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The Advantages of Taking a Work Experience Course from a Student Perspective

Trophy that says great job, pen that says congrats grad, and diploma
Ahlam Ali, Communication Intern, smiling

Congratulations to Ahlam on her graduation! She is officially graduating today from Bakersfield College and will be transferring to CSU-Bakersfield to continue on her path towards becoming a pediatrician!

This piece was written by Ahlam Alamamy- Ahlam Alamamy is a communication intern for the BC Academic Technology blog. She is pursuing her Associates degree in biology at Bakersfield College, and aspires to become a pediatrician. She is a first generation student who strives to get a higher education to reach her goals. During her free time, she loves spending quality time with family and taking trips to parks and beaches around California.

In the spring of ’22, I had the opportunity to enroll in an Occupational Work Experience Education/Internship course at Bakersfield College. Its purpose is to provide students with learning opportunities and educational goals for career advancement. It helped me in learning new skills and exploring different career options. The best part was having the opportunity to gain work skills while also earning credit. Throughout this course, I practiced a range of technology platforms. While exploring these platforms, I realized how useful they would be in the workplace. I learned how to use Canva, LinkedIn, as well as Google Docs. 

As part of my work experience, I worked with an instructor, Dr. Rockey, who helped me improve my professional skills. I was assigned at the start of the course to create four objectives that I wanted to achieve during the course. Some of my objectives included creating a professional LinkedIn profile, becoming a communication intern leader, and learning to create a literature annotated bibliography for the first time! Each of the objectives provided me with new knowledge and expertise. Aside from the objectives, there were two seminar activities: the first was creating a professional resume, and the second was attending a career conference of my choice. I attended a pre-med conference, and it was the best experience I’ve ever had as a pre-med student.

Students like me would benefit and gain sufficient experience before being hired for a job. Connecting education and employment is a great opportunity! According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, in 2018, approximately 84 percent of undergraduate students worked part-time and 43 percent worked full-time. Work experience can prepare students for the day when they find jobs. Here are highlights of how technological tools have benefited me and may benefit others in the workplace.

  1. Canva is a website where you can make infographics, posters, and other visual content. Using Canva helps me bring my creative ideas to life! I used graphic design and information to present my content ideas, such as the Student Technology Starter Kit. With my previous work experience at Computer Commons and Renegade Hub, I was able to use common issues students faced to help with infographic design, making it more accessible and convenient for faculty to share with students.
  2. LinkedIn is a professional social networking site where you can share your work ethics, experience, information, and projects with other organizations and professionals. I was able to connect with family, friends, faculty, and coworkers, and I was able to share the articles I wrote for AT Blog, which allowed me to connect with people outside of my organization who shared my interests and acknowledged my work. LinkedIn helps people connect in the workplace, collaborate with other professionals, create a positive work environment, and help people find employment.
  3. I learned online research methods while writing my annotated bibliography paper. Through working on my research topic, I learned how to gather reliable data and information. For the first time, I was able to use Google Docs to learn how to write an APA-style paper and properly cite my sources. I was able to share the progress of my research with my instructor using the share method. The benefit of learning online research methods is that it allows me to thrive in my professional life, and I can use these skills in the workplace when given a task. When working with a coworker or team, Google Doc sharing is a great way to share files or projects you’re working on together.

After finishing the course, I gained self-awareness, growth, independence, and self-confidence by using collaborative tools and having opportunities to explore prospective work opportunities. Work experience helps students understand the role of being in a workplace and what promotes inclusion in the position for which they would be hired. I genuinely recommend students enroll in a work experience course. If a student approaches you looking for a job, wanting to explore different career positions in a technological context, and needs help developing readiness, refer them to a work experience course where they can gain work experience but also receive credit for it as a student.

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