Before I was even accepted to U of T, I heard rumors about how supposedly difficult and heartless it was. It was a place where 4.0s were unachievable, peers were competitive, and social lives were obsolete.
However, once I actually arrived at U of T, I found out that wasn’t true. There are all sorts of opportunities for career-related and academic success, as well as networking and friendships. One way I like to network, seek out opportunities, and explore my career options is through U of T events and workshops.
The only thing scarier than homemade fruitcake and the song “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause” during the holidays is the bombardment of questions from relatives and family friends pertaining to my career during holiday get-togethers. However, I could easily be persuaded that their responses to my answers are even scarier.
Networking makes me uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. So uncomfortable that I try to do it as infrequently as possible. That’s why I decided to attend the Career Centre’s Talking to Professionals workshop to learn more about how to network, and how to become more comfortable doing so. Since networking can sometimes be just as important in finding a job as your actual resume, I decided that it was time to overcome my fear.
For a perfectionist who’s extremely insecure about my ideas, it’s a wonder I’ve been able to publish weekly blogs without collapsing under my own pressure.
In order to gain some insight into how to come up with good ideas—and how to make sure they’re actually good—I attended Entrepreneurship 100: Conversations, a live, interactive panel hosted by the Impact Centre in collaboration with the Career Centre. The panel featured three University of Toronto-affiliated entrepreneurs and centred on discussing where ideas come from, and how to tell if they’re any good. The audience could participate in the discussion through text, take part in polls, and ask the panelists questions. The entrepreneurs answered the audience’s questions and spoke about their experiences throughout their careers.
As a work-study Career Centre blogger, I think it’s about time I blog about U of T’s Work Study program.
U of T’s Work Study is available to U of T students registered in at least 2.0 courses from September to April of the school year. You cannot work more than 12 hours per week, and are paid at least minimum wage per hour. Usually, these jobs are relevant to your studies, interests, or anticipated careers.
Intrigued? Read on to hear how I found my work study position, how I make time for work with a full course load, and the lessons I learned from my current blogging job.
The snow was piled as high as a small dog and the wind roared so ferociously that the temperature dropped almost forty degrees below zero. I stood outside, on a street corner, with a security shirt pulled over my puffy winter jacket. This was one of my first jobs: acting as “security” for a weekend-long outdoor winter festival.
After that weekend, I—understandably—caught a cold and developed a phobia of snowmen and red and green sweaters.
One of my goals this year—as a Career Centre blogger and as an undergraduate student—is to focus more on my career through exploring different jobs, networking, and building my skills and resume. However, as midterms and essays and extracurricular activities started to pile up during October, I realized I wasn’t contributing as much time to developing my career as I would like.
In university, I think it’s just as important to strengthen your employability as it is to get an education. An undergraduate degree is usually just four years. After that, you’re in the work force for most of your adult life. Thinking about this partly motivates me even more to prepare for life after graduation, and partly sends me into a panic.
Since October was not as balanced as I would have liked, I decided to try out Forest, a productivity and time management app. It didn’t go quite as well as I thought it would, but it did yield some career insights.
Whenever something good comes out of an unrelated event, I’m filled with amazement and unease.
I’m amazed at the way unexpected conclusions and positive outcomes can be reaped from seemingly random events in an otherwise chaotic world. Often times, situations just fizzle out in predicable and direct ways. For example, you attend class, sit where you usually do, and then leave. But it’s always amazing when you attend class, sit in a different seat than usual, and end up becoming friends with someone you otherwise wouldn’t have had you not sat in that seat. This has happened to me four times since entering U of T. It’s the butterfly effect in action, you guys.
But I’m also filled with unease. What would have happened had I not taken that seat? Would something infinitely better have happened, or something tragically worse? There are so many possibilities and different outcomes—why did this one happen to transpire?
Anyway, I’m done waxing poetic. Two unexpected events happened recently, which really got me thinking about planned happenstance again, and the ways unrelated events can spur career opportunities.
When I learned I had to write my blog about self-care for Self-Care Week, I wasn’t sure what to do. I don’t think I’ve ever deliberately set time apart to recharge before. Sure, I’ve procrastinated and goofed off when I should have been doing work, but I always felt guilty about it afterward. So, for Self-Care Week, I decided to get out a jungle-themed colouring book for “mindfulness” and destressing that had been sitting on my shelf for a while, and set aside some time in my schedule for self-care for what was, probably, the first time in my undergraduate career.
When I signed up for the Career Centre’s Planning Your Career workshop, I was ready to plan. And planning I did. I plotted out my career goals for the next three years with the help of a nifty linear diagram. My plan even had a pretty good end goal: landing my dream job after university.
This was all fine and dandy (I’ve been making colourful five year plans for the past ten years), until I remembered an underlying theme of the Planning Your Career workshop: it’s almost impossible to see the end goal of your career, since a lot of jobs are found through chance. In other words, plans are a good way to explore your career options and help develop your goals, but they don’t factor in all the unpredictable elements that go along with actually landing a job.