Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Taste of the Future: Extern Job Shadowing Program

Is there a particular career or field of study that interests you the most? Do you want to explore a profession that intrigues and excites you? Do you have a plan for your future career? If you said yes to any one of these questions then you should definitely look into the Extern Job Shadowing Program. The Academic Advising and Career Center provides this program for students looking to explore various careers and professions that they are willing to pursue in the future. The Extern Placement usually lasts from 1 to 4 days where a student accompanies a professional in a relevant field and gets to experience a typical working day. In this blog, I will be talking about my experience as a participating student in the Extern Job Shadowing Program.

Initially, I had applied for 4 different placements in the legal sector. My first choice was a law firm specializing in Family Mediation Services. However, I did not get my first choice but was offered my second choice which was with a Criminal Defendant Lawyer. Passionate about the law, I was very excited about it despite my reservations against Criminal Law. I am so glad I was given this opportunity because it gave me a whole new outlook about the Law and Criminal Law in particular.
I had always thought the Law was all about winning and losing but after shadowing my host for 2 days I realized that Criminal Law was not about that at all. Being a Defendant Lawyer means having an ethical duty towards the client (in this case criminal) regardless of whether they are innocent or not. Criminals are human beings and they deserve the right to trial just like everyone else. I asked my host whether he had ever fought a case for a client he knew was guilty. His response changed my perspective completely. He replied by saying, “Whether my client is guilty or not guilty is completely irrelevant. My ethical duty is towards my client and my job is to protect the interest of my client. If the Crown does not have proof that my client is guilty then there is no basis for their allegations against my client.” I also asked this same question to my Host’s Associate Lawyer who had a similar yet different approach. He said, “The one thing I tell my client is I don’t want to know if you’re guilty or not because it will only make my job harder.” At the end of the day, a Defendant Lawyer’s job is to prove his client innocent until proven otherwise and to fight for a lenient sentence that is both fair and easy for the client if proven guilty.

It is important to note that this program is not a job position and does not secure future employment with the Extern Host. It does, however, build a connection where your host can become a potential mentor for you. This is because your Host is professionally at a point where you would want to be in the future. For me, this experience was very enlightening and my Host gave me the choice to shadow him any day outside of the program. The more exposure and hands on experience you get the easier it is to accomplish your career goals. I would recommend the Extern Job Shadowing Program to every student on campus. 

For more information on the program, visit or check out the AA&CC’s website at

Best of Luck on all your future endeavors! 

- Ayesha Haq

Friday, February 13, 2015

Entrepreneur Expo 2015: The Experience

Entrepreneur Expo took place on January 29th, 2015 in the IC atrium. Hundreds of students attended and spoke with representatives from small businesses about their experience with starting a company. Students also had the opportunity to ask about funding options and programs provided by the government or other organizations to help start their own ventures.  Alumni of UTSC were present to talk to students about their career path as well.

The keynote speaker, Andrew Peek, faces the audience, nervous, but combined with his excitement makes it seem more like an intense anticipation. To say he delivered a speech on entrepreneurship would be an understatement. Rather, he questioned the nature of society’s conventions, asking us to choose between following comfortable, well-known rules, or to write the rules ourselves. He emphasized that above all else, curiosity is what will motivate us to seek answers that are far more complex than what we are accustomed to. Finally, he set out to replace the ideas of ‘success’ and ‘failure’ with ‘progress’ and ‘revision’, respectively.  His perspective regarding entrepreneurship and, by extension, education and everyday life, was thoughtful and inspiring.

I’m not sure what I expected to get out of Entrepreneur Expo, but I’ll tell you what I learned. Entrepreneurship is more than starting your own business; it’s taking a chance on a theoretically plausible idea, revising that idea in the context of real life, and having a possibly illogical amount of faith that the idea will exceed your expectations. I was surprised that during the entrepreneur panel, none of the questions were about the business plan or the logistics of starting your own company. What students were concerned with is how it felt to abandon a traditional career pathway in favour of something less predictable. Typically, we prioritize being safe above being happy.

Andrei Arkhanguelski, an entrepreneur on the panel, said something truly memorable in response to this. At some point in our lives, we find that being safe is not enough. He had a stable job that he left to start his company.  Though not all of us will be entrepreneurs, there is a lesson in this: we can only stay on a path that we define as safe for so long, before we decide it is not what we want.  The only barriers that stand in front of our goals are the ones we put there ourselves.

