Follow Me to Work

By Samantha Larocque, Rochelin Dalangin, and Viola Wang
Guest contributors

As university students, we’ve all had the experience of struggling to gain work experience. Trying to find a job that is relevant to your field of study, friendly to student applicants, and provides fitting hours and location is difficult. Luckily at McGill, the perfect job might be right under your nose. The Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) offers a broad range of job opportunities for students of different faculties and backgrounds, including international students, who are limited to campus jobs. Three student staff members share their experiences and provide a snapshot of a day in the life of a SSMU employee.


Mini Courses Supervisor – Samantha Larocque

Today is going to be a busy day. We’re only a few weeks away from Christmas break, and I need to finalize the SSMU Minicourses class schedule by the end of this week. As I walk into the office, I stop by the front desk to ask if any of the new teachers have dropped off their Personal Information forms. I had recently selected two great instructors for our French classes. Finding new teachers and conducting interviews are my  favorite parts of my job. It can be intimidating to interview instructors who are older and very experienced, but it has certainly helped me improve my interpersonal and interview skills.

There is nothing for me at the front desk, so I move on to the most pressing items on my to-do list – finalizing our contract with a dance studio, and sending out e-mails to teachers regarding equipment and room requests.

I call Lilly, the dance studio manager to finalize our contract. Finding a dance studio for our classes was quite the challenge, and I was nervous that we wouldn’t be able to find an affordable studio close to campus. Luckily, Olivia, our Advertising Coordinator, recommended this suitable studio to us. Lilly agrees to e-mail me the contract and breakdown today, so that I can get it signed and processed for payment.

Responding to e-mails are next on my list. With over 30 teachers and 50 classes, keeping track of all the necessary paper work for schedules, payments, equipment lists and room changes are a large part of the job. As a result, I have developed supernatural organizational skills. It took me a while to respond to all the e-mails, but once I’m done, I wrap up my morning with a quick meeting with my supervisor, the VP Finance & Operations and the rest of the Minicourses team. That concludes another good day at work.

Funding Coordinator – Rochelin Dalangin

It’s a cold Tuesday morning.  I get an email just after class from a SSMU club asking for a meeting to discuss their application for the Club Fund. I fire back a quick response to ask if they can meet in the late afternoon, so I can update the application before tonight’s Committee meeting. I’m hoping that because I just received the email, they’ll catch my response before they close their inbox. Thankfully, they do, and they agree to meet with me at 4 PM.

I make my way into the office and pull up their application. Refreshing my mind with the details, I highlight possible areas of concern, such as the $300 tagged as “Miscellaneous Expenses”. It’s a sizeable number to just have as miscellaneous, so I make a mental note to ask them about it. I’m in the middle of trying to decipher a confusing budget when the club members arrive. They want to know what will strengthen their application, since they didn’t reach their target profit. They show me their actual cost vs. budget with the corresponding invoices, and tell me why they missed their target revenue. It’s a valid reason that is out of their control, so I assure them that I’ll relay it to the Committee.

With that meeting taken care of, I turn back to my agenda-in-progress.  Four more applications came in today, which means that there are ten applications in need of analyzing. Ten applications with two hours left before the meeting, this is cutting it close…

As the Funding Coordinator, I really like the fact that I hear about a lot of events going on around campus and understand the purpose to all those events, such as raising funds for a conference. For example, when I buy samosas from a club, it’s nice to know I’m not just feeding myself, but also helping the club achieve their goals.

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HR Coordinator – Viola Wang

I arrive at the office and greet the front desk as I check in. Today is a busy day for me because we are in the middle of the mass recruitment period. After checking my e-mails and answering any pressing inquiries, I start calling the four candidates that have been selected for interviews for the Preparation Cook job at the Student Run Cafe.

I really enjoy calling people and giving them the good news that we want to meet them for an interview. Finding a time that works between the busy schedules of the hiring manager and the interviewees is a challenge, but enjoyable. After calls, I take the time to draft out communications regarding the job postings that will be going up in the next week. They will be sent out through faculty listservs and social media outlets.

My favorite part of the day is working on a video that will be part of the promotional material for this year’s recruitment period. I pitched the idea to the executives and received their approval! I really like that SSMU is very open to new ideas. Before I leave, I make sure that I clear my e-mail requests, because I don’t come in on Tuesdays. This way, I can study and prepare for all my classes during the rest of the week. Managing school and work at the same time is not too hard when I can adjust my hours, and the job is right on campus!

SSMU is a great place to work, which offers flexible schedules, a fun and collaborative environment, and many opportunities to develop invaluable skills. We hire over 200 students yearly, and we’re currently hiring for the 2014-2015 school year. Apply to join our team!

To see all the jobs offers, please visit the SSMU website at