Getting to Know Myself from My First (Failed) Job Interview

A black notebook with a piece of lined paper on top of it that has "Failure?" written on it

Was my first job interview a failure, or an opportunity for career exploration?

When I was legally allowed to work and ready to become a contributing member of society, I applied to be camp counselor for a kids’ summer camp. Although I was practically a child myself and the only knowledge I had of summer camps came from an old Scooby Doo episode about a haunted campsite, I was offered an interview.

When I stepped into the interviewer’s office, he jumped up from his chair and pointed at me. “Is it really you?” he asked, in awe. “Are you the genius who put down Microsoft Word as her special skill? I’ve never met anyone so qualified and so accomplished. You are now the CEO of the summer camp. Wait, scratch that. I now dub you CEO of summer itself.”

Needless to say, my first interview for that summer camp job did not go quite as smoothly as this scenario (I never heard back from the interviewer), but it did teach me a few lessons about myself and my career aspirations, as well as the surprising benefits of failure. Of course, my experience also taught me about the dos and don’ts of interviewing (come prepared, know about the company, rehearse questions beforehand, etcetera—you’ve heard these all before), but the most valuable lessons I took away from the experience were about myself and my career explorations.

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How to Approach Professors like a Pro

Confession time: I used to be deathly afraid of my professors (and teachers). What?

I also used to be one of those kids that thought teachers lived at school all the time and didn’t do anything else. What a shock it was when 6-year-old me saw a teacher outside of school for the first time and realized that teachers are human beings just like me.

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Hello September: Play Day and early goal setting

Welcome back everyone! It’s hard to believe it’s September again.

My name is Annette and I’m excited to be a returning contributor to the Life@UofT blog this year. I’ll be continuing to cover all things physical activity and fitness with a weekly post you can expect to be published every Friday.

If you’re new to the blog, hello and welcome! If you like what you find, you can check out the archive to catch up on all the fun we had last year.

A bit about me: I’m a fourth-year student double majoring in Physiology and Biochemistry and minoring in German Studies. I’m absolutely wired right now on account of impending doom (read as: LSAT), but I’m doing my best to be excited about all that will follow for the rest of the year. I’m a peculiar person – half of the time I’m a bit of a grandma who likes to go to sleep early and sleep lots, drink tea under a fuzzy blanket – that sort of thing. The other half of the time, however, I’m curtain climbing and training to be a ninja – I just don’t know an in between.

Annette is seen hanging upside down from a set of aerial silks.

(I spend a lot of time upside down…)

September is a big month, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that. Between moving in and out of apartments/residences, shopping for textbooks, starting classes and trying to override a very “Hakuna Matata” lifestyle and/or sleep pattern, there’s a LOT going on. You should see my calendar, it’s absolutely BONKERS.

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Lessons in Objects

"Inside Out" plushies, notebooks, hard hat keychains, sunglasses, ballet shoes

It’s tough to feel confident when you’ve had setbacks. Very few of us can immediately bounce back after some kind of a failure without feeling burned for a little while.

For me, returning to school after a few years away proved to be a bigger challenge than I had thought it would be. I bit off more than I can chew in an attempt to make up for lost time and ended up paying the price for it—academically, mentally, physically.

But what good is it wallowing in past failures? Starting this school year as a full-time student again, I try to keep in mind the things that I learned from my disappointments and the mindset and new habits I want to try to stick to going forward. Here, I present some of the “tokens” of my learned lessons.

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(Barely) Imparting Senior Student Wisdom

Hello new semester! Don’t you just love the buzz around campus this time of year? You know, its that time in the semester where midterms haven’t taken over life yet, the weather is still amazing and you have a whole new batch of stationary to play with. Okay, that last one only applies to me and a handful of very cool people.

It’s also that time of year where I usually make tons of new goals and try extra hard to get this whole studying thing right.

 

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It’s “Back-to-School” Season, NOT “Back-to-Stress” Season

A picture of UC in the fall.

Hey everyone – welcome back to school!

Whether this is your first year at university or you are a returning UofT student, this year is bound to bring many wonderful changes. You’ll inevitably learn new information, meet new people, and experience new adventures you haven’t even thought about yet!

Before I continue, allow me to formally introduce myself – I am Slesha, your new Academic Success and Equity blogger. I’m currently in my third year of computer engineering studies. I love photography, naps, and drinking tea. Also puppies … I love puppies! But you know what I really don’t love? Stressing about school.

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Coming Home to Caffiends

When I got back on campus at the end of Orientation, the first thing I did was visit Caffiends, Victoria College’s student-run fair-trade café, located on the first floor of Old Vic, the college’s castle-like building. As always, stepping into the cozy room felt like going home in a way that no other place on campus quite managed to rival.

Coffee cup on a table in Caffiends

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In which I find myself a little overwhelmed by extracurriculars

ALT="University College's red couches in the JCR"

Look at how comfy those red couches in the University College Junior Common Room look… Photo courtesy of the University College Literary and Athletic Society

I’ll be honest: initially, my blog post this week was going to be on my favourite places to nap on campus. With the first week done, I’ve already found myself drowsy at 2PM and in need of comfy couches, admirable armchairs, or soft sofas. But while I was sprawling myself out on one of the luxurious red couches in the University College Junior Common Room (preparing myself to write the blogpost), instead of thinking about reaching a level of Zen to start snoozing away, I began thinking of my school-extracurricular balance and how nervous I was about it. I was thinking about the wave of events and commitments and academic craziness smothering me for the school year, and suddenly, I couldn’t fall asleep.

Definitely not nap inducing.

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Why I’m Setting Career Goals This Year

An arrangement of shrubs and flowers partially cover front campus and University College

Front campus, in all its glory

It was my first day of classes at the University of Toronto, and I stepped onto the trampled turf of front campus with a pair of juvenile—and, admittedly, cliché—Converse and a backpack-sized collection of goals for the incoming year. I was brimming with a plethora of productive emotions, such as anxiousness, homesickness, and—probably the most helpful one—fear.

Luckily, I made it out first year alive, and with zero regrets. Zero regrets, that is, except for one.

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Following Through: getting physical towards a healthier year

a photo of a white reusable travel mug against a sunrise backdrop, the sky is blue and orange and the travel mug is somewhat a silhouette, the travel mug has 'Lug a Mug' emblazoned across it with a picture of a green leafUsually, I’m a morning person. Usually, I love waking up to the dawn breaking over the horizon. There’s something invigorating about how the smell of fresh coffee curls around the cool and slightly damp morning air. I can’t help but fall in love with it over and over and over again. BUT there are some mornings when just the thought of leaving the soft warmth of my pillow conjures feelings of fear and dread right in the deepest and darkest crevices of my soft heart and fragile mind. Monday morning was one of them.

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