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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Mapping a future

Nicki Padar / AGGIE
Nicki Padar / AGGIE

Students use on campus resources to combat stress in career paths

Finals week, also known as “stress season,” is just around the corner and students at UC Davis are preoccupied with completing their degrees while also worrying about their futures. Whether students are conflicted about which classes matter for acceptance to medical school or if their majors will even guarantee employment, such concerns and more can be combatted through the variety of career-aiding resources available on campus.

One of the main career resources on campus is the Internship and Career Center (ICC), located in South Hall.

“We’re the primary center for helping students find their career direction […] through experience or learning,” said Marcie Kirk Holland, director of the ICC. “There are a lot of demands on students [for] their time in particular. Being able to just schedule an internship or a job is often a challenge.”

To decrease student stress, the ICC provides students with an array of career-related tools, including weekly workshops for developing skills such as resume building, interviewing and networking. The ICC also offers internships in nearly all fields imaginable, from ones in advertising to working at a zoo, most of which can be applied for through the ICC’s Aggie Job Link.

“Nobody told me it was important to do internships,” said Ashley Odell, ICC career advisor. “I came out of my undergraduate with not enough experience to do what I really wanted. It is important to be involved. You can’t just get a job now with [only] a degree — you need experience.”

The ICC holds four career fairs a year along with job application programs, for-credit career development academic courses, as well as career panels in which guest speakers such as UC Davis alumni and company executives discuss how they reached their respective career goals. In accordance with these programs, the ICC is hosting a Leadership Career Development Forum with Student Affairs and AT&T this spring to launch students’ careers.

For students who have a career in mind, the ICC has sets of advisors specific to various areas of industry, ranging from business to physical science, who aid students in developing their future plans. However, advising is also open to students still unsure of their career goals.

“I help students all the time who are like, ‘I don’t even know what to do with my major,’” Odell said. “I go beyond the first initial career questions and try to find out what the student is interested in as a whole. They end up walking away with […] resources they can use.”

The ICC website also features online resources including resume writing advice and information on different majors for students who may not have the time to attend a workshop or advising session. However, both Odell and Holland encourage students to visit South Hall.

“Come to the ICC,” Odell said. “Talk to an advisor — they’ll help you […] in terms of where your interests lie.”

Other on campus resources for help dealing with the stress of school and careers include UC Davis-affiliated professional clubs and fraternities. One such organization is the Design Careers Club (DCC). Its goal is to provide design students with easy access to the resources and skill sets needed to further their careers.

“What we do is pretty much try to empower design career students,” said Borair Elyacy, a fourth-year design major and DCC co-director. “We hope to help students become more successful by providing workshops that help them build [their careers].”

Similar to the ICC, the DCC hosts workshops that focus on resume-building and on subjects specific to design majors, such as contract-writing and web design. In 2014, the DCC put on its first successful design career fair, which was sponsored by the UC Davis Design Department and attended by 26 different companies. The fair was both a valuable opportunity and a learning experience for students.

“It is a really valuable career pathway to learn all these […] skills,” Elyacy said. “You become so versatile. You can learn pretty much anything.”

Another benefit of professional organizations on campus is the community aspect that members are able to share with one another. Phi Delta Epsilon is an international medical fraternity on campus that combines friendship with career mapping.

“It’s awesome [to have] people that are really driven [and] that are doing the same thing as you,” said Sidra Ali, a fourth-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior major and president of Phi Delta Epsilon. “You become a part of this family. If you ever need something, they always have your back. I know I can call any of my […] members and they’d be here for me.”

Phi Delta Epsilon aims to help pre-med students get into medical schools by providing members with useful experiences such as research, student-run clinics, philanthropy work and even leadership within the fraternity. Phi Delta Epsilon also has student chairs who specialize in different aspects of aid, such as an academic chair for class registration help and a wellness chair for physical and mental therapy.

“Being a student at UC Davis can be tough,” Ali said. “We show [members] everything they can do and provide them with those resources so they don’t have to go out and look for them.”

In any case, students of any major at UC Davis have a wide variety of resources available to choose from in times of career crisis.

“Sometimes [students are] really intimidated because everybody else [seems to] know what their goals are, when that’s really not the case,” Holland said. “They’re not behind. Career development is […] what helps people to lead a healthy vibrant life.”

 

Written by: Allyson Tsuji — features@theaggie.org

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