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Your mid-years can be the best time to get involved July 4, 2011

Posted by Chris Garbutt in Student Life.
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It can be hard to stay motivated in your second and third years of study. After all the excitement of frosh week has ended and the first-year programs no longer apply, you may wonder: where is the second year programming? What about the third years? It can be easy to lose motivation with the beginning over and the end so far away. I call this the Mid-Years Crisis.

In fact, your second or third year is the perfect time to get out and get involved! With U of T’s high expectations, those students coming from high school can find it tough to adjust. That’s why second and third year are the perfect times to look for clubs and associations that are going to be both fun outside the classroom, and helpful inside.

“People always think that there’s not enough time,” says Evelyn Romero, a student in Human Biology and Nutritional Sciences who just finished her third year and has spent her mid-years taking part in a variety of clubs and programs on campus. She admits to feeling overwhelmed by the workload in her first year and being reluctant to join any groups.

Evelyn joined clubs that would complement her studies in Health Sciences and get her excited about the practical application of her program. In her second year, she joined the Hart House Social Justice Committee. “It was interesting to take my background in Health Sciences and use it when planning events, organizing debates and helping with the Social Justice Fair”.

During her term as Head of Communications, she even used her Nutritional Sciences background to prepare healthy, organic meals for club meetings.

Once you get involved, you realize how easy it is to find more opportunities. U of T has great resources to help you find a club perfectly suited to your tastes. Evelyn eventually joined the NDP student group on campus, and is now their recording secretary. This led her to other volunteer positions with such groups as Free the Children and the Canadian Blood Services. The best part about participating in clubs is that it motivates you to use the same resources to find employment. Working with Hart House Social Justice Committee was great experience when Evelyn applied for her job at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. “It’s all reinforcing itself,” she says about bringing her study experience to the workplace.

Use your second and third years to get out and get involved! It’s a great way to stay motivated in your program and establish a solid resume during your down-time. Take a look at Ulife to see what’s happening on campus this year. Use the Career Centre to find jobs that will complement what you’re learning. And always remember that most programs on campus have councils that deal directly with specific programs. So, no matter what your field of study, there’s something out there to end that mid-years crisis!
- Bethany McKoy, Communications Assistant and Writer, Office of Student Life

Viva Volunteering! November 9, 2010

Posted by Chris Garbutt in Student Life.
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Among the many experiences you’ve had at U of T, which ones have left you feeling all warm and fuzzy on the inside? Can you think of any warm and fuzzy experiences that also give you a competitive edge in your desired career path? Would you like that feeling? Have you considered volunteering?

Why volunteer? Volunteering offers students the opportunity to gain valuable work-related experience, while also making a difference. You can develop new skills and learn something new about yourself by finding interests and hobbies you didn’t think you’d enjoy. You will leave your volunteer experience with unique life experiences, knowing you’ve made a positive impact on a community in need.

There are many other opportunities to get your hands dirty in the world of volunteering. Volunteer Abroad, U of T Chapter, is heading down to Peru this May, and is recruiting volunteers to teach at an orphanage.

Providing great volunteer opportunities for those interested in pursuing careers in the medical field, Volunteers for Intercultural and Definitive Adventures (VIDA) at U of T is the first student-based chapter in Canada. They offer free medical, dental, and veterinary assistance to communities in South America.

The career Centre at St. George is teaming up with the department of politics to host Careers in NGOs and Government Wednesday November 17 from 4-6pm. This discussion panel invites guest speakers from the Government of Canada, the Toronto Office of Human Rights Watch, and the Office of the Ontario Minister of Citizenship & Immigration. See event details and What’s On at the Career Centre.

Volunteering abroad not your thing? Explore the Ulife website to find a volunteer opportunity that best suits you! You can find the hundreds of community outreach clubs at U of T, so you need not go far. Many more volunteer opportunities can be found on your career centre website’s Job Search option. (Click here for UTM, here for UTSC and here for downtown.)