So last week, I wrote a post about my reflections on “What Makes A City Great?” (link:http://blogs.studentlife.utoronto.ca/lifeatuoft/2018/11/12/what-makes-a-city-great/) and this past Thursday, I attended the main event at Hart House called “City Building: Careers with Impact”, which was an event open to students, recent grads, and people working in the city. This event is presented by Career Exploration & Education, Centre for Community Partnerships, Geography and Planning, Hart House, Hart House Social Justice Committee, School of Cities, and the Urban Studies Program.
Here are my reflections:
The event was organized really well, starting off with the keynote speaker, Alex Dow from the United Way, who made a few really great points regarding city-building and the nature of the work involved with it:
City building is never done, this work is always evolving.
In the nonprofit sector, relationships and community building really matter.
Multiple sectors have different roles to play and all of them are important
After the keynote speaker, the next component of the event consisted of several rotations around the room in order to visit the tables for each organization/company (examples: YMCA, Free Geek, The STEPS Initiative) These rounds gave us all a chance to talk to the representatives from each organization for about 15 minutes and ask them questions about their work and how they got involved. One of the big takeaways I got from these discussions is that you should never let your program of study in undergrad limit the scope of career opportunities you think you can pursue. People from these organizations majored in a wide variety of things when they were in university/college and now they are involved in something that isn’t what most people would consider a natural career outcome from that program. However, the transferable skills they learned from their time in undergrad ended up being immensely useful. For me personally, I’ve been told repeatedly that the skills I am developing through my English major (writing skills, effective communication, analytical thinking…etc) will carry me through a variety of different paths. So it was really nice to talk to people who confirmed this by discussing the evolution of their own careers and the things that happened to lead them to the point where they were at now.
Keeping an open mind is important in university and its importance is something I’m learning about every single day. You never know where you might get a chance to apply your skills and you also never know when you will get the opportunity to combine your interests with something that will help the community and make a profound impact in the lives of others. Being a part of this event has left me both inspired by the stories I’ve heard and also excited to see my career outlook evolve over the next few years.