University is over!

For the past few weeks I have been dreading the results of the classes I have taken. I do this every year, even though I was confident I did well in most classes, I still stress because I really just want out already!

Yesterday I got my exam results, and while there are no A’s, I’m still pleased I passed everything, including this course.

I’m a bit of a joker, but I’ll often have a “serious” moment on Facebook. Write a little blurb and thank people who have helped me, or reflect on my time at university. But with all the politics, (which I will be writing about soon!) the ‘unsureness’ of if I have done a good job or not, if I understand a paper entirely, or just having no time to really breath… I was happy to just be gone, and as a result, instead of a nice little post about my experience like most of my friends had done, I posted a little inside joke between some co-workers, old friends from high school, and I guess anyone else who has watched the movie “Friday”

Bye Felicia

Bye Felicia!!!

And there is no doubt that if I am still in Lincoln, or visiting Canterbury, I will come back to visit, especially Te Awhioraki (the Māori student association), and lecturers who have helped and supported me throughout this entire process. I will also be fighting for Lincoln staff and students, RE: the politics I mentioned earlier. Just because I am leaving, does not mean I will forget!

I have yet to find a graduate position – not for lack of trying! I am happy just plodding along until I get the call up. Right now I am working part time at New World still. Cutting below my budget. It’s hard to believe that I will be leaving university with no work planned. Last year I ended up on the student benefit for a month before I got my current job, but I’m not entirely sure I’m entitled to that.

Leaving university has been… uneventful. The past few weeks have been just my normal life – except I can go to bed at a reasonable time without having to stay up proof reading assignments, I can play boardgames with our friends because I don’t have that constant “you have something else to be doing” nagging in the back of my head. It’s been chill.

Jared has paid for flights to Rarotonga as a graduation gift / birthday gift combined. I’ve never left the country and I am so excited! He got the tickets before the exam results came out, which made me feel even more anxious! Not that we wouldn’t go away if I failed, but it’s not much of a graduate gift if I didn’t graduate, right?

I want to leave this blog up, and try to keep it updated. Especially (hopfully!) with interview information, anything that happens at LU that I have thoughts on (Or… maybe have contributed to!) and just a general place to journal my more “professional” thoughts.

It’s been nice knowing you, Lincoln university.

CVs, Cover Letters, Interview Techniques and Assessments

Unfortunately I haven’t made it to a few lectures due to some commitments with TA, my part time job, and an annoying cold!

One lecture I’m a bit sad I missed was Michelle Ashs lectures on CVs and Cover Letters. Thankfully it’s been recorded and I’ve already been to see her at the beginning of the year!

What Michelle went over in the lecture are things that I already knew from seeing her, but also from the fortunate situation I’m in where my partners mum is an HR manager, and helps me fine tune my C.V and Cover Letters, and prepares me for each interview.

Something I struggle with is writing cover letters. getting all those key words in, but not being boring, but also talking and selling yourself. As Michelle says, once I had a template, I usually edit it to suit the position.

Another thing I learnt from visiting Michelle at the beginning of the year was that you should also edit your C.V to suit each position. An example of myself not knowing this was last year when I sent so many edited cover letters but all the same C.Vs, which lacked some information which was included in the cover letter. I called the employer to ask why I wasn’t given an interview, I felt I had so much of what they were seeking! He responded by saying they were seeking agriculture experience, GIS experience, an some other things. Things I had listed more in-depth in my cover letter!!! He then responded and said he wasn’t given a cover letter, just my C.V from the Recruitment department. That was a bit upsetting because at the end of the call he said from talking to me it sounded like I did have the experience, but they had already hired someone else. So from what Michelle says, I now always edit my C.V in relation to the job. Which can be a little tedious, especially at this time of year when you apply for multiple jobs a week, but it should be worth it in the end!

Watching this lecture was actually very helpful as there was some things that were included that I had forgotten from our meeting.

The next lecture Michelle gave was about interviews. As I said above, when I do have interviews, my partners mum preps me – asks questions, told me about STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result).

I get very flustered when I am asked questions I am unprepared for. For my first (and only!) “professional” interview, it went really well using the STAR technique.

The only downfall I usually get is that I never have any questions to ask! I do so much research I usually find all the answers I need.

Assessment Centers also worry me a little. My downfall in university is exam time. But I do well if I study hard and have time to prepare. Having to go to an assessment center may be my downfall in interviews. I guess I’ll have to find out!!!

Soci314 Seminars

These past three weeks, the Soci314 class has had class presentations on Wednesdays, and while we still have two more groups to present, I just wanted to talk briefly about the seminars we have had so far.

I really enjoyed all the seminars so far. They were all interactive, and usually I don’t like interactive classes, but it was really neat to actually engage with other students, and almost have “student lead teaching”. I especially liked the seminar about Ethics by Danyon and Beth because it made me really think. The problem our group received to think about was about a developer wanting to chop down a heritage tree to develop more housing.

There are two issues I was torn over with this problem

  1. Auckland is in desperate need of houses for people to live in
  2. it’s a heritage tree. I love nature, the environment, it’s been there longer than New Zealand has been colonized!

There is also the fact that this tree may hold great significance to Māori, but I kind of put that under #2.

My answer was to build around the tree, why not have two houses on either side of the tree? Or make a nice public park? Why not? Because money. If a park was put there, the developer would lose out on money, if the houses were moved 10m either side of the tree, that could mean one less house at the end of the road.

