Gearing Up for the Spring 2018 Job Search & Orientation Week Commentary

Benjamin Beelen - VP Academic
Posted on: May 18, 2018

Welcome to the spring term! I’m super excited to start this on-term executive term with all of you and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish. I’ve been getting a good list of guest speakers to come into our council and live up to the promise I made during my campaign that I wanted to increase the amount of communication between EngSoc and CECA, as well as faculty as a whole. CECA, and the SSO office have both been invited, keep an eye out in council Engenda’s for more info!


These past few weeks saw some very successful mental health events such as paint night as well as some awesome student services events. The professional photo-shoot had an awesome attendance and I’m sure the LinkedIn profiles are already looking better. We also saw Resume Critiques on May 15th and 17th, massive thank you to all the volunteers that made that possible. Resume Critiques is one of EngSoc’s strongest services as many other resume critiquing services can’t ensure that someone in your field is critiquing your resume.


If you missed Resume Critiques, do not worry! This term, one of my objectives is to ensure the Resume Rescue is running full strength all term. If you haven’t heard of this service, it will get your resume critiqued by a program or job specific upper year to critique, just not in person. Email your resume to and your critiqued resume will be sent back to you! Having said that, UPPER YEARS; if you’re interested in critiquing resumes on your own time, sign up to be a resume rescuer!


Now that the fun stuff is out of the way, let’s talk about Orientation Week. You may have heard about the SSO office’s student interception surveys as well as the consultations of various groups on campus regarding the “Fall Reading Break”. So that you, the engineering student community, understand my thoughts of Orientation Week I will make myself very clear.


Orientation Week should not be touched, except to be made longer.


In the effort to promote mental health on campus, the University has seemed to lose sight of the value of Orientation Week and its effect on mental health. When I came to Waterloo, I knew no one. Not a single person in my program, residence, or colour group. The first friends I made were from Orientation Week, and I am not alone in this.


From the attitude that we are seeing from the SSO office surveys, it appears that there is no consideration of restoring Orientation Week to 5 days and this is unacceptable. The trial was suppose to find if the reading break would positively affect students, and based on a study done of first year mechatronic students from the First Year Office, it is actually having a negative effect on midterm and final course grades. Furthermore, a study done by the University of Windsor found that students were stressed before, during and after the break, yet still spent more time recreating instead of catching up.  


Whether our University like it or  not, the writing is on the wall. The fall reading break does not inherently promote mental health on campus. Removing days from Orientation Week, which hundreds of students each year devote their time and love to, for a reading break that isn’t proven to work is ignoring the spirit of the referendum that we originally passed.


We as the student body have to demand more. Until we see a conclusive report or study stating that students are positively affected by the fall reading break, we cannot accept the negative the consequences that it brings to Orientation Week.


Three days is just a trial.

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