How to make the most out of internships and placements
I worked at least a dozen summer jobs and internships before landing a full-time job, so suffice it to say I’ve learned a few things about squeezing the most out of these fleeting experiences. I’ve also seen a whir of students come and go and noticed too many unwittingly break the unwritten office rules. Since these jobs are crucial for launching careers, I thought I’d share what I learned. Follow these seven rules to make the most out of your summer placement.
7. Cover up
Few bosses would point out inappropriate clothing, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t making mental notes about your choices. Men shouldn’t wear jeans or shorts on any day except casual Friday. For women, things are tougher, but the most common mistake is showing too much skin: open-toed shoes are out, mini-dresses are not approved and low-cut tops are frowned upon.
6. Don’t be late—ever
Sometimes traffic is bad, sometimes Starbucks has a long line and some days the boss herself saunters in at 9:45. It doesn’t matter; you need to be there at 9 a.m. sharp. Even after a true emergency (let’s say your apartment floods—this happened to a colleague) don’t just show up with soggy pants at 10:30. Call your boss so she can re-assign your work and not worry for your safety.
5. Keep that smart-phone hidden
Work time belongs to work, even if you’re an unpaid intern (I know right?). That means you shouldn’t be caught updating your status, Tweeting or having long text message conversations.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Bosses may assume you know how to do something unless you tell them otherwise. Although you should try to be resourceful and figure things out on your own, sometimes you just need to ask. It’s better to look dumb in front of your boss than to make her look dumb in front of clients.
3. Be sure to find a mentor
You may be passed around from project to project and boss to boss. While it’s great to meet plenty of new people, make sure at least one person gets to know you well. You will need that person to vouch for you when you’re asked for a reference. You also want them to think of you when a position opens up. I got my job because an editor with whom I worked closely recommended me.
2. Ask your boss for feedback
Go to your bosses before the summer is over and ask for constructive criticism. Tell them you want the truth, even if it hurts. You may be surprised by what you’re doing wrong. I certainly was.
1. Make sure to ask for what you want
I’ve seen interns come and go. The few who got hired full-time were those who made clear what they wanted to contribute. Consider Emma Teitel. While most interns would offer story ideas at our weekly meetings and then sit and wait, Teitel dared to propose opinion columns, something most interns feel too inexperienced to write. The bravery paid off. She was hired as a columnist.
Students connect through Potter clubs and classes
Two summers ago when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 arrived at the cinema in Ancaster, Ont., Stephanie Kesler took the day off work and lined up for 12 hours to make sure she got a good seat. Afterward, Kesler, now 23, says she felt “a little bit sad.” Growing up she had eagerly anticipated each of J.K. Rowling’s books and films. “That was my whole childhood.”
But last semester, the third-year English student at Western University in London, Ont., realized that the end of the series didn’t mean saying goodbye. In her children’s literature course, Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban was on the syllabus.
For her class assignment, Kesler presented to her peers on the symbolism of Rowling’s Dementors, dark creatures that suck the life out of people, and the Patronus Charm, the only thing that can fight them off. She likened the Dementors to depression and the Patronas to overcoming it through positive thinking.
Not far away at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., dozens of wizarding fans had a similar idea. Emma Morrison, a third-year Medieval Studies and Religion major, had started a chapter of The Harry Potter Alliance, a global network of campus and community clubs where Potter fans jointly work for social justice. The Laurier chapter’s first big project focused on Dementors and depression. After a social media campaign promoting awareness of mental health services on campus, the group held a Yule Ball (a Hogwarts-inspired formal) during February mid-terms. “We wanted to have something fun to allow people to let loose in their time of stress,” she says. More than 220 showed up for butter beer and dancing.
Professor Gabrielle Ceraldi, who teaches children’s literature at Western, is unsurprised by the focus on the Dementors. “Emotional states in the series are always represented through magic,” she says. Hogwarts, the school for witches and wizards, is bewildering, much like university, she points out. “The staircases never stay in the same place from one period of class to the next.”
