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!

1964515_10153929574130232_1429126918_n

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.

1964515_10153929574130232_1429126918_n

So Who Am I, Really?

As the campaigning continues, a part of me is kicking myself for not introducing myself to more people, sooner. I wish I had been brave enough to say hi to whoever ended up sitting beside me in whichever class all year long; prior to my involvement in the CSMMSS, I wish I would have attended more events to expand my CSMM network as soon as I entered the program… I just wish people knew more about  who I really am and what I’m all about.

This is partly why the Relationships aspect of my platform is so important to me. The classmates that I have had the opportunity to get to know on a more personal level have left a lasting impression on my life – inspired me to get involved and put myself out there (sound familiar?), helped give me the confidence to build my dream career, and most importantly, became incredible friends that I can count on for absolutely anything. I am so motivated to build a strong community among the CSMM students, because I truly believe that the relationships we build now will benefit us both personally and professionally, beyond graduation and life at McMaster.

So if you believe in my platform, but we haven’t had the opportunity to meet personally, I wanted to share a little bit about who I am with you. Not only do I think these ten things really define me, but they’re also things I LOVE to talk about. Do we share a common interest? I’d love to know! And even if we don’t, well then I really want to know what you are all about too – so shoot me a message, I love to chat.

1. My perfect Friday night consists of sweatpants, Netflix, and online shopping. I’m a fiend for TV, and can get though an entire series in record time (I think it only took about 2 weeks for me to get through the entire Gossip Girl series, xoxo)

2. I’m super serious about my PR career, and nothing excites me more than knowing I have an opportunity to experience a new industry or organization. Last summer I worked as the Marketing and Public Relations Assistant at African Lion Safari and this summer I’ll be interning in the Communications department of Golf Canada! I’m obsessed with the sports industry, but I hope to experience the fashion and luxury goods industry at some point as well.

3. I have never loved a celebrity more than Britney Spears – I know the lyrics to all of her songs, and I’m planning a Las Vegas trip just so I can see her in concert at Planet Hollywood.

4. The best way to describe me is… hyper organized. I keep two planners (just in case I forget one), and To Do lists are a form of stress relief for me. I swear I feel instantly better after writing out my priorities.

5. Speaking of stress relief – my favourite form of exercise is yoga! I swear it is the only movement that is both relaxing and challenging at the same time. This past year I’ve been trying my hand at Bikram Yoga (the hottest of hot yoga), and for those of you that think yoga is ‘easy’, you wont be thinking that after you practice this form.

6. I grew up in an extremely small town outside of Kitchener, so small it doesn’t even have a Tim Hortons (seriously, those exist). And my high school? Kids rode their tractors to school, and pulled pranks that consisted of letting chickens loose in the hallways.

7. Aaron Paul in Breaking Bad…. need I say more?

8. I have such a soft spot for dogs of all shapes and sizes.. this was partly why I chose to volunteer at the Hamilton Burlington SPCA. I swear some days I can’t even walk through their adoption center because I would just adopt all of them.

9. Basketball is my favourite sport, and the Toronto Raptors are my favourite team. My love for the sport started with Chris Bosh, and then one year I got to go out onto the court. Oh and another time Junkyard Dog smiled and waved at me and I pretty much cried real tears.

10. No matter how many blog posts I publish, I still feel a hint of nervousness knowing all of my thoughts are out there for the world to see. Writing is one of my favourite things to do, and even though my blog is SO public, it’s still such a personal thing to me. I think this is the reason why I refuse to do anything blog-related in public places.

For more information on the election and all of the talented candidates, check out the CSMMSS Facebook page here

1964515_10153929574130232_1429126918_n