• Five ways I Sustained Mental Health Through Unive ...

     In another article, I wrote of student habits and tasks that help with career searching, including habits relating to mental health upkeep. Now obviously there are tons of resources on mental health (check the website of your postsecondary institution), but I want to look at specific practices that might be useful for students dealing with stressful studies and stressful job hunting. Most of my friends and family embrace the nerdy, bookish side of life; for better or worse, profs and doctors and masters abound in my circles. Even my wife is currently mid-PhD. I’ve heard long conversations on, How do you stay healthy amid all the deadlines, applications, reading, late nights, etc.? How do you stay healthy amid the daunting business of building a meaningful career? Naturally, every answer is different, but I’ve gathered a few habits that have helped my journey.            1. Cooking at dusk. Every weeknight, I (attempt to) cook a nice supper (or bake a dessert, if my tooth is sweet). It works several small miracles. First, it generates energy during the day, something to look forward to and work toward (who doesn’t like to relax with a delightful lil’ bite?). Second, it changes up my day. When I sit on my butt staring at a screen for hours, lost in my head, there’s nothing like using my body to unwind, turning off my thoughts and creating something with my hands. Schoolwork and career searching rarely wraps up in a day, but cooking a delicious supper does (hopefully), and man, it’s satisfying to have that sense of completion and accomplishment. Cooking in the evening helps me shut off work frustrations and brings me back to the moment, to my body. We are, after all, embodied minds; a little fine onion chopping might refresh your brain. (And I haven’t even started on the wonders of ingredient shopping or trying a new recipe.) 2. Weekend indulgence. Too often, when I’m able to set my own work/break schedules at my own work/break locations, nasty gluttonous habits creep in. While some weeks call for Wednesday Whisky or Tuesday Takeout, too much indulgence numbs me. The days blur; my health declines. It’s that cycle of relieving stress with quick fixes that eventually create more stress. While “working for the weekend” is unhealthy in some job contexts, there’s something to learn from the setup. Weekend drinking or feasting or gaming gives me something to work toward. It breaks up the week. Life’s sensual pleasures are all the sweeter and therefore more refreshing, effective. As mentioned above, striving for a kind of “mind/body harmony” can work wonders—and it’s the same with feasting and fasting. 3. At-home workout. We all know the importance of exercise for, well, everything. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll research an awesome routine, keep at it for a week, and then let it dissipate into the underworld of good intentions. During my studies, I often got sidetracked or “in the zone” only to find that I had 45 minutes to workout between class and band practice. On good days, I would quickly pack my bag, scurry to the gym, and blast out a half-hearted workout while leaving enough time to shower, change, and commute to practice. On bad days, I skipped the workout. Thankfully, as I began job hunting, I learned that I could shut my computer, spread the yoga mat, and do a YouTube workout in twenty-five minutes. Instead of sporadic gym sessions, I was able to get daily exercise—brief as it was—and thus maintain much better mental health. Sometimes it’s necessary to start small and simple before tackling ambitious routines. Even a walk around the block helps! 4. Out-of-home workouts. On the flip side, at-home workouts can make me feel cooped up. Sometimes going for a walk or making the journey to the gym will refresh my mind. Sometimes the only way to leave work is to leave the workspace. See new things, be present to new environments, engage with other beings—it may revitalize you, lift you from stagnant, muddy feelings. And it may remind you that there are larger contexts, other worlds outside of your own, that will sustain you. 5. Get a vase of flowers. Or a framed picture or a nice mug. An environment that looks like a trashcan will make me feel like a trashcan. An aesthetically pleasing space flows into my mental space. Objects and plants aren’t neutral; they act upon us all the time. A single daisy may, depending on the person, embody a host of memories and associations. Marie Kondo knows how a clean, minimalist space improves your wellbeing. Similarly, a space filled with a bit of beauty can relax, inspire, and sustain you during stressful work.   These tips won’t work for everybody, of course. And good mental health is obviously more than checking off a list of simple dos and don’ts. I find it helpful, however, to consider what overlooked habits will eventually disturb my mental health when at a different time of my life they wouldn’t. For me, surviving the pressures of student life and career building requires this attentiveness.  
  • Social Media: Friend or Foe?

    A CareerBuilder survey discovered that 70% of employers cruise your social media platforms to uncover more insights into whether you are a good fit for their team or not. Add to this staggering fact, the whopping near half (43%) of employers who use social media to "check-in" on their employees, and one third who have used what they've discovered about their employees on social media to fire them.    A recent piece by Harvard Business Review entitled, "Stop Screening Job Candidates' Social Media," asks important questions about the legaility of employers using social media as a part of their screening process for potential hires. As outlined by Chad Van Iddekinge, a Professor at the University of Iowa and one of the CareerBuilder study researchers, “You can see why many recruiters love social media—it allows them to discover all the information they aren’t allowed to ask about during an interview. But that’s a problem, because one of the hallmarks of legal hiring practices is that they focus on behaviors within the work context. There should be a clear distinction between what people do during work and what they do outside of it.”    The fact is when we opt-in to use social media, we also opt-in to revealing finer details about ourselves, according to algorithms and 'the internet' that are not necessarily within the scope of what employers need to consider, or should legally consider, when determining a new hire's "fit." Frankly, we all know that social media is, ironically, a very non-social way of maintaining a social presence and, sometimes, just a persona that we want to convey. Our decisions to be 'social' or 'make friends with' social media are also (conscious or unconscious) decisions to provide people who want to learn more about us another avenue to do so - albeit an avenue that is very surface level. Though employers are likely well-intentioned, or as HBR puts it: "to yield a better idea of whether that person will succeed on the job" (that's you), they can likely also see information about candidates that they shouldn't know when considering a new hire. Information, like pregnancy news, political views, sexual orientation, and, even things as ridiculous as  your use of profanities online.  Sadly, this process that 70% of employers are apparently leaning into is counterintuitive to hiring the right candidate on multiple levels. In truth, studies have shown that long-term fit beyond the skills and the experience you bring to an organization, is also about:  the right leader, goals, ground rules, communication, and, accountability. You can't "see" any of those qualities in a candidate by checking in on their social media, can you? Social media has its benefits. It keeps us, well, social (and it's also an excellent creative outlet)! However, as a candidate, you should know that sometimes a friend can also be a foe (more on this soon). Employers are using social media to get a more comprehensive glimpse into your candidacy and fit for roles on their teams - whether you like it or not. The discussion on the legality of this will continue to evolve, but right now: it's happening! When looking for a potential role within a company, it never hurts to make your social media accounts a little 'less social' by enhancing your privacy settings - at least, for now.
  • Meet Shoffana Sundaramoorthy, OCC Student Journali ...

    Hey, my name is Shoffana Sundaramoorthy, and I am a third year student at Wilfrid Laurier University.  While I am majoring in communications, I am also pursuing two minors in political science and psychology. I am excited to join the OCC Student/Graduate Journalist Team as it will further my interest in writing. What I enjoy most about writing is that it gives me a chance to express how I feel without any boundaries. Putting my mind on paper is relaxing and second nature for me. In addition, I strive to write with purpose. When I write a piece for OCC, I hope it resonates with its wide audience - whether it is with students, friends, or even alumni. I want to use the platform to speak on issues/ topics that matter to me and ideas for action for these issues. I hope to share valuable resources or insights that resonate deeply with my audience while aligning with the OCC’s core values.
  • Meet Anna Langmuir, OCC Student Journalist

    I am a fourth-year UBC student from the U.K, graduating with a Major in English Literature and a Minor in Psychology. While my love for traveling, writing, and literature inspired me to move to Canada for university, my hospitality experience has also given me many amazing work opportunities worldwide, from managing luxury villas in Spain to living and working in Egypt. My goal is to work in journalism and media one day, start a travel blog, and combine my two biggest passions!   Joining the OCC Student & Graduate Journalist team is meaningful to me because, in the past, I have struggled to navigate being a university student, gain work experience related to my degree, and am still trying to decide on my 'dream' career. Approaching graduation and deciding on a particular career-related goal to work towards is daunting and confusing. I understand that many people might feel similarly anxious about making such a significant transition. I am so excited to join a group of like-minded student journalists whose primary goal is to support, reassure, and inform others who may be feeling lost or intimidated by a future beyond university. By sharing my own and others' career successes and experiences, I hope to bring some reassurance and valuable insight to those at a similar stage in their university journey.  
  • Ten jobs you can do from Anywhere in the World

    Many remote and virtual career options won’t leave you stuck in the same office cubicle (for upwards of 8 hours a day). Whether you are looking for a way to earn money while sitting on a beach in Bali, are drawn to the work-from-home lifestyle, or are simply looking for a COVID-friendly career, here are ten roles that empower you to live and work from anywhere in the world!   1. Freelance Writer Whether it’s blogging, reporting, content writing, or anything in between, freelance writing is an excellent option for those who have strong written communication skills. Not only is the job itself flexible, so is the pay. Depending on how organized you are and how much work you’re willing to take on, the amount you earn is really up to you. Salary: $42,938   2. Virtual Tutor If you have a knack for education or are well-versed in a specific subject, then virtual tutoring may be an exciting option for you. This type of role gives the flexibility of working with many different skill levels, age ranges, and subjects, and it is an occupation available to almost anyone with skills or experience in teaching. Salary: $39,000   3. Graphic Designer This role requires a strong creative flair and tech-savviness but typically comes with the ability to work remotely. A graphic designer creates visual concepts and images to help draw in their client’s target audience - such as logos, website design, magazine covers, and more. Salary: $45,000   4. Virtual Assistant A virtual assistant essentially works as a stay-at-home (or work-from-anywhere) executive or administrative assistant. As with many of these remote roles, proficiency in communications and the confidence to work independently is a must. Typical responsibilities will include managing emails and making travel arrangements Salary: $48,000   5. Website Developer If you have graphic design and computer programming skills, then consider a role as a web developer. You will be responsible for the coding and layout of a client’s website—another excellent option for the tech-savvy. Salary: $53, 762   6. Social Media Consultant This role requires strong social media know-how and the ability to market a brand, figure, or idea successfully. You must be creative and in tune with the company’s target audience. This role will involve collaborating with sales/marketing staff, posting written and visual content, and recommending new ideas and improvements.  Salary: $65, 325   7. Online Translation Are you fluent in a second language? Then why not profit off your valuable linguistic skills? Responsibilities include translating text or audio recordings and ensuring that the newly translated pieces convey the appropriate meaning and tone. Salary: $53,138   8. Online ESL Teacher Teaching English as a second language is many 'a nomad’s' dream job and a great way to live, work, and travel within a myriad of different regions and countries. Many ESL teachers have a degree in English, as well as an ESL or TESOL certification. Once you are qualified, the high demand for ESL teachers means that the world is your oyster. Salary: $42,800   9. E-Interior Designer While interior design seems like it would be a hands-on career, many interior designers work remotely, allowing them to reach an international client base. As an E-Interior designer, you will develop plans and 3D models that align with the client’s vision and wishes. Salary: $48,750   10. Accountant Accounting is a role with high growth potential and can be worked remotely in both entry-level and senior positions. The role primarily involves reviewing or preparing financial accounts for businesses and individuals while ensuring they are in line with laws and regulations.  Salary: $56,544  
  • My Experience Taking-on Extracurricular Activities ...