Ceraldi, who has only just heard about the Harry Potter Alliance, will soon teach what she believes is the first Canadian course fully dedicated to the books. She has also just learned about the Quidditch leagues where students use broomsticks and throw Quaffles, yet another of the ways today’s university students are connecting to each other and to school through Harry Potter.
Harry helps them connect to school by introducing academic themes. One obvious example is the classism Hermione Granger highlights with her Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare (SPEW), a group she starts to fight for the underclass toiling in Hogwarts’ kitchens. Harry and Ron first turn up their noses at Hermione, “but, in the end,” Ceraldi says, “grasping the value of house elves becomes pivotal to the triumph of good over evil.”
Morrison, the Laurier student, suggests that the theme of classism was inspired by Rowling’s own life. “Before she published Harry Potter, [Rowling] was a single mom who didn’t have a lot of money and relied on the government for a lot of what she was able to provide her children,” she points out.
Racism is exemplified in the mudbloods, people who come from muggle (non-magic) families and end up being capable of magic. At one point in the series, the mudbloods are accused of stealing wands from true witches and wizards, which leads to (ironically) a witch hunt.
Classism and racism were both considered by the Laurier chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance this year when they learned about child labour on African cocoa plantations and then collected signatures on a petition demanding Warner Bros. use fair trade chocolate in all their Potter treats.
But the Laurier chapter isn’t just for humanitarian work. Morrison says it’s also a place “where fans can get together and nerd out.” One just-for-fun meeting offered tea leaf readings.
Ceraldi says the Potter books offer more than social justice lessons. In her upcoming course they will provide an entry to other genres of fiction, including Gothic, dystopian and detective. Students may be asked to compare one book to a Sherlock Holmes novel and another to a story by Victorian writer Elizabeth Gaskell who, long before Rowling, used a mirror to symbolize self-reflection.
Though it’s not until January, Ceraldi is getting many e-mails from students wanting to sign up. They’re keen, she says, writing things like, ‘I am the person I am today because of those books.’
That, she says, is unsurprising. “They know these stories have incredible power and meaning.”
Sportsnet & The Score will broadcast games to 2018-19
Fans of university sports learned Wednesday about a new six-year deal between Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) and Rogers (which also owns Maclean’s) that will bring games to more viewers on Sportsnet and The Score’s television, online and mobile platforms through to 2018-19.
Football’s Vanier Cup, which will be held on Nov. 23 in Quebec City, is one of 13 big events scheduled for the upcoming season, along with men’s and women’s hockey and basketball championships. The rest will soon be announced.
Andrew Bucholtz of the blog Eh Game sees the deal as a logical and positive partnership, writing:
The Canadian university basketball and hockey championships (both men’s and women’s) will be a far better fit on Sportsnet and The Score than on TSN, and when considered as an overall picture, this makes a lot of sense for CIS. It’s very beneficial that CIS basketball’s now in a place where it will be taken seriously.
Pierre Lafontaine, Chief Executive Officer of CIS, sounds excited too. He said in a press release:
“This expanded, long-term partnership with Sportsnet will help elevate the CIS brand and provide our 11,000 student athletes, 700 coaches and 54 member institutions the recognition they deserve. It will serve to shine a light on the many outstanding accomplishments of our student-athletes who will move on to become future leaders in this country and around the world.”
Addition to Vancouver campus a North American first
The University of British Columbia has unveiled the first campus skatepark in North America. “Key park features include an open snake-run bowl, a cantilevered quarterpipe, an angled slappy bank, and stair set, complete with handrail and ledge,” says the press release. The addition to the Vancouver campus gives new meaning to the words ‘hitting the books,’ since it’s built on a stack of metal and concrete tomes engraved with words from Vincent van Gogh. There’s also a gnarly sustainable stormwater management system to hydrate nearby plants. Click below for a closer look.
Students and staff embrace an unofficial mascot
It’s Canada Goose nesting season at the University of Waterloo and that means students and staff are tiptoeing across campus avoiding sharp black beaks and mucky grey puddles.
“You don’t need to antagonize or even get near the nest for the alpha male to get aggressive,” says geography and environmental management student Alex Harris, who spent the past year studying the five-to-seven kilogram beasts.
