Tag Archives: opinion

Getting out of the Dumps and Back on the Hunt in a COVID Job Market

*This article was originally published July 7, 2020 on SFU OLC’s blog.*

Getting a job at a grocery store was definitely not what I was expecting to do with my last summer before graduation. I had big plans to apply to marketing and communications student positions and to make the most out of my education and off-time to get relevant experience, but when COVID-19 hit, I knew I just needed a job in general.

I’d been looking forward to this summer all of spring semester. As a soon-to-be graduate from the School of Communications, with just a few credits left in my degree, I had begun looking for industry-applicable experience, hoping to identify some jobs I could apply to. I had big plans to make the most out of my education, apply for student positions in marketing and communications and beef up my resume, before being thrown headfirst out into the working world. Using my off-time to get relevant experience didn’t quite turn out the way I had hoped. Getting a job at a grocery store was definitely not what I was expecting to do with my last summer before graduation, but it is the option I had no choice but to take – for a while.

You might say I’ve had my fair share of experience in making adjustments. In the past four years, I’ve transferred schools, switched majors, added a minor and studied abroad. Despite my skills in being adaptable, there’s really nothing any of us might have done to prepare for a pandemic. We’ve all had different experiences dealing with COVID-19 and no one person is going to be put in the exact same situation due to a variety of circumstances. The impact on students is notable, with classes now online for the foreseeable future, and the different ways we are all dealing with the current uncertainty in employment.

Some of us have been lucky enough to find or maintain temporary work as we continue our studies. Others may have been planning on doing a co-op or getting work experience in their field of study and now need to re-route. I know I was feeling overwhelmed and stuck in one place because I was unable to find applicable job experience.

When COVID-19 hit, I knew I just needed a job in general. I found out a friend was working at a nearby store, I applied, and was hired on the spot. I’ll admit, I felt shame for taking something I wasn’t passionate about, but I felt a sense of purpose, stayed busy and the work environment was positive. If you’re in the same position, remind yourself that these are hard times! It’s okay to keep that same retail job you’ve had for 3 years now, or to take temporary work while you wait for the market to get stronger.

No one could have predicted that this is what our summer would look like, but there’s still time to search for a summer job that’s applicable to your field of study. Using the resources below, working with a career educator at CVS and not giving up, landed me the exact sort of position (in marketing and communications!) I’d been looking for. Here are a few options for students, if you’re feeling stuck:

1.     Look beyond Indeed!

There is no doubt that Indeed has become a helpful digital job marketing service over the last few years, but it isn’t the be-all-end-all! Many industries have their own tools that offer more specialized results catered to what you’re looking for. Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Alumni, and sites listed here, are great to watch, too.

2.     Check for Canadian Government resources

The Canadian Job Bank has a section on their website dedicated to students returning in the fall! Much like Indeed, you can use filters to narrow down location and job description. Since these jobs are meant for students, the competition will be thinner as well.

3.     Don’t discount volunteering quite yet!

Volunteering may feel like a thing of the past for an experienced student, but it is still an amazing way to get experience while maintaining a job that pays the bills in these unprecedented times. You can earn up to $5000 for tuition by volunteering through the Canada Student Service Grant this summer.

Remember, we have our whole lives ahead of us to get new experience and build our careers. Finding a way to pay the bills didn’t stop me from continuing to search. If I can do it, you can too.

The post Getting out of the Dumps and Back on the Hunt in a COVID Job Market appeared first on Keely Rammage-Scott.

Who are KPU’s Rivals?

*This article was originally published in The Runner on March 23, 2017*

Most students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University can agree that there are some pretty great advantages in attending a smaller institution, but how does our unviersity compare with other postsecondary schools in the area? Who are KPU’s real rivals, and for what reasons do they choose to compete with us? Can we compare ourselves to schools such as SFU and UBC?

First on the list of schools that comes to mind is Douglas College, our old sister school. Douglas and KPU certainly share a few similarities, such as smaller class sizes and a lack of on-campus residences, but one way they have us beat is in their varsity sports teams. KPU’s teams were cut a few years back due to budget cuts.

KPU, however, excels compared to many schools in regards to our trades programs, which are largely held at the Cloverdale campus. Some of the more notable programs at KPU include ferrier, brewing and operations, acupuncture, and even marijuana management programs

Next on the list of rivals is the University of the Fraser Valley. UFV shares small classes with KPU and Douglas, and they also have varsity sports teams, but it’s their student union building on the Abbotsford campus that gives them a competitive edge. In it, you can find a student-run dine-in or take-out restaurant as well as a radio station.