    Taking part in extracurriculars enriched my university experience, and it can do the same for you. Gaining experience in clubs, sports teams, and school-wide events can support your transition into university, expand your social circle, and elevate the level of knowledge and skills you bring to a prospective future employer. Below, I look back at the experiences I gained through extracurricular activities throughout university and how I landed them.   When I started at Wilfrid Laurier University, I wanted to join a few clubs to make friends. I did not know anyone from my high school that was going there, and it was my first time living alone, away from my family, and in a new city. I wanted to make the most of my university journey but knew I needed more community to embrace university life fully.     My Experience with the Foot Patrol Club   The first extracurricular I joined was the Foot Patrol Committee - as a general member. I have to admit that this was my favorite one to date, despite being the first one I participated in. The Foot Patrol committee ran during the night. If students wanted to be accompanied on a walk back to their intended destination, they simply called the Foot Patrol office. From there, volunteers were dispatched to the students’ location to accompany them on their trip to their final destination. This volunteer activity allowed me to develop my interpersonal skills when comforting students by engaging in small talk. It also enhanced my quick-thinking and adaptability because certain situations required 'foot patrollers' to react professionally and with sound judgment. Mostly, I got to achieve my goal of making friends that I met through Foot Patrol team, and in doing so, it slowly broke me out of my shell and made me feel involved and a part of the university community. (Oh yeah, I also got to learn how to use a walkie-talkie and communicate through a two-way radio, which was cool!)   My Experience with U Walk Laurier   I was also a first-year representative for U Walk Laurier - a charity walking club. I was interested in joining the club because I'm motivated to make a difference in my community. Of course, my role as a first-year 'rep' was pretty minimal, as I essentially helped out the other club executives to fulfill their responsibilities. This experience provided insights into event planning and the immense logistics that go into it, such as a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes operations of the club event planning, logistics when it came to booking the room/space for events, spreading awareness about the event/marketing, and financial planning (when it came to monitoring the club’s budget).     As someone unsure what they wanted to do following graduation, it gave me an idea of what work environment I would prefer. I would undoubtedly thrive in a creative, fast-paced environment where I interact with various people daily. This particular club also gave me confidence in my work ethic, and I'm grateful for this. My fondest memory of this club is our “Winter Walk & Watch” event. This fundraising event donated proceeds to the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation. While the club set a fundraising goal of $3,500, it was exciting to see when we surpassed it to reach a donation total of $3,800.   My Experience in the Laurier Disney Club    During my second year, my university was operating entirely remotely. Classes happened online, and extracurriculars were no exception. Due to the transition, I did not get as involved as I would like to. The only extracurricular I joined was the Laurier Disney Club as a Marketing Coordinator. I had more structured responsibilities with this role. I designed the club’s content, managed our social media accounts, and facilitated online engagement with students. It was a great experience! While the club’s executive team could not meet in person, we managed to stay in touch through virtual meetings. As for our events, we adapted them to an online format, such as movie nights and even a pot painting class! I joined this role since I love animation. As I mentioned in my introduction, I want to create an animated show someday. Building off this passion for 'all things animated,' I am fond of many Disney movies such as Tangled, Treasure Planet, and Snow White. The company is quite impressive at what they do- creating content. It's always good to join extracurricular activities, especially for your long-term career path, but in this case the role was particularly suited to my interests, and that was nice.   My Experience with The Cord & Women Leading Politics Association   Now, I am currently in my third year, and I am participating in two extracurriculars. The first one is on The Cord, my university’s long-running student newspaper. It is a valuable news outlet that is by students, for students. I am a volunteer writer and copy editor. Since I am a communications student, I felt joining an initiative like The Cord would allow me to improve my writing and critical thinking capabilities.   As for my other position, I serve as a graphic coordinator for the Women Leading Politics Association. This club focuses on female empowerment within politics, encouraging female students to surpass any obstacles and reach their dreams with the utmost determination. Since my role requires me to design the club’s online content, I look forward to embodying the club’s values and key messages throughout the upcoming year.   Informing the Experiences I Pursue Next   By this point, I had a general idea of what I wanted to do after university. I am currently looking for a job that allows me to produce visual and written content. I also want to work in a position where my work is considered meaningful because it helps break down societal issues. My job interests vary between copywriting, marketing, or public policy. Looking back on the last few years, I found that extracurriculars allowed me to grow into my 'own person' and discover genuine interests/ passions. I am no longer anxious about my future. I attribute this (partially) to the extracurriculars I joined and the chance each experience provided me to develop skills and enhance how I navigate my career path.   What About You?   If anyone is ever interested in extracurriculars, my advice is this:    Reflect on your current responsibilities and only be sure to join clubs if you know that you have the time and energy for them Make sure your focus continues to be on your academic work vs. your extracurriculars - you need balance If you decide that you have the time to join extracurriculars, be sure to check on their social media platforms (ex. Instagram, Facebook) and try to find your university’s social media accounts. They most likely promote their internal extracurriculars there and it may give you recommendations on other accounts from affiliated clubs Usually, at the start of the year, there is a large club fair held at universities for first-year students to explore but it is open to anyone to check out. Attending it doesn't hurt! :) Be optimistic. If you are on the fence about joining a club, you are unsure about, attend the first meeting. There is no forced obligation to join a club and you are still open to dropping out of the club if it’s not appealing to you. (Of course, trying to quit a sports team after passing the tryout stage is completely different.)   If you have friends who can join with you, ask them to attend too! Joining a club with a group of friends/ acquaintances can support you to stay with it.     Hopefully, you take these tips to heart and...get involved! I appreciated all of my experiences participating in extracurriculars while studying at Wilfrid Laurier University and I know you will too.  
  • “I Don’t Know What to Do With My Life!”: My Experi ...

    As a fourth-year student, probably the most common question I get asked is: “So, what are your plans after you graduate?”. It’s a question that, if you don’t know what your plans are, can be scary to think about and exhausting to try to answer. Approaching graduation without a clear goal in mind feels overwhelming at times. I have never had a ‘dream career'. My goals and passions seem to change constantly, and there are times when I doubt what my interests are. Over the last few years of school and travel, my career goals have changed from psychologist, journalist, marketer, lawyer, nutritionist, and pretty much everything in-between.  I have always been amazed by those who seem to just know what they want to do. My aunt, for instance, always knew that she wanted to work within advertising. My mum always knew she wanted to work with children. I had classmates in high school that knew they wanted to work in medicine and are now (after six years in university) approaching their medical school graduation. At times, it felt like I was the only person who didn’t know. Though a lucky few find something they’re passionate about and set career-related goals to achieve it, for those who don’t know, it’s not quite that simple.  I really thought that by now, after seven years of working, two years of travelling, and three years of university behind me, I would have a good idea of which career path I wanted to take. I thought I would “find myself” during my gap-year travels or wake up one day having had a career epiphany and suddenly just know what I wanted to do with my life. Only that never really happened.  If anything, my moment of realization came when I began my university journey and discovered just how many students were having the same worries and confusions as I was. Out of the many people I have met in my three years at university, I can think of only a handful who have had clear post-graduation goals. Whether first-year, fifth-year, art students, or engineers, a large number of students and recent graduates seem to feel just as anxious and overwhelmed by the thought of entering the workforce as I do - particularly now. Statistics released in 2015 by allaboutcareers.com revealed that 44% of undergraduate students don’t know what they want to do when they graduate. While this may seem like a worryingly large number, it also shows just how normal it is to lack concrete career plans. So if you’re feeling stressed and confused about the future, you can find comfort in the knowledge that there are a considerable number of other people who feel the same. While I am still a member of the 44%, one thing that helped me personally overcome my fears regarding the future was to stop trying (and failing) to decide on one specific career. While having clear goals is impressive, uncertainty is the green light to gain experience and try out what truly interests you! Here are a few small things that have significantly eased my stress and anxiety around career uncertainty while giving me a clearer idea of my goals for the future:   Speaking with careers advisors: If you’re a student, you’ll likely have access to a host of career resources, whether online or in person. For me, speaking face-to-face (or rather, over Zoom) with a careers advisor was incredibly helpful in getting a firmer grasp on my future career options. Advisors can also look over your resume, cover letter and help you prepare for interviews, so make good use of them!   Making connections: Learning about what others in my field have done with their degree gave a great insight into my career possibilities and graduate life as an English Major. If you want to get first-hand advice, knowledge, and reassurance, speak to past or recent graduates in your faculty/major.    Career quizzes: This may seem obvious, but if you’re not sure where to start, where your interests lie, or what exciting career options are available to you – take an online career quiz!    Write pro’s and con’s lists: This is a great way to compare, contrast, and eliminate or highlight potential careers/pathways based on your personal preferences. For example, writing out my primary career interest helped me understand my options and what interests are most realistic for me to pursue.   Focus on the present: If you see a part-time internship opportunity that interests you, or a volunteer position you think you would enjoy, then apply, apply, apply! Researching graduate opportunities is great, but applying to (and trying) different roles and interests is one of the best ways to figure out what you do and don’t enjoy. Instead of trying to single out your dream future career, start exploring your interests now.   Though I spent a long time fighting my own uncertainty, I realize now that it’s okay not to know what you want to do with your career. It’s unrealistic for many to have one specific, concrete career goal, especially when there is a seemingly endless number of possible routes to take post-graduation. If you’re unsure about what you want to do after university, use your uncertainty to your advantage. Gain new skills and experience, discover your true interests, and appreciate the many exciting opportunities waiting for you when you graduate. You do not need to take one narrow path. Fact is, a non-linear career path can be advantageous when a prospective employer sees the breadth of skills and experience you've gained. In other words, go ahead, be okay with not knowing. You will figure it out in time, and 'it' might be more than one thing.       References   https://www.concrete-online.co.uk/44-students-dont-know-want-graduation/#:~:text=do%20after%20graduation-,44%25%20of%20students%20don't%20know%20what%20they%20want%20to,work%20in%20once%20they%20graduate.
  • A Midterm-Season Survival Guide: What to Do When Y ...

      University life isn’t exactly plain sailing. If you’ve ever made it through the midterm season as a full-time student, then you’ll know what it feels like to get inundated with multiple exams, essays, assignments, and 100s of pages of reading, all due in a two-week timespan. To say the very least, it can be incredibly stressful and overwhelming. So with the midterm season on the horizon once again, it’s more important than ever to take the necessary steps to avoid burnout. The good news is, there are multiple ways to help combat the stress of midterms and prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed. Whether it’s learning how to manage your time more effectively, avoiding over-commitment, or simply getting outside and moving your body, here are a few small steps to calm your mind and make this midterm season feel a little more feasible.   Get organized and manage your time effectively. We’ve all been guilty of putting off our essays and assignments for just that bit too long. Suddenly, it’s the night before the due date, and you have a 2000 word research paper to try and write within the evening. Poor time management is one of the biggest culprits (for myself included) when feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and burnt out. That's why this first tip is arguably the most important on this list. Laying out all of your commitments and due dates in an organized fashion is a great way to break things up, allowing you to face your obligations one by one and avoid large backlogs of work.    Write Daily To-Do Lists If you don’t have concrete plans, classes, or commitments during any particular day, it’s easy to get side-tracked and spend the day napping rather than studying. Like the above point, writing daily to-do lists is a great way to break up your day, give yourself a clear schedule, and reserve some well-needed time.    Sleep This is a big one. We’ve all pulled an all-nighter in a last-minute bid to study for an exam or finish a research paper that’s due the following day. While it’s sometimes tempting to leave an assignment to the day before and finish it in one sitting, there is no denying the importance of adequate sleep when it comes to being your best, most-clearheaded self.    Exercise Studying for hours upon end can leave us feeling pent-up, stressed, and frustrated. While it may seem obvious, exercise indeed is proven to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Even just going for a thirty-minute daily walk is a great way to get the endorphins flowing, improve your mood, reduce your stress levels and give you some well-needed headspace away from studying. So if you’re feeling smothered with schoolwork, sometimes the best remedy is to get outside and move your body.    Learn to say ‘no’ when it’s necessary Over-commitment is a recipe for feeling burnt out and overwhelmed. Sometimes our fear of missing out, letting people down, or our aversion to simply saying ‘no’ can cause us to commit to things we don’t have time for. For example, if you’re currently feeling overwhelmed with school work, now might be a good time to say no to that party or to turn down that extra shift at work.   Plan something new and exciting!!!  If you’re feeling stressed and stuck in a rut, a great way to boost your morale and give yourself something to look forward to is to plan to do something new and exciting in the near or distant future. This could be purchasing tickets for an upcoming concert, taking a pottery class, or planning a day trip with friends.   Don’t forget to slow down and take rest days. Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself during stressful times! While taking a day away from university work can seem counter-intuitive to some, on days when you’re feeling burnt-out and overwhelmed, it’s crucial to take a day or a few hours away from staring at your assignments and essays. If you think that being away from your work will only make you feel more stressed, focus your energy on to other areas besides schoolwork. For example, chores, hobbies, or alternative obligations do not involve university work (such as going to the gym, cleaning the kitchen, or watering your plants). That way, you know that you’re productive while taking some much-needed time away from work and study.
  • The Advantages & Disadvantages of Working While in ...