Those alpha males and their pregnant partners take up residence in dozens of places at the sprawling Ontario campus every year where grassy lawns provide food, buildings offer shelter and there are few coyotes, foxes or wolves to keep them in check.
Young drinkers show worrisome cellular changes
You already know that binge drinking is bad for your brain and perhaps your reputation (if you’re prone to beer goggles), but here’s another reason to abstain. A new study shows immediate changes in blood circulation among binge drinkers aged 18 to 25 that resemble what older people with cardiovascular diseases experience, suggesting an increased risk of heart attacks or strokes later in life. U.S. researchers looked at two groups of healthy nonsmoking college students with mostly similar backgrounds. One group had a history of binge drinking (five or more standard drinks in the space of two hours) and the other group shunned alcohol altogether. The binge drinkers had impaired function in the endothelium and smooth muscle cells, which are needed for proper blood flow. The study is to be published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Saskatchewan biochemist has a theory
If you don’t like gross things, this story is snot for you.
An associate professor of biochemistry at the University of Saskatchewan is trying to get more students interested in science by looking at the health benefits of picking your nose and eating it.
Scott Napper says nature pushes us to do different things because it is to our advantage to have certain behaviours, to consume different types of foods.
Napper says mucous traps germs and stops them from getting into our body, but if we consume that mucous, it could help train our immune system by exposing it to the germs.
From Pong Flu to the Cinnamon Challenge
University sounds tame enough, but it’s actually a dangerous place. I’m not talking about Charlotte Simmons’ loss of innocence on the sex-crazed, alcohol-laden, fictional campus of Dupont or even the food fights and public urination in National Lampoon’s Animal House. I’m not talking about the obvious things either, like drinking way too much. I’m talking about the activities students think are innocent enough, but that can, surprisingly, lead to early graves. Here are five examples.
1. Pong flu
According to a recent Clemson University study, the ping pong balls used in beer pong games are rife with bacteria. That’s not surprising considering they often come into contact with the floor. When they are successfully tossed into cups of beer, players chug the contaminated brews, unaware or dismissive of the offending bacteria. Luckily, the potential danger of the game doesn’t mean you have to stop playing altogether. An alternative that many health-conscious—and germaphobic—students are resorting to involves replacing the beer with water and drinking clean beer instead.
StarCraft II tournament packs student pub
Let’s say I’m a basketball junkie who is absolutely in love with the game. Not only am I an avid spectator, but I also practice the game religiously to master the craft. Some of my training days consist of six hours of drills, workouts and exercises so that I can kick butt in my next match. This scenario probably doesn’t faze you at all, because this is what an athlete does, right?
But replace the orange ball with a video game controller, and suddenly I’ve gone from a dedicated athlete to a gamer with a problem.
On March 17, Dino’s pub near the University of Saskatchewan held an event called Barcraft for people who wanted to watch the Major League Gaming winter tournament for StarCraft II.
I don’t find myself gaming very much beyond the occasional Super Smash Bros and the newest Wii releases, so walking into Dino’s that day was a complete shock. The place was packed with fans watching a live stream from Dallas of head-to-head combat between two professional StarCraft players.
Analyzing the many reports of sexual assaults on campus
I’ve covered student news for two years now. Time and again, I’ve seen headlines that looked like this one from yesterday’s Toronto Star: Police investigate alleged sex assault at York University.
It’s less common to see headlines referring to sexual assaults at other schools, so it’s easy to assume York has a worse sexual assault problem.
But this conclusion is probably wrong.
Investigating why so many Quest students seek counselling
It’s 8:35 a.m. on January 24th. I have 25 minutes before class starts, but I already know this day will be a struggle. My eyes are worn out and my hair is greasy and unkempt. I haven’t slept right in nearly three days and I’m stressed. The lingering question reappears in my head. Is Quest University’s block program right for me?
