It is most befitting to take this blog in the direction of my life. The past year or so has been of immense professional and personal growth at UBC. One key takeaway has been to carefully craft experiences by making the most of all and any work that comes my way.
As an international university student there is pressure and high expectations in terms of career outcomes. However, most career outcomes are associated with majors or courses in the conventional understanding of university. Is that true? I have experienced the contrary. As much as my courses and degree adds value to my time here, work experiences add value to my skill set. And work experience is not limited to jobs but any volunteering or involvement outside of the classroom in a professional capacity.
It is often perceived that work experiences in university can either be for earning extra cash or high-profile internships. There is a middle-path too, and very valuable.
When I started working at the university call centre to fundraise from alumni for scholarships and bursary, I was merely joining a job at the call centre. It was a job, to start with and was paying. But as months passed, it became a doorway to further opportunities as I developed several other skills in my time there. These soft skills gained from any work place can then be applied in your field of study or future careers emerging out of it. After all, skills are skills and they enable you to do something and thats what matters to most employers.
However, to make these experiences count and contribute to future endeavours, concrete steps must be taken.
We often participate in events and activities for various reasons and don’t realize how crucial these are to our personal and professional growth. They don’t always make it to our resume as well. So it is best to maintain a journal, diary, or even Excel spreadsheet as a record of activities highlighting what was done, themes and some key takeaways that can later be referred to when writing resumes and cover letters or in preparation of interviews.
This is only a starting point but a huge contributor to success in making most of work experiences. Not only will this benefit in terms of tabulating experiences but you will see how dots connect and form career path. It is seldom that one has a pre-carved journey as most fields today are an amalgamation of academics and experiences from different fields of life. Hence, every little step counts, so long as it is taken in a direction!