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From humanities event to nationwide lockdown

Thursday 2 September 2021 12:21pm

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Students studying subjects in the arts, ranging from History to Anthropology, had settled into their seats to hear from some of their chosen industry’s professionals as news of the COVID-19 Delta variant reaching the community hit.

A careers presentation evening for humanities students was off to a positive start, right as the Government announced a second nationwide lockdown.

Students studying subjects in the arts, ranging from History to Anthropology, had settled into their seats to hear from some of their chosen industry’s professionals as news of the COVID-19 Delta variant reaching the community hit.

Bachelor of Arts and Science (Anthropology and Neuroscience) student Olivia Karavias was at the event as Alert Level 4 was announced this month.

“My friend and I were at the event together and talking about how great the turnout was. We were aware there was going to be an announcement at 6pm and preparing ourselves for news of some kind, unsure what it may be.

“One of the presenters was mid-talk as our phones lit up with the announcement. It felt rude to look at our phones but he made it clear he understood what was going on and that unless someone came into the room panicking we could just continue on as normal.”

For many students, the uncertainty of what the future looks like, especially during a global pandemic, can be anxiety inducing. It was a somewhat poignant reminder to Olivia who, like many others in the same boat, knows to make a plan which can be adapted to ever-changing scenarios.

“Throughout the previous years of my study I never had enough courage to go to one of those networking and presenting events but I’m glad I did as it provided a lot of insight. One speaker had graduated from Otago with a Bachelor of Arts and her story was the most reassuring. She said she was very much a lost student after graduating but now she works at Moana House with families and addiction. It was really interesting to hear about how she got to that stage.

“I would encourage other students to go along to these. It didn’t answer all of my questions but it made me feel reassured about not having all of the answers. I think a lot of students get stuck on that.”

Despite the announcement mid-event the expo was a success and inspired students to think outside the box in terms of career options. Career Adviser and one of the event organisers Petra Hass says it certainly won’t be the last humanities careers event Otago has.

“The overall turnout of 80 guests exceeded expectations, given the imminent lockdown. A big thank you to the students, academics and other University staff who came to hear the talks. Groups of students stayed on afterwards to chat with the presenters. The students I talked to said that hearing the different stories made them feel excited and confident about their future careers – I couldn’t think of a better outcome.

“I am most grateful to our wonderful guest speakers, whose stories were incredibly varied, funny and full of wisdom. Regardless of the career stage, the speakers emphasised that humanities graduates are well-trained to think critically, solve complex problems and build productive relationships. Skills employers value across industry areas.”

You can stay up to date with events at the Career Development Centre on their website.