Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Farewell to our Career Assistants!


Farewell to our Career Assistants!

As we come to the end of another academic year, we want to celebrate the members of our Career Assistant team who are graduating or moving on to exciting new opportunities.  Thank you all for your hard work and dedication over the last year. You will be missed! 

Joceline Gaffan

(Honours Bachelor of Arts in Child Health)

My experience as a Career Assistant over the past three years has been amazing. I gained skills that I will be using for the rest of my life, such as teamwork, communication, leadership, customer service, public speaking, and many others. I have learned copious amounts of information about job search, resumes, cover letter, and much more. Working as a Career Assistant helped me navigate university and lead me to many opportunities such as getting into each of the graduate programs I applied to. 

In the upcoming school year, I will be starting my Master of Arts in Child and Youth Studies at Brock. I will be doing my thesis research on developmental coordination disorder and how it affects children's physical activity and mental health.


Truchi Patel

(Honours Bachelor of Business Administration, Co-op Human Resource Management)

My experience as a Career Assistant has been incredible! I enjoyed working with an outstanding team of student and full-time staff. It was truly rewarding to support the next generation of talent at Brock as they navigate through their career journey, while developing skills to help me navigate through my career journey. This position has helped me better understand what roles and career opportunities I want to pursue in the future, and I'm excited to apply my learnings and skills from this role onto the next!

This summer I will be joining the Workers Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) as a Human Resource Intern. In the fall, I will be returning to Brock to complete my final semester!


Emma King

(Bachelor of Arts Major, Degree in Child and Youth Studies)

My experience as a Career Assistant has given me the ability to be able to learn valuable skills that I can bring with me into my professional career. It opened my eyes to new experiences, new people, and great management. I always felt that everyone I worked with was understanding of my school schedule but still trusted that I can work hard. I encourage anyone to work at their school if the opportunity arises because it was one of the best decisions I made!

Being a Career Assistant taught me that I love career advising, which I would have never learned if I did not work at CareerZone. Moving on, I am excited to announce that I have accepted a role at the YMCA as a Job Skills Counsellor. I am ecstatic to know that the skills I learned through my position at CareerZone are what helped me get this job.


Valerie Harris

(Honours Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management)

I absolutely loved working as a Career Assistant this past year! I loved being able to help as many students as I did and seeing the difference I made in people's lives. This was such a rewarding experience and really helped me realize my goals for the future as well! I was honored to work for such an amazing team of talented, friendly individuals! I will truly miss this role! 

In the future I hope to continue helping people with their career journey's, whether that be through talent development and/or talent acquisition. Helping people is what I want to do, and I hope to work for a team as great as the CCEE Brock team! I also plan to start  achieving my CHRP designation!


Mikaela Sifflet

(Second year student - Business Administration Co-op)

As a Career Assistant, I have gained an abundance of knowledge on lessons pertaining to career goals and how best to achieve them. Although this year has been a challenge, as we all had to transition into working independently and remotely, it has allowed me to work on life skills- oral communication, teamwork and persevere through one-on-one student interaction and group events. Moreover, achieving students’ successes by interacting in conversations, offering meaningful and accurate resources to help them navigate career goals of potential job fields was worthwhile. My overall time as a Career Assistant is one that I am most proud of because it allowed me to be a member of such an uplifting team, where our number one goal was to achieve student successes. Therefore, I thank you for such an opportunity. 

As I say farewell, my next step will be to find a job placement in the co-op fall term of 2021. In the coming months, I will be searching for a career opportunity in the Financial and Business Law field.

Liz Greff

(Business Administration)

 I am currently studying Business Administration with the intent to major in Finance. My experience as a Career Assistant has been an amazing, as it has allowed me to help students succeed in their future goals and has also given me the chance to improve my own skills. In fact, being a Career Assistant has been one of my best decisions at Brock because it has taught me some valuable abilities and skills that I can use in my everyday life to help me to succeed in the future. 

Being a Career Assistant has also helped me to find opportunities through networking, which has led me to my next steps. I will be moving on from this position to complete an internship at RBC during the summer and pursue a career in finance afterwards. Although I will miss this position, I am looking forward to the next chapter in my life!

Samara Vandersloot

(BA in Political Science)

I am graduating with a BA in Political Science! My experience as a Career Assistant has been incredible! I have been able to work with a fantastic team and build a solid skill set that has been crucial to my post-grad job search!

My next steps include starting a full-time internship opportunity in local government, hopefully pursuing a master's degree, and continuing to follow my passions in my future career!

Friday, April 9, 2021

How to Answer the Medical School Question: "Tell Me About Yourself."

 “How to Answer the Medical School Question: “Tell Me About Yourself.”