    During my three years in university, I decided to work part-time. I worked in various positions ranging from an event floater for homecoming, cashier, study space host, and research assistant. From my personal experience, it gave me the chance to explore different fields while providing an income. I found it quite delightful! Of course, I wanted to go more into detail about the pros and cons of working through your post-secondary studies. I am sure many students are contemplating this idea as the school year is fast approaching.    PROS of Working While in University or College    1. Improves Your Time Management   What really helped me to manage my time was the use of a virtual planner. When I got into university, I found Notion, an online multi-use workspace with a concise design and a layout that was user-friendly. At the start of each school year, I used Notion to create a weekly calendar template where I inserted all my times for classes, labs, tutorials, study sessions, and blocked out time for my work shifts. From there, I was left with an idea of how much free time I would have.      2. Better Comprehension of Personal Finance  When you begin to earn money for yourself, the realization starts to sink in that your money can leave just as quickly as you received it. In my experience, this realization makes you more self-aware and pushes you to think about finances long term. While there may be some new clothes that you’ve been eyeing, for instance, paying for next month’s rent takes your top priority! (Trust me, you'll begin to see the money you save versus the money you spend). Taking it a step further, this could be an opportunity not just to save but look at investment options. Given that you do your research and don’t make emotionally fuelled choices, you have the potential to create long-term gains - cool, right?       4. Source of Income & Work Experience  Working part-time gives you a dependable income that can be used to pay tuition fees and bills.  Depending on how much you have, you may be able to save some money (as mentioned above) or splurge on yourself (every once and a while). Having an income during university can also aid in creating an emergency fund for the event that something unexpected arises. These are more apparent advantages, but it is worth noting.   5. Personal Growth & Development  Entering university, I considered myself an introverted and reserved individual. It was not until I began working in customer service that I became more comfortable interacting with others. I started to grow more approachable and friendly. I enjoyed talking with complete strangers and became less anxious in doing so. Working a part-time job as a responsibility gave me a boost of confidence in knowing that I can challenge myself to achieve the best I can and push myself toward greater heights. Even if you never worked a job, it is a similar sense of self-fulfillment as holding an executive position in a club or playing on a sports team.    CONS of Working While in University or College 1. Stressful Sscheduling  While I don’t recall going through this issue myself, some employers may be pretty rigid in their scheduling. Due to this, you may be double-booked and have to choose between missing a shift or missing a class. It feels like a lose-lose situation where you would have been better off not getting a job during school.  If you reach the interview stage of a job, be sure to address the interviewer about your involvement in school. While some stores/ businesses may be strict on schedule, others are lenient and recognize that their employees have other responsibilities to attend to.  2. More Work, Less Play  Even if your employer is quite flexible with scheduling, work still takes up a considerable amount of time. While some students can be extremely diligent in their time management, others may not keep up. Working a part-time job comes at the cost of hanging out with your friends or even studying time; it's a choice that requires sacrifice. For me, I enjoy getting involved in extracurriculars. I acknowledge that working a part-time job sometimes took me away from club events/ activities that I would have wanted. It left me feeling like I was missing out whenever I heard my friends talk about it afterward. If there is one recommendation I could share, you can aim to work a seasonal job during the summer (a part-time or full-time job). Assuming that you will be finishing your courses for the school by April, it will give you a chance to work this seasonal job for about 3-4 months. Once you go back to school in September, you would have saved up some money and worry less about working a job throughout your studies.  3. Likelihood of Burnout  Whenever I would have a closing night shift, I would aim to study a little before heading to bed. Despite this expectation, I would occasionally underestimate how exhausted my body was from the responsibilities of my part-time job. I would end up heading straight to bed after my shift. Once I wake the following morning, I would regret my decision. There have been times when I would skip out on my morning classes, too, just because I was so exhausted.  This sense of burnout can also come from trying to juggle various responsibilities. Sometimes, we tend to get caught in this possible cycle of school, work, sleep, and repeat. When we go through the motions for so long, we tend to focus on what we are doing and undermine our body’s well-being. Burnout can happen when, despite our time management skills, we simply bite more than we chew. Remember, we are not robots! We only have one mind and body, and with that, we must attend to our physical and mental well-being whenever possible.    4. Counterproductive  It would help if you recognized whether working during post-secondary is worthwhile for you when it comes down to it. Specific academic programs, like health science, can be strenuous in course material and require more time to digest. While these programs may prove to be a challenge now, your efforts can pay off in securing the grades necessary to pursue internships or even grad school. Since working a job during school can take away valuable time to complete coursework or study, you should reconsider trying to work during the school year. If your job undermines your current efforts in school, then forget it.    This proves a similar case to students who are already financially set. These students may already have the necessary savings to pay for their yearly expenses. Unless they are looking to earn extra money, these students wouldn’t be keen to spend their time working.    If anything else, it comes down to whether you will find the job worthwhile. I did not need to get a job during university, but I decided to. I felt it would have been a great way to spend my time and improve my skills. While I may miss out on time to socialize or check out clubs, it does not take away from my satisfaction. If you simply do not want to work because you do not want to take on an additional responsibility or want more time to be with loved ones, then working during school isn’t for you.    Biggest Takeaway    Working a job during post-secondary has its ups and downs.  It is ultimately up to your discretion whether a job would be worth it for you.    Nevertheless, it is good to start early in preparing yourself to enter the workforce.  From my knowledge, most universities offer a career center where knowledgeable staff provides employment-related support. I certainly recommend this resource while in school. At my university, they hold various workshops on topics like writing a cover letter/ resume and networking. The career center also holds speaker panels where professionals from industries like communications or sustainability provide insight on their career development.  Even if you are not looking for a job now, the career consultant staff can help gauge your future aspirations and aid in setting up a plan for future success. 
  • Student Habits That Help With Career Searching, By ...

    When I embarked on my education, I assumed I’d become career-ready by acquiring information and developing skills related to my field (as an English major: reading literature and writing criticism). The “in-between moments”—late nights prepping for my week, writing emails, cleaning my study space, reading uninteresting books for uninteresting program requirement courses—felt like a means to an end, a necessary-but-subjacent step toward meatier accomplishments. Then, after I graduated, I discovered that, strangely, all the organizing, side-duties, and work-life balancing played a crucial role in my ability to write a cover letter, prep for an interview, and work alongside employers. I imagine this is obvious for many, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll find it easy to grow impatient with the “secondary” labours of education. So here are some of the secondary labours and habits that have helped me on my career journey.    Writing in different forms. Maybe you’re a pure-blooded numbers person. Perhaps you feel comfortable writing only in specific registers and formats. Regardless, most of us have to write cover letters, resumes, emails, proposals, etc. In high school, I wasn’t taught how to write a professional email. This skill came in university. And it was only after writing hundreds of emails to professors, students, peers, and administrators, that I began to feel comfortable using email to communicate on a wide range of situations, including conflicts and misunderstandings requiring nuance and careful language. Having spent time teaching and knowing many teachers, I can attest that students who write professional, clear, and polite emails leave powerful impressions. Moreover, in the job market, where employers aren’t required to keep you around, emailing could make or break promotions and hirings.  Or consider cover letters. Honestly, cover letters are the hardest things I’ve had to write. I’m perpetually asking: What should I focus on? How do I stand out from the crowd? How do I highlight my skills and successes without sounding arrogant? How do I compensate for lack of experience without sounding desperate? Luckily, I can draw on my time applying for scholarships. University has also given me lots of practice writing when I don’t know where to start or finish. I know I should begin first thing in the morning with my coffee when my mind is fresh and sharp. I know I then have a few solid hours before I feel frustrated. At that point, I’ll have to make toast or get exercise before getting back at it. I know when to push through, keep momentum, and leave sloppy sentences for revision; I know when to slow down and take things word-by-word. Postsecondary education is a training ground for the tedious, difficult writing that accompanies career searching.   Working with different people. Postsecondary education is a training ground for communication in general. It’s a rare gift: you learn to work professionally with various people while having room for error. (Unless it’s serious, you won’t be fired). A talk with a professor mirrors a talk with a boss; a university presentation mirrors a job interview. Working through problems with an institution’s administration may continue into your career. When I go into a job interview, I take the same approach for a university committee meeting or a tutorial lecture. I ask myself, "Who is my audience?", "What are their expectations?", "What do I have to offer?", "What is the major point I want to leave?", "Should my tone be formal or casual?" As a teaching assistant, I talked to students who were angry with their marks. These situations required attentiveness, care, and sympathy on one hand; on the other, the strength and confidence to articulate my reasons for giving the mark. During my employment, I’ve come back to these experiences, again and again, as a way of remembering how to balance listening and speaking, taking, and giving. I like to think that it’s helped me establish strong, fruitful relations with employers and colleagues. Postsecondary education is more than secluded studying and good grades; it’s a communal experience demanding good interactions with a host of people and situations. Hopefully, it will provide the interpersonal skills needed to build a meaningful career.   Keeping focus: Every student post-2000 has spent workdays that are 20% work and 80% YouTube, social media, and Wikipedia rabbit holes. We’ve all had to find ways of remaining productive in a digital age, whether through timers, web-blocking programs, personal reward systems, or device-free study areas. These same tricks and practices are needed when scouring countless job boards, writing countless cover letters, and sifting through countless lists of qualifications, duties, and company values. It’s mentally and emotionally exhausting. Believe me, after a few days of job hunting, that Netflix icon has never looked so tempting. If you’re looking to break into a tough job market, if you experience a series of disheartening rejections, the tenacity and focus of academic work are needed. Like student life, career-building requires self-motivation, work done on your own time, and attention to your mental health.   Planning your day and week: For most students, a successful postsecondary education demands organization and planning. As mentioned earlier, career searching often involves the same self-imposed deadlines, goals, and schedule. To avoid the slippery slope of distraction, get some productive momentum by setting weekly/daily targets: apply for five jobs a week, research one prospective field a day, take a day off each week to recharge. As I hinted above, I treat cover letters like essays. I set a deadline, write when I’m freshest, take breaks, and have someone look it over (for further motivation, I tell the person when they can expect it). For me, this is how it won’t forever plod in limbo.   Ultimately, I want to promote a holistic understanding of education. Nothing’s wasted; everything matters, even the small things, even the seemingly insignificant, mundane parts of the student grind. As you embark on finding a meaningful career, remember the skills and habits that have helped you succeed during your education and find how they transfer to your new context. For me, keeping some of my student mindset has made job hunting far less stressful.
  • Take a Chance: A Q&A with Philip Lee, Head of The ...

