What to do as career services returns to face-to-face? Loyola University Maryland Career Services located in the brand-new Rizzo Career Center, had a plan! While zoom fatigue tired us it also brought opportunities. Yet, increasing number of campuses, organizations and career specialists are delivering face-to-face again. And it matters.
“The game, Who You Are Matters!, is one of the most exciting aspects about being back in-person on campus”, says Olivia Zug, Associate Director of Career Readiness. Like many career specialists and administrators seeking innovation post-pandemic, Olivia reported that “the kind of authentic connections that are formed through storytelling simply did not happen while we were living virtually. I have seen this game transform even the most cynical of students and professionals into a more vulnerable version of themselves where they are open to connection and growth.”
“We used it as part of training with our student peer advisors who work in the Career Center, student groups and classes upon request, and with first-year students in Loyola’s Messina program. I’m so happy to be back on campus and able to do this again!”
Returning to Campus
Ramping up a return to campus, US and Canadian administrators are tasked to re-connect staff in high impact ways in search of expanding scale and constituent engagement. Prior to the pandemic, Loyola Career Services professionals attended a face-to-face conference to learn about OneLifeTools.com and use of the Who You Are Matters! game to maximize storytelling’s power, use peer-to-peer support and gamification to offer deeper and more authentic career interventions.
Loyola University Maryland’s Career Center helps students and alumni at whatever point they are in their career journeys, from the first day of undergraduate classes to late career changes. They’ve developed a unique four phase approach to serve every student and alumni, assessing where they are and helping them make progress toward their goals.
During the pandemic, they, like most career services staff, learned with their students to embrace change while living it daily. Using the face-to-face Who You Are Matters! discovery experience in teambuilding for their 12 peer advisors and professional staff, early career development for first-year students, and their career discovery program for under-represented students in STEM, they have become a OneLifeTools champion. They expanded their co-curricular programming for under-represented students and offered the Who You Are Matters! game as a scalable and fun activity for first-years in the Messina program, their First Year Experience (FYE) retention seminar class.
New Opportunities, New Feedback
Olivia says their opportunities came from “playing the quick version of the game in small groups of 4-5 students. Sometimes they knew each other, sometimes they did not. We have often brought the game to other physical spaces on campus as part of the collaboration between us and the other department.” And feedback offered inspiration to staff and students.
“I have been really shy and hearing feedback helped me realize how I am actually a leader when I lead by example already.”
“A lot of us ended up with a very similar expanded possibility but with very different motivations and individualized meanings. It was cool to see what we had in common but that how we arrive there it was different.”
“It was nice to talk as a group and be positive and really support each other not necessarily to you know give advice or question goals but keep it positive and optimistic.”
“I think the way that this work she came together was really cool. If you asked me an hour ago to fill in this expanded possibility, I would have no idea where to start but when you break it down into individual components the expanded possibility for me comes together easily and naturally.”
“We really got to know each other at our table. It’s nice to learn what people’s goals are.”
When returning to face-to-face support of their students, Loyola University Maryland chose innovation. For staff and students, Who You Are Matters! is much more than a game.