As Vic’s career educator, Rebecca Hazell supports students in answering three common questions: What can they do with their degree? How do they get a job? What about further education? Obviously, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, so Hazell works to connect Vic students with a tailored list of workshops, events, group advising sessions and online resources that help them in their personal and career development. In her role, she also develops and facilitates programs, provides one-on-one appointments and makes referrals for students and young alumni to attend workshops and events at Vic as well as ones developed by U of T’s Career Exploration & Education team in Student Life.
“The university environment is an excellent space for students to begin career exploration thanks to its strong connections to professional communities off campus,” says Hazell.
Programs such as Future Ready and Forging Your Future are unique to the Vic experience and offered through the Office of the Dean of Students and in collaboration with other divisions. These programs are designed to support our students explore, plan for and shape their future at and beyond Vic.
Opportunities to learn about specific industries can be incredibly valuable to students who are exploring various career paths. However, since the defining word of the twenty-first century job market seems to be “unpredictability,” it is important that students are able to both recognize and value the transferrable skills that an undergraduate degree—in any academic discipline—provide. Organization, time management, independence, resilience, communication and the ability to reflect critically on ideas are all soft skills that can be applied to myriad roles in the workforce, she says. Programs like Ideas for the World are a great example of co-curricular and high-impact learning experiences that help support the development of these skills.
The first job a student lands after completing their first year at university, or completing their first degree, does not determine their career trajectory. To that end, Hazell advises that it is important that students reflect on what they actually enjoy doing with their time when they are not focused on studying. Casual, summer employment can teach us about “how we like and do not like to spend our time—and both experiences are valuable,” she says. The dean’s office also offers many meaningful co-curricular and leadership opportunities for students. Positions range from donship to committee chairs, participating on the Orientation Executive and mentorship opportunities. Experiences such as these help students acquire valuable professional experience and a chance to work closely with staff mentors. Extensive training is an integral part of these student-leader positions.
Being a Victoria student is a significant advantage as the college is fortunate to have a very loyal and engaged group of alumni, numbering over 40,000, who provide tremendous networking opportunities for current students. Always willing to give back, Vic alumni participate in activities like “Life After Vic” a special evening put on twice a year through the combined efforts of the Victoria University Students' Administrative Council, the Office of Alumni Affairs & Advancement and the Office of the Dean of Students. Designed to encourage students to explore different career options with alumni who have expertise in a variety of fields, this year’s event attracted over 50 students and 20 alumni.
If your student is concerned about summer employment and/or their future career, encourage them to visit the dean’s office so that they can meet Rebecca Hazell and learn about career exploration and education events offered between March and May 2019. For many students, the thought of commencing their career exploration process can be a daunting prospect. We often encourage students to start by meeting with an advisor in the dean’s office who can help them navigate the myriad campus opportunities. Office staff can help students develop their own personal action plan—which may include an appointment with a career educator—but they can also help guide students towards other valuable resources and co-curricular opportunities at Vic.