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Undergraduate Students - December 2012

The full version of the December CAPSScoop can be found by clicking here.

Articles in this edition

It's a Small World at Cuso International

So You Want to Go to Medical/Law School... Kind of.

Alumni Interviews with Winnie Hu: Going into Medicine with Sherif Emil

Labour Market Information


It's a Small World at Cuso International

By Stephanie Gutnik, Bachelor of Arts (2011) and CaPS Scoop Journalist

December is one of my favourite months in Montréal; from the decorated department store windows and holiday classics playing inside, to the abundant selection of festive flavours offered by the cafés on McGill College, the city conceives a magical atmosphere like no other.  Some students camp out in the library to study for finals, while others navigate through the crowds on Sainte-Catherine Street to purchase gifts for the special people in their lives.  Amongst all of the hustle and bustle, it is a common practice that we take time to reflect on ourselves and find ways to improve our behaviour in the upcoming year.  Many people engage in volunteer activities during the holidays, but help is still needed in the weeks and months afterward--which is where Cuso International comes in.

Cuso International is a development organization that strives to reduce poverty with the help of volunteers.  Founded in 1961, Cuso sends humanitarians to work on nationally- and locally-designed programs situated in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia.  Overall goals of the organization include the likes of: securing livelihoods; promoting education and governance; as well as bolstering awareness of HIV/ AIDS, disability, and health-related matters.  Overseas placements are allocated to altruists who have two years of experience in their field, meaning that the positions may not be suitable for current students.  Yet, for those who believe that change starts at home, volunteer and internship opportunities are available.

Cuso recruits local volunteers and interns to participate on working committees and events.  Two to three interns are brought on the team for a four month period each semester (Fall, Winter and Summer); these individuals work on a part-time schedule, for a couple of days per week.  Interns will engage in tasks falling into the fields of communications and public relations, and are typically granted with academic credit at the completion of their stage.  Due to the nature of the role, candidates must be fluent in French and comfortable in English.  Interns stem from all types of backgrounds, such as: Political Science, International Development, Education and Business.  Don't have a car?  No worries;  public transportation to and from the office is encouraged – and reimbursed.  Not in Montréal for the semester?  Cuso boasts offices across the country.

As one can imagine, the working environment of an organization that manages so many projects across the globe is very dynamic.  The staff is diverse, multicultural, and intergenerational, with people from all walks of life present to lend their expertise and insight.  Interns will be given the opportunity to work independently in a private office and will also benefit from interacting with previous volunteers who drop in from time to time.  Interns are also expected to help recruit overseas volunteers, raise funds, as well as coordinate and participate in the events held by Cuso, where larger crowds are likely.

If you have an interest in international issues, have great interpersonal skills, and possess an understanding of sales and logistics, you may be a great fit for an internship position at Cuso International.  Please send your CV and Cover Letter to Christine Messier at quebec [dot] connect [at] cusointernational [dot] org or visit http://www.cusointernational.org for more information.  Happy Holidays!           

So You Want to Go to Medical/Law School... Kind of.

By Sarah Cameron, CaPS and MECC Career Advisor

Deciding to go to law or medical school is a big decision, and even just applying is a full-time job! There are personal statements, references, entrance exams, interviews—the number of steps can seem endless. If you are feeling unsure or undecided about whether or not you want to attend, this process can be daunting. Before embarking on this huge task, there are many factors to consider as you explore these career paths; if you are on the fence, it is important to ask yourself: What is your motivation? What are your goals? Is this the right thing for you? 

What has made you think that medical or law school is what you want to do? Is your mom a doctor? Is your brother in law school? Have you always pictured yourself with a stethoscope or judge’s robes? There are lots of things that push us in certain directions and motivate us to pursue goals; challenge, stability, social service, family pressures, financial gain, and prestige are just a few. Take some time to reflect on your motivation, and really evaluate your reasons to determine if this is a good fit. If you are unsure about whether medical or law school is what you want, what aspects are deterring you? Examining your motives can help illuminate whether this is a choice you are ready to make, and will allow you to put your finger on why you are choosing this path.

