BA 2008: Psychology


Vicki Yan sees her career path as an ongoing, evolving concept. Typically, Yan says, students will “spend at least the next 30 years or so in their career. I like to think of these 30 years as a journey for me to continuously discover my potential.”

As a person who has always been interested in Psychology, Yan’s academic studies were integral to her current career path. Yet the real-world applications of her classes weren’t immediately clear. Yan says that Co-op helped clarify her trajectory: the program helps students figure out “how the knowledge you gain from school can be applied in a work setting.” In particular, practice interviews with the Co-op office’s staff helped Yan prepare for the job-seeking process: Co-op staff “were extremely helpful and allowed me to be more confident during job interviews,” she recalls.

Yan’s first two work terms provided her with many valuable transferable skills that employers strongly value in applications. First working for Adams Insurance as an Insurance Agent, then for the Terry Fox Foundation as an Administrative Assistant, Yan was able to gain practical experience in office environments and practice her communication and interpersonal skills. “Being in a wide range of settings and environments enabled me to become more confident,” Yan says. With that experience under her belt, Yan then successfully completed a co-op term with YMCA Childcare as a Special Needs Assistant, work that more closely related to her academic experience in Psychology.

Now graduated, Yan works for the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) as a Community Coach. Over the telephone, Yan provides coaching and support to individuals in a guided self-help program for anxiety and depression. Yan is also responsible for spreading the word about the availability of the assistance program. Liaising with doctors, community organizations, CMHA’s BC Headquarters and the public are all within a day’s work.

How does Yan feel about her overall experience in the program? “I consider all of my volunteer and work experiences to be valuable to me,” she says. They broadened my view of the workplace and helped me understand the important things to consider when deciding on a career path or job position.”