    The head of the Journalism Department at St.Thomas University speaks about his career and what it means to enter the world of employment.      In the world of employment, there has always been a certain level of competition. However, finding your competitive edge in a crowded candidate pool means owning the relevant skills you've earned and worked toward. This is sometimes referred to as the ‘fat resume', a resume filled with a wealth of relevant experiences. If you're looking to break into journalism, the competition is exceptionally high as it's an industry with fewer available permanent jobs and less long-term security. So, what does a path into journalism look like, and what advice should you consider when pursuing it? I sat down with Philip Lee, a former journalist and teacher at St.Thomas University, to answer these questions. Lee’s advice and personal experience show that life will not always be what we expect, but we must put ourselves out there and accept failure along the way to reach success.    Q: What was it like applying to jobs when you finished college?     A: I graduated with a major in classics. I studied greek poetry and literature philosophy. I didn't study journalism. So, after graduation, I went to an employment counselor, and I took a test. He said that my only skill was writing, then pulled out a job listing form for a Newspaper in Newfoundland. It was in central Newfoundland, in a place called Grand Falls. I applied and soon heard back. They wanted me to come in for a job interview, and I did. Luckily, they offered me a job at a paper called Grand Falls Advertiser. It was a twice-weekly paper, and I said yes.     Q: How was your first job experience?     A: When I first got there, I didn’t know how to type, and I also didn’t know how to write a news story. I had to learn everything on the job, and I decided that I liked journalism. About six months after I was there, I got a new job at a bigger paper in Saint John, Newfoundland, for a paper called  Sunday Express - that was a good paper. I did a lot of things there, it was a good job, and I learned to be a journalist there. I stayed with them for several years. That’s how it all started.      Q: What was the thing you liked most about working at Sunday Express?    A: One of the good things about working for a small paper was that I was able to do different jobs: I learned, I wrote news stories, I even laid out the paper (pasted together the pages), I went out to take photographs... I did everything! I learned a lot - quickly. I learned to rely on myself, to develop ideas and things that I probably wouldn't be able to do at a larger paper, where I would be assigned and told what to do.       Q: Did you move a lot? Work part or full-time jobs?     A: At my first job, the pay wasn’t the best, so I'd opted to move any time I got offered more money. Every job taught me new things. There are full-time jobs, but one of the things that I would tell journalists, especially young journalists: “You should expect to move often from one job to another, so when new opportunities come along, you want to be able to take them.” I was always moving, trying to find new opportunities, to work for bigger papers, to make more money.       Q: Was there a time where you outgrow your job?     A: Sometimes I would outgrow the position I was in, but sometimes it’s because things changed. I think it is very strategic to move from one opportunity to the next. It’s something to expect, and it's a good thing. For example; When I worked at Sunday Express, there was an editor that I liked working with, and when he left for another job, the atmosphere changed and I was ready to move on.       Q: Do things always go as you planned?     A: I think, in your life, you have great periods and some others that aren’t. You ‘kinda’ have to work your way through it. You are not going to have a professional life, unless you are really lucky, that every year and every job will be fulfilling. But, especially when you are young, you can move around to fulfilling opportunities that make you happy.       Q: How did your job expectations change over the years? What was the most challenging part?  A: I think that the hardest thing for me was when I came back to NB, and for a time, the paper was not that inspiring. I was doing daily editing, waking up early at 5 a.m., and doing work that I was not particularly proud of or didn't love. Maybe what I wanted to do was be in a job where I could do good work and do the work I wanted to do, not work for the sake of work. I search for that. Then a new editor came in who became a life-long mentor and friend; he changed my life. I was lucky, I stuck long enough in this job, and things got better. We did a lot of great work together. I think that if you don't want work somewhere you can’t be honest and truthful for yourself… you can’t do work you don't believe in. You don’t want a daily moral dilemma.       Q: Do you think companies’ culture, beliefs, values, morals, objectives, and image are important when deciding to work with them? How did it influence your choices?     A: Is not always possible to align morals, values, objectives from a company to someone’s perspective…Some of the best work I did was owned by a multi-billionaire family…we did great work, but I wouldn't say that our values lined up. I believe it's important, but I don’t think that is necessary. Especially in the world of journalism, you should be able to be independent in the kind of content that you do. For example, The Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, and you may say, “Amazon is ruining the world. It's a terrible company.”  I'm not saying that’s true, but you can certainly take that position, which doesn’t mean that The Washington Post is not filled with good journalistic work. So, I think that is something to take into account because you are certainly not doing promotional work for your ownership; you are just doing independent journalistic work.     Q: Why do you think people settle for mediocre jobs?     A: I think that people don’t just settle for mediocre jobs. It just depends on the time of your life. I was just at this point in my life where I had small children and bills to pay. I had to make a living. I was willing to do what I needed - that was my priority. But I think when you are young, it gives you more freedom to choose what you want when it comes to jobs and being unemployed. If you find yourself in a conflict with your soul, then you should find another job. Sometimes the mortgage, health insurance, house payment…it’s more important than liking or not the job.     Q: Did you ever quit a job just because you didn’t like it?     A: My Father always told me: never quit a job before you found another one. The only time I quit my job was when I wanted to work on my book, but then I got another job once I finished the book.  Q: What do you think is the #1 mistake everyone makes when applying for a job?     A: I think not being prepared enough for the interview is a problem that I’ve seen. You don’t want to go in unprepared. I think a lot of companies weigh the interview. Let say you do poorly regardless of your experience, and you get pushed aside. You want to be strategic, have stories to tell; always have 2-3 stories ready to go in the back of your head. You should always do your research about the company but also be prepared to show who you are. You don’t want to fill up space and 'just talk' but be thoughtful about it.     During interviews asking about salary, hours, and all those types of questions are valid but should be secondary. You always want to talk about what you are going to do, how you are trying to contribute to the company, and how you will make their lives easier. You need to be useful to them.       Q: How do you handle rejection?     A: Rejection. There is a lot of rejection that comes with a creative job. You probably have this idea and believe it is a great idea, but then someone else will not think the same. I believe that if you give your best and don’t get the job it is because it wasn’t meant for you       Q: Do you think job expectations have changed from back when you were a graduate till now? How?     A: There’s a problem in journalism with creating good jobs with a decent lifestyle. As a teacher, I see that graduates are hesitant to work in a newsroom because the long hours and demands that the job has don’t match their lifestyles. Remember, balance is important, but you can also bring balance to your job, work as much as possible, and keep a healthy life - not getting consumed by the job. I wasn’t very good at that. I often would leave work with my computer to keep working.       Q:  Do you regret working at any job in the past or recently? Why or why not?     A: I don’t regret any of my experiences…taking or leaving any job. I think I tried to learn something new at every job. It was all a learning experience - for better or for worse. One thing, when you are young, you shouldn’t tie yourself down to a specific place. You want to be able to move. So take time out and don’t settle for a job. Travel, learn and see the world.   Q: Along your path did you reject job opportunities? How did you know it was the right choice?     A: You never really know if you are making the right decision by taking or not a job offer. I think considering options is important to help you make the best call you can. You never have any guarantees that things will be perfect or how you expect them to be. So I think that you need to be strategic but know you can’t control what happens.      Q: Are you happy with your current job?      A: 20 years ago…St.Thomas Vice President of Academics called to ask me if I would be interested in teaching and starting a Journalism Program. There wasn’t one. It was a program partnership with a Community College in Woodstock. So, I took a chance, I got a one-year contract teaching and working in the development of the program, for that I had to quit my job and took a big pay-cut to come to STU but I thought that my payoff was down the road and would increase. So, I took less money for a job I thought would have more possibilities. I was intrigued by the idea of teaching.       I’ve been here ever since, and I love it.       Q: What advice would you give to this future generation of students and graduates?      A: I think when you are young, it’s good to take some chances, take jobs that would make you stand out from your comfort zone; you will eventually get to settle down, but you won’t have the opportunity to jump and go, so take a chance. Also, if you are in a situation where a job is not bringing you joy, and I’m not talking about every minute of every day, there is no such thing as a job like that, if the job is not bringing you joy, then you should starting looking for another job. Find something that does, because life’s short and having joy and happiness in your life is the most important thing.     Editor’s Note: Personal growth and focusing on yourself is as important as getting a job that eases your soul and makes your life worth living. 
  • The Pros And Cons of Job-Hopping, By: Fahmida Shai ...

    Whether you’re a student or a graduate, finding jobs can be difficult. 'Job-hopping' refers to having worked, or working, multiple positions within a short time, and it has become more common due to the pandemic. Before landing a more stable career, people may job hop throughout university or college - or after graduating. As a recent graduate, my career path did not go as planned during the pandemic, and I found myself taking different temporary jobs instead. While that was not my plan, I’ve noticed both the advantages and disadvantages.    The Advantages of Job-Hopping:   You Gain an Array of experience: Job-hopping is one of the most effective ways to try different career paths, learn more about them, and determine if they are right for you. Unlike volunteering, you receive monetary compensation and have more roles and responsibilities. In my own experience, temporary job positions and internships were also more lenient to students and graduates. Job hopping is a perfect way to try different roles and different work cultures, hours, and pay. A variety of experiences and positions on your resume now shows employers your willingness to try new things, flex your skills, and adapt.   Building a Wider network: Job-hopping provided me, so far, with a wide network of people to call on and seek out support or guidance from. By working within environments where I met more people - from my different supervisors, managers to colleagues. I ended up meeting people I could not have met otherwise, and they offered me different perspectives. I was also introduced to new roles that I did not know existed.   You Attain the Advantage of Different Types of References: Another benefit I've learned from job-hopping throughout the pandemic was that different supervisors could advocate for the breadth of my skillset from different positions I've held. I now have a wider array of strengths and experience and can lean into my contacts at each role to vouch for my skills to employers for various prospective roles. Although the references knew me for less time, I fing myself walking away with different perspectives and advice on what I could improve on and what I was already good at! The increased number of references available also allowed me to have a more well-rounded view of my performance. Not relying solely on one person to give the full scope of my performance and skills further offered me more flexibility in asking for a reference for a specific role - as mentioned above, this is worth its weight in gold.   Liberate Yourself With Fewer Restraints and Stagnation: Job hopping allows one to move to different companies and organizations and fill various roles - this goes without saying. Fact is, by doing this, there are fewer possibilities of getting stuck in the same routine or position and, in turn, becoming disinterested in it. There are also fewer restraints in terms of time commitment. It also allows a person to become more adaptable to changing environment - critical in building a long-term career path.   The Disadvantages of Job-Hopping:   Less Stability: Contract or part-time work means that you will need to keep moving and keep up the pace when it comes to seeking out new roles and keeping doors open. This constant cycle and commitment can also lead to more significant gaps in a resume - if you don't find a job immediately after their current contract ends. If you have to move or commute for their work, it could also mean less stability in schedule and place of living. This can be especially tricky for students who have to balance studying with work.   No Long-term Experience: Job-hopping often means changing roles and positions unless you stay in the same roles - just in different organizations. Holding these positions for a shorter time may limit future jobs, where recruiters may be looking for longer-term experience. It also may lead to prospective employers asking why the job let you go, or didn’t extend your contract, or why you switched jobs so often. However, it should be noted that if you’re honest about it and can show how that experience was still critical and you have the skills, this may change people's perspectives.   Fewer Benefits: Sad fact, job-hopping means that you’re less likely to get health or other benefits, which can cost more in the long run. It also means unpaid lunch, and sick days, and vacations. You also miss out on pay increases over time. When it comes to laying off employees, temporary workers are usually also the first to go. Lastly, the changes in salary range can also be tricky.   If you’re reading this and are worried about job-hopping during the pandemic and how employees will view it...don't. Worrying solves nothing, and (most importantly) job-hopping has been more common as of late, so all you need to do is be honest with your prospective employer. No one is unaware of the limiting effects of this global pandemic on our global economy and how we are all impacted. We have all been working against a tide of restrictions and a 'new normal' and employers, well, good employers, should understand this. This means that they should take away from your resume that you have committed to improvement and gaining experience and skills throughout a trying time globally - that you are resilient. If they don't? You can always hop on over to another prospective employer... Editor's Note: Job-hopping during a pandemic is a far cry from 'job-hoppers syndrome' which is when you hop from job to job and are never happy where you land. If you feel this way, it's important to assess why and try to discover how you can hone your strengths toward something more deeply aligned with your personality - with what makes you happy. :)
  • The Do's & Don't’s of Resume Writing

    Joining the job hunt isn't as daunting as it seems. Of course, you need to prepare yourself, as you need to advertise your employability to hiring companies. Where can you start? Well, you can start by formulating your resume and cover letter. Since fellow journalist Ariana went over how to create a cover letter, I will be covering the dos and don'ts of resume writing.    A resume, aka a Curriculum Vitae (CV) is essentially your first (formal) impression for a hiring company. This document highlights your qualifications relative to the job you are applying for. While resumes can vary in format, there are various tips to keep in mind to ensure your resume gets the message across.    When it comes to the job search, it may be daunting to reach out and look for vacant job openings. Fortunately, A resume is essentially your first impression to a hiring company on whether you would serve as a great candidate.  DON’T: Make Your Resume Too Long  Keep in mind, you are not the only candidate applying for an open job. You may be competing with tens, hundreds, or thousands of people, depending on the company.  This company’s hiring team can only spend a few seconds scanning and filtering out resumes.  A common misconception is that the longer your resume is, the better.  The thing is that to make your resume longer, you would probably resort to filling out your resume with every single detail you can think of.  Despite putting the necessary information, it may be outweighed by the abundance of irrelevant information.  A hiring company would be disengaged to sift through your resume and find what they are looking for.    DO: Keep Resume Short and Sweet  Since a hiring team only looks at the resumes briefly, a good rule-of-thumb would be to make your resume anywhere between 1-2 pages. Setting this limit will make you more cautious of the information you put them and assess whether it would showcase your employability. If you are applying for a shift supervisor position, the company does not want to hear about that one school performance you did in your middle school talent show. However, they would be more interested in your time as a part-time cashier over the summer. If you are having trouble thinking of what you need to put on your resume, take a moment and think about your involvement in the following categories: Education, Work Experience, Skills, Certifications & Licenses, and Extracurriculars/ Side Projects.    DON’T: Use Passive Language  When describing an activity or job on your resume, you may be start off with phrases like “Responsible for” or “was required to.” Making a habit of writing in such a passive manner can be detrimental. These phrases somewhat distract from the description of the activity. It creates a more mundane tone. To add on, it gives hiring teams the impression that you did not place as much initiative or effort in your previous endeavors.    DO: Use Action Words & Keywords  Instead of passive language, go right into describing your involvement and responsibilities through action words. Action words bring emphasis and get straight to the point. When describing your former job as an administrative assistant on your resume, for instance, you can explain your task of preparing documents by saying: Produced company stakeholder documents by organizing company’s contacts using Microsoft Excel. To hiring teams, action words can make you seem confident in your abilities.    When you apply for a particular job, pay attention to the keywords mentioned in the job advertisement. Some of these keywords may include training, technical, research, analytical, and so forth. They are generally highlighted in the section about working expectations and qualifications. Use that to your advantage and find a way to incorporate them into your resume. Various companies utilize applicant tracking systems (ATS) software. What the ATS does is scan the given resume for the frequency of specific keywords. If it achieves a certain result, the resume can then be passed to the hiring team to have a more in-depth look into it. You should aim to pass this obstacle of ATS software, so be sure to lock-in your keywords.  
  • Tackling Soft-Skills, by Justin Andrews

