Exploring Careers, Expanding Horizons

What do you want to get out of your time at UBC?

As students, we put a lot of time, effort, and money into our university education, and we should really make the most of it. There is so much more to university than lectures, discussions, exams and papers, and if we limit our university experience to just these few things, then we’re missing out. Part of our university adventure is about figuring out what we want to do after we graduate and obtain the necessary skills and knowledge to get there.

But is attending class and studying hard enough to help us figure this out? Sure, our classes can help us narrow our interests, but that’s only the first step in discovering what drives your passion. Whether you think you know what you want to do, or have absolutely no clue, the only way to truly find out if you like something is to try it out. We’re lucky to be at an institution that understands that learning goes far beyond the classroom. We are provided with countless opportunities to work, volunteer, explore the world, and expand our horizons.


For example, UBC has a well-established co-operative work placement program (CO-OP) that gives undergraduate students from all faculties the opportunity to gain work experience in their field of interest. The amazing thing about co-op is that in addition to a huge selection of sought after jobs offered by local and international employers, you are free to find your own job in your field of study. As an added bonus: YOU GET PAID!! So for at least a year of your undergraduate degree, you won’t be entirely broke.

While CO-OP does add a year to your degree, the experience that you get out of it will put you ahead of the game once you’ve graduated. Not only will you have amazing contact networks, your added work experience and skills will make you a more competitive candidate for whatever you choose to pursue after your undergraduate degree.

Informational Interviews

If you aren’t sure about CO-OP, but still want to explore some interesting careers, why not check out the jobs yourself? Begin by searching for a professional in your field of interest (the internet is such an amazing tool) and ask for an informational interview. What’s an informational interview you ask? In this scenario, you’ll essentially be the interviewer, asking questions about their job or workplace to learn everything you want about the career that’s caught your eye. As a bonus, it’s also an easy way to network, and possibly gain work experience. Another avenue for experimenting with career options is to talk to your professors. Most of them do their own work outside of our weekly lectures and can offer advice, help you discover new jobs, and help you build your career network.

Beyond these two options, there are a number of ways for you to discover the potential of your degree. While it may seem a little overwhelming at first, keep in mind that you are currently amidst the richest resource of information and opportunities, and it would be a waste not to take advantage of them now. Check out UBC Student Careers (http://students.ubc.ca/career) or the CO-OP webpage (http://www.coop.ubc.ca/), to get started on exploring your future options now!

School can give us the tools we need to succeed but it’s up to us to figure out how we want to use them!

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