The Value of School Involvement
Chances are, if you are a Lang School of Business and Economics student or have spent any amount of time around MacDonald Hall, you’ve run into this fellow on the right. This is Ryan Padum. If he looks familiar to you, that’s because he has been involved with various clubs and organizations within the Lang School of Business and Economics over the past 5 years including serving as the chairman of DECA U Guelph, an External Ambassador for the highly regarded APEX Conference, and Internal Manager of our very own GSIC (Guelph Student Investment Council). If you still don’t recognize him from any of the clubs, maybe you’ve seen him on campus. After her graduated, he accepted a job with The University of Guelph as a Liaison Officer. As a Liaison officer he spends his time travelling to high schools and University Fairs highlighting all the things about The University of Guelph that make it special and unique.
My name is Justin, and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to sit down with Ryan and ask him a couple of questions about how he got to be where he is today and ask him if he had any advice for current students.
One of the most important things that Ryan attributes his success to was getting involved with all the clubs and activities he did as a student. Not only did he make lifelong friendships from these experiences, but it helped him grow and develop several transferable skills that are integral to his current day job.
While Ryan has joined various clubs and participated in a lot of events hosted by the university, that wasn’t always the case. In his first year, Ryan lived off campus and commuted to school every day and while he got good grades in his classes, he never really had the opportunity to connect with any of his classmates.
“My first year was rough, I felt like there was something missing… so when second year started, I decided to do something about it and get involved.”
One day in the cafeteria, he saw a bunch of fourth- and fifth-year students putting up posters for an information session hosted by the University of Guelph Investment Fund for students who had an interest in investing. While Ryan had no prior investment knowledge, he decided to join anyways. The older students in the fund began to teach him how to use excel tables, make good investment pitches and evaluate companies. From there, Ryan’s self-confidence grew exponentially and before he knew it he was getting involved with all sorts of clubs and events on campus.
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I believe that Ryan’s story is relatable as plenty of students including myself finish their first year of school feeling like there is something more to be desired out of the student experience. That is the reason participating in on campus clubs and events is so important, not only because it helps you
make connections to other likeminded students, but it also gives you the opportunity to develop your soft skills like self-confidence and communication. Most importantly it gives you the chance to develop your leadership skills. When you try something for the first time, chances are you aren’t going to be very good at what you are doing. That’s why student-run clubs are such a unique experience because you have older, more experienced students beside you who are willing to share their experience with you to help you grow. As your knowledge and skillset grow and those students begin to graduate and move on from the club, you then have the opportunity to share that experience and help other students learn and grow.
While Ryan was set for a job in finance based on his Management, Economics and Finance degree and vast knowledge of investments, he was able to find other career opportunities outside of finance because he was able to develop those soft skills. While a job in finance certainly isn’t off the table for Ryan in the future, he was able to expand his career possibilities thanks to the leadership and communications skills he developed through various clubs and activities.
The club or activity you choose to participate in can be anything as there is such a wide variety of clubs and activities to choose from. All that matters is that you find something that you are passionate about and I promise that the benefits from joining will be endless.