The pandemic shifted a lot of students’ plans and goals, myself included. For some, these changes have meant extending programs and adding academic terms, going from a four-year degree to a five-year degree or longer. Stress might result from a sense of pressure to complete a program within the “conventional” four years, and I propose a new perspective that is more self-focused and flexible. I want to validate that change is not bad and new opportunities can be great. Through conversations with peers and fellow CLCAs, I complied some common reasons why a longer degree may be a great option to consider! I will share a few below:
For some students, a job is mandatory to support their degree. I argue that work experience can be more influential than your degree once you enter the job market. While taking a full course load does not mean that work is impossible, a lighter course load does give more flexibility for time and choice. Taking 4 courses, I was able to work two part-time jobs that supplemented my psychology degree, without burning myself out. UBC provides a lot of opportunities for work on and off campus. Find job, volunteer, and Work-Learn positions here: CareersOnline.
For more work wisdom from my fellow CLCAs, check the resources below!
- Tips & Tricks for First Time Job Hunters
- Why Working on Campus is a Great Idea
- Why It Is Not So Hard to Earn Some Cash and Experience in Your University Years
As a student who meticulously planned my courses based on a 4-year program in my first year, I took summer courses in addition to 30 credits per year to get ahead. I was exhausted! Online school gave me an opportunity to re-evaluate my university journey. I looked into Arts Co-op and applied the next day. It was a spontaneous decision but turned out amazing! I loved my co-op at UBC Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology.
In fact, my position during the 8 months helped me land two new part time roles in the following fall semester. Jobs aside, co-op is a great way to refine your CV and cover letter with professional support and connect with different industry professionals in and outside of your degree. The most important takeaway for me was that it set up a standard of a healthy work environment.
Here are some amazing tips from Sarah about the Co-op experience:
University is not just about studying; it is also the best place to explore your interests and build social connections. As a commuter, participating in UBC clubs and activities was already difficult. Taking a full load of courses further limited my schedule. In first and second year, I barely joined any extracurriculars on campus. With a lighter course load, I was able to join clubs and try more events. Sometimes it takes time to get more involved with a community, especially if you want to take a leadership role.
Here are some clubs that I would recommend:
- For language lovers: UBC Global Lounge offers a Tandem Language Learning program that facilitates language exchange through peers! Join as a participant or facilitator to explore world of culture!
- For an unconventional sport: Did you know that UBC has a Quidditch Team? It is a game for first-time newbies or experienced Harry Potter fans. Check out the team website for more information!
I want to leave this post, and you, with an idea in that I learned in career counselling. “Planned Happenstance” highlights unplanned, chance, or random events as opportunities of growth and change. We never have control over everything but we do have the agency to decide how we react. By being open-minded and accepting, students can make the best out of these unexpected occurrences. To learn more, check this blog post by another UBC peer.
Share any feedback, resources, or thoughts down in the comments. We love to hear from you!
Chan, Eva. (2014, March 12). Planned Happenstance – Embracing the Opportunities That Come Your Way. Thunderbird & Ritsumeikan Residences. https://blogs.ubc.ca/thunderbirdresidence/2014/03/12/planned-happenstance-embracing-the-opportunities-that-come-your-way/