People hire people – not degrees

Photo by Shanelle Somers

Social sciences and humanities students angaged as they got top tips from the panelists

After graduating some students may assume the doors of employment will swing wide open. But, actually there is still more work to be done. The fact is employers are interested in you – not necessarily your education.

This is the reality Bachelor of Arts (BA) university undergraduates and graduates are facing today and what was communicated to students attending the ‘What to do with your BA’ event at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s (UOIT).

“I definitely think that university has turned from being exceptional to being an expectation. Students have just determined that a university education is just a part of the path to success,” says Hamdi Jimale, Social Sciences and Humanities Society (SSHS) student president.

In order to confront this and help guide students to employment, UOIT’s SSHS invited four panelists to speak to a group of more than 100 students at the event held Jan. 31 at UOIT’s downtown campus.

Each panelist spoke on the importance of making the most of a BA through their personal experiences.

The group of panelists included Durham Regional Constable Jarrod Singh (otherwise known as the dancing cop), Toronto youth cabinet advisory board member Arrathiyah Thirukkumaran; Oshawa criminal and family lawyer Nick Frid; talent interviewer and host for Faze Magazine Deanna Foster; and panel moderator, Dr. Vivian Stamatopoulos, assistant teaching professor of UOIT.

Panelists offered 20 tips to students who are looking to make the most out of their education and future careers.

Among the tips given were to build your character, seek support, volunteer and to make yourself an asset in the workplace.

Const. Singh says what students can do right now in the midst of their education is build their character. He says going out and getting a job and getting involved with extracurricular activities is important even if it does feel overwhelming.

Thirukkumaran says it’s important to take care of yourself during your education experience and extracurricular activities. She says when you feel something is wrong, you should seek support.

“Not having a good support system will hinder you,” says Thirukkumaran.

Frid says volunteering helped him a lot in his career path.

“Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, entrepreneurial skills are essential. What I found out about volunteering is it’s a great place to fail – failure is so important, you learn a lot from it,” says Frid.

Foster ended the evening with advice students don’t always hear. She says employers are looking to hire you, not necessarily your education.

“People hire people – not degrees. If one person is making effort to explore the world around them and is constantly looking for ways to further their professional developmental journey, the employer will most likely be interested in them,” says Foster.

Students left the event feeling equipped and felt a little more guided in how to approach their studies and the job market.

Forensic student Dylan Walters says, “as a student who has absolutely no clue how to get myself out there the panelists gave us such a great start on what I actually do. It’s so important to get your name and position out there and as much as our parents tell us to just, you know go out there, and go up to an employer and ask for a job, obviously for me it’s not that simple but with the advice I was given tonight it almost feels like it could be that simple.”