Take chances, UTSC, because we are boundless.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Resources on the CLN: The Directory of Careers and Employment in Canada

Job searching is not easy, especially when you don’t know where to start. In addition to previously mentioned resources like the Vault and GoinGlobal, the CLN makes the Directory of Careers website available to students as well. Sign into the CLN, and it’s under the Resources section. Be sure to enter the username and password specified on the CLN in order to fully access the website!

Why is this site different than other job search databases? It compiles all the information you need about a company, job, or industry in one website. Education resources are also being added to the website shortly. It also features a number of articles related to job searching. For example, an article I found interesting was called “The Three I’s of Job Searching” (Ideas, Initiative, and Individuality). The articles are not very long and are great sources of information. The website also features QuickLearn Guides. The guides take you through the process of finding your perfect job, including how to create your own job opportunities through networking.

            Some things I’d like to highlight from the site are:
1.    Career & Employment Websites: Lists job search databases according to province, industry, and lists all major employment sites as well. This tab essentially lists every database you will ever need. It also includes additional information such as whether or not you need to register to use the database.
2.    Employers: this tab lists employers by industry. After choosing your preferred industry, the website lists some of the top employers, links to their website, and contact information.
3.    Professional Programs Index:  If you’re thinking about getting a higher degree, this part of the website lists different programs at multiple universities. It provides a brief introduction to the degree and lists class sizes, cost, and the ratio of applicants to accepted students. It also has links to the school’s website for further research.
4.    Recruiters Index: This is a very large list of different recruitment companies and includes information about the sectors they specialize in, different locations, and additional contact information.
5.    Internships and Scholarships: This tab describes the internship and scholarship opportunities available to students in Canada.
6.    Summer Jobs: This is a list of opportunities organized by province. When choosing a job, the site provides a description of the department and the job itself. It also tells you how to apply.
7.    Industry Directories: Here, there is a list of databases by industry. For example, the Canadian Chemical Directory has 570 chemical suppliers and 760 principal companies.

Good luck!


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

5 More Minutes Please?

The life of a post secondary student: you spend an entire day in classes, then commute to work volunteer, or an extracurricular activity, and once you finally get home you only have a few hours to get caught up with school work (i.e. make sure you meet the flood of deadlines headed your way, prepare for presentations, and review for that upcoming exam). In an attempt to stay afloat you convince yourself that an all-nighter is the way to go. Right? Wrong.

With all of the pressure to do well, it can be hard to remember just how much those zZz's are important to mental and emotional health, and consequently academic success. Sleep consolidates memory, encourages creativity, increases attentiveness, lowers stress, and helps fight off those pesky colds. In fact, research has has shown that sleep inconsistencies are linked to lower grade point average (Curcio, 2006).

With that said, I'll bet you're ready to get your sleep back on track! Let's start with the key question: how many total hours of sleep do you really need? The National Sleep Foundation has recently released updated recommendations on how many hours of sleep we should be getting each night based on age:

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
  • School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
  • Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours
  • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours

Most of you probably fit into the "younger adults" or "adults" category meaning you should be aiming for 7-9 hours per night. But 7-9 hours are probably easier said than done. I'm here to give you a few simple ways to improve your sleep habits and help you hit that target!

Be consistent

Wake up and go to bed at the same time each day. This will strengthen your sleep cycle, and eventually your body should naturally signal the appropriate time for bed and the appropriate time to wake up without being prompted by a noisy alarm clock. It is especially important to remember to be consistent with your sleep schedule on weekends, holidays, and days off -- this is where most students are thrown off.

Additionally, a bedtime routine will help cue your body to get ready for bed. Personally, I used to read right before turning in for the night. By the time I was finished the chapter, my body knew to shut down and go right to sleep.

Bed is for sleep

When you use your bed for activities other than to sleep, you condition your body to respond in way that keeps your brain awake. For example, some students use their bed to study on. This reinforce bad sleep habits in the body. The bed eventually becomes associated with an academic environment and the body makes the necessary preparations for academic success: increased brain activity to ensure high alertness and memory. Although this is great for studying purposes, it causes sleep difficulties.

Limit naps

Some people are great about napping; they can keep it to a quick half hour and get up recharged and ready to tackle the task at hand. However, if you're like me a 20 minute nap turns into 2 hours without conscious recollection of hitting that snooze button. If you're someone who cannot get up within the time you've allotted for a nap (try to keep it within 30 minutes), you should probably try to eliminate it altogether. Long naps make it harder to fall asleep on time at night.

