Over the last year, we have been challenged in many ways due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are almost through the school year and have accomplished so much from surviving lockdowns to learning completely remotely. We wanted to celebrate with you the resilience and adaptability of the York students in our new series, Student Experiences. In this first post, you will get to know the two of us – Janet and Deea, your #YUBlog writers and our experience in a work/study position.
Deea is a first-year English and Professional Writing student and has been employed with the #YUBlog since May of 2020, and I am a third-year Screenwriting and Creative Writing student who joined the team in September of 2020.
If you are thinking about summer jobs, we want to tell you about our experience as Work/Study students.
Success tip: Check out a couple of summer job postings in our unit at the Vice-Provost Students page.
We interviewed each other to share our experience of being remote work/study students!
Work/Study opportunities are a great way to test drive a career path
Both of us were hired during the pandemic. How were your online interview and onboarding experiences?
Janet: I was hired in August and everything took place fully online from my application to my interview over Zoom! It was different from the usual in-person processes but easier as it could fit my schedule and I could take the interview from anywhere.
Deea: My hiring and the on-boarding process were completely online too! It was a completely different experience for me because I had never interviewed online. It did make me conscious of myself initially, but my interviewer (now manager) made me really comfortable and at ease. The on-boarding process was online and seamless.
Fall/Winter is a very hectic term. How did you manage your schoolwork, other commitments, and job? Any time management hacks?
Deea: I mostly mapped out all my commitments on a planner and scheduled all time-based activities on the Google calendar. Since remote learning freed up quite a bit of time, I tended to overbook myself, which I soon realized was not productive. I had to be mindful and schedule some self-care time too. I am so grateful that the team helped in sharing our workload in times of need. The Learning Skills Services’ online time management activities and resources were also helpful in keeping me on track with the things that I needed to do.
Janet: To be honest, it was easier at the beginning of the year when I was very motivated but as the pandemic went on it became more of a struggle especially because I had other commitments on top of this with a full course load. I managed though by having everything in my calendar app and keeping all my assignment due dates in one place. I would recommend any students to make sure they know their limits and boundaries with how much work to take on as I am someone who can say yes too quickly!
What is the best part about work/study opportunities?
Janet: The best part was that the team cared about giving us opportunities or assignments that matched our studies and interests. For example, I was able to be creative with the blog posts and interview people.
Deea: I think the best part for me was that our work schedule is adapted to our school schedule and managers are considerate of busy periods for students. That really enabled me to manage work, school and other commitments.
How has your experience been with your work team so far?
Janet: It was so great because the team worked hard to make us feel included in their weekly online catchups. Even though it was all online I did feel like I got to know people on the team!
Deea: I have been with the team for three terms now and I love it! The team is extremely caring and supportive. They understand student needs so well and are always willing to help. I have a background in Communications and so, this role is highly relevant to my future plans and is a great learning experience.
Do you have any advice for students who are thinking of applying for work/study positions?
Janet: The work/study position is an excellent opportunity for students! I had a great time and what other job is so accommodating as to fit around your schedule? I’d recommend students make sure their resume and cover letter match the description on the job posting. If they need help with the creation of these documents, make sure to check out the resume and cover letter writing workshops held by Career Education & Development for help.
Deea: I think that students should definitely apply for work/study positions, especially if they can find something that is relevant to their field of study or something that they are interested in, even if it is not connected to their academics. It is a great opportunity to test drive career options without actually taking the plunge.
How do students who are interested in applying, look for jobs?
Janet: If you’re interested in applying check out the Careers page to learn more. Jobs across various fields are posted on this platform with complete job descriptions to give you an idea of what the roles entail.
Deea: Some summer positions are being posted already and others within the Work/Study program will be posted on the York Careers site on April 9. Don’t forget to mark it on your calendars!
Which is your favourite post this year?
Janet: Definitely the post about 15 Streaming Picks for Black History Month! I loved looking up the films and sharing great films about the fight for racial equality.
Deea: Everything You Need to Know Before Buying a Planner is my favourite for sure! I am such a stationery and productivity nerd. I enjoy learning about new ways of being efficient and achieving goals and want to share that with students who may find this information useful.
What lessons can you take from this experience into the future?
Janet: Working from home requires a lot of self-discipline and discipline is a skill that can be learned! It was a great opportunity to build that skill along with remote learning for my classes.
Deea: Maintaining open communication at work and personal life is key to success, especially in an online work environment. Keeping your team and family informed about any challenges that you are facing and trying to work out a solution together can be truly beneficial. For example, letting your family know about your schedule will prevent distractions during your zoom calls.
That’s our experience in being part of the Work/Study experience at York! We both had a great time and learned that the 2020/2021 Academic Year was one of adaptability!
How did you adapt throughout the school year? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @YorkUStudents.
To stay up to date on campus life and events, connect with York on social media. You can follow us on Facebook @YorkUStudents, Twitter @YorkUStudents, Instagram @studentlifeyu and with our weekly This Week @ York emails.