change in your study pattern and complete your assignments, while at the same time learning to prioritise.

And while it’s good to have a full day planned ahead, another common mistake students often make that could also be considered time wasting is not taking breaks in between long study sessions.

Taking short breaks after about 30 minutes of a study session has been scientifically proven to boost focus and productivity because after a long period of working, the brain uses up oxygen and glucose, which is a form of energy.

By taking breaks, you are able to rejuvenate your mind so that you can refocus on your studies when it is time to resume, thus making it easier for you to digest more information.

Time wasters come in different forms and they might vary from one individual to another so just by eliminating some (if not all) will allow you to reset your priorities, be more productive, and also save more time.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2EHbpxE

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Finding the right ‘problem’ to solve

We are now in the year 2018, and if one of your New Year resolutions happens to be starting your own business, the very first step you must take is finding the right ‘problem’ to solve.

It is the essence of entrepreneurship to create new solutions that satisfy unmet needs. Yet, many businesses fail because they come up with products or services before even identifying the actual problem.

Searching for the right problem to solve could determine the success and longevity of your business venture because this problem will evolve into an idea that defines the bedrock of your establishment.

This means that your business framework, strategies, decisions and implementation will revolve around the issue you intend to tackle – the raison d’être of your entrepreneurial endeavour.

Obviously, this is easier said than done, for it takes patience, diligence and thorough research on the viability of the idea to ensure success in your business.

This crucial market research requires asking yourself whether there is a demand for such idea in the marketplace, if you will be faced with a high level of competition, or whether you have the capability and capital to provide a new solution.

It may be ideal to find a problem related to your passion, but it is much more meaningful when the problem can transform into an idea that leads to a solution that people need in the long run, instead of what they want now.

The question then is where can you find that real, ‘painful’ problem you can actively solve?

First of all, observe your surroundings and see whether there are things people do that upset them, waste their time, money and effort, or even hinder them from accomplishing their tasks.

Your surroundings could be a goldmine of problems that are in dire need of solutions, so stay sharp and watch your environment for potential business ideas.

Experiences can be a source of ideas too, so reflect on them, be it your own or people you have encountered. Not all ideas involve saving the world; instead they can come from minor grievances through our daily lives.

In your conversations with family, friends or anyone, who can be your potential customers, pay attention to their gripes. They might appear as trivial comments, but never discredit those and consider them as problems worth solving.

There is also a possibility that someone else has attempted to tackle a problem similar to yours, so analyse your competitors who have succeeded or failed, including their strengths and weaknesses.

Learning from them could prevent you from committing the same mistakes they’ve made, allowing you to build a competitive advantage that could push your business to greater heights.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2AD6eMH

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Enormous opportunity to explore in big data

In the age of IT and Internet of Things (IoT), you might have heard the hype on big data analytics but have you ever considered a career in this goldmine of a field? Described as the process of collecting, organising and analysing a big volume of data, the application of big data analytics is used to uncover patterns, unknown correlations, market trends, customer preferences and other useful information to give companies a competitive edge.

The data, which can be both structured and unstructured, is gathered from various sources such as social networks, videos, digital images, and digital transaction records.

Presently, there is a steady inclination towards big data among analytics professionals as more and more organisations are using big data and related analysis applications as a way to gain more information in developing effective business strategies and decisions.

According to the latest Worldwide Semiannual Big Data and Analytics Spending Guide from International Data Corporation (IDC), the worldwide revenue for big data and business analytics will grow to more than US$203 billion in 2020.

This means that the demand for professionals with big data analytics skills is also increasing alongside investments in big data due to the evolving nature of analytical needs and the influx of data from various resources.

Sarawak is no exception to this disruptive change as it is striving to develop its digital economy, including the big data analytics field, thus leaving endless opportunities for youths to explore.

Driven by specialised analytics systems and software, those pursuing a career in big data analytics must possess both technical skills such as statistical and analytical skills, software programming, and data visualisation, as well as business skills such as communication, creativity, problem identification, and solution approach.

While the technological field currently accounts for most of the job prospects in data analytics, there are other areas using data analytics application as well, including marketing, corporate, consulting, healthcare, financial services, government, banking, manufacturing and gaming.

The big data field has a wide variety of career paths to choose from, such as data analyst, data scientist, big data engineer, database administrators and big data architect.

The shift towards a data-driven culture within society and the new generation of technology available have created a number of opportunities for IT professionals with data analytics skills to exploit.

So, if you do have an interest in statistics, numbers and programming, now is the right time to consider pursuing tertiary studies and eventually a career in this field as there is great demand for big data professionals from companies in various sectors globally.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan ZamanMansang(Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams.Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2zRwJxw

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Enhancing technology through human-computer interaction

Every year, we find that advancements in technology have made equipment and gadgets more accessible and functional for people to use, and this is thanks to the progress made in the field of ‘human-computer interaction’ or commonly referred to as HCI.

Prominent examples can be found in consumer electronics, such as personal assistant apps in smartphones that require voice interaction; virtual reality (VR) headsets for VR-driven games; and ‘wearables’ like exercise wristbands for fitness tracking.

HCI is a socio-technological field that looks at the design and execution of the interface between humans and computer systems in both hardware and software, including mobile devices and applications.

Combining knowledge and skills from a wide range of disciplines like computer science, behavioural sciences and design, HCI aims to provide analyses that can contribute to the development of a usable system that is able to conduct various human activities and meet its users’ satisfaction.