Getting into law or medical school is just the first step, but what about when you finish school—where do you see yourself? What goals do you want to accomplish by becoming a doctor or lawyer? This is another way to help you determine whether or not this is the right choice for you. Are these goals realistic with the education path you are on? Law and medical school will set you on very distinct career paths and provide you with a strong set of skills; but if upon evaluation you feel incompatible, or not-quite compatible, then it is time to reevaluate. Understanding what you want to get out of medical or law school—in comparison to what you will get out of them—is important, and when they don’t match, understanding the other paths to reaching you actual goals are important.

Being unsure about what comes next is OK. In fact, it is completely normal! Going to medical or law school is a huge decision; but if your motives and goals don’t fit with these career paths, maybe it is time to consider some other options. Look at those lists you made and see if they are pointing you in another direction. If it seems like all the arrows are going in different directions, joining the PACE workshops will help you make sense of them. 

Alumni Interviews with Winnie Hu: Going into Medicine with Sherif Emil

By Winnie Hu, U3 Bachelor of Arts (Political Science and English Literature) & CaPSScoop Journalist

A close friend of mine, in Biochemistry & Immunology, said to me last year that she wasn’t thinking about medical school. According to her, she had been stuck with technical terms galore for the past two years, and was not about to put herself through another decade of scientific jargon. She wanted to write, edit, and do something fun. Being a student of Medicine would undoubtedly kill that fantasy. She didn’t want to slave away her youth doing something that wasn’t interesting.

As the Director of Pediatric General Surgery at McGill and the Montreal Children’s Hospital, as well as an Associate Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics, Dr. Emil is familiar with such concerns. When we first greeted each other, two things caught my eye: the size of his office (it was bigger than I imagined it would be) and the golden cross sitting atop his blue shirt. Being a Christian Egyptian, Dr. Emil had little hope for a career in politics in his native country, despite his avid interest in the field. Going to America to study Chemical Engineering, then, was more a choice made from practicality than it was from appeal. His life plan at age seventeen was to get a degree, return to Egypt, and work in a business.

But like all great plans, some things go awry. By his second year in university, Dr. Emil realized that he missed interacting with people, and with both his parents being physicians, Dr. Emil thought the natural route to take was Medicine. And as fortune favors the bold, Dr. Emil decided to apply to twenty-one medical schools—of which, at the time, entrance was at a 0.16% possibility for international students. One of his two acceptance letters came from McGill, and the rest was history.

A lot of Dr. Emil’s story seems nothing short of miraculous. Plus, he is a man who genuinely enjoys his job. How did it happen? After all, isn’t it true that medical school and the subsequent on-call surgery hours are supposed to generate a grueling lifestyle? Dr. Emil gave me a two-word answer: “delayed gratification”. He went through nine years of medical training and not all of that time was fun. But the reward received from being a doctor, from making a significant impact in the lives of others, is worth it.

As for whether or not a student can put their creative juices to work in medical school, the reply was “of course”. Don’t let your interests in reading, writing, or art stop you from applying to medicine. Medical schools look for well-rounded students with diverse interests, and certainly will not stop you from pursuing creative outlets. And what exactly makes a student stand out once they’re in Medicine? There are three rules: 1) treat your patients as if they were kin, 2) pay your mentors forward by teaching others, and 3) always be inquisitive.

Today, Dr. Emil does a little bit of everything in his job. He operates on children, he travels globally to share medical discoveries, he teaches and mentors, and even writes articles dealing with politics for various publications. Medicine does not limit you to a textbook container; it opens new doors. You can be a woman or man of the world.

Labour Market Information

By Lisa Lin, CaPS Career Resource Consultant

This monthly bulletin aims to inform you of major news and trends in the Québec, Canada and U.S. labour markets. Your feedback is welcome caps [dot] library [at] mcgill [dot] ca.