Keep it light

Heavy dinners lead to evening drowsiness. This can impact our sleep schedule, having us fall asleep earlier and wake up in the middle of the night. Keep dinners and evening snacks light to avoid this effect. If you have to eat a heavier meal, then keep yourself awake by staying active until bedtime. This can be something as simple as doing laundry.

Sleep when you're tired

A lot of people make the mistake of staying in bed even while wide awake. The general rule is that if you are unable to fall asleep within 15 minutes, get out of bed! Do something else and then come back when you're tired. Staying in bed will only cause stress and anxiety about not falling asleep, which will ironically keep you awake.


Humans need cool, dark and relatively noise-free environments for proper sleep. Bedrooms that are too hot or cold will impede on sleep, as will light which signals the body to stay awake, and noise which doesn't allow the mind to shut down. Try earplugs and a sleep mask to help your sleep conditions if light or noise is an issue.

No electronics!

So many people, young adults especially, love to use their electronics to fill in the time between getting into bed and falling asleep. This can be big trouble. The back-light of most electronic devices (phone, laptop, TV, tablet) signals the body to stop making melatonin, a natural sleep inducing hormone, as it not quite dark out yet. These devices also keep the brain active, which isn't optimal for sleep.

That's all I have for today folks, let us know how these tips fare out in the comments below!

Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite :)
Rajani Sellathurai  

Resources used: 

Curcio, Giuseppe, Michele Ferrara, and Luigi De Gennaro. "Sleep loss, learning capacity and academic performance." Sleep medicine reviews 10.5 (2006): 323-337.

Smith, Melinda, Lawrence Robinson, and Robert Segal. "How to Sleep Better: Tips for Getting a Good Night's Sleep." Dec 2014. Web. 7 Feb 2015.

Sparacino, Alyssa. "11 Surprising Health Benefits of Sleep." Health Media Ventures, Inc. n.d. Web. 4 Feb 2015. Retrieved from:,,20459221,00.html

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Perks of Working Part Time

Whether it be due to the increasing cost of living, rising tuition fees or even to have a few extra dollars when hanging out with friends once in a while, many university students find that it is almost a necessity to work part time while enrolled in full time classes.  Some argue that working part time can take a toll on students' grades, however there can be many advantages to working part time if good time management is practiced.  Below are a few perks of working part time when in school:

1) Flexibility:  

Many employers are willing to schedule shifts around your school timetable; and don't mind if you occasionally request time off to study during exam season.  When choosing where to apply for your part time job, ensure that the organization understands your need for flexibility, and notes that you are a student first.  Working On-Campus offers great convenience and flexibility for students.

2) Fundamental Skills: 

Regardless of what field you wish to work in, there are some fundamental skills that employers look for in all their candidates.  To name a few, some of these skills include good oral and written communication skills, the ability to work under pressure, problem solving skills, and team work.  Part time jobs allow students to develop these fundamental skills making them better equipped for the work place.

3) Relevant Experience:  

Yes your grades are important, however your experiences throughout your undergraduate degree are equally as important, and sometimes even more important!  Part time jobs allow students to have extra experiences to add to their resumes; ensuring that they stand out from other candidates.

4) Network:  

Many managers and recruiters choose to hire individuals whose personality and work ethic they already know and of course like.  If not for their own department, coworkers, supervisors or managers may refer you to jobs with other departments, again giving you a competitive advantage.  Aside from employment, networking also opens doors for students to learn about different fields of work; and can allow students to explore career options that they may not have known existed before!

I hope the above mentioned advantages have convinced you that aside from the obvious benefit $$$$$, working part time can have a very positive impact on students!  Whether you are applying for a part time job, or would like to use the experiences from your part time job to apply for other employment opportunities, it is extremely crucial to market your skills and experiences on your resume in a convincing and effective manner.

Always remember that whether you have no idea how to begin your job search, or if you would like to have your resume critiqued, the Academic Advising & Career Centre has many resources that you can definitely take advantage of including Tip Sheets, Workshops, Information Sessions and more!

Feel free to visit to sign up for any events, or come by our office at AC213 to book an appointment with one of our amazing Career Counselors or Employment Coach!  

For more information about the Academic Advising & Career Centre, visit

Good luck with your job search!  Until next time,

Klarrissa Antony