Whether or not their student life is better than ours is debatable, but UFV provides much more opportunity for social lives. Unlike Douglas and KPU, they do have a university residence, and their cafeteria provides a wide variety of options, whereas we only have Sodexo, Tim Hortons (run by Sodexo), and the Grassroots.

By comparing KPU to these two schools alone, our lack of a sports team really leaves us in the dust. Sports provide a sense of togetherness and friendly competition with other schools. It’s difficult for KPU students to feel involved with the community without friendly competition through sports. It almost feels as though we’re being left out.

When it comes to larger schools such as SFU and UBC, I don’t think that a fair comparison can even be made. We aren’t as big of a school, and we certainly don’t get as much funding. If we want these bigger universities to notice us as a competitor, students need to start advocating for change at KPU.

If the cafeteria food can’t even hold a candle to schools that are supposed to be on our level, what can we do about it? If we feel like our student life is suffering, only we can do something to change that. KPU students need to show involvement in our school environment.

In the academic force, we get just as good of an education as students who attend schools such as SFU and UBC, and we even get to know our professors better. KPU students receive just as many job prospects as those who go to UBC and SFU. We have the ability to stand on the same level of schools nearby. What’s stopping us?

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Canadians Are in the Front Lines in the Protests Against Trump

*This article was originally published in The Runner on March 1, 2017.*

Canadians have made it clear that Trump will not just be on the front cover of American newspapers for the foreseeable future. He’ll be on ours as well.

In the few short weeks of his presidency, Trump has already begun to repeal Obamacare, and has attempted to ban the citizens of seven muslim-majority nations from entering the United States. There have been signs of Trump supporters withdrawing their support on social media, some of whom did not know that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act were the same thing.

The defiance against Trump and his associates has become a constant part of Canadian society. The CBC recently wrote an article about a Vancouver yoga studio declaring that they were a “Trump-free zone.” Studio staff say that people are free to talk about their feelings on the matter, but should leave direct conversation of Trump-related stories or events outside of the space.

Have some Canadians already admitted defeat? Do they believe that our protests and voices will no longer be heard, or that they are not making an impact? Is it time for us to stop concerning ourselves with what is going on in the United States and focus on our own issues?

The fact is that if we stop talking about it, the Trump government will become normalized, and this is not at all normal. Labeling an entire religious group at terrorists cannot be normal. Showing blatant homophobia, racism, and sexism cannot be normal.

The attention generated by women’s marches across the world means something. It gave women a voice, and it brought them together. People continue to rally against Trump, not because they think that they can change how the system of government works, but because they want their voices to be heard above the chaos.

All kinds of people were brought together at airports across the United States in order to protest what social media has called the “Muslim Ban.” Lawyers volunteered their time just to make sure people already on their way to the United States could not be turned away at the border.

Canadians continuing to protest Trump will not cause any harm, so there is not any need to discourage those who want to continue to express their anger. The situation we find ourselves in is not acceptable, and I will continue to say so until people understand. Political moves that Trump and his affiliates have made are violating basic human rights for those who are trying to come to the United States for a better life. Many American citizens have openly stated that they feel unsafe in the country while he is in office.

You cannot silence the masses. You could not have told them to dry their tears when Trump won the election back in November, and you cannot tell Canadians to keep to themselves if they feel the need to express their dissatisfaction.

Are our voices being heard? Yes. Are we making a difference? Who knows? It doesn’t mean we can’t continue to try.

The post Canadians Are in the Front Lines in the Protests Against Trump appeared first on Keely Rammage-Scott.

Why Study Nightlife? An Answer in Conversation with Nietzsche on Music and Myth

At times, it feels arbitrary to study nightlife, or to even want to study nightlife. The primary function of nightlife often appears to be simple: to entertainment. However, At other times, it feels like I take the elements of nightlife, of the organised party, for granted. What could those elements be? Can studying the phenomenon of nightlife reveal humanity in a fresh perspective? I like to think so. With this in mind, it seems worth it to explore the question “why study nightlife?”

My automatic answer is that leisurely congregation is an important form of community brainstorming where prevelant qualities of a group become visible in personal contexts. It is the site where human desire, and desire’s associated behaviours, rise to the surface of our collective broth. Desire is a flexible, flowing phenomenon by which the whims and fears of a group are revealed. The club is a location that facilitates an exploration of these qualities, thus it is an important modern institution for any individual.

