Going to university is a big investment we make in our lives. With such a huge investment in cost and time at university, a high return is expected. Then how do you maximize your university experience? Each university has its own unique opportunities; therefore, in the first part of this blog series, I’ll share with you some of the opportunities to get involved at UBC based on my personal experience and knowledge.
1. Involvement and Leadership Opportunities
For most UBC students, Imagine Day replaces the first day of classes. This is a perfect chance for students to explore different opportunities to stay involved by visiting club booths as well as establishing connections with upper-year students to learn about different opportunities that align with their interests.
Since Imagine Day has ended, if there is a club you are interested in joining this term, check out that club’s Facebook page for their membership and hiring information. AMS also has Club Days, which happens twice a year in September and January. On Club Days, clubs across UBC will set up (virtual) booths and have representatives available to chat with you about their clubs and how you can get involved.
In my first year, I was quite overwhelmed with the number of clubs present at the UBC campus on Imagine Day. Given my interest in health and wellness, I decided to join the UBC Yoga Club as a volunteer. There, I met one of my closest friends at UBC right now who was a fellow volunteer with me on our Sunday yoga sessions. After two years of being involved with the club as a volunteer and a member, I got hired for an executive position as a Communications Coordinator for the club. This position aligns with my passion for both communications and yoga.
Tiffany’s Tips: Quality is better than quantity. Join a club that aligns with your interest. From there, you can stay with the club longer and more easily advance for leadership opportunities within that club. In order to become a member of a club that you are interested in, be sure to check out that club’s Facebook and Instagram and stay updated for new opportunities!
b. Volunteer Program
Volunteer activities allow you to give back to the community while meeting new people and gaining a variety of skills. Below are some good resources you can check out for volunteer opportunities on and off-campus:
– Trek Program: Trek Program is a program that helps UBC students find year-round volunteer opportunities within the greater Vancouver community. With the current year’s all-virtual situation, there are still opportunities for you to get involved. Check out Careers Online to find volunteer opportunities throughout the year!
– Reading Week Project: In the second term of every school year at UBC, there will be a one-week break called Reading Week. If you want to take a break from school and volunteer in the local community during this time, you can apply to become a volunteer for the Reading Week Project. Specifically, this project allows UBC students to make connections in the Vancouver community organizations and gain valuable experiences in elementary schools and non-profits.
Tiffany’s Story: When I was a participant in the Reading Week Project back in my first year, I volunteered at a middle school for 3 days and worked on a project called “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with my students. It was a memorable experience for me to form these special bonds with my students within such a short period.
c. Peer Programs
With Peer Programs, you can give back to other UBC students by helping them academically and professionally.
Interested in providing career support for your fellow students? Become a Career Peer Coach!
Are you a science student who wants to help your peers excel in science courses? Check out for opportunities to become a Science Peer Academic Coach (SPAC)!
These are some great examples of how you can improve UBC students’ experiences and develop your leadership ability.
Be sure to check out the Peer Program at the end of this school year if you are interested in helping other UBC students!
Tiffany’s Story: One of my friends is a Career Peer Coach in Peer Programs. She loves how she can develop her leadership skills while helping students one-on-one with career advice. She also has opportunities to join different career development workshops with the Centre for Student Involvement and Careers.
Not only can you gain leadership skills from joining Peer Programs, but you can also get access to professional development resources to help advance your skills.
2. Work Opportunities
a. UBC Work Learn Program
The UBC Work Learn Program helps students gain real work experiences on campus to develop professional skills. To ensure the work-life balance for students who also have academic responsibilities, each Work Learn job allows students to work at most 10 hours per week.
There is a great variety in terms of the types of Work Learn positions that are offered across the UBC campus. For instance, the role can vary from being an Aboriginal Admissions Research Assistant to being a Project Assistant for the Chapman Learning Commons. UBC typically opens Work Learn applications during the Fall Term (August-September) and Summer Term (April-May), so pay attention to those periods if you are interested in applying for Work Learn!
Tiffany’s Tip: Apply to roles that provide you with the opportunity to grow in your area of interest. For instance, as an Online Project Assistant for Chapman Learning Commons, I was able to advance my skills and interests in content creation and communications through blog-writing projects and workshop development activities. Be strategic about what or where you want to apply for!
b. UBC Co-op Program
UBC Co-op offers students a “structured way to enrich their educational experiences and gain professional work experience for personal and professional growth” through multiple work terms during the school and summer terms. Each faculty at UBC has their respective co-op programs, so be sure to check out with an Academic Advisor for your faculty’s co-op program.
Tiffany’s Fun Fact: Did you know? “Co-op students are more likely to land more prestigious, better-paying jobs than their non-co-op peers.” (Statistics Canada Youth in Transition Survey (YITS), 2011). In fact, co-op allows students to cultivate essential professional skills while working in professional work settings during the school term.
It is true that going to university is a big investment. Therefore, don’t forget to maximize your experience and cherish the memories along the way. One day in the future, you will look back and be proud of what you have been able to accomplish and grateful for the friends you made during these experiences. Check out those opportunities above and you may find a good fit for you!
Stay tuned for the second part of this blog series. In the second part, I will share some more helpful resources for you in both academic and professional development. See you then!