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Why Students Who Can Start/Return to Universities in the Fall are Making the Important Choice to Advance their Careers in Times of Pandemic?

Dr. Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov.

This year many universities are worried that students might not return to study and take a gap year. It might seem as a legitimate worry as no one can predict the impact of the pandemic on post-secondary education. Soon universities will release fall admission numbers, and we will know the impact of the pandemic on this year’s enrollments. Despite the challenges that pandemic can create, here are a few ideas to consider why taking university studies will benefit those students who choose to pursue post-secondary education in fall 2020.

Universities before, during and after pandemic provides students with a broad and integrated education that develop strong thinking skills and values community engagement. The skills students learn in the university are skills that employers value and society needs. Students need to know the community needs that they are passionate about to address and find a university program that can help them to realize their dreams.

Post-secondary education is not only a continuation of the educational journey after school but also an important decision that leads to more opportunities to strengthen personality and career choices. Joining university life at any time allow people to re-imagine their future, learn new skills, and re/enter the workforce after graduation with new ideas and innovative solutions. Pandemic changes the way people think, work, play and learn. Attending university in times of pandemic creates new problems for both students and instructors. Problems lead to innovations, innovations to new careers. If you can join the university in times of pandemic, you will be ahead of anyone else who chooses to take a break or not ready to join the post-secondary education at this time.

Every day more employers are looking to hire graduates with university education. Many choices of a career set high standards by mentioning the requirement of academic title as an initial step to meet the criteria for employment. These options include social workers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, engineers, educators, and scientists. Compared to those who do not go to pursue a university education, those enrolling in universities are growing in numbers.  

The value of higher education lies in its capacity to develop critical reasoning and practical wisdom. In a pandemic, society needs people who can think outside the box, find new solutions to address the growing number of concerns. University graduates before, during and after pandemic are equipped with the interest and ability to figure out what is the right thing to do for the right reasons to address societal concerns.

The rationale for investing in university education is that it enhances the prospect that people will have flourishing lives now and as they grow. You can check anyone who made essential contributions to their field of practice, and they will often credit their educators for inspiring them to seek new knowledge. University professors were working through wars and other disasters and will continue finding innovative ways to work with students during and after the pandemic. A University education is an integral part of life for someone who wants to be successful. Excellent specialists are needed everywhere. A university degree gives a person the confidence necessary to contribute to the development of others. It also allows individuals to change the world. It moulds creative and deep-thinking people who have the potential to lead the commencement of future generations who are more prosperous in every way. The trend will continue for those who can afford to take a university education in pandemic and beyond. Check your local university and see if you can still enroll in the program that can expand your future possibilities and allow you to become better prepared to address challenges in times of pandemic. You will not regret it.

Why Students Choose Social Work and Human Service Studies at Thompson Rivers University?

Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov, PhD

Recently I asked some of my former TRU students on what makes them choose to study at the School of Social Work and Human Service at the Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Education and Social Work. Here are the top 5 reasons.

  1. TRU allows students who complete the human service diploma to ladder all their credits into the Bachelor of Social Work degree. It means that students can spend their first two years learning how to work with the government or non-profit agencies to support individuals and families with diverse social needs while completing their human service diploma. The needs can range from facing economic disadvantage, mental health and substance use issues, and involvement with the justice system. Once students complete the human service diploma requirements, they can continue building skills in the social work degree program. Such a combination of human service and social work makes students exceptionally prepared for social work practice and graduate studies to pursue an MSW degree and career in diverse fields of social work practice.
  2. Students love the idea that they can study up to 4 years in the same cohort. Students can spend two years of human service Diploma courses and an additional two years of BSW degree course with a fantastic group of learners and supportive faculty who are committed to anti-oppressive and anti-privileged work. The network students build through participating in student club activities, and having a dedicated Facebook page helps them to maintain a professional relationship with their classmates for many years after graduation.
  3. TRU BSW and HUMS graduates are highly valued among employers for their exceptional preparation and skills they bring to human service and social work practice. Most TRU social work and human service students are employed in their home communities after completing program requirements and stay connected with the School after graduation via social media and guest lecture opportunities.
  4. The diversity among students who choose TRU, their life experiences and stories strengthen the learning process and provide an inclusive learning environment where a multiplicity of perspectives are shared. The TRU commitment to the accessibility of post-secondary education encourages many students to apply not only from Kamloops and Interior BC but from anywhere in Canada and internationally.
  5. The anti-oppressive and anti-privilege critical curriculum, with unique courses that focus on trauma, indigenous, decolonizing approaches to practice, and multiple electives options, help students to become critically reflexive professionals. The child and family specialization option, taking directed studies courses and engaging in prestigious undergraduate research opportunities (UREAP), research apprenticeship, research coach that are promoted by TRU, makes the learning fun and engaging.  TRU students are feeling well prepared for critical research, policy and practice in their chosen fields of practice.

Students also shared with me that the range of faculty expertise and having direct access to world-class scholars in anti-oppressive and anti-privileged social work theory, policy, research and practice keeps them inspired. My students let me know that after completing the BSW program at TRU, they are feeling well prepared to share their knowledge and to address structural inequalities and find adequate, appropriate, affordable and the rest of “A” solutions to social policy concerns. TRU is accessible and located in a unique place (Kamloops) that has a lot to offer to newcomers. One student shared, “ I choose to attend TRU BSW because they offer Indigenous courses that count towards your degree. I believe that other Universities should make Indigenous courses mandatory for the completion of a degree. I choose to stay at TRU during this pandemic because the majority of professors are so supportive and caring of their students.”

I am very proud of my students. 

What is your reason for choosing to study at the TRU School of Social Work and Human Service?