We are told to practice social distancing and only go out when absolutely necessary. Our everyday lives have changed significantly. We are trying to follow our everyday routine from home and using technology has been a wonderful tool.

Classes can be taught online, job interviews are virtual and working from home has been mandatory for most. This change has definitely been a challenge, and it is something we need to learn to adjust to so we can make the best of Covid-19.

This quarantine period has given me a lot of free time, and that’s something I am not used to. Being a typical 20-year-old, I spend most of the time watching Netflix. But there comes a point where even our guilty pleasures become tiring and repetitive. I decided to use this time to further my professional development and prioritize my mental health. 

Business Career Hub

During this time, I wanted to learn and develop new skills that would further my career. We are truly fortunate to be at the Ted Rogers School of Management which offers so many resources. When I was in my first year, I always procrastinated on going to the Business Career Hub. I would justify my lack of attendance by TTC delays or being overwhelmed with schoolwork.

My resume and cover letter definitely needed to be updated to reflect my current education and workplace. I know I am not alone when I say that my resume hasn’t been updated since high school. With the stress of school, many of us keep postponing this important task. Now, with the BCH taking virtual appointments, there is really no excuse to not get your resume and cover letter updated.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Logos

In addition, as all business students, I think it is important to establish an online presence for ourselves through LinkedIn to stay competitive in the job market. With more free time, I highly recommend students to create a LinkedIn profile, if it has not been already created, and update it.

One thing I learned late in the game is that Ryerson offers students free access to LinkedIn Learning. This feature is usually available at a cost to members of the platform, however our school is providing us with this resource for free. This tool can be used to develop professional skills in Excel or Python, for example.  

Academic Success Centre

The Academic Success Centre (ASC) is another campus resource I wanted to include in this post, because academic success lays a good foundation for future career development. The ASC is a support system for the educational success of Ted Rogers School students. I highly recommend the services of the ASC, especially to first year students.

During my first year, I did not feel confident in the material I was learning and felt very nervous before any exams. I had heard about the ASC, but I did not think it would be useful to me. After my BUS100 facilitator recommended this service, I decided to give it a try because I had nothing to lose.

The students who provided the tutoring services were very knowledgeable about course concepts and willing to practice many examples with me until I felt confident. The group tutoring service is available for many first- and second-year courses that management students take. Furthermore, these services are also provided virtually, and it is something I believe students should take advantage of.

Tri-Mentoring Program

Finally, I am also taking advantage of the Tri-mentoring Program that is available to students. As an upper year student, during the next school year I will be matched with an incoming first year student and will be a guide and support for them as they navigate the new school year.

In addition, there is a career mentoring component where I will get paired with an industry professional, who I can receive advice and support from. In the past, I had many friends take advantage of this program, and they raved to me about their amazing experiences. They were able to really get insight into careers in their field of study and make lifelong connections.

Mental Health Strategies

Throughout this post, I have discussed many campus resources that I have found to be helpful in developing my career during this pandemic. However, the most important thing during this time is to take care of your mental health.

You don’t always need to be doing something productive. We are all coping with this situation differently, and it is alright to take some time for self-care.

This seclusion from society is taking its toll on all of us and having high expectations that are unmet will only make it worse. It’s okay to take a break, spend a day in bed or just do nothing. It is important that, amidst all of these changes and challenges, we celebrate the little accomplishments as well.  

While it is necessary to prioritize our own well-being, it is also important to reach out to our friends, families, peers and co-workers to see how they are coping with these unprecedented times, especially those living alone. A quick text or phone call can really go a long way in improving somebody’s mental health and show them you care. 

Take Advantage  

All in all, Ryerson has done an amazing job in transferring its services to students online. We can take advantage of these campus resources from the comfort of our homes. This is a good opportunity to further your professional development. Even using one of the many resources listed above is very beneficial.

During these times, it can be easy to let go of routine and habits that require you to leave the confines of your home, such as going to the gym, spending time with friends, etc., but try not to let this stop you. There are creative ways around these restrictions.

Due to the pandemic, many of us are faced with an inordinate amount of free time, and, whether our goal is professional development or not, we can use this as an opportunity to get out of our comfort zone and think of new ways to spend our time. Although it is in our nature to resist change, sometimes change can allow us to grow and gain new perspectives. Just because the world is on pause, it does not mean that we have to be as well.

Posted by Karthiga Nagarajah

Karthiga Nagarajah is a fourth year Business Management student with a major in Law and Business. She is currently working part-time at Scotiabank as a Customer Service Representative and is the Director of Events for RUAS (Ryerson University Accounting Society). She is in the Co-op program and is excited to learn and develop new skills in her third upcoming work term.