Quest is a private, not-for-profit, liberal arts and sciences university located in Squamish, British Columbia and it is the only university in Canada entirely on a block program. That means classes are capped at 20 students and only one subject is taught at a time, every weekday for three hours over a three-and-a-half week period. Students are expected to complete around five hours of homework or research every day outside of class for a total of eight hours of work daily. Although many students are able to excel under the block plan’s intensity, others—like me—are thrown into a mental war of attrition, struggling to survive. This made me wonder: Is the mental toll worse at Quest than at traditional universities without block plans?
I thought there would be more maturity in university
When I got out of high school and enrolled at the University of Alberta, I was particularly excited for one thing: the end of the dreaded group project.
In high school a number of different things led me to hate working with others. We would prepare arbitrary presentations and our peers wouldn’t listen to them anyway. I thought that studying English and Comparative Literature in university would mean never having to collaborate for meaningless group assignments again.
Boy was I wrong. In fact, I seem to be doing more group projects than essays lately.
When I first saw all the group assignment descriptions on my syllabi at the beginning of the year, I decided to be as positive as possible. Perhaps the maturity level of my groups would be higher in university. Boy was I wrong again. Group work only seems to get worse in university, and I can safely say that the biggest source of my school stress has come from working with my peers.
But instead of letting it get me down any more, I’m going to relive the worst group project I have ever been a part of and hopefully my misfortune will at least brighten your day.
Rick Ross gets cancelled but Tyga performs
A hip-hop concert cancelled earlier this month in Ottawa is fueling debate about which performers student union money should fund and whether artists’ freedom of expression has been silenced.
Pandemonium, the annual year-end show subsidized by the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) and the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), was to be headlined by rapper Rick Ross on April 9. But numerous students from both universities urged their student unions to pull out because they said Ross’ recent lyrics glorify date rape. SFUO and CUSA eventually pulled the plug and the show was cancelled. Shortly afterward, athletics company Reebok announced it was dropping Ross.
It’s not just an issue in Ottawa. At Harvard University, a performance by the rapper Tyga went ahead Saturday despite an online petition with more than 1,000 signatures demanding a student board cancel it. Petitioners said his lyrics in the song “Bitch Betta Have My Money,” are “explicitly and violently misogynistic.” Tyga performed the song on the weekend, “despite all the haters.”
More than 200 battle with lightsabres
Wielding hundreds of red, green and blue lightsabres, students at the University of Ottawa ran into battle Thursday night. The first official lightsabre battle brought out about 200 participants to just outside the university library. The event mimicked an annual battle in New York.
Jozef Spiteri, a vice-president at the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), said he met the organizers of the NYC event at the North by Northeast festival in Toronto and decided to bring the idea to Ottawa.
Spiteri’s term ends this month. He always wanted a Star Wars-themed party, so it was now or never. “I thought it was a cool closing statement,” he said.
Emma Teitel on why this may be the worst film she’s seenThis post originally appeared at Teitel Page.
I know I’m a few days late to the party, but if spring break is forever, as James Franco’s “Alien” reminds us every 15 seconds in
Skrillex’s 92-minute music video Harmony Korine’s latest think piece, then I have plenty of time to kill. I never intended to write about Spring Breakers, until I saw it on Saturday night and have since felt worse than Stan and Kenny post Passion of the Christ. I want my money back. I want to round up my best girlfriends, invest in some pink balaclavas, day glo bikinis, and squirt guns, and hold up Harmony Korine’s house like it’s the chicken shack and I need to get myself to Florida, stat.
For some reason I find myself almost entirely alone in this sentiment, which leads me to believe that either the film’s greatness was lost on me (I am a boring nube and just don’t get it) or perhaps, Spring Breakers is the Emperor’s New Clothes of our day: a nude spectacle critics are falling over themselves to endorse. Sure it lags a bit, they say, but in a self conscious way. Can’t you see? It’s laughing at itself. It’s ironic. It’s rebellious. It’s a searing indictment of Western hedonism and materialism. It’s the only American movie that matters right now.
Find a husband on campus before I graduate? No thanks.
When Anne-Marie Slaughter spoke at the Women and Leadership conference at Princeton University in February, there was at least one person in the packed audience who did not agree with her call for the “next wave of an equal rights revolution.”
