In an effort to address the stress students report feeling when thinking about their future career, UTM’s Career Centre joined 17 Canadian universities to take part in the It All Adds Up campaign.
The campaign, which began in 2014/15, was the result of a partnership between Queen’s University Career Centre and the Alma Mater Society.
“In a recent survey, 31 percent of Canadian university students reported finding ‘career-related issues’ traumatic or very difficult to handle,” said Christine Fader, a career counselor at Queen’s University.
Intended to promote student confidence and empowerment by encouraging students to record “their activities, lessons, and achievements” on a whiteboard, the four-day campaign—which began at UTM last Monday—encourages students to reflect upon their activities to realize the significance of their collective achievements.
“We [hope] that students would feel calmer [and] less stressed after the interaction,” said Fader. “Happily, student comments have included, ‘I feel so much better now!’ and, ‘That really helped me see that what I’m already doing is a lot!’ ”
The UTM Career Centre also hoped the event will address “negative thoughts about student depression and suicide” by motivating students to look at the bigger picture of their hobbies, passions, and skills.
According to Doug Lu, a career development officer at UTM’s Career Centre, the campaign has been a success across all three campuses at U of T.
“Our total goal for each campus was to get 50 interactions [with students], and from our first day, we’ve already gotten 23 [at UTM],” Lu reported.
Students gathered in the Davis building for the campaign and wrote all of their accomplishments and achievements down on a whiteboard. Pictures of students participating in the activity are then posted on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages under the hashtag #UTMAddsUp.
The Medium interviewed three UTM graduates of the class of 2015 to get further insights on youth employment. When asked about job applications and the hiring process, all three graduates reported having difficulties with applying for jobs.
“I marketed myself by boasting about my awards, extracurricular activity, conference activity, and thesis project—these are the things that set me apart from other applicants,” said Tiana Simovic, who found that “vague” and “intimidating” job descriptions initially posed a challenge during her job search. “People are impressed with this info, so it’s good to brag about your accomplishments in your cover letter and resume.”
Now working in digital marketing and communications for VICE Media, Tiana Simovic double-majored in psychology and philosophy and did a minor in philosophy of science.
Recent CCIT graduate Patrick Pawlowski is currently on his job search after graduating this past June. In an interview with The Medium, Pawlowski noted the adverse effects of the experience requirements on most job applications.
“Some places ask for an absurd amount of experience,” said Pawlowski. “I found a job posting on [UTM’s] Career Learning Network asking for seven years of experience. Seven years! Most students aren’t in school for that long, yet that organization put the posting up on a student website,” said Pawlowski.
In order to gain more experience, Pawlowski volunteers, noting that the value of volunteering lies far beyond gaining experience and that it also serves to help individuals create connections with one another. Echoing Simovic’s statements on the importance of connections, Pawlowski believes that joining clubs and applying for student internships would have benefited him while a student at UTM.
“You never know who you’re [going to] meet and how they might help you out in the future,” he said.