Just a few years ago, Brock University came up with an idea to make life for graduates a little bit easier –– Smart Finish. New in 2012 and offered every year since, this year on February 1st Brock will be holding their third ever Smart Finish conference. From workshops on paying back OSAP to traveling abroad and career decision-making skills, this conference is intended to provide Brock graduates with the tools and knowledge they need to be successful after university.
Not to say this isn’t a good idea, but aren’t things like what to put on a resume and how to network something that we should have been taught before we graduate? Aren’t things such as how to excel at an interview and how to brand yourself the things that we’re here to learn? Some of the workshops that are offered and the whole reason behind Smart Finish are things that should be exposed to university students already –– as University students, we shouldn’t have to register and pay for something we should be taught before we graduate.
Since high school, most of us have been taught the do’s and don’ts of good resume and cover letter writing; for some, it’s been drilled into our minds. For most students, being broke almost 90 per cent of the school year gives us a reality check about being smart with our money, so when it comes to loans, we have a pretty good idea of what we have to do. Ever since we started working that first part time job, we learned how to successfully find work and how to have a good work ethic. The question has to be asked –– is Smart Finish just reteaching us what we already know?
The same things could be said about Smart Start –– however the premise of Smart Start makes more sense than Smart Finish. Smart Start is offered to newcomers, first-years who know absolutely nothing about University yet. The transition from high school to University is huge –– an orientation is completely necessary. Stay Smart is another huge part of Brock University for current students, helping them throughout their years in University –– again it makes sense. University can be stressful and time-consuming, so having a team of people available to students can be beneficial. Located just outside of Taro Hall, the members of Stay Smart are present to help students with any questions they may have or point them in the direction of where they can get their answers. Although Smart Finish fits perfectly with Brock’s other “Smart” programs, most of the stuff they’re providing information and workshops for are things we should know by now and if not we should be taught it voluntarily.
It is nice to see Brock trying to better prepare their future graduates for success, but personally I think there are better ways of doing it. Students can’t learn the key to success in one day –– it is a learning process. If anything, Brock should find a way to incorporate the things they are trying to teach students in Smart Finish throughout the years at Brock instead of just in one 8-hour block. Career Services should be able to make these kinds of resources available to Brock students at any time of the year, regardless of how much of their program they’ve already completed. The idea behind Smart Finish is not a bad one, but they could be going about it in a better way.