      For some, it’s easy to overlook the realm of “soft skills.” (In case you’re unaware, soft skills are, according to LinkedIn, related to “cognitive ability, workplace behaviors, and emotional intelligence”—qualities linked to personality and intuition). Hard skills like “cloud computing” or “forklift operation” seem more concrete, easier to pin down, than seemingly subjective, ubiquitous soft skills like “adaptability” or “critical thinking.” And yet a strong set of soft skills are needed across job sectors—they’re especially important for jobs involving public service, teamwork, ideas, etc. A US Chamber Foundation study finds that “the importance of these skills is widely acknowledged, and yet they are not taught with consistency or given prioritization.” Thus, in a competitive job market, when all applicants will have the right hard-skill boxes checked (and then some), demonstratable soft skills can make all the difference. They show, among other things, that you’re not simply a work machine but a well-rounded person; in fact, soft skills are demanded more than ever because they cannot be reproduced by the tech and AI that are increasingly central to many sectors. “Demonstratable” is the keyword here: it’s easy to ream off your soft skills like they’re favourite desserts, but if you write, for example, of your “excellent communication skills,” make sure your writing and interviews are perfect(ish)!   So, what soft skills do employers look for? A quick search will bring to you to a surplus of results pertaining to a surplus of sectors, so I’ll focus on a list with all-around appeal. Every year, LinkedIn gathers employers’ most sought-after skills from their platform. The top soft skills for 2021 include adaptability, collaboration, creativity, emotional intelligence, and persuasion. The top three missing soft skill areas are:    Problem-solving, critical thinking, innovation, and creativity Ability to deal with complexity and ambiguity Communication   The language here—“innovation,” “emotional intelligence,” “creativity”—is broad, somewhat ambiguous, and adaptable to a variety of circumstances. It’s difficult to develop skills when there’s no standard, definitive model to mimic. There’s no comprehensive “creativity certificate”; creativity for a journal editor looks different than creativity for a data entry assistant. Knowing how these soft skills translate into your field may be key to your education. Luckily, soft skills overlap. “Critical thinking” is needed to “deal with complexity and ambiguity.” “Persuasion” needs “communication.” “Collaboration” needs “emotional intelligence.” Personally, I find it helpful to think of all soft skills as different sides to the same thing: responding to my environment in constructive, meaningful ways. This holistic approach relieves the stress of treating soft skills like a to-do list. (“Now that I’ve mastered ‘adaptability,’ I can finally move on to ‘collaboration.’’) I know that when I “problem-solve” by finding a different, more effective teaching method for a particular student, I’m also learning how to adapt, communicate, empathize, etc.               So while the broadness of soft skills can be intimidating, it also has a plus side: you can develop soft skill in all areas of life. You can practice “self-control” and “conflict resolution” on the soccer field, at a party, at home. Modern science suggests that much of our behaviour derives from unconscious habit. Many pre-moderns thought so too. Aristotle, for instance, believed that we become virtuous though practice; the more we decide to, say, show compassion or “put ourselves in someone else’s shoes,” the more we’ll do it consistently and consciously, even under pressure when it’s easy to talk ourselves out of virtuous behaviour. It’s like learning guitar chords: at first, you must slowly and painfully press your fingers in the right position, but after doing these hundreds of times, you move smoothly from chord to chord just by “feel,” without looking. Then you’ll be able to perform under the pressure of a large audience. The same goes for soft skills. In elementary school, I was that kid who ran away crying amid my class presentation. As an adult, I’ve tried to jump on any chance at public speaking, despite the true torture it gives me. Why? Because it’s helped me adequately teach a class or undergo a job interview when, only years earlier, my ability to speak under any pressure was barely passable.              “Practice makes perfect” may be cliché. Still, if you’re like me, it’s easy to overlook intentionally practicing something like “listening skills,” which, in the end, may be essential for that dream job—or life in general!  
  • Meet Justin Andrews, OCC Graduate Journalist

    Hello, my name is Justin Andrews. I am a writer living in Hamilton, Ontario, and a recent graduate of the University of Toronto with an MA in English in creative writing. My work has been published in Canadian literary journals, and, currently, I'm writing a novel (or attempting to, at least!). Beyond writing, I spend my free time reading, board-gaming, and meandering down backstreets and trails. Writing for the OCC Student and Graduate Journalist Team is meaningful because I understand the difficulty of making substantial career connections, especially amid the hastiness of academic life. As an OCC Graduate Journalist, I’ll be eager to help students gain work experience and find fruitful careers. It’s a pleasure to support a platform that simplifies and democratizes a complicated and frequently inaccessible process.
  • A Midterm-Season Survival Guide: What to Do When Y ...

      University life isn’t exactly plain sailing. If you’ve ever made it through the midterm season as a full-time student, then you’ll know what it feels like to be inundated with multiple exams, essays, assignments, and 100s of pages of reading, all due in a two-week timespan. To say the very least, it can be incredibly stressful and overwhelming. So with the midterm season on the horizon once again, it’s more important than ever to take the necessary steps to avoid burnout. The good news is, there are multiple ways to help combat the stress of midterms and prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed. Whether it’s learning how to manage your time more effectively, avoiding over-commitment, or simply getting outside and moving your body, here are a few small steps to calm your mind and make this midterm season feel a little more feasible.   Get Organized and Manage Your Time Effectively   We’ve all been guilty of putting off our essays and assignments for just that bit too long. Suddenly, it’s the night before the due date, and you have a 2000 word research paper to try and write within the evening. Poor time management is one of the biggest culprits (for myself included) when it comes to feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and burnt out. This is why this first tip is arguably the most important on this list. Laying out all of your commitments and due dates in an organized fashion is a great way to break things up, allowing you to face your obligations one by one and avoid large backlogs of work.    Write Daily To-Do Lists   If you don’t have concrete plans, classes, or commitments during any particular day, it’s easy to get side-tracked and spend the day napping rather than studying. Like the above point, writing daily to-do lists is a great way to break up your day, give yourself a clear schedule, and reserve some well-needed time.    Sleep   This is a big one. We’ve all pulled an all-nighter in a last-minute bid to study for an exam or finish a research paper that’s due the next morning. While it’s sometimes tempting to leave an assignment to the day before and finish it in one sitting, there is no denying the importance of adequate sleep when it comes to being your best, most-clearheaded self.    Exercise   Studying for hours upon end can leave us feeling pent-up, stressed, and frustrated. While it may seem obvious, exercise indeed is proven to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Even just going for a thirty-minute daily walk is a great way to get the endorphins flowing, improve your mood, reduce your stress levels and give you some well-needed headspace away from studying. So if you’re feeling smothered with schoolwork, sometimes the best remedy is to get outside and move your body.    Learn to Say ‘no’ When it’s Necessary   Over-commitment is a recipe for feeling burnt out and overwhelmed. Sometimes our fear of missing out, letting people down, or our aversion to simply saying ‘no’ can cause us to commit to things we don’t have time for. If you’re currently feeling overwhelmed with school work, now might be a good time to say no to that party or to turn down that extra shift at work.   Plan Something New & Exciting    If you’re feeling stressed and stuck in a rut, a great way to boost your morale and give yourself something to look forward to is to plan to do something new and exciting in the near or distant future. This could be purchasing tickets for an upcoming concert, taking a pottery class, or planning a day trip with friends.   Don’t Forget to Slow Down and Take Rest Days   Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself during stressful times! While taking a day away from university work can seem counter-intuitive to some, on days when you’re feeling burnt-out and overwhelmed, it’s crucial to take a day or a few hours away from staring at your assignments and essays. If you feel that being away from your work will only make you feel more stressed, focus your energy toward other areas besides schoolwork. For example, chores, hobbies, or alternative obligations that do not involve university work (such as going to the gym, cleaning the kitchen or watering your plants). That way, you know that you’re productive while taking some much-needed time away from work and study.
  • Breaking Out of My Comfort Zone: My Experience Liv ...

      It all started with my acceptance letter from St. Thomas University, where I would be spending the next four years of my life. After 18 years of living under my parents' roof, it finally came time to step out of my comfort zone and explore the world. The days leading up to departure were rooted in excitement and fear. So many questions flooded my head with doubts and curiosity about my new adventure. The day I arrived at Fredericton airport, I could feel my heart beating out of my chest. Coming to a new country, I now looked ahead to my first week at a new college. Meeting fresh faces and exploring a different culture and region was so exciting. Every time I met a new person I wondered if they felt as afraid (yet free) as I did. Everything was different.    The differences I experienced as an international student new to St.Thomas University, include: 1. People eat at different times here. Don't be surprised if you crave McDonald's late at night! I found myself really surprised by the Canadian lifestyle. Back home, I lived by a routine - especially my eating schedule. I was so confused because here lunch was at noon and dinner started in the cafeteria at four o'clock. But, back home, I had lunch at two o'clock and dinner at eight o'clock. By the time it was evening, with this new schedule, I was starving and fantasizing over McDonald’s fries! 2. Living in residence means sharing (almost everything) and, obviously, not living at home. Living in residence was also a brand new thing for me. Back home, I shared a bathroom with my sister, so sharing the washroom with some other girls didn’t matter to me, but it took time to get used to splitting a room with another person. Thankfully, I quickly realized that having someone there to keep me company and laugh was like having my sister there to support me. The thing is, my family was still in Ecuador, and I could still feel their distance. So, after a long day in class, I would call my parents and sister every night before bed - it was calming and reassuring to know that they supported me and were there for me regardless of the distance. 3. As a new student, you will also be tasked with making new friends (later in life it's different). All my life, I have been around the same type of people. (I don’t consider myself shy when it comes to making friends, but it was easier when we were kids, we just chose the one we thought was the craziest and started playing with them.) Anyway, making new friends in a new country felt different. Navigating classes, well, that was new to too and a challenge (at first). For example, I had a five-minute lapse to rush through three buildings and get across campus to my other class. During the fall it wasn’t bad, but I can’t say the same about winter! I am sure I had a fair number of falls in front of strangers. But, over time, strangers became friends.   4. You adapt but, like anything, you can't control the outcome. Over time, you adapt, but you need to prepare for the unexpected in life, living anywhere in the world. Year three as a student at St. Thomas can be described with one word: rollercoaster. In March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic hit, and my country's borders were on the verge of closing, so I had to quickly uproot again and return home on a last-minute flight. Then, I had to finish second-year exams online before getting ready for summer. Little did we know that it would be just the beginning of a long and exhausting quarantine. I must say the relief of coming home to my family before things got worse was the greatest blessing. I spent all of 2020 re-discovering myself as an artist, a writer, and an individual. I got to make up for the two years I missed by my little sister’s side. Honestly, even if the world was falling apart, a piece of me felt so peaceful and blessed to be back home. When classes began, and the university had launched all of the right platforms to acclimate us to the online form of learning, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Thankfully, with the help of professors and interactive digital platforms, I was able to push through this and overcome any lack of motivation I felt. I believe that going through this made me more deeply appreciate having access to a proper education. In summary? Growing up, I fantasized about my life in college but arriving in a new country, finally there to study, was surreal. In truth, no one talks about the deep feelings of moving 5,000 km away to a different country. There was no way to know the challenges of being a first-year international student or of what was to come - the world fighting an unprecedented global pandemic. Today, I'm grateful for my experience studying abroad and for where I am now. I am just shy of my last year and excited to return to St. Thomas for the winter semester. However, this time, I have a greater understanding of what I'm heading toward...and what I'm leaving behind.  Remember, even if there are obstacles, never give up because it will make you stronger to confront everything life throws at you. All of my experiences as an international student have empowered me to build a future worth looking forward to.
  • How do You Get Research Experience as an Undergrad ...