Unlike many IT fields, HCI practitioners prioritise users in their studies and system design, particularly in their requirements, abilities and preferences, among many other factors, as poor human-computer interface can badly affect users in carrying out their tasks.

Thus, HCI systems are highly valuable across many industries, be it healthcare, manufacturing, energy, education or even entertainment.

Technology developed with HCI processes and principles has the potential of improving users’ quality of life; for instance, more user-friendly products and services are becoming available for the disabled.

From an economic perspective, HCI technologies developed through innovation and creativity can lead to new products, services and systems, subsequently modernising industries and boosting a country’s competitiveness and overall socioeconomic progress.

With technology becoming central in our lives, demand for skilled IT professionals capable of creating user-friendly, meaningful technologies has been on the rise around the world, including Sarawak.

It is no surprise then that Yayasan Sarawak now offers loans and scholarships for HCI research, reflecting Sarawak’s intent on developing scientifically- and technically-strong human capital as part of its digital transformation agenda.

If you find yourself interested in HCI, take note that this field involves becoming a ‘translator’ in communicating the needs of users to software developers.

This means possessing strong research and data interpretation skills, having a great understanding of the workings of different technologies and systems, and staying updated with the latest scientific and technological advancement.

Being proficient in HCI can lead you into a number of career paths, such as user experience (UX) designer, interaction designer, usability analyst, information architect, and user researcher.

Most importantly though, you will need to have the drive to solve problems, experiment with new ideas and develop fresh experiences that empower people to thrive in their everyday lives through technology.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2ByPCHd

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Blogging to market your products

Getting involved in e-commerce will mean taking the time to pick up some new skills, and one of those skills will definitely involve online marketing.

Most of us are familiar with the use of social media as effective platforms for selling products and services, but have you considered blogging as another way to reach more people and potential customers?

An article entitled ‘Blog Marketing: What Is It and How to Do It’, which was published on the website thebalance.com, described ‘blog marketing’ as the “process of reaching your home business’ target market through the use of a blog”.

If you already have an online store or are already selling your products online, the blog will allow you to promote your business.

According to the article, although it’s relatively easy to start a blog and use it immediately to promote your business, the hard part will be the on-going marketing process and management of the blog.

To help you, it has come up with this simple checklist:

Prepare a blog marketing plan

This will mean deciding on what you want to publish on your blog. Are you going to provide the latest updates about your product or are you going to write about the updates in the industry you are in? Apart from that, your blog marketing plan will decide on whether you will update your blog once a day or twice a day or more.

Create the blog that’s right for you

Once you have your blog marketing plan ready, you will need to decide on the blogging platform – WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Wix, etc – that offers the best fit for you and your business. Although you have the option of going for a free blog platform, it’s better to opt for paid plans, as it will make a huge difference in making it easier for people to search for your blog.

Update your blog immediately

Before you publish your blog, make sure you have an ample supply of posts, because if your blog is empty, you might as well not bother setting it up in the first place. So, get those posts ready and then follow the schedule you’ve decided in your blog marketing plan.

Use social media effectively

Although the primary goal of your blog is to market your product, you will still need to market your blog. Fortunately, with social media this task is much easier especially since it’s not difficult to integrate Facebook, Twitter and Instagram into your blog.

Stay social

Due to the social nature of blogs, you must always reply to comments from your readers. However, you also have to make sure to deal appropriately with online trolls and spam posts.

Encourage email signups

By allowing you to send them updates directly through email, your customers are also signalling that they’re excited about your products and services and hopefully excited to buy more from you, as well.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2CpL5qz

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Selling on an online marketplace

Previously, we talked about the nature of e-commerce as well as some of the steps you can take to set up an online store.

However, if you find yourself unsure about having your own e-commerce site, then consider making an online marketplace your launch pad towards becoming an online entrepreneur.

An online marketplace – like Lazada, 11street.my and Lelong.my – comes in the form of a website or a mobile application, and is designed as a platform for third parties such as sellers and retailers to conduct online business.

An online marketplace lets these sellers and retailers list their products or services, and facilitates transactions and order management for them; making it an easier and more affordable option for many sellers whose primary goal tends to be sales generation.

Selling in online marketplaces also enables you to take advantage of their promotional campaigns, which provides greater opportunities for you to get more potential customers to check out your products.

However, despite the convenience it provides, an online marketplace can be restrictive if you wish to build your brand in the long term.

For instance, while you can design your branded online store around your products or services, you can’t do the same with the online marketplace due to its ‘one-size-fits-all’ layout.

And because promotional campaigns are determined by the marketplace operator, you won’t be able to run your own campaign, which can be a hurdle in reaching out to your target customers.

Plus, customers tend to remember the name of the marketplace more than the seller if asked about their online purchases, meaning you’ll have a hard time to develop a brand following.

Still, with its low barrier of entry and its popularity among online consumers, an online marketplace would be a good place to start if you need to gain experience in e-commerce, as long as you keep in mind the following pointers.

Most importantly, you need to have your business registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia, a regulation required for all online sellers in Malaysia to ensure customer confidence in online shopping.

You also need to consider some criteria in finding the right online marketplace to participate in, such as site traffic, customer-to-product fit, and merchant support and service.

For example, if you want to sell fashion goods that cater to women, you’ll have a better chance reaching your target market through fashion marketplace Zalora instead of the more general Lazada.

Consider these tips for your business research and ensure quality in your product and delivery, so that you can build the experience you need in running your own business online.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2A8u4QN

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