In this issue

  • Is Quebec really a job-creation machine?
  • Euro zone unemployment rose to new records highs
  • 9 in 10 young Canadians feeling excessively stressed
  • The Manitoba-Ontario border has become a stark dividing line on the unemployment map
  • Occupational highlight: Recreation, Sports and Fitness Program Supervisors and Consultants
  • And more!

The good news

Obama gets relief as job numbers beat expectations
Financial Post, 02 November 2012
Hiring in the U.S. increased more than forecast in October as employers looked past slowing global growth and political gridlock at home.

Is Quebec really a job-creation machine?
Montreal Gazette, 02 November 2012
Quebec’s economic growth is actually a good deal less powerful than in the rest of Canada, and job creation is tied closely to growth, making this happy job-market picture a bit hard to believe.


Bad news

European job woes spread as big firms make cuts
Montreal Gazette, 07 November 2012
Euro zone unemployment rose to new records highs with 18.49 million people without work.

Underemployment driving ‘excessive’ anxiety among young workers
The Globe and Mail, 04 November 2012
Nearly four in ten respondents under the age of 34 describing themselves as underemployed, or not able to make full use of their skills in the workplace.

Employment numbers hide the fact Canada is bleeding private sector jobs
Financial Post, 02 November 2012
Canada may have added 1,800 jobs in October, but that number hides the fact that almost all the gains came from government and that the private sector lost more than 20,000 jobs.


Other news

9 in 10 young Canadians experiencing excessive stress: Survey
Canadian HR Reporter, 05 November 2012
The instability in today's economy is contributing to high stress levels in young Canadians, with 90 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds experiencing excessive stress and 72 per cent of adult Canadians feeling overwhelmed.

In Canada, jobs tell a tale of two economies
The Globe and Mail, 02 November 2012
The unemployment in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC has been below the national average while Ontario and the provinces have suffered higher jobless rates.

Why part-time work may be the new normal
The Globe and Mail, 01 November 2012
Canada has recouped the jobs lost in the recession but like many countries, Canada has too many people working part time who would rather be pulling in a full-time paycheque.

Statistics Canada – Labour Force Survey
October 2012
Following two consecutive months of increases, employment in October was unchanged and the unemployment rate remained at 7.4%.

Statistics Canada - Payroll employment, earnings and hours
August 2012
In August, average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $907.19, up 0.4% from the previous month. On a year-over-year basis, earnings increased 3.6%.


Occupational highlight

Recreation, Sports and Fitness Program Supervisors and Consultants (NOC 4167)

This unit group includes those who oversee and administer recreation, sports and fitness programs and activities, provide consulting services, conduct research and develop programs and policies related to recreation, sports and physical fitness. They are employed by federal, provincial and municipal governments, recreation, sports, fitness and health care facilities, retirement homes, community centres, sports and fitness consulting firms and organizations, or they may be self-employed.

Job prospects in this occupation are fair.  Career opportunities will arise primarily from employment increase and from the need to replace supervisors and consultants who are retiring. Other job openings will arise as a result of the high turnover rate observed at sports and recreation clubs and health and fitness clubs. This significant turnover may be explained primarily as a result of poor working conditions. However, the turnover rate is very low in the municipalities and the health and education sectors.

For a complete profile of this and other occupations, visit Career Cruising http://public.careercruising.com/ca/en
Contact us at caps [dot] library [at] mcgill [dot] ca for the username and password or login to myFuture https://csm-caps.mcgill.ca/students/index.php and search for Career Cruising under the tab "Resources" -> "Career Resources" -> "Career Resources”.

Lisa’s Corner

Are you looking for a paid work experience in a school environment?
Odyssey http://myodyssey.ca/ is a language-assistant program.  The program gives you the opportunity to live in another province, share your culture, and make a difference in the lives of young people in your host community.  You will receive a salary of $18,500 for the nine months of your work term.


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