    Getting research experience is quite helpful for students. It helps determine your interests, enables you to get involved on campus, make connections, and gain valuable experience – particularly important if you plan to attend graduate school or thesis-based programs. However, departments in universities, labs, and healthcare have limited spaces. So, how do you get a research position while in university or if you have already graduated? Well, you need to do your research…before doing your research.   Step 1 – Preliminary Search for Information   For undergraduate students, the first step is to grasp what kind of research takes place at your university. One way to uncover this is by finding your university’s faculty lists online, along with links to their personal pages that often will list their current and past papers. Alternatively, you can also ask professors during office hours or by e-mail if they have any available positions at their labs. If you’re asking professors about research opportunities in-person and over e-mail, start by making a list of professors whose research and/or courses interest you, and check out their lab page. Having a better understanding of their work helps you understand how you can contribute to and gain skills from their future work.    Important information to gather: The general sense of the professor’s research interest: the big questions that their lab asks, why they ask those questions, and what kind of methods they use What kind of technology (if any) does the lab use? What their graduate students’ study Their most recent or ongoing studies What specific courses and skills they are looking for   Step 2 – Informed Outreach Next, before e-mailing, check the website for each lab - if any exists. Most labs will have an opportunities page that will directly state whether they are looking for volunteers, independent study students, or any other positions available at their lab. Unless the lab states explicitly that they do not currently have any opportunities for students, it never hurts to send an e-mail. The e-mail can be brief. Start off with a brief introduction of the year of study, major, and how the research ties into your interest and future career plans.  One of the most important tips that I have learned from a graduate student is to read the research produced by the lab of interest (as recommended in step 1) and go through their articles to get a sense of their work. This process can help you generate questions about the paper to include either in the e-mail or in the cover letter. The question could be about the paper itself, curiosity about the overall topic, or the outcome of using a different approach to the question. This helps show that you’ve thought more deeply about the article, and it also launches a discussion, especially for upper-year independent research project courses.  For your very first research positions, without any prior experience, the trick is to look into multiple different places and speak about your interests and future career plans with professors and teaching assistants. To do this, you can: Take part in summer research opportunities (see below). Look for volunteer opportunities Ask and e-mail professors Submit your relevant courses and grades   Places to look for research opportunities include: Platforms such as the OCC, Research programs and courses on-campus, University job and volunteering opportunity boards, E-mailing or talking to professors and teaching assistants, and, Hospital and healthcare centres.   Step 3 - Keep Going Last but not least, being informed in your approach means actively seeking out opportunities. Below is a compiled list of Ontario-based summer research opportunities to keep an eye out for that is mainly geared towards students:   SickKids Summer Research (SSuRe) Program SRI Summer Student Research Program For BIPOC in psychology, management or neuroscience: Canada Summer Research Opportunities Programme (Canada SROP) Women’s College Hospital Summer Student Research program Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Bloorview Research Institute Ward Family Summer Student Research Program  
  • How to Spot a Micro-Manager & Not be One

    Starting a new job comes with a certain level of pressure - some self-imposed and the rest because you need to deliver and contribute toward meeting the aims your boss or team has set. It's normal to feel "all the feels" that come with plugging away at a new role, within a new company, and to do everything you can to manage and meet expectations within the organization. Good things come to those who work hard (and are nice to people) but there is a fine line between having a drive for success and micro-managing others' work to get what you want out of them.    Yes, the flip side of managing yourself, is when you start managing others - and that is an entirely different tune. Sometimes, people who've come up through the ranks, working long hours and "micro-managing themselves" to ensure success, get promoted and suddenly their working style is applied to the people around them. Uh oh! Now what!? While it's okay to manage people, it's a true artform perfected only through time, and the fall-back all-too-often is that these individuals, striving and worried about meeting deadlines and gains, become what's known, unlovingly, as "micro-managers". This is, essentially, the work version of a "helicopter parent" and it's not pretty.   How to spot a micro-manager:   They have very detailed forms of communication and organization that they lure you into following, even when you've been tasked with a project and the process they use isn't how you'd go about doing your best work. (Hint: they probably didn't even ask you what works best for you, in fear they lose some control over the outcome - and you!) They constantly check in on your work and progress, popping up from behind cubicles, desks, suddenly peeping out of offices you didn't realize they were in, messaging you throughout the day, and emailing you reminders about due dates. (Ah!) They repeat themselves, even when you've heard them the first time, use detached tones, and leave no wiggle room for creativity that goes against their initial concept. For example, they may use expressions like, "With all due respect," or "Good idea, but this sounds like a 'make-work project'" a lot.  They talk a whole lot in meetings, often leaving very little room for anyone else in the forum to get a word in. When someone else speaks, they find a way to shut it down and move back to what they were saying. They run hot and cold because they are worried that maintaining a consistent positive dynamic won't equate to the base level of anxiety from you that they feel supports their positioning and stature within the organization    Now, clearly, that list is tongue-in-cheek, but, sadly, much of it can be true when you're dealing with a micro-manager - an individual who gives excessive supervision to employees. If you're lucky enough to have a long career (and we know you will), you will either come across one or verge on becoming one (it's easier than you think). Because we can't prevent you from crossing paths with a micro-manager, here's a list of things that you can do NOT to be one!   Hold group brainstorming sessions for large projects that require innovation and make sure everyone on your team gets a chance to speak, feel heard, and contribute. Applaud their ideas, and encourage or elaborate on their thoughts to push good thinking further and elevate the potential of those around you. Empower your team members to use platforms and tools that work best for their organization or work style, and then try to work around how they work best. Set check-in times periodically, and save your questions about an individual's work or progress for those meetings so that you're not always reaching out or pushing them for updates. Work alongside, don't oversee. This means asking for feedback on how you can do things better for your team and being open to your own imperfection to adapt to meet your team with what they need for success. Use "we" not "I' language when speaking of successes or wins. No human being is an island, and no achievement is due to the input of solely one individual. Spread awareness within your organization about the excellent work of those behind each project - when you manage, it's not about you, ever, really.   All in all, micro-managers are usually coming from a good place. They are Type A or "high achievers" who just want things to go well! But, unfortunately, their approach is, honestly, entirely unnecessary and brutal on team members. If you so happen to spot a micro-manager on your team, don't run; maybe try to manage up and help them understand how you work better rather than passively allowing them to guide you in a direction that negatively impacts how you feel about work or get the job done. But, how you handle it is up to you! We don't want to micro-manage...
  • Motivated by Activism, By: Shoffana Sundaramoorthy ...

    Working a job has become an integral part of our lives. It is as though finding a full-time position following your post-secondary graduation is like this “rite of passage” into adulthood. When we contemplate precisely why we strive to work, a prominent reason would be to ease our impending financial obligations. Other common answers would be to fulfill our life’s purpose or be satisfied by the work at hand.    Motivations for Work    First and foremost, I do want to highlight the prominence in why people tend to work. Richard Ryan and Edward Deci were both professors from the University of Rochester. They co-published the book “Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Human Behavior,” which centered around a human’s internal and external motivations and their application into certain life aspects (McGregor & Doshi, 2019). One of these aspects that they covered was work. They were able to compile six reasons why people worked, these reasons include:          1. Potential    If you are motivated by your potential, you perceive your job as an avenue to elevate your capabilities and achieve your fullest potential. For example, a store cashier would feel inclined to perform well on the job as they believe that they can obtain a higher position as a store manager by working at fulfilling their potential.          2. Play     If you are motivated by play, you tend to work because you find the work to be entertaining. For example, a veterinarian who likes taking care of animals would enjoy their work.           3. Purpose    If you are motivated by purpose, there is a strong alignment between the job’s result and your identity. You acknowledge the work’s significance as it resonates with your self-fulfillment. For example, a policy officer may resonate with their job as they value morality and justice. Moreover, a police officer may identify with their intentions to ensure the safety of their citizens.         4. Economic Pressure  If you are motivated by economic pressure, you are driven to work by an external force/ circumstances that relies heavily on money. These economically fueled stressors include paying monthly rent or providing for your family.         5. Emotional Pressure  If you are motivated by emotional pressure, you seem to work as outside forces/ circumstances threaten your identity and well-being. These external forces exert emotional strain, whether it is guilt from your past actions or fear of not having a roof over your head.         6. Inertia  If you are motivated by Inertia, you frankly do not have a clear-cut reason for why you are working. In this case, it is tough to put into words what exactly drives you.    Some interesting trends have arisen regarding these work motivations. We can arrange these six reasons into two groups. The first group comprises Potential, Play, and Purpose. Research has backed up that possessing any motive in group one can improve your overall performance. The second group consists of Economic Pressure, Emotional Pressure, and Inertia. Conversely, research has showcased that having any motive in group two can hinder your overall performance.    Jobs in Activism    With these motivations in mind, I feel that there is a growing demand for activism-related jobs. With the widespread use of technology, connecting people and events globally, we can transcend borders and boundaries. We have also grown in self-awareness towards social issues and become deterministic in making headway against the ordeals around the world.   Now, activism jobs do not have a concrete image of what they entail, unlike the job descriptions of, for example, a teacher or scientist. Activism, in itself, is such a broad and abstract concept. Activism-related jobs and roles within the field do not exist in the same industry or demand the same skill set. The key principle behind both is that activists push through obstacles to facilitate positive change in society. Considering all this, those interested in pursuing roles in activism or related fields need to have a firm resolve for working with a purpose and making a difference in the lives of others. I will be going over a few jobs that employ these activist elements below.    Social Worker    Social workers pave the path for their patients when it comes to navigating their everyday lives. They recognize that their patients may endure prominent hurdles, so social workers try to provide their patients with resources to overcome these hurdles. Social workers develop and monitor a patient’s treatment plan, refer patients to suitable community initiatives, conduct research to draw connections between their patients' struggles and overarching social issues, and administrative work. They operate under various categories such as family life, school, mental health, and so forth.  Social work is a job sector that heavily intertwines with activism. Professionals within social work advocate for change, especially for marginalized groups, and work to increase accessibility for these groups to pre-existing services and resources.   Activism Jobs in Social Work    Child welfare specialist  Mental Health Counselor  Case Management Aide  Behavior Supervisor      Policy Analyst    Policy analysts look to implement long-lasting, meaningful policy initiatives. To achieve this goal, they are expected to do the following: Assess the effectiveness of current policy legislation. Conduct extensive research. Consult with third-party stakeholders. Make sure that their policy recommendations align appropriately with their given objectives.   You can specialize in a particular field as a policy analyst. If you are interested in improving healthcare, you can look to be a health policy analyst. If you are interested in improving education, you can look to become an educational policy analyst - and so on.   Policy analysts possess an element of activism when enforcing laws/ recommendations to address social issues impactfully. Little known fact, policy analysis is considered a legal field. Besides the duty to enforce the law and exercise morality in society, legal professions are responsible for protecting the rights of vulnerable citizens and establishing suitable punishments for those who do not comply and put these rights at risk.    Activism Jobs in Law    Lawyer  Probation Officer  Prosecutor  Government Lobbyist    Photojournalist    A picture is worth 1,000 words. As a photojournalist, one intends to capture the compelling narrative of significant events through taking photographs. On top of that, they need to develop captions for their pictures. This job certainly sounds more accessible than it seems. Depending on a photojournalist’s vision, it may require them to travel to different countries to get a genuine glimpse of these events. Of course, these events can be either good (ex. Presidential inauguration) or bad (ex. A natural disaster). To add on, the combination of visual elements (color, size, proportion) can encapsulate engaging dynamics between notable individuals and vivid emotions. It takes a creative talent to excel at this talent truly. Going back to a previous point about the widespread use of technology, it has disrupted the traditional means of photojournalism through newspapers. Alternatively, social media more quickly distributes these impactful images while sparking a conversation online for thousands who are invited to engage freely.    Jobs in the media are crucial in activism. They help to record these precious moments from the present. Years from now, we can look back on these archived photographs or written pieces as evidence of past events. More importantly, the archived material can be a learning resource to have citizens reflect on the dual-sided nature of humanity. With the 'good side' captured in positive world events, we can be more appreciative. With the 'bad side' captured, we can reflect and ensure history does not repeat itself from adverse world events.     Activism Jobs in Media    Documentary Director  Biographical Writer  News Reporter  Social Media Manager    Become a Fundraising Director    A fundraising director generally works within a nonprofit organization (NPO). They work on the financial side as they are responsible for monitoring an NPO’s fundraising patterns. With this responsibility, the director must brainstorm effective fundraising strategies to implement in the local community, create positive relationships with stakeholders (ex. event sponsors, media companies, donors), and prepare crucial documents (ex. Budget statements, press releases).     Fundraising directors can determine the existence of NPOs. If these NPOs cannot obtain government grants or rather the grants cannot cover all the necessary costs, members of the NPO must secure other forms of income. Their money can be generated from merchandise, memberships fees, and mainly donations. By focusing on the longevity of these NPOs, these organizations can hold community events and initiatives that can spread awareness about social issues alongside assisting disadvantaged groups in the community. After all, any extra revenue made by these NPOs is meant to go back and help the community in any way possible.    Activism Jobs in Nonprofit    Grant writer  Community Outreach Worker  Administrative Services Manager  Event Manager    With that, I would like to emphasize that you do not have to wait. You do not have to wait until you achieve an activism-related job to give back to your community. You can give back through volunteering at a local community organization or even donating. Moreover, the amount of information disposable is incredible. We need to utilize this privilege of knowledge to understand the underlying circumstances of social issues, how they vary across countries/ continents, and whether there are pre-existing mechanisms in place to alleviate these social issues. We cannot tackle a problem through naivety and ignorance.     Though, there is another point I want to make. At the start of this article, I mentioned that there are various motivations for one to work. Even if you are not interested in an activism-related career, I want you to know that you should choose a job that fulfills you. Recall around the start of this article where if you were motivated by either Potential, Play, and Purpose, you will find yourself achieving better results. Many of us have encountered a situation where we were inclined towards a specific job just because a friend/ family member wanted us to pursue it. Despite the job not resonating with us, we tried to go down a specific path out of fear of disappointing our loved ones.      How are you supposed to do well out of your job if you find it mundane and draining? Sticking to a job you do not enjoy or feel fulfilled by is a regret that will eat away at you. Everyone has their unique aspirations that they want to reach. No ambition is better than another’s. It is relatively based on an individual’s personality and skill. Even if you do not intend for an activism-related job, we all have to eventually advocate for our desired futures in the face of adulthood.      Work towards your goal, and do not get discouraged.      ------ Work Cited  McGregor, L., & Doshi, N. (2015, November 25). How Company Culture Shapes   Employee Motivation. Retrieved from   https://hbr.org/2015/11/how-company-culture-shapes-employee-motivation
  • Ten (oft-neglected) ways to optimize your resume, ...

