Photo credit: Katrina Ferrari
This week on At Your Man’s House Monday, we’re speaking with International Studies student Anthony Brum. An engaged and active member of his student community, Anthony hopes to pursue a Master’s degree and a possible diplomatic career upon graduation.
The great thing about the International Studies program is its breadth. You can take courses in politics, economics, communications, health, and more because all of those topics can be studied at the international level. This also means that the career opportunities are quite broad. What are some career paths you’re considering upon graduation?
The greatest thing about the International Studies program is that you will never know everything. You cannot memorize, understand, or fully comprehend everything. I love being exposed to such a vast wealth of knowledge. If I were to take the degree again ten years from now I would still be learning about new issues, concepts, institutions, and conflicts on the international stage. I truly love the challenge of constantly trying to absorb as much as possible about the history that has made the world the way it is today. It’s quite breathtaking to be honest.
After graduation I will most likely participate in a program offered through the French embassy to teach English in France for a year in order to increase my bilingualism to levels beyond my wildest dreams. After that year abroad in France, I would come back to pursue a master’s degree at either the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs or the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. The other option is to possibly take Public Affairs and Public Policy Management at Carleton. I would really like to do a master’s program bilingually. After grad school, I look forward to seeking job opportunities in the government or abroad related to foreign affairs. Being a diplomat would be the goal.
Aside from doing well in school and hoping your grades give you an edge, what are some others ways that you work to prepare yourself for those potential careers? Are you actively networking? Strategically choosing projects or organizations you are involved in?
Absolutely. Let me tell you something. When I was a child my mother would scare me with stories of being jobless, and being without a home unless I properly learned my ABCs, and it worked. I currently work for York University at the Keele Campus as a Leadership Assistant on the Student Leadership Development Team at the Centre for Student Success. I also work for another department at York University under the HUGS Program at the Glendon Extended Learning Office. Through both of these work environments I have had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people who are moulding me into a better-rounded individual and enabling me to gain experience that will prepare me for wherever the workforce may take me.
You’ve been quite involved at Glendon as a student leader. Extracurricular activities are rewarding, but they can also start to take on the obligations of a job, especially if you’re somebody who takes pride in your work. Obviously, one of the reasons people choose to take on these responsibilities is to be involved in their community and in student life. How do you strategically choose which commitments are an effective use of your time?
Well I choose the ones where I genuinely enjoy them. I’m actively involved in GLgbt* as a co-facilitator for our own Glendon Queer Support with the great and amazing Juan Garrido. I am a member of Glendon’s oldest club, the Model United Nations Club, which I do have to say is very intellectually stimulating and enjoyable. Lastly, I am a voting member of Student Caucus for Faculty Council, which I enjoy with a passion. I choose them because they have reasonable commitment times with great rewards. GQS gives me joy and happiness like nothing else. I love being able to help other people with whatever their struggles may be, and it’s amazing hearing people’s stories and having discussions on Queer topics locally and internationally that I think aren’t talked about enough. GMUN is always really rewarding and enjoyable because of the great debates that stimulate factual discussions on relevant issues. I enjoy Student Caucus because it’s where student voices are heard on academic issues and topics. It’s a place where students get the opportunity to debate on relevant student issues that can contribute to positive change on our campus and in our university. I love them all, and they all give me the breather I need from the stressful work days and endless hours of homework.
On that note, a lot of students experience burnout juggling these extra commitments. How do you assess whether something is being a drain on your energy and resources?
Well I had a little burn out last year where I had to revaluate a lot of my life and start again. I had to quit all my commitments and re-evaluate where I wanted to spend my time and how it could best benefit myself. I believe that once something stops bringing you happiness, you have to say, “Enough is enough. I have to stop doing this.” Sometimes it could just be that you need a change of pace. What I do to find solace in what can sometimes be a hectic reality is go to the gym where I can get my mind off the things in the day that have been bothering me.
Career paths are not necessarily linear and you’ve mentioned your desire to enter the workforce before possibly pursuing more studies (such as graduate school) at a later time. What advice do you have for people who are trying to decide how to map out their lives after undergraduate studies?
This will be cliché, but I strongly suggest that you follow what makes you happy and keeps you afloat in life. Strike a balance between emotional and rational decisions towards your continuous journey of being content with yourself, and if you’re not then take the necessary steps to get where you need to be.
What is your preferred spot for getting things done in the city?
I’m so sorry, York University but I have to say the Student Learning Centre at Ryerson University has my heart in pieces every time I go there with my friends to study.