Our own presentation went OK. We were lucky and a few questions, but we didn’t really plan any class interaction like other students did. Our topic was about NZPI and Planning Standards. We both felt, and other students agreed, that “planning standards” that NZPI “represent” are really just rules that any good person, planner, builder, fast food worker, would really abide by anyway. So it’s interesting that this group, among many other associations hold very similar “code of conduct” that their members must abide by, when any good person would abide by them anyway.

I enjoyed researching about NZPI, I found out that you can join without being an official planner, but it’s a little unclear as it whether you receive all the same benefits. I also found a suitable PG course I could do, if I ever wish to become a planner (I’m more “environmental management” than the “planning” in my degree).

 

Community Consultation

Paula Smith, the chair of the Lyttelton community board, came to chat to the class on the 13 of September.

The subject of her talk was Community Consultation. The main point I got from this talk was that it doesn’t really matter what you want, but rather the community. For example, you could be supportive of an initiative from the council, but the community you represent may not be.

I think this is very important in planning and resource management. You really have to think about what is best for those a proposal effects, and even then, you have to be willing to support changing views. This can get quite serious, as some views may challenge what you feel so strongly about, sometimes you would have to step back and let someone else speak.

We also talked about how important it was to consult with community. For example, the Lyttelton community seems to be very active in their decision making. Some things that are happening in their community are a result of them being asked what they want, and the community actually participating in those meetings.

 

Project Management

On July the 19th we had a presentation on Project Management. I unfortunately forgot who gave the lecture.

It was interesting to see what a project manager does, it seems like a really in-depth job to undertake! There are so many steps and processes that need to be thought about, it seems like a position only someone who had been in that particular industry for a long time would be really able to do. It is a scary thought to think you’d be in control of an entire project and be responsible for its completion.

Thinking about it, as a university student, I am kind of like a project manager. I have to set tasks for myself, I have to do X only when Y is completed (for example, to take this class, I had to get a pre-req of X amount of classes). I have to identify what I need to do to pass all my courses. University to me is like a large project, and I’m the project manager! I think I need more work on my time management skills….

Some people project manage their own house building! I can imagine that could be quite stressful, especially if you’re not from a building type of background.

Law of Contract – Stephan Caradus

Before the end of term, we had a lawyer come in from Duncan Cotterill in Christchurch, who came to talk to us about Law of Contract.

It was an interesting lecture. Especially when he spoke about how even a verbal agreement and a “handshake” agreement are both valid contracts. You always say things like “You shook on it! It’s a deal!” when you’re younger, and your siblings try to weasel out of giving you half of their ice cream or something for a chore you did earlier that day. It’s just amusing to think that you actually entered a legally binding “contract” with your sibling over half of their ice cream!

Stephan went over all the elements that make a valid offer, and it was interesting to learn that there is no principle of “fairness” in commercial transactions, Stephan gave an example of selling a house for $1000. The Court does not care if that is not a “fair” price, but rather if both parties agreed or not, and if all the terms of the transaction were met.

I found this lecturer really interesting and engaging with the class. It’s a very valuable lecture to have, not only for people who will do contract work, but I think in a general life capacity, too.

Professionalism.

One of the first lectures we had in Soci314 was about Professionalism. It is an interesting subject to think about. You go through 3 years of university and it kind of you hits you “Wait a minute, am I even going to be a professional?”

The definition from Oxford is as follows (Which was also included in the lecture)

 Noun:  A paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification

As I mentioned in the lecture, my father loves classic cars and hot rods, and also knows a lot about your every day car, too. He can build a car from the ground up, but his professional trade is not a mechanic, he is a qualified fitter turner.

A few years ago I had issues with my car. The mechanic charged me $250 every few months to fix this issue. When I told my dad this, he said “why don’t you just replace the exhaust? It’d be cheaper in the long run.”. When I took the car to another mechanic to get a quote, he confirmed what my dad said. In fact, to replace the exhaust would be cheaper then $250 as long as I sourced my own, and from a place like Pick-a-Part, that’s easily do-able.

The point of this is to say that the previous mechanic was ripping me off. He saw a vulnerable female who knew nothing about cars and took that opportunity. Would I call this professional? No. It is completely unprofessional. However his qualification says otherwise.

I guess that’s why it’s totally questionable to me about what a “professional” is. Even when dealing with real estate agents when my partner was in the market to buy a house. Or the people at Westpac who accused me of hacking my own bank account and never apologized for it when they realized that indeed, someone had hacked my account (and as a result I quickly changed banks!). Perhaps the people at the bank are just customer service reps with no degree in any type of banking field, but as a customer service representitive of that company, they should be trained in good customer service skills. They should be professional about handling situations like the one I had.

The lecturer discussed “Behavior” criticism, which basically covers most things I’ve said. I hope I never turn into a dishonest “professional” that I see around today. I even have other experiences with people who have degrees in agriculture and agsci, but know a lot less about dairy farming then what I do. And this brings me to question: Did the institution they attend not really educate them? Or did these people pay their way through? Why is someone who is the boss of me not know what mastitis is?

Despite my small rant… I did actually take something from this lecture: I hope to be open and honest with my clients if I end up working in a client based job. If I don’t know something, I intend to research all I can about it, if something that be done cheaper (but with the same result) I would hope I would inform the client of that. I think honesty is so important in this day and age.

Welcome to my professional home online!

Hi! If you’ve come to this blog, you’re either from soci314 (2016) or you searched my name online. I already have a personal blog, which can also be found by searching me (or going to the top level domain of this site!) This will be the home of posts for the class Soci314, and perhaps will continue into my professional career, too.

This is pretty much a filler post. I recommend reading the about page if you’d like to know a bit more about me!