Thursday, August 19, 2021

Students Starting From Scratch: CCEE Career Advice

Co-op, Career and Experiential Education (CCEE) Department at Brock University

Co-op Education 

Associate Director Julia Zhu 

“Cultivate a growth mindset with positive thinking, [and] embrace diverse experiences purposefully and reflect to see how to keep moving forward differently.” 

Student Talent Coach Jason Peng 

“A lot of students jump right into their job search without actually taking the time to explore for themselves – through self reflection or with CCEE staff – what their interests or goals are, and what relevant skills and experiences they already have. 

As a result, the first few waves of applications they submit are disorganized, non-specific and lackluster. It will save [students] a lot of time, effort and wasted opportunities to get those fundamental things clear before proceeding with any applications.  

That way when [students] do apply, they’re sending very clearly targeted applications which represent them in the best way possible.” 

Career Education 

Med Plus Advisor Pam Isaak 

“I think the biggest piece of advice to students is to notice and follow their hearts’ guidance. I graduated with a degree in business, specializing in marketing (Brock BBA 2005) and I began my career in the not-for-profit world! I loved event management and fundraising, both areas I had no formal training in, and took a leap of faith that my degree and my love for helping others, when combined, would land me in a role that I would be passionate about.  

Fifteen years later and thanks to staying attuned to my heart, my sincere love of community engagement has brought me all the way back to Brock and helping students gain experience and skills to follow their dreams. 

Every student should take some time to sit with their heart and listen. It’s speaking to each and every student if they only take the time to listen.” 

Experiential Education 

Associate Director Sandy Howe  

“Having gone to a much larger school, I think Brock students are particularly supported to build a pathway for their future!  

What I would say to a student is this: I don’t believe you’re actually starting from scratch, even though you may disagree! I mean, you lived your life until today, right? You have plenty of life experience, built character and have opinions already about what you like and don’t like! That’s a lot of great information to build on! 

Right now, if I had to give you a nugget of advice, I’d say use your resources and get busy! Register for a class that has an experiential opportunity within it already and get great experience directly in your classes! Talk to someone in Career Education about possible careers and work backwards from there! Talk to someone at BUSU about clubs, connect with Student Life about volunteering and complete the Campus-Wide Co-Curriculum in ExperienceBU! 

Everything you do will benefit you if you take the time to process what you’ve learned, how you’ve grown and changed and what skills you feel more confident with! 


Experiential Education Coordinator Kristen Nilsen 

“My advice to students would be that it’s ok to not know what you want to do after university, but to make sure you’re taking advantage of all the opportunities at the university that can help you figure out with your path may be.  

Look for classes that you are curious about but be open and willing to participate in the courses you have to take but don’t necessarily love. There’s always something to be learned in each course you take, both about the subject matter, and yourself. Finding out you don’t like something can be just as valuable as finding out you do like something.  

Connect with Brock services and student organizations. Connect with your classmates, staff and faculty. Be open to new opportunities and stepping outside of your comfort zone. Be open-minded and flexible about what your future may look like, as career paths are not always linear, and often we find ourselves on a different path than we planned when we first stepped on campus! 

I could never have imagined the career path I have been on since graduating when I started my first year of university with plans to be an accountant. But it was through feeling brave enough to make a change when I knew I wasn’t on the right path, pursing my interests when I took classes I loved, engaging with campus student clubs, and connecting with staff on campus that I was able to navigate a meaningful (and unexpected) journey working in Higher Education.” 

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


Back to School Blog Series 
1. Students Starting From Scratch: CCEE Career Advice 
2. Adaptability: Learning, Working From Home and More 
3. Gateway Resources: Job Postings, Volunteer Boards and More 
4. How CareerZone Can Help You 
5. Peer Mentors: 2021-2022 Career Assistants 

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