REVIEW – SKILLS21

Throughout this past year, I’ve attended my first (and perhaps last) set of SKILLS21 workshops. For those not familiar with this undergraduate program, SKILLS21 “aims to provide students with opportunities to become contributing global citizens in the 21st century.” (Um, woah there.) It includes workshops from five different areas (Citizenship, Collaboration, Discovery, Leadership and Wellbeing).

After completing the “Wellbeing” stream in addition to attending several workshops from other streams, I’ve put together an honest review of my participation experience.

  • First off, I wouldn’t go so far as to call the program “my opportunity to become a contributing global citizen.” Were certain workshops useful? 100%. However, prior to attending one, I think it’s important to be aware that you will likely come away with only one or two pieces of beneficial information. You probably already know the majority of what you will hear/find it extremely irrelevant to what you were hoping to learn, but I can guarantee that you will end up with at least something that is somewhat helpful. Although I don’t believe it to be the way to becoming a “contributing blah blah blah,” I still consider them worth attending because of the fact that it only takes one line/slide/video/etc. presented by your facilitator to improve your week, or even your semester.
  • Second, different workshops are hosted by various units. In my opinion, the Scholarships and Student Aid ones are only useful to international students. Those offered by Counseling Services are the ones where you are likely to pick up one really useful piece of information. (Don’t expect to get any serious help by attending them, instead, make a one-on-one appointment with a counselor). The ones hosted by Teaching and Learning Services are, by far, my favorite. I strongly recommend them to any student, as they are truly the perfect compliment to the academic experience of the classroom. Lastly, the Campus Life & Engagement ones are absolutely horrible — they are hosted by undergraduate students, many of whom do not seem to understand how to lead an effective discussion and have zero presentation/communication skills.
  • Third, in order for your workshop attendance to be recognized in your “path” on myInvolvement, and in order for your completion of a stream to be recognized on your Co-Curricular Record (CCR), you may have to chase after these “Skills Development Officers” — in person, as well as via email. Often times, the chase could drag on for several months. For example, when they finally got back to me, they didn’t seem to believe that I was actually at the workshop (despite the fact that I did indeed sign the attendance sheet), so I found myself writing a small paragraph regarding what the workshop was about, (three months after it had ended).
  • Note: What I particularly love about this program is the level of flexibility it offers to all participants. You could complete all of the workshops during your first year of college, spread them throughout your undergraduate degree, or only try one every once in a while. Essentially, the schedule is entirely up to you. Can you get any more convenient?
  • Note: Unfortunately, at least according to my experience as a very friendly and talkative member of SKILLS21, these workshops were not designed to be a friend-making activity, so don’t expect to meet people through your attendance. 
  • Otherwise: Be sure to double check the room location, because the person at the front desk of the Brown Student Services Building (where the majority of them are held) will not know what you’re referring to when you’re running into the building after class and inquiring about the workshop whereabouts.
  • Lastly, for some reason, facilitators rarely share the PowerPoint presentation following the workshop. So, if something sticks out to you as interesting, be sure to write it down immediately.

Personally, the most worthwhile workshops at McGill are those hosted by CaPS!

~xoxo~

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