January 28, 2011

Vancouver Daze #1: UBC Arts Career Expo 2011

Vancouver Daze, Volume 1: UBC Arts Career Expo 2011 on January 27, 2011. Published in Vancouver Is Awesome.

UBC Arts Career Expo 2011

First off, I want to thank all the amazing people on or offline and those on Twitter who welcomed me warmly to V.I.A. yesterday. I cannot believe the astounding response I got to my announcement, so much so that @VIAwesome and I were trending in Vancouver. I was absolutely floored by  the positive feedback. It was, in fact, truly "awesome".

To the business at hand, I would like to present my very first social event here on Vancouver Daze. This one is close to my heart.

UBC Arts Career Expo 2011UBC Arts Career Expo 2011

I was graciously invited a few months ago (seems like forever now) to be a guest speaker and alumni panelist at the UBC Arts Career Expo even before I had a full-time gig. I even joked enthusiastically that I was probably one of the youngest and least successful alumni guests invited to speak.

I have guest written and been interviewed by UBC Career Services before and always speak warmly of my studies there as a Poli Sci grad. I fondly remember attending the event as an undergrad five short years ago and jumped at the chance to come back and offer any career advice I could at my alma mater.

UBC Arts Career Expo 2011

I sat on "The Social Network: Careers in Media and Communications" panel speaking on career diversity and social media in the industry. My colleagues were senior communications coordinator Phoenix Lam (left) from Best Buy/Future Shop and and BC History journal editor Andrea Lister (centre). The panel was moderated by third-year geography student, Aaron Lao, who did a great, enthusiastic job.

I learned a lot from my fellow speakers on the misconceptions of the industry, how to build fruitful working relationships, and tips on freelancing. Phoenix (who very humorously struggled to get my name right), Andrea, and I mostly agreed on the virtues of volunteering, interning, and doing it yourself. We stressed building genuine connections, being prepared when opportunity strikes, and taking initiative.

UBC Arts Career Expo 2011UBC Arts Career Expo 2011

The event was much bigger and better organized than in my undergrad days. It was seamlessly prepared well in advance. Little things like areas to mingle and volunteers handling guests showed the enthusiasm and professionalism of the student and campus run event. All the organizers ran things smoothly, especially the networking session at the end. My only minor quibble was the long, cold trek to the Buchanan building from the SUB for our discussion panel.

My ego was greater inflated by the line of students eager to talk to me afterwards. It certainly brought me back to my college days and all the uncertainly, confusion, and stress about career planning. I hope I gave some sound advice.

UBC Arts Career Expo 2011

I really had a great time at ACE talking to all the students. I enjoyed answering all the questions aimed at me and chatting with students. Another thing I enjoyed greatly were the gasps of excitement when I told the students that I was contributing to V.I.A. and the event would be my first post as social editor, up and ready  for them to read today.

I really encourage students and professionals alike to attend more of these networking and career building events. It is really important to build a community for everyone's benefit. It did feel strange speaking as a recent BCIT Broadcast Journalism student, currently employed at Langara College, but representing UBC as an alumnus, but I loved it all.

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