When Career and Passion Come Together

It’s never easy to put yourself out there. But doing it twice, in the matter of 2 weeks? I’m not sure words can describe it.

It may sound silly, but running for president of the CSMMSS was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. I keep my life very private, so putting myself and my passions out there for all of my fellow classmates to see was both nerve racking and exhilarating. But at the same time, the new CSMMSS president, Cassandra D’Ambrosio, is a good friend of mine, and I’m so confident that she can accomplish great things for the Society. So here’s the thing – I’m not done yet.

If you were at all familiar with my presidential platform, you’ll know that I was largely focused on professional development and career building. So what’s a more perfect position to run for than the VP of Professional Development? It’s not fair that other faculties have so many resources assisting them in their life after graduation, but as VP, I want to bring these resources to the CSMM departments. This is where the Workshops aspect of my platform comes in – I want to cover skills from the basics like resume building, to the more difficult topics like portfolio development. All of the skills and knowledge surrounding these subjects are especially important when pursuing jobs in creative industries, which is why I believe that we need to create CSMM specific events to cover these areas.

This brings me to my second platform point – Opportunities. I’ve found that my volunteer and extracurricular activities have been beyond helpful in landing me jobs in my field, but a lot of these opportunities aren’t communicated very well to the students. As VP of Professional Development I would be dedicated to creating and updating an online destination where CSMM students can check out a wide range of opportunities offered in the Hamilton and surrounding community. This would not just include job postings – but volunteer opportunities, networking events, and whatever else I may find that can assist my classmates in getting involved and building their resume.

And finally, as VP I want to help transform the Public Relations Intern Team into something bigger that can serve a larger amount of student needs and desires. Whether you’re interested in web design, research, video creation, writing, photography…. the VP of Professional Development is the leading Exec member of this talented group of students, and I want to create a team that can deliver a broad range of materials while building on the skills that they want to see grow and develop. This year I was lucky enough to be able to take on a leadership position with the current PR Intern team, so I know the logistics behind this program as well as the opportunities available to help it grow and expand into something bigger and better.

So if you’re like me and passionate about all things professional, vote for me this week. I have some awesome ideas in store for my fellow CSMMers, and I would LOVE to put them into action. And most importantly – thank you for your continued support throughout this crazy election period.

VP

What Makes Your Degree Different?

As the campaigning period draws to a close, I wanted to take one last opportunity to elaborate on my platform and what I hope to do for the CSMMSS, if I’m elected president. Coming into this experience, I had a very clear vision of the goals I wanted to achieve, and through many conversations with my classmates, I was able to create a general picture of what others would like to see as well.

I’m extremely focused on professional development and assisting other students in creating their dream career. At first I was concerned that this may not be the vision that my classmates have for the Society, but it’s what I’m passionate about and hoping to impact if elected. I find it slightly disappointing that so many other McMaster faculties benefit from career-related services, while Humanities, and more specifically, the CS & MM departments, are left to fend for themselves. Yes, the HTLC continues to create extremely informative programming and the Student Success Center offers a variety of career-related services, but I’ve seen what’s available through these organizations, and I still feel as though something is missing. Some of my most successful interviews have turned out this way because of the portfolio I brought along with me (which G00gle taught me how to make), and some of my least successful interviews have been because I wasn’t exactly sure how to answer those tough questions. These are the skills that we will all use at some point, regardless if you’re looking for a full-time job after graduation, a summer internship, or a volunteer position. That’s why I think it’s necessary to have some workshop-style events where we can learn these skills, but in a friendlier and more welcoming atmosphere (because practicing interview questions with a total stranger is obviously a little intimidating).

So, why ‘what makes your degree different’?

Last summer I worked as the Marketing & Public Relations Assistant at African Lion Safari, and after my work term was over, I was confident that finding my next job in the field would be easy. And then I found out how wrong I was. This was when I realized that my degree and one entry-level job in the industry wasn’t going to launch my career as fast as I wanted. So I committed myself to getting involved in as many opportunities as possible, all of which were unpaid. As I looked for my summer 2014 position, I found that most of my interviews revolved around these unpaid experiences and what I learned in those positions. I mean, our professors consistently tell us that this is what matters, but you don’t really believe them until you experience it for yourself, right? This is why I want to better communicate opportunities like these to students in the CSMM programs – because there really are a lot of opportunities out there, but sometimes they just go unnoticed. So if you want more opportunities to make yourself stand out from the rest, let me help you make your degree different.

Don’t forget that voting opens tomorrow (March 12th) and will close on Friday March 14th. You will receive a link to your McMaster email account to access the online voting system. Thank you so much for reading, and supporting me in my campaign!

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Why I Love the Team

It feels so appropriate to be writing this post today – after our energetic Monday morning meetings and a weekend outing (where we all took time out of our busy lives to play dodge ball… even though we all probably couldn’t afford to take away that much time from our studying… #YOLO).

I don’t think I can put into words just how much being a part of the CSMMSS has affected my life this year, but I’m going to try.

Coming into my third year, I really wanted to be an involved member of the Department – but I’m not the most extroverted person, and I don’t think I have to explain why trying to find your place within the University is more than a little intimidating. But acting as the Third Year Representative for the Society this year not only helped me find my ‘place’ within the larger McMaster community… it taught me invaluable leadership skills that I will carry with me no matter where the next year leads. And I know leadership can sometimes be an overarching term, so more specifically, some of the skills I learned include: when to speak up, and when to sit back and watch others create their vision. How to trust my teammates, and myself. How to stay positive even when the cards are stacked against you. How to fearlessly voice my opinion and stay true to my personal values…. and so much more, but I want to keep this as short and sweet as possible.

Not only was I given an incredible opportunity to learn and develop my skills, but I also built a professional network. Over the past few months I’ve been incredibly career-focused, and I’ve found myself faced with professional-based questions that I didn’t really know how to answer. But thankfully the other team members were always open and willing to help me work through my questions, just as I have, and always will, be here for them. And that’s why I love the team.

And that’s why I have such a passion for (hopefully) remaining a member of the team in the year to come. Because this experience has affected my life in ways that I never would have predicted, and I want to create a similar experience for all of my classmates. There’s no reason why we can’t build a strong sense of community within the CS&MM departments through both personal and professional relationships, especially with so many talented and experienced students among us – there are so many things we could learn from one another, so let’s start.

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