May 2010

Student Life

Think beyond the resumé: Valuable experience and contacts are gained through student involvement

By J. Gonzalez

 

The University of Saskatchewan Mining Games team

Extra-curricular activities are not only valuable because they look good on your CV. Taking part in student-related activities is a great way to meet fellow students and create potential life-long contacts. As the University of Saskatchewan Mining Games captain and a member of the Geological Engineering Students Society (GESS), I have developed friendships with members from third- and fourth-year engineering and contributed to important decision-making exercises. Not only have I made new friends, but have also had access to potential future employers through my involvement.

Getting involved in extra-curricular activities shows one’s dedication towards one’s college or discipline. We strive to improve a little bit each year, and it has paid off. Just over the last couple of years, we have succeeded in creating a more structured Geological Engineering Students Society and Mining Games team. More interest is being shown at the early stages as the geological program continues to grow. Geological engineering students have always been a close-knit group and a solid bond is created among classmates through activities like bowling with the professors. They are great ways for everyone to get involved and create new friendships.

As captain of the Mining Games team, some of my duties consisted of securing enough funding to cover the team’s travel expenses. The selection of the team members was based on interest and commitment towards the team and the mining industry. This year, we also decided to include third-year students on the team to ensure a more experienced lineup for next year’s competition. Because the University of Saskatchewan does not specialize in mining, we signed on for as much training as we could in events such as mine rescue and jackleg, thanks to the support of PCS Allan. It was a great experience for the team to see how we measured up to all the mining universities across Canada. Being involved in the Mining Games gave me the chance to develop leadership skills and helped to improve my public speaking, as I had to give presentations about the games and the team’s success.

Just recently, we began looking into creating a committee to lobby for the University of Saskatchewan to host the Mining Games for the first time in the next few years. We have targeted the second- and third-year students, mainly to see where their interest lies within the mining sector.

The newly launched CIM Student Chapter has created another area where students can get involved and learn about the mining industry. Living in a province with a lot of mining activity, there are many areas where students can get involved. You just need to research what is out there. Having attended the Students’ Night, I saw the potential for it to be a very successful chapter with not only geology students in attendance, but also mechanical and chemical engineering students. I believe this chapter will provide an outlook on the vast areas of the mining industry for students all over the college. What I liked most from the Students’ Night was being able to hear two engineers speak about how they got into the mining industry and what they enjoyed about it. They both offered great advice: Do not worry if you do not get your dream job right out of university. You just need to get in the industry and start gaining some experience.

Participation in extra-curricular activities looks great to an employer, but you get so much more out of it than that. One gains valuable experience from being given a job to do throughout the year and doing it in a productive and professional manner. It is different from work experience in that you are volunteering your time to fulfil your role as student and member of a team or committee. It is a role that requires you to represent your college or discipline, just like an employee represents his or her company. It is also something that you can look back on and be proud that you accomplished.


Jordan Gonzalez is finishing his final year in geological engineering at the University of Saskatchewan and has completed a work term with Golder Associates last summer. He is heading to Calgary this summer to work on pipeline projects.
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