Highlights of 2012-2014: Memories of a young writer

10261738_10100261539296113_907550627_nHere are a few of my proudest work from 2012 to 2014. Enjoy!

The art of being alone
Nothing in life is permanent
A love letter to the capital cursive G
As POF Eliminates Intimate Encounters, Ashley Madison Makes Them Easier Than Ever
The calm before the glitter storm: profile of Top Less
Got too much on your plate?
Curse those cussing kids
The boomerang generation
What is love? Baby, don’t hurt me

Flash back to 2012: It has been five years since I graduated high school and four years since I graduated film school. The momentum I had after graduation in 2008 had faded, and I was still on the perimeter of the entertainment industry.

Sure, I have successfully landed a few auditions, got myself an apprentice status in UBCP and written and directed a few short films that I couldn’t help but be proud of, but realistically I was just fooling myself into thinking that I actually wanted to climb that ladder.

First rung: I worked as a background performer. Second rung: I did two years of stand up comedy. Third rung: I acted as production assistant for multiple companies and productions for literally four days. Fourth rung: I performed in some student films. Nope, it wasn’t a stepladder I was climbing—it was a Stair Master. I was going nowhere and I needed to get off.


It happened all in one single night. I might have been in bed, but for dramatic reasons lets have me pacing through a rainstorm. I was drenched from head to toe and the only sign that I was still alive was the streetlights illuminating the next few steps I was going to take. There in the depths of my quarter life crisis I asked myself: What do I still want to do? Acting, Directing, Standup, Kitchen Prep, Writing.

It wasn’t an epiphany—I don’t get those—it was more of a “duh!” moment. Writing was the fuel that powered all my other previous passion from directing to standup. It was something I did without ever taking credit for because it was a mean for something else. I took it for granted. And it was a bit upsetting to realize all that wasted time was for not.

I don’t know what it’s like to have a divorcé, but I do know what it was like to call it quits on a dream and start all over. I know what it was like to say bye to a childhood passion and welcome a slightly more mature (but not really) alternative.

I still wonder what I would be doing if I didn’t make that conscious choice to become a writer. But I like to think that I haven’t given up on being a filmmaker. Life, after all, is quite long—or it could be—I’m just taking another route, an elevator. And it’s one that I’m currently enjoying. A lot.

I have spent the past two years with some of the most inspiring and generous people. Attending Print Futures at Douglas College and working at the Other Press has introduced me to a world of writing I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. It took me out of my comfort zone, introduced me to new challenges and presented me with opportunities I could not have found from the comforts of my own home. It gave me confidence and made me adventurous. Failure was inevitable, but I wasn’t doing it alone anymore. More important than my education and my skills, I now have supporters. People whom I can turn to when I mess up a line or miss a grammatical error. I’m safe now. I’m on the right path… the climb continues.


– Elliot Chan, April 17, 2014

Utilizing Douglas College’s free peer tutoring service


Improving your grades with a little help from a friend

By Elliot Chan, Staff Reporter


Formerly published in The Other Press. Sept. 6, 2013

The Douglas College Learning Centre starts off every semester by recruiting new peer tutors. The number fluctuates between 20 and 35 peer tutors, which means there is often a waiting list for students who need assistance. The Learning Centre hires accordingly, depending on the courses offered at the college. Biology 1000, Chemistry 1000, and English 1130 tend to require extra-curricular help, and the centre often seeks students with expertise in those areas.

“My opinion of a quality peer tutor is one who is very high achieving,” said Holly Salmon, Learning Centre coordinator. “They are independent learners or someone who loves to learn. But when I ask peer tutors who they want as a part of their team, they say they want someone fun, has a lot of team spirit, and someone who is serious about school.”

The service is free for any students enrolled in a credit course at Douglas. Peer tutors offer two types of sessions: the weekly one-hour session allows students and peer tutors to sit down once a week to go over homework, assignments, and lecture notes. These one-hour meetings are limited, and sometimes require a waiting list. The other option is a “Quick Question” 25-minute drop-in session that offers students the opportunity to ask one key question about their studies.