Philosophers have proposed theories that consult my question more articulately (albeit indirectly.) For Friedrich Nietzche, in The Birth of Tragedy, it is essential for music to be accompanied by tragic myth. According to him, these two elements identically simulate transcending individuality. They are both born from “the playful construction and demolition of the world of individuality as an outpouring of primal pleasure and delight” (the Dionysiac) as in the case of a child who builds a castle from rock and sand only to knock it down with the tide (783).

To facilitate this process are structures that form beauty (The Apolonian), for there is no sand castle without a basic idea of architecture and there is no rhythm without musical consistency.

When Nietzsche talks about music and tragedy, I imagine he pictured the orchestra and the theatre company. The Birth of Tragedy pivots on the theatrical legends of ancient Greece where the elements of tragedy are explicit.

Considering that theatre is nearly absent in the contemporary club, Nietzsche might find club culture to be particularly flimsy. He claims that the relationship between music and myth is so intimate “that the atrophy of the one would be connected to the degeneration and deprivation of the other” (783).

In search for a reason to study nightlife, I reject this deduction. As the image of nightlife has shifted from the theatre and the seated club and centred on our modern evolution of the saloon, humans have also shifted their mythological value. In the dance hall of today, these myths are rarely expressed intentionally and are open to speculation.

Myth is, after all, simply a narrative that one tells one’s self to inform behaviour, or as they say at Modern Mythology, myth “allows us to establish a place within history for ourselves.”

Many secular myths are prevalent in the club. Some that come to mind are myths of gender (and its degradation,) of masculinity and femininity, myths of sexuality, myths of authenticity, robust economic myths, myths of democracy and etc.

It is these myths that fascinate me and drive me towards nightlife. I don’t feel equipped to judge society’s Dionysiac capacity, but I believe that Nietzsche’s connection between music and myth is a useful perspective of nightlife. Myths like the ones suggested above add substance and social cues to late night socialisation and dance. Critiquing that substance enables us to discern whether it functions to improve social health or to damage it, thereby allowing us to adjust our patterns of socialisation. Studying the club presents intimate planes for growth.

Work Cited
Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. “The Birth of Tragedy.” ed. Vincent Leitch. 2nd ed. Norton. 2010. Print.

Talking to Strangers – Can – Make you Happy.

There are few things I find more frightening than being unlikable. That may sound insecure, yes, but I prefer not to skirt around the truth. Being ‘liked,
‘ whatever that might mean, reaps a bounty of benefits from good eye contact to free cigarettes to job promotions.

When it comes to meeting strangers, likability values a good first impression, so whether I’m at a club or on the bus, I do everything in my power to facilitate positive social experiences. This tends to happen passively when I’m relaxed, but when I’m stressed, I tend to waste time concerned about whether  or not I’ve agitated people.

Recently, I have been more stressed in public, so my interactions with strangers has been limited to stressing out about them in my imagination. However, over the last week, after reading a James Hamblin piece titled “How to Talk to Strangers,” I’ve been determined to have conversations with humans who I’ve never met. As of now (Sunday afternoon), I’ve had two.  

The first didn’t go well. It was with a new classmate, whose name I had forgotten during our round table introductions a half hour earlier. To summarize, we traded names, “how are you’s?”, and he walked away. I was bitter about his lack of tact, and re-entered our classroom, introverted and annoyed. This felt like a lesson on why one should not talk to strangers. I had tried and failed.

The second went perfectly. It was exemplary of my bright, optimistic social ability. While looking for a place to sit in a crowded bar, I greeted a stranger, we traded “how are you’s,” I gave an honest, witty answer, we introduced ourselves, and the rest of the conversation was silk. We were at a drag show, so at least 95% of the people at the venue shared a common cultural interest and, such similarities make for easy bonding. I formed a sense of accomplishment after that, but for no simple reason I think.

In his article, Hamblin asserts that “public-health research has shown improved moods among commuters who chat on the subway, and happiness and creativity among people who talk to strangers.” However, I believe it is an oversimplification to say that stranger chatting causes happiness. I have spent many happy hours engrossed in a book on transit, and being interrupted by a chatty commuter would probably have spoiled that mood. Chatting isn’t for everyone, or for every moment, so don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t strike up conversation with strangers. Occasionally, stranger chatting can be satisfying, sure, and I have a theory as to why.

As people grow and develop, I believe they reinforce certain behaviours and habits, physically and emotionally, that can be described as ‘needs’ when one grows older. I like to think that I have a need for intimacy, and there are many ways to satisfy that. Feeling intimately connected with a book is one way, and meeting a friendly new human is another. It would be selfish to assume that everyone has the same needs as I do, though, so I heed you, dear reader, to be careful with Hamblin’s article. Do not assume that socialization creates happiness, but be open to it having that influence.