Jan. 21, 2021

Brock University

At face value, it appears like a relatively manageable question to answer, but when we open the door for self reflection, it may be more difficult to determine what should be included in the response and what should be excluded in the response to, “Tell me about yourself.” Within this article, you will be advised on what information this type of interview question is seeking, as well as the insights you should offer in order to produce a reputable answer for the interviewer(s). 

Message from Co-op, Career and Experiential Education (CCEE)

Speaking with Brock University’s Med Plus Consultant Katrina Volpini, she emphasizes and reiterates the critical requirement to fuse your own narrative in the response to this resourceful inquiry. “As you prepare to answer this question, really focus on what makes you unique, and what motivated your passion for pursuing medicine,” says Volpini. By basing the responses on how you found “your own story,” you convey and explain to the interviewer(s) how you ruled out every other potential profession that also could utilize your abilities, skills and qualifications. Volpini recommends avoiding clich├ęs such as the most frequent example: “I want to help people.” She says you must dig deeper into why your journey led you into medicine. “What will you get out of practicing medicine that you won’t be able to get from any other career?” 

They Want to Understand Your Motivations

To begin, in order to encapsulate who you are, you need the ability to produce evidentiary responses that support the following:

a) How are you committed?

b) How are your motivations genuine?

c) How have you conducted sound, thorough research? This also includes recommendations and requirements from the specific medical school of interest (fun fact: there are 17 medical schools in Canada and 6 are in Ontario)?

The process of becoming a physician or surgeon is lengthy, difficult and demanding – but rewarding at scale. The interviewer(s) need to determine who you are, collectively, and if you demonstrate certain potential. This question sets the stage for your interview, so consider it the triple-base hit you needed before crossing home plate.

Interesting, Specific Information About You

An integral component of career education, exploration and development is the ability to know yourself and to know yourself well. An open-ended question such as this should be an eye-opening opportunity to express yourself in ways that go beyond your application portfolio. It is important to note that you want to keep the relativity to medical school very, very clear. Think about it: if you were to explain your best self to a stranger, who has an agenda for your aspiration to become a doctor, what would you want to say? What type of impression would you want this individual to have of you? It is vital to consider what information you plan to give to better secure your opportunity. Additionally, to the first method of self reflection, consider what you have done in the past, what you are doing in the present and what motivates you for the future. Interviewers want to know how you began, how you’ve grown and what ambitions you have moving onwards and upwards to and beyond medical school. Towards the end of your answer, complete your response with a summary who you are as well as what you uniquely bring to the table.

Tips and Insights

  • Keep your answers concise and detailed but also brief
  • Distinguish yourself from the other applicants
  • Include quick general information like age, where you grew up, etc.
  • Touch on several relevant areas but provide detail on just a few. I call this the “Mental Table of Contents” of chapters or topics for the interviewer(s) to choose from. Yes, they have an information agenda, but they also want to know where and how they can find those answers. 
  • Stay calm. This interview is meant to feel more like a conversation – much like a conversation you would have with a patient. 
  • You potentially can control the conversation based on the information you give.

Table 1: For relevant areas to draw from, consider the following:

a) Your abilities

b) Your community involvement

c) Your education

d) Your experiences and extra-curriculars

e) Your interests and passions

f) Your research

g) Your skills

h) Your volunteer works

i) Your qualifications

Table 2: Remember, apply the preceding items to the following:

  1. Your future
  2. Medical school
  3. Present time 
  4. Your past

Table 3: Steps to aid your efforts:

  1. Self-reflect
  2. Ask superiors, colleagues, etc., on how they would describe you in a professional setting
  3. Ask customers, clients, etc., on how they would describe you in a professional setting

Sample Response

Q. “So, tell me about yourself, Angela/Angelo,” says the Interviewer while passively pulling the door open. 

A. “I’m 25 and I was born and raised in the Niagara Region. I have a strong passion for mental health since my younger sibling suffers from severe anxiety and depression, so I’m interested in assisting other youth who have mental health struggles. With my spare time, I always read the newest research on mental health, which benefited me well in my previous academic setting. I also donate to the Canadian Mental Health Association on a yearly basis. When I’m not researching, studying or swimming, I can be found travelling. I have visited about 15 countries to date, which has taught me greatly about other cultures and the importance of direct communication” answers Angelo/Angela.

In the response, Angela/Angelo gives the Interviewer many self-disclosures to draw from. They could speak about her/his academic experience, mental health interests, research findings, future in research and/or mental health, lessons learned from travelling, and so on. These insights draw from Tables 1, 2 and 3. Lastly, Angela/Angelo referenced a personal connection that can suggest he/she is intrinsically motivated for this prestigious, rewarding role. 

Happy self-reflecting, my friend! You can do this. 

Onwards and upwards,

Written by Lisa Brown, Career Assistant and Blog Manager
Edited by Med Plus Staff and Kara Renaud, Supervisor of Career Education, CCEE Department