    Alas, the grueling road of resume writing! One spends hours fretting and agonizing over a resume for the glazed eyeballs of future employers skimming through reams of lists and dates and soft skills. How to craft a resume that doesn’t dissipate into the resume-ether? Here are ten frequently neglected tips to help catch an employer’s eye. 1. Skills-based resume  Without thinking, many of us stick to the basic rule: work history first. But if you’re a student applying for a job outside of your work experience, consider a skills-based resume. Here your skills are listed first and emphasized. It shows employers that you’ve developed relevant abilities through untraditional means. You may be fresh on the scene, but that doesn’t mean you’re unprepared.    2. Find key words in job descriptions  Larger companies often use an ATS (Applicant Tracking System), software that filters out weaker resumes so human eyes have less to read. One way of appeasing ATS bots: incorporate key words from the job description into your resume (and cover letter, too). If the job requires “time management” skills, note how you successfully managed your time at different jobs. The ATS will see that your resume matches the employer’s requirements. Also, human eyes will see that you’ve read the job description carefully and understand their brand or goals. But balance is everything. Too much copy-and-paste looks lazy and manipulative. Remember: use your own voice!      3. Quantify, Quantify, Quantify  Sometimes a detail, a single number, turns a dull statement into something sharper. Compare: “I helped students achieve better grades,” versus, “I helped forty students achieve grade-A marks.” The latter is precise and concrete. It shows that you’re attentive to your work and allows employers to better process your accomplishments.     4. No to adverbs/adjectives   An old writer’s truth: adverbs and adjectives often (not always!) signify a weak verb. When you have limited space, when your reader will be skimming, concision reigns. A few words need to say a lot. Too many adjectives and adverbs will clog sentences and strain weary eyes. Instead of saying, “I successfully made very accurate predictions on outcomes,” simply say, “I predicted outcomes.” Everything else is unnecessary.      5. Yes to action verbs   Action verbs describe, well, action—things happening. They are dynamic, forceful, and engaging. Instead of writing, “Because of my influence, the math club was popular again,” write, “I revitalized the math club.” 'Revitalized' grabs readers’ attention. It’s more direct and sophisticated.     6.  Avoid cliches   Cliches like “team player” and “hard worker,” as true as they may be, suggest that you haven’t taken the time to write something original. Find language in your own voice, not from a thousand other resumes. Get specific: how were you a hard worker? What separates your hard work from others’? That said, avoid the other extreme: thesaurus writing. In the context of a resume, “indomitable worker” sounds forced and somewhat pretentious.      7. List volunteer work   Some conventional wisdom says that only those with little work experience should list volunteer experience, but this has changed. Yes, volunteer work can show that you’ve acquired relevant skills; it may also suggest something about your integrity as a person. Employers worth their salt look for employees who care for more than monetary success.   8. List successes, not duties   Saying you’ve built a table doesn’t prove you’re good at building tables. Saying you’ve built an award-winning table does.     9. Highlight remote work   As more employment opportunities remain remote, new skills are needed. Have you led a Zoom meeting? Have you worked independently from home? Consider highlighting your remote work on your resume.    10. Keep it clean   When formatting, don’t get creative. Keep things minimal, direct, and consistent. You can’t go wrong with 1-inch margins, 12-point font, and Times New Roman. If you want a little spice to stand out from the crowd, keep it subtle and cohesive. Do everything possible to cushion the employer’s weary eyeballs. Remember, within a short period of time, you want them to know who you are and what you offer. Fancy borders, weird fonts, and a plethora of emphasized words is tiring and unprofessional. A well-structured resume demonstrates your ability to structure things. Your resume’s aesthetics is the first impression you’ll give.    
  • Kick-starting Your Career with a Canada Grant

    It’s a truism and an understatement: Starting a career in the arts or a creative industry is difficult. But for some, a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts could be the first step. You don’t need to belong to the stereotypical “arts crowd”—thespians, musicians, illustrators, etc. Canada Council supports a range of creative types: programmers interested in emerging digital arts, gymnasts interested in circus arts, engineers interested in the artsy side of robotics—the list goes on. You can apply for grants at any time, for substantial amounts (tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands), for projects of any span (okay, most spans—think weeks to a few years). A grant can help you develop a portfolio for that dream company or provide the needed expertise to start your own company. If you want to build a non-profit (say an arts program for low-income families or a festival that celebrates deaf and disabled artists), then developing your own artistic practice may be the first step toward future funding and opportunities. Regardless, Canada Council grants look great on resumes and CVs. They show that professionals in your field—who are hired to assess applications—believe in your project and abilities.    Obtaining a grant is a particularly competitive process, but don't let that sway you. Applications are free, and Canada Council is committed to supporting new voices. Peruse the website: you might qualify for as a “New/Early Career Artist,” an applicant profile that requires little experience and keeps you from competing with veterans who’ve perfected their craft. Canada Council also commits to supporting underrepresented voices. There are particular opportunities for Indigenous or deaf and disabled artists. If you have a disability or face cultural or language barriers, you may qualify for “Application Assistance” where someone helps assemble your proposal. And while the application process is long, it’s straightforward: introduce a project, supply a sample of your work, and create a tentative schedule and budget. Four or five months later, the results are in.     I’ve talked to those who have applied for Canada Council grants and those who have assessed Canada Council applications. I've also won one myself. If you’re interested in applying, here’s some wisdom I’ve gathered:  Start early. Like, months before the deadline. This pertains to both the application and your project. Before applying, you must create a “profile” that, among other things, shows you’re committed to your discipline. The “New/Early Career Artist” profile, for instance, asks for some evidence of “training, experience or accomplishments” within your field. Then, once your profile is accepted, the application may require long responses to difficult questions. Five hundred words explaining how your project will contribute something new to the genre and yourself: more difficult than it sounds! Also, if you begin your project before applying, you will have a better sense of what you’re proposing and how to propose it. Projects can billow in unexpected ways; you want your budget to cover your costs. Grant writing is an artform. Start now and take it slow!  Don’t get fancy. I’ve heard a grant assessor emphasize the importance of clear, unpretentious project proposals. Often artists will have a strong intuitive grasp of their project, which, when translated to paper, seems convoluted or ostentatious. Remember: assessors may read your application at the end of a long day, hours beyond their last coffee. Keep it neat and down-to-earth. You’re selling a proposal, not a finished product. Assessors are artists too, and they know projects have nuances and theoretical underpinnings that cannot be fully articulated in an application. They know end results may look quite different than what’s first proposed. Concentrate on writing an elegant, compelling proposal, even if means leaving out certain aspects of your project.  Don’t be afraid to ask for money. Assessors find that emerging artists frequently ask for too little. You want to demonstrate a realistic understanding of your project’s viability. Don’t be sheepish; be fiscally truthful.    All in all, don’t be discouraged by rejection. I’ve heard a grant assessor call the process a “lottery.” Assessors, no matter how open and fair, are humans with preferences and perspectives. A rejected project isn’t necessarily a subpar project. An editor at a respected press told me that one of their authors, despite years of applying, hadn’t received a Canada grant. Why? Who knows. He’s a talented writer who’s published several books with a respected press. The point: rejection, or the fear of rejection, shouldn’t keep you from trying. Keep going for it!     
  • An Introvert's Guide to Networking During a Pandem ...

    Ah, networking! Can we agree it's an introvert’s worst nightmare?! I’m sure many of us would rather put pins in our eyes than attend a five-hundred-person networking convention, or awkwardly amble around handing out resumes and business cards. For an introvert, networking is not only anxiety-inducing, it’s physically and emotionally exhausting. Luckily there are ways to make the process a little bit easier.  Whether it’s making the most of your close personal relationships, taking advantage of the current COVID-related restrictions, or increasing your online presence, there are many introvert-friendly ways to network effectively. Here are a few tips and tricks to make networking more stress-free for introverts.    Make the Best out of a Bad Situation The current state of the world isn’t exactly ideal, but when it comes to networking, we can try to make the best out of a bad situation. Introverts may find a kind of guilty pleasure in the current climate. Being forced to spend more time at home also means that there’s a great excuse to avoid all unnecessary physical and social contact! While it may seem like the worst time in the world to network, for introverts, networking just got much easier.   Most networking events are now digital, which removes much of what makes them so stressful and exhausting for introverts. Would you rather attend an in-person networking convention with hundreds of people, or sit in the comfort of your own home and simply leverage your online presence?  If you’ve considered attending a networking event but are put-off by the idea of large crowds, then join a virtual event. Where you would have previously made only local connections, digital networking opens the door to endless new possibilities.    Go Online  Establishing yourself online is not just a professional asset, in the current climate, it’s crucial. With businesses, events, and just about everything else transitioning to the digital realm due to this pandemic, it is has become just as important for us to move our own professional and personal achievements online.     Polish up your social media accounts: Refine your LinkedIn profile, put your profession (or your desired one) in your social media bios, and join job-specific Facebook groups.  Make sure you’re staying active on social media: There’s no need to leave the house, take just 10 minutes a day to interact with accounts and posts that inspire you. If your goal is to one day work in marketing, follow inspiring marketing professionals and take a few minutes during your morning coffee break to like and comment on their posts. This not only increases the likelihood of building a relationship with the individual, but also elevates your online presence, making it easier for other aspiring or established professionals to come across your account.     Don’t Underestimate the Power of Existing Contacts (i.e. Friends and Family)  A large part of what makes networking so intimidating is the idea of reaching out to total strangers. It goes without saying that meeting new people is the key to networking, but there is no reason that this can’t be done through existing close connections.   Maybe your friend is close with someone that works for a company you’re interested in, or maybe a family member happens to have connections with someone who is interviewing for an exciting internship. Whoever it is, your network and professional opportunities can be increased tenfold simply by reaching out to your nearest and dearest for help. Whether it’s a cousin, a dad, a best friend, an old acquaintance: reach out and ask! Not to mention, ties with close friends and family greatly increases the probability for new relationships to be more long-lasting and meaningful. If this feels intimidating, write a list of the people you’re closest to: Start with your closest friends and family to get more comfortable with the idea of reaching out. With time, you may feel confident enough to also rebuild old connections.  Despite the current restrictions, people all over the world are more within reach and more eager to make meaningful connections than ever before. Though forming new relationships can be particularly difficult for introverts, now really is the best time to go online, leverage your social media and job platforms (like this one), and reach out to those closest to you.  
  • Scholarships Available in Canada & How to Apply, b ...