That person was the now infamous Susan A. Patton, who spoke at one of the breakout sessions afterward and then wrote a letter to the editor of The Daily Princetonian dismissing both Slaughter’s discussion of whether women can have it all and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg’s suggestion that women “lean in” to advance their careers.
According to Patton, instead of worrying about their future work-life balance, university women’s priority should be this: “Find a husband on campus before you graduate.”
Ottawa student leader harassed ex-girlfriends
Calls for Cody Boast’s resignation from the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) Board of Administration poured in after students learned this week that he pleaded guilty to criminal harassment. A Facebook group called Cody Boast doesn’t represent me has gained 140 likes already. I’m one of those who clicked ‘like.’
Boast’s case goes back to 2008, when he first got charged with harassment. Since then he’s breached the terms of his probation and repeated the offense twice. According to the Ottawa Citizen’s report, the victims were Boast’s ex-girlfriends. They were subjected to constant calls, text messages and confrontations. One of the girls had nude photos of her posted on Facebook.
In February, Boast ran to sit on the Board of Administration and won his position as a representative of social science students on campus. He became increasingly visible when he wore pink to a gay pride event at a university bar. He was asked to change, his outfit deemed that offensive.
Socially conscious artists, Obama have helped the cause
Music preference on Canadian university campuses is traditionally as diverse as students themselves, but in the past year we all seemed to agree on one thing: Macklemore. The 29-year-old rapper, whose real name is Ben Haggerty, found international fame in late 2012 with his catchy-with-a-conscience song Thrift Shop, which asks why we don’t take the more environmentally friendly route to clothing. The song sparked theme parties at campus bars all across Canada and likely some thrift shopping.
Since then listeners have discovered Macklemore’s entire album of socially conscious songs. One that has particularly resonated with our generation is Same Love, a catchy and eloquent song about same-sex marriage equality.
Macklemore is based in Seattle, Washington, a state that legalized same-sex marriage in December 2012. Although this seems redundant to Canadians whose ‘gay marriage rights’ have simply been ‘marriage rights’ for nearly ten years now, the issue is ongoing for our southern neighbours. For those fighting for their rights in the U.S., Macklemore is a welcome voice, especially from the hip-hop industry which has been notoriously homophobic.
Same Love is about discrimination. The song condemns inappropriate use of the word gay and the perpetuation of stereotypes by “right-wing conservatives” who think a “predisposition is a choice.” Above all, it questions why people don’t stand up to fight for “humans that have had their rights stolen.”
If this province doesn’t grow up, I might leave
As a Montrealer of Greek origin who is fluent in Greek, French and English, I look at Quebec and all the incidents that have occurred in the past few months and I ask myself this one, simple, question: what the hell is going on?
But there’s another question Anglophones and Francophones should be asking themselves: why can’t we embrace bilingualism in this province? Why can’t we accept that Quebec is a province of two official languages and both will be equally represented from now on? Why do we insist on pointing fingers at each other and accusing the other side of undermining the other’s language?
Since the election of the PQ government, things have seriously worsened. The Office quebecois de la langue française found new life after receiving unnecessary funding from the provincial government and put it to absolutely no use by attacking restaurants like Buonanotte, ultimately making fools of themselves and of the PQ in the process. These are old-school techniques that the younger, more open-minded generation of Quebecers simply doesn’t appreciate.
How can this campus group claim to fight oppression?
A friend and I went to a movie night one Friday evening in January hosted by the Students of Colour Collective (SOCC), a campus group at the University of Victoria, where I am on a transfer from the University of Manitoba completing a double major in Criminology and Psychology.
It was a spur of the moment decision to go, but we were excited to get out and have a fun night. The movie being presented was Precious Knowledge, a film about the struggle of the Mexican American Studies Program to continue after it was banned by a school board in Arizona.
We arrived, sat down and waited for the movie to begin. My friend asked if he could help himself to a glass of the juice that was set out on the table. The host replied that the beverages were for movie night attendees. She then informed us that the event was for community building and not open to the public. We were specifically addressed in front of the room of people. There was no announcement that it was a closed event.