Beyond the transcript

Mohawk’s Student Life offers leadership opportunities that set students up for success

Marita Linde’s experience as a First Year Experience (FYE) Leader in Student Life at Mohawk College has made her feel connected to the campus during remote learning and has even pointed her to a potential career.

Linde, who is in her fourth and final semester of Software Support, facilitates two or three group sessions a week for the FYE Program. Some are informative learning sessions and others are social hangouts.

“I honestly think it’s been amazing and I really enjoy the work so much. It’s shown me a direction of what I want to do. Answering questions and providing help to students is really rewarding.”

Linde says she’s thinking about pursuing a career in online education.

Student Life offers a number of student leadership opportunities both volunteer and paid to help students give back to their communities and gain valuable work experience. It also offers the Campus to Community program in which student leaders connect volunteers to community partners for meaningful volunteer experiences.

“Many students who volunteer move on to get paid positions or student leadership roles at the college,” says Andrea Brienesse, Events Coordinator in Student Life.

Frances Braga, an international student in Computer Systems Technology, began her time at Mohawk taking part in social activities to meet people.

From there, she found a part-time job through Student Life as one of six student leaders in the First Year Experience program who help new students transition to life at Mohawk.

The leaders answer questions through chat or video calls on MS Teams and co-host social and educational events, including sessions on sustainability, time management, finances and sleep health.

“I’ve been building my confidence, especially since English is my second language. It’s made me feel more at home,” says Braga, who hails from Philippines.

“I’m so thankful I came to Mohawk. It hasn’t been a normal experience but I decided not to let the pandemic stop me. I signed up for everything I liked and Mohawk offers so many supports and events to choose from.”

Dhruvi Shah, who is in her last semester of Chemical Engineering Technology, has been working with Student Life since she began her program in September 2018.

She is a leader in both the Campus to Community initiative and the First Year Experience program and has participated in the two-day Mohawk Student Leadership Academy.

She says she is strong academically, but her leadership opportunities at Mohawk mean she has skills that will set her apart as she embarks on her career.

“When I was applying for my co-op, I was asked about how I would handle a certain scenario. I had an experience that I could draw upon to answer the question. I’ve also got references now out of work I’ve done,” she says. “And I feel prepared in taking the lead, delegating tasks, planning events and managing projects. I feel that confidence.”

Brienesse encourages all students to track their non-academic campus and off-campus involvement, including campus jobs, leadership roles, volunteering, training and extra-curricular sports and clubs, in their co-curricular record (CCR).

“It’s a supplement to a resumé and gives a fuller picture than transcripts. It helps students land placements, jobs, and awards and scholarships. A full CCR shows initiative and a desire to give back. It can be the edge in a competition for a job or scholarship.”

With each entry, students choose from five to 10 achievements or learning outcomes that define their experience.

“That really gives employers a complete picture of the skills and qualities a student has acquired through all their college activities. And having such a complete record is helpful to a student when they go to job interviews. They have experiences to talk about and the CCR helps them articulate all that they’ve done.”