Telling your story: #thattimewhen…

Author name
Nikki Smith, Assistant Director, Duke University Career Center

Experiential Learning Got You the Job

One of my favorite hashtags on Instagram and Twitter is #thattimewhen. People use it to describe something that struck them as meaningful, whether it is appreciating the sunset or sharing a repeated activity with a friend (This summer, my repeated activity was eating Locopops, and the hashtag was #popsicleproject.). What else is happening, besides telling the #igers and the #Tworld that you have something of consequence to say, when you highlight #thattimewhen? You’re telling your story, of course (With hashtags. And it's a short story. But still).

In your career journey, you’ll be telling your story all the time. Your board of advisors will want to hear it. Your career counselor will want you to rehearse how you talk about your experience by encouraging you to participate in mock interviews. And an interviewer will want you to talk about #thattimewhen you got the experience that convinces them you are the best candidate for the job. So where are you going to get that awesome experiential learning?

Let’s define the term experiential learning first. Simply put, it is learning by doing. After engaging in the experience, reflecting on what knowledge you gained—and how you will use that new information in your career planning—is important. #thattimewhen you consider how to talk about what you experienced is when you begin to develop how you will tell your story.

Engaging in experiential learning means that you have the opportunity to gather career knowledge. Through the activities you become involved in, you develop a better understanding of how theoretical ideas you learn in the classroom actually play out in real-time involvement.

The What and Where of Experiential Activities
What kinds of activities encompass experiential learning? Experiential activities include knowledge and skills you gain through
• Internships,
• Part-time work,
• Volunteering within an organization,
• Duke Engage and other programs like it,
• Research opportunities,
• Club involvement on- and off-campus.
Identify more experiential opportunities for Duke undergraduates and graduate students. Reply below or Tweet @DukeCareers to share #thattimewhen you engaged in experiential learning and made meaning of your involvement. We’d love to hear your story!

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