“Our expectation is that you come in when you hit a wall,” said Salmon, “and you want help.”

Students who have high academic standards and want to share it with the community can also apply to be a peer tutor before or after receiving recommendations from an instructor.

“We have students that come in to apply and we ask them to provide names of two faculty references,” said Salmon. “I get emails from instructors a lot actually, ‘so and so came in and talked to me and I support them.’”

The Learning Centre has certain requirements for students who want to be peer tutors, such as being a registered student in at least one credit course at Douglas, and a B-average or better in 12 credits in Douglas College or equivalent courses.

“We have two weeks of training before you can tutor,” said Salmon. “You have readings, activities, and you sit in on other sessions to observe more experienced tutors. After that I speak with you and ask how you are feeling and see if you need more training—nobody ever says they need more training. By the time they are done they are ready to sit with a student. Throughout the term they get 2 and a half more hours of training every week.”

Peer tutors receive benefits for their assistance, including $11.20/hour, health and welfare, and a College Reading and Learning Association certificate, which is a professional certificate in three levels that allows peer tutors to tutor independently or at other institutions without extra training.

Application forms and more information about becoming a peer tutor can be found online at http://www.douglas.bc.ca/services/learning-centre/about/tutor.html. Job postings can be found on the Douglas College job board.

If you are seeking a peer tutor to help with you academic needs, please visit http://www.douglas.bc.ca/services/learning-centre/tutoring.html for more information.

The waiting game

Popular courses force students into waiting list purgatory

By Elliot Chan, Staff Reporter


Formerly published in the Other Press. Sept. 6, 2013

Before each semester, students rally for a good registration spot and a seat in the classes of their choice. The problem is, popular and prerequisite courses are attractive. With limited space in each class, students who register late or have a later registration date often miss the cut-off of around 37 students per class. This leaves many abandoning the prospect and applying for less appealing or relevant courses, thus prolonging their time at Douglas and other post-secondary institutions.

Watching your ranking on a waiting list is a frustrating ordeal. Once on a waiting list, Douglas College recommends that students check their status daily and drop themselves from the list if they lose interest.

Although the system at Douglas tries to be as fair as possible, the result may not always be favourable. Odds are you’ve already figured out whether you’ll be attending a course or not, but if you missed the chance this time, here are some tips to avoid the same outcome next semester.

“If students want a better registration time, they will need a better GPA,” the registrar’s office suggests. “They should also register on the day to avoid disappointment—and even then sometimes courses just fill up.”

Popular classes like Biology 1103 often reach the waiting list maximum of 100 students. After the first week, the waiting list shrinks to around 60-70. Even so, the prospect for attending the class becomes rather daunting.

The registrar’s office recommends that students on a waiting list attend the first day of class and email the course’s instructor. Most professors won’t mind students sitting in on the inaugural class while they gauge interest, potential for dropouts, and ability to increase workload. It is then the instructors’ choice to override the class limit or stay the course.

When sitting in on a class, it is important to respect the other students who have already registered and paid for the course. Understanding that the room may already be full, common courtesy is often a better route than eagerness. Speak with the instructor, let them know your condition, and accept a seat if one is offered for the time being.

If the instructor ends up offering you a seat in the course, you must pay the tuition immediately: i.e. 23.75 hours after the offer has been sent. Failure to do so will drop you off the list completely.

Planning ahead of time will give you an upper hand when it comes to getting the most beneficial courses. Research the courses you want to take and mark down the registration time, tuition fee payment deadlines, and any important dates to consider in relation to the course(s).

Registration for Winter Semester 2014 goes from November 14 to 28, 2013, with the tuition fee payment deadline for domestic students on December 9, 2013. Classes commence in the New Year on January 6, 2014.