Diary of a Student

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M. Lee 

Entry 1: The start of the semester 

I want to begin with the preface that I am taking this course to ensure I am in five courses for the current semester. My options at the time of enrollment were slim, and realistically had that not been the case, I likely would not be here. Having said that, I have no intention of just coasting through the course. I recognize this as an opportunity to make myself a more valuable and appealing candidate for employment in the future. 

Entry 2: #Goals 

Our class discussions have made me think about what I aim to achieve with my current education. As it stands, I have two possible avenues that I am considering. The first is the pursuit of a career in law. I looked into this a few semesters ago; it seems like an achievable goal. My GPA currently sits at 3.4, but it is likely to rise as I have been getting better grades in recent semesters. Additionally, it seems that most law schools only look at the four most recent semesters when judging applicants; this may be a great boon to me if I can maintain my more recent levels of academic achievement. One thing I do not know regarding law schools is the emphasis they place on non-academic achievement and extracurriculars. The second path I am considering is a postgraduate degree in industrial/organizational psychology. I have read some books on the subject, but I do not know as much about how grad school applications function. From what I have gathered, most institutions only examine the four most recent semesters for academic ability. I do not have any research experience yet, but I aim to remedy that problem next semester as I have some lined up with a psychology professor at the university. Another possible resource will arrive at the university next year in the form of a psychology professor specializing in I/O psych.

Entry 3: Future plans?

One thing that worries me with both possible pursuits is that if I get accepted and complete the schooling, what if I dislike the careers afforded to me? I have recently contacted some lawyers working in Lethbridge to discuss what their career is like. This will inform my decisions, hopefully ensuring I make the correct one for me. This problem is more difficult to solve on the I/O psych side of things as there is a broader spectrum of career possibilities with that education. In any case, the proposition of graduating is stressful, and there are often times that I wish I could remain a perpetual student here. Having said that, I know it would get old, and I’d only feel as though I had wasted my potential. 

Entry 4: Conflicting information 

We discussed resumes. Here I learned my resume is essentially useless in its current form for my current goals, which makes sense as it has been geared toward short-term unskilled employment up until this point. I made several changes including the deletion of my interest section to revising and simplifying what remained. Interestingly, in another class, someone from the career bridge spoke to us about resume building and made some statements that conflicted directly with what was discussed in early career development. The presenter actually advocated for including an interest section, although the “no interest section” line of thinking seems more logical to me. She also touched on including references, arguing that having them indicates to potential employers that you are serious about the application; this is one point that I’m torn on since there are strong arguments for and against doing so. Overall, I am pleased with the course content and its delivery, especially given the circumstances so far. Hopefully, COVID and the university’s COVID-related policies don’t ruin the rest of the semester. 

Entry 5: Halfway there 

What has happened since I last wrote a reflection journal entry? Definitely some stuff. Why did I allow myself to forget about it until you mentioned it in class today? I’m irresponsible. Is time real? Depends on who you ask and what their cultural assumptions surrounding time are.

Entry 6: Reflections on class presentations  

One presenter spoke to us about equity and diversity. This presentation coincided with my HR studies covering the same topic. While I agree with the theory, I am unsure of the actual application of such practices. That’s not to say that I am against making efforts to make the workplace, or world, more comfortable for people of all backgrounds. I suppose she alluded to the question I had when she discussed the token hiring of employees, but the difference still seems very vague to me. For instance, if a company decides to hire someone of a specific race, isn’t that just the introduction of a new bias? Wouldn’t it make more sense to design hiring systems that remove all bias so you actually hire the people most suited to the position? For instance, a system that removes the names and identifying information about applicants seems like a better choice than specifically seeking out a certain demographic of employees. Having said that, I don’t have firsthand experience with hiring, and I imagine that efforts to compensate for past biases play a large role in these decisions.

Entry 7: The joys of group work

I have found some of my group members to be somewhat grating (what a great opportunity to practice for future employment). I have had to adapt my approach to teamwork to be slightly more… I guess combative or argumentative in order to compensate for these individuals’ domineering tendencies, so that was an interesting test. I have also had some team members who seemed to be on the other end of that spectrum. In this case, I tried to specifically ask them about what they thought about the problems. This went one of two ways: either they seemed appreciative and offered their thoughts and opinions, or they looked at me like I had betrayed them by asking them to think. I think my approach may need some fine-tuning to get optimal results from the second response, but honestly, I got the impression that this individual expected to coast by just mumbling responses like no one would notice.

Entry 8: Waning motivation

It feels like I just wrote the previous one of these. I’m at that point in every semester where my workload isn’t quite enough to keep me focused on school, but all the work I do have is critical to my success. Compounding this problem is my waning motivation. If this were an organizational behaviour or HR course, I would give you a lovely spiel on burnout and all the fun ways to prevent it. However, instead of an informative seminar, you will be subjected to my thoughts and feelings on the last few weeks of classes. I’d like to begin with the corporate branding exercise we did. Why did we do it? I suppose you could apply corporate branding theory to your own image. I think this applies to people’s online presence in particular. Although I’m not very active on social media, I make sure that all my public profiles contain minimal personal information. I ensure it is something I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable showing my grandma. Having said that, I could probably show my grandma damn near anything, and it wouldn’t matter five seconds later because she’d forget.

Entry 9: Skipping class… 

I would talk about my experiences in the second round of interviews; unfortunately I missed them. I do feel that the choice I made that day to miss class was justified as I had been invited to attend one of my professor’s academic article discussion labs. Based on my previous university years, these opportunities are not very common, so I decided it was a worthwhile trade-off. Plus, I like to consider myself a real social fella. Ya know, kissing hands and shaking babies, I’m all about that stuff. Maybe I should be a politician. 

Entry 10: Wrapping up the semester

Those HR guys and the class discussions following their presentation concerned me. Is the UofL administration terrible? I’m already generally displeased with the services I receive here, but I don’t know if that is just the way most universities run or if this is unique to the Uleth administration. The academic advisors are, for the most part, useless. Also, someone told me how much we pay Mike Mahon! I mean, I’m sure his position takes skill and intelligence but damn. There’s also that lady that embezzled a bunch of money, so it seems to me that corruption is alive and well in the bureaucracy of Uleth. I’m aware that this journal entry has been very nonsensical, and I apologize for that. I’m not sorry enough to alter my work though. Maybe I’ll get really good at writing in a weird train of thought style. That way, when my world inevitably collapses around me, I’ll be able to document it in an engaging and whimsical manner. 

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