    Financial strain is a burden to anyone - particularly post-secondary students. The pandemic has exasperated this strain, creating a job shortage and diminished overall job prospects. But, before you panic, there are resources available to support you. You can fund a portion of your post-secondary expenses by securing a line of credit from a bank or applying for provincial/ federal grants and loans. Scholarships are another means to fund your education, and frankly, I believe it is one of the most underutilized options out there. Advice on Weighing Your Scholarship Options In Canada, the value of unclaimed scholarships, annually, can amount to over $10 million (Edwardson, 2021).  This number is so absurd that it makes you wonder why exactly all of us students aren't jumping at this free money. One reason could be that students may feel as though they are not qualified enough to be in the running for a scholarship. When 'scholarship' comes to mind, you would probably imagine an essay-writing competition open to students, where the best written essay is awarded a cash prize or may see the winner of scholarships as all-around students with a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) and strong involvement in their schools/ communities. All of these thoughts can be intimidating. Truthfully, all scholarships do not follow such a rigid structure nor demand for exceptional feats. Scholarship opportunities are offered by a plethora of organizations/ companies that demand a unique set of requirements - requirements you might not have thought. Although some scholarships may look at specifically academic performance or volunteer experience, extracurriculars, or ask for you to write a small essay about why you would be a great recipient (many company-funded scholarship applications ask this), others may simply ask for your resume or to input your contact information - you could win based on a random draw. Yes, scholarship opportunities come in a variety of forms! If you are a tall first-year student entering university or college, there's a scholarship for you: consider applying to the Tall Clubs International (TCI) Foundation scholarship; for the minimum height requirement, they are looking for females that are 5' 10" and males that are 6' 2.” Unorthodox? Maybe. An opportunity you probably didn't know was out there, that could help finance your education - yep! Landing a Scholarship Means Additional Support Beyond The Financial Planning out your scholarship applications is done similarly as one would prepare a resume and cover letter. Like a resume and cover letter, you would not put all your extracurriculars and community experiences onto your scholarship application. You would pay attention to the scholarship requirements and tailor your application based on that. With that, applying to scholarships can reinforce your critical thinking and make you more accustomed to marketing your desirability. This can translate to the job search as you try to advertise your employability to open companies. Speaking of employability, certain scholarships offer mentorship and exclusive activities (e.g networking or research opportunities) to its recipients.  Having a mentor would be a great asset in directly guiding your professional development and getting a grasp of your goals. You have someone you can come to for questions and concerns that you may feel uncomfortable opening up to others about. Networking does not hurt either.  Maintaining a diverse web of connections can come in handy in exposure to unique job insights and understanding what values and skills employers look out for. Who you know can take you far, especially when you have a dream career in mind! Further, winning a scholarship is a feat worth placing on your resume - no doubt. It can make a great talking point in job interviews and exemplifies your initiative to go after what you desire. You've Got to Start Somewhere When you dedicate the time and energy, scholarships can certainly be worthwhile. They carry a handful of benefits in not only financially supporting the post-secondary expenses of students, but also present a tool in molding themselves into an ideal job candidate. With seeing the bright side of scholarships, it is time to work on where to start exactly.  A good place to start would be your post-secondary institution. Colleges and universities offer scholarships that are limited solely to their attending students, so I recommend reaching out to yours to understand their process for applying to in-school scholarships. You can also ask around within your connections of family members and friends to see if they know of any organizations/ companies that are currently offering any scholarships. Hands down, the biggest tool at your fingertips for this scholarship hunt would be online scholarship websites. They bring immense accessibility and awareness to scholarships that you would otherwise never hear about. When it comes to my personal scholarship hunt, I recommend the use of Scholarships Canada, ScholarTree, Student Awards, and Yconic.  I guess what I'm saying here is, you don't have to financially support your post-secondary journey alone. At least, you have options work toward. While preparing for, submitting you application, and trying doesn't mean you'll land a scholarship, the options out there are far more abundant and varied than you may have thought. If you don't try, you'll never know, right? And that, friends, is worth its weight in gold!!! Final Tips to Land a Scholarship: Create a spreadsheet/ Calendar of scholarships, their corresponding requirements, and deadlines.  Be sure to start early. Plan out time in your schedule into making scholarship applications Given that you meet the minimum requirements, apply to as many scholarships as you can If scholarships require letters of recommendations, reach out to your postsecondary professors at an early date to see if they are available. If they aren’t available, try asking your former employers or volunteer/ extracurricular supervisors. Proofread and revise your scholarship application before submitting Be confident and proud of your accomplishments, regardless of whether you win the scholarship. It will motivate you more to continue applying, and it will shine through in your application
  • Five Less-Obvious Careers for English Graduates, b ...

    When asking the question, “What can I do with my English degree?” the first careers that typically come to mind often include writers, librarians, or teachers. While these are great options for many English graduates, they only scratch the surface of possible careers available to someone with an English Degree. The broad and transferrable skills (such as communication and critical thinking) developed as an English major means that English graduates are prevalent in almost every industry.   So, what can you do with an English degree? This article will break down five less-typical career paths (with salaries) that you may want to consider as an English major.           1. Marketing Executive  If you have a creative flair and found yourself enjoying the research-based, analytical side of your major, then you may want to consider a career in marketing.  As a marketing executive, you will need to produce creative, eye-catching content to help campaign for and promote a product or service, such as videos and blog posts. Ultimately, the goal is to help develop and create more awareness of the company’s brand and ethos.  Other responsibilities involve conducting market research, writing/proofreading marketing copy for campaigns, and building customer relationships.  To succeed in this role, you will need to be creative and analytical, have strong interpersonal abilities to liaise with customers and clients effectively, and possess a well-rounded commercial awareness.  Median Salary: Marketing Executive: $51,202, Marketing Manager: $64,065            2. Human Resources  An HR Officer’s overall goal is to look after employees by providing adequate training opportunities and dealing with workplace grievances.  The responsibilities of a human resources officer include promoting diversity and equality, enforcing workplace policies, recruitment, and ensuring the welfare of all staff.  As a human resources assistant, effective communication (both written and verbal) is critical - an area where English majors shine! You will also need strong interpersonal skills, as employees will need to feel that they can approach you to discuss personal, confidential, and, often, sensitive issues.  Median Salary: HR Assistant: $41,500, HR Manager: $70,721          3. Events Manager/Planner  If you find yourself thriving in a fast-paced environment and have a strong set of interpersonal and organizational skills, then consider a career in events management.  An events manager’s primary responsibilities involve producing proposals for events, researching venues, and negotiating with clients and suppliers, managing staff, and all-in-all making sure that the event in question runs smoothly and within budget. Events managers are usually hired by corporations such as hotels, charities, and business associations, but some are self-employed, working on a project-by-project basis.  Excellent communication and attention to detail is the key to success in this role. An events manager must also have strong organizational skills, problem-solving abilities, and experience managing projects.  Median Salary: $53,462           4. Paralegal/Legal Assistant  Though some English graduates go on to complete a three-year graduate degree on their journey to becoming a lawyer, there are other routes into the legal realm that are less timely (and less costly)! If you are an English major interested in pursuing a career in law but are unsure about pursuing a graduate degree, then you might want to consider a career as a paralegal.  As a paralegal, responsibilities vary greatly depending on the type of employer. Still, they typically include drafting and proofreading legal documents, interviewing clients and witnesses, analyzing legal data, and providing support in the courtroom at hearings and trials.  To succeed in this role, you will need to be detail-oriented and technologically savvy. Effective communication (much like within the other roles we’ve discussed) is also critical.  To become a paralegal in Canada, you will need to complete a paralegal diploma, which can be completed in as little as 12 months.  Median Salary: $53,409            5. Public Relations (PR)  If you’re quick-thinking, adaptable, and can cope well under pressure, then maybe consider a role in public relations.   In general, a public relations officer uses all forms of communications and media to manage the image and reputation of their client. These clients can range from businesses to public bodies.  Responsibilities within a role in public relations involve planning and implementing PR strategies, researching and distributing press releases to targeted media, monitoring media opportunities, and managing social media platforms.   To succeed in this role, you will need excellent interpersonal and writing skills, organization, and creativity.   Median Salary: $65,908    If you have an English degree, you will be a strong candidate for roles in various industries. If none of the above careers interest you, there are many alternative opportunities to consider. Other possibilities include multiple careers in psychology (with additional studies), media and journalism, publishing, freelance writing, and translation.     All information on median salaries sourced from payscale.com 
  • The Canadian Mobility and Aerospace Institute Offe ...

    Orbis and Magnet are excited to announce that The Canadian Mobility and Aerospace Institute (CMAI) is turning to Outcome Campus Connect to reach students and graduates nationwide, with new WIL opportunities in the mobility sector. Through Outcome Campus Connect, CMAI is supporting the next generation workforce with skill building experiences meaningful to pursuing careers in aerospace and mobility. Universities and colleges using Outcome Campus Connect will receive these new WIL opportunities, elevating support for students in the wake of this pandemic.    “We are excited to extend our reach to even more students, from all fields and levels of study, through this partnership with Outcome Campus Connect. It reflects the collaborative spirit that has distinguished CMAI since its inception in 2018,” said Sylvain Larochelle, Chair of the Board and Technology Collaboration Office Manager.    Using Outcome Campus Connect, CMAI expands recruitment for their new WIL opportunities to a highly targeted demographic of students and graduates across Canada. Streamlining early talent recruitment is a strategic ingredient required to support the anticipated growth of these sectors through the support of post-secondary students. CMAI architected all WIL opportunities to offer the future workforce hands-on, multidisciplinary experiences reflective of what their prospective employers need for rapid business growth in a post-pandemic era.   “We’re thrilled to be working with the team at CMAI and appreciate their thoughtful approach to reaching students and graduates with opportunities to enhance their futures and our nation’s aerospace and mobility sectors,” says Daniel Gagné, Product Success Coach and On-boarder, Outcome Campus Connect, at Orbis. “Collaborations and use of the platform like this will have a tremendously positive, long-term impact.”    All WIL opportunities will funnel into Outcome Campus Connect, one of the channels that CMAI is using to build an early, career-ready talent recruitment pipeline for the aerospace and mobility sectors. Outcome Campus Connect is Canada’s skill development and job opportunity platform built for university and college students and empowered by a network of partners working together to support the next generation workforce with access to skills and opportunities to gain experience and get hired. ?   About CMAI Founded in 2018, the?Canadian Mobility and Aerospace Institute?(CMAI) is a pan-Canadian non-profit organization that provides work-based learning opportunities for students from post-secondary institutions in the mobility sectors (aerospace, rail, marine, land). Among its services, CMAI offers a talent and workforce development tool known as?Placement SPOT. Placement SPOT offers value-added collaborative services for both students and companies. It aims to support students and develop their skills. In concrete terms, CMAI and its members – SMEs, large corporations, and post-secondary institutions – organize internships, mini-WILs, and micro-WILs for the benefit of students. The WIL activities are made possible by two partnerships. One with BHER with funding from Innovation, Science and Economic Development and one funded by the Government of Canada’s Innovative Work-Integrated Learning program.    About Outcome Campus Connect  Outcome Campus Connect is Canada’s skill development and job opportunity platform built for university and college students or recent graduates. It is Canada’s largest campus recruiting platform and experiential learning resource for university and college students. Funded by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) as a part of the Student Work Placement Program, Outcome Campus Connect is free for all students, graduates, post-secondary institutions, employers, and delivery partners. The platform is offered in partnership between Orbis and Magnet and empowered by its network of partners supporting the next generation workforce to get experience and get hired.    About Orbis  Orbis develops experiential learning and recruitment software solutions, unpacks data, and drives mindsets that lead to institutional growth through student and graduate potential fulfillment. Through?Outcome,?Outcome Campus Connect, and?Mindset, we have supported post-secondary institutions and employers to drive the success of over 1,000,000 students and graduates and 350,000 businesses. We believe experience matters and have twenty years of it.    About Magnet  Magnet is a digital social innovation platform, founded at Ryerson University. Through the Magnet Network, our mission is to accelerate inclusive economic growth for all in Canada by advancing careers, businesses, and communities. Through Outcome Campus Connect, Magnet enables employers from all sectors and regions to post job opportunities for free and connect to early talent across the country easily and quickly.     
  • Meet Fahmida Islam, OCC Graduate Journalist

    My name is Fahmida, and I graduated from UofT with a life science degree. I am very excited to be part of the OCC Journalist team because it gives me a platform to share my experiences as a recent graduate. I wish I had this during undergrad because I love learning from others' experiences. Everyone's career and learning path are different. My journey begins in healthcare, working mainly with seniors. I'm excited to share advice and stories with fellow graduates and students, informed by my current roles as an assistant at a psychology lab, a community organization worker, and a volunteer. Look out for my pieces on navigating jobs, internships, and volunteering with a life-science degree.
  • Meet Ariana Calvachi, OCC Student Journalist

    As an Ecuadorian living 5,000 km away from home, adapting to new surroundings has been quite a challenge but the first step to my dream of becoming a journalist - a dream I've had since I was a little girl. Journalism is a good fit for my personality because I am ambitious, generous, thoughtful, determined, and calm. I believe in fighting for what you desire, no matter the obstacles.  I´m a full-time student, and I will be entering my fourth year in the fall at St.Thomas University in NB, Fredericton, where I´ll complete my major in Journalism with a minor in Communications. I continue to be motivated by my love of learning and writing. It is my goal to become an outstanding and successful woman in today´s society. I want to become a professional and well-known journalist who empowers the voices of others.  My passion for writing also awakens my curiosity and leads me to explore different fields of knowledge such as arts, science, and history. I dedicate my time to learn from the outside world since it makes me grow and understand the different situations in which people find themselves daily. That's why in the summer of 2019, I was an intern at Diners Club International. In this role, I engaged in a community project while working with Human Resources to better their customers’ experience.  As an artist and writer, I have written several pieces alongside The Aquinian as their reporter - jumping outside my comfort zone to connect with my community. Since the pandemic hit, I have pushed to adapt my journalistic skills online, but even though many challenges presented themselves, I pulled through, and it was worth it.  A new chapter in my career journey is now starting as a part of the Orbis’ OCC Student and Graduate Journalist Team, where I am excited to keep developing myself as a professional. I’m looking forward to exploring my fields of study, connecting with projects to help my community, and gaining experience.    
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