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Self portrait of Gillian Sidon Rehabilitation Counsellor

Gillian Sidon Psychology Alumni

Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I currently work as a rehabilitation counsellor where I assess clients prior to their involvement in treatment. What I find most rewarding is the continuous strength and resiliency I observe in every client. There is always going to be obstacles in every work place and one lesson that I have learned is the ability to be mindful. It is important to be mindful of the self when you are in a profession such as counselling. 

What experiences and activities helped you to map out your career pathway?

There have been many contributing factors that have brought me to where I am today. Firstly, I was a member of the University of Manitoba Bison soccer team for five years throughout my education which helped me to build “soft skills”. Secondly, I received an internship through World University Service of Canada where I went overseas to work at one of the local Universities in Vietnam. This experience provided me with a cultural component and diverse set of lenses. Additionally, I went through an intensive training program to volunteer as a Sexual Assault Crisis Counsellor for two years. This experience opened up many doors and allowed me to apply my formal education in a practical setting.

As a student, did you see yourself in your current career? What stayed the same and/or changed? 

As a first year student, I never saw myself in my current career path. I initially wanted to study physical therapy; however, I really enjoyed my courses related to psychology. I got involved in extracurricular activities and volunteer opportunities where I realized that I had found my niche. 

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in psychology?

Ask yourself why you are interested in this line of work in the first place. Go out and seek opportunities through volunteering to get an idea of what it may look like for you in the future. Immerse yourself in as many experiences as possible because this is a profession of continuous development. There is so much to learn and explore, and if you have a real passion for this type of work you will excel. 

What job search advice do you have for students and recent graduates?

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there in the job market. Apply for jobs even if you don’t think you will get them. When going to interviews, use it as a way to gain exposure and a sense of what potential employers are looking for. Volunteering and working part-time while in school will definitely help you to advance after graduation. Additionally, in order to gain more responsibility and opportunity you might consider accepting a rural job position. Work experience is crucial post-graduation, so take advantage of any chance you get.

Tell us a fun fact about your career path.

I am a young individual in a position that most people wait their whole lives to obtain. If you put in the extra effort outside of your studies you will be rewarded.

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