Let's Get Started

The first day of every month presents an opportunity to hit the reset button – a blank slate, a new opportunity to make the month ahead awesome. Today is extra special as it is officially my first day in my role as President. It still feels weird to say that! I want to first acknowledge how thankful I am for the time each of you took to educate yourself on the election and the important role you have as a member of the GSA in determining our leadership. I’m so thrilled, honoured, and full of energy to be taking on this new role!

Over the last number of years I have used everything I gained by being a graduate student at Laurier to fuel the vision for my future and my long-term goals. Life as a graduate student offers some unique, often challenging, experiences – an opportunity to build relationships with those around you, being a mentor to some and being coached by others. It offers the ability to attend events (mandatory or perhaps not), do work you may or may not be interested in, and to have tough discussions. During your degree, it is so easy to get distracted in all of the chaos and forget that the kinds of experiences you’re having now can play a huge role in your success down the road. Accessing the tools and resources that Laurier offers, and that we provide at the GSA, outside of your academic requirements, can help you strategically plant seeds in your garden of future success. When you complete your degree, personal reflections of those co-curricular opportunities can help you showcase your unique experience to future employers and collaborators.

This year I hope to help you think beyond your academic experience and provide you with as many opportunities as possible to make your academic-to-career transition impactful (while still not rushing away your time with us of course!).

Here are some initiatives you can expect to see coming your way soon:

1.    Our Website Blog – a community blog that gives all students the opportunity to be a guest blogger about a topic they’re interested in (studying or not). Not only is this a possible addition to your portfolio as a featured article, but it also allows an opportunity to interact and engage with other blog writers in our community.

2.    Want to run a workshop for other graduate students? No problem.
When I did my MA in Communication Studies, I studied the unique relationship between LinkedIn’s free versus premium paid accounts and the interaction issues this posed for both members and recruiters. As a result of this study, I became well versed with the functionalities of the platform and ended up co-running a series of workshops on campus to illustrate how it can be helpful for those of us who are looking for jobs out of graduate school. If you have a workshop idea for your peers, we would love to hear from you!

3.    Community connections for internships – we will be working hard with community partners to identify opportunities for graduate students to showcase their skills through internships. I have recently built a relationship with a community partner that I hope will translate to future employment opportunities. Career search is increasingly about who you know – why not start to build those relationships now that will help when you complete your degree.

4.    Diverse social programming will be a priority for our team. Look for some new/fresh initiatives to complement our already successful suite of programs!

5.    Parenting Initiatives – through my campaign I met with a number of graduate students who are navigating the completion of their degree with the demands of parenthood. My goal is to bring this community together in informal ways to support each other and learn from each other.

In the coming months I plan to publish more blog posts to keep you all updated on our progress. This will help keep me accountable to projects I’m working on while keeping the membership involved in any updates we have. Our office is a (generally) fun, welcoming environment - we encourage you to come meet us in person. We ALWAYS have free chocolate, and at any time you could catch our staff in a musical sing off!

I wish you much success this semester, and hope that you have an opportunity to enjoy the (eventual) sun shine that the season offers!

With gratitude,
Natalie