Informal education: Spring edition

Books, videos, podcasts and more to check out during the break
Woman pets her dog while reading a book
Samson Katt, Pexels

Classes are over — now it’s finally time to relax and get some rest. It’s also a great time to take advantage of the summer months to reflect, plan and do a little learning. However, that doesn’t mean you have to make it feel like work — instead, why not find some options for personal or professional development that are fun and interesting, but still give you new insight and inspiration?

Whether it's cooling down indoors, relaxing at the park or adventuring on a road trip, check out these picks from your campus community to occupy your time while expanding your knowledge.

Cover design for Designing Your Life

Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett

Nora Molina (she/her), Director, Career Services

My recommendation is to read Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett, it's a great book that uses design thinking to help you envision and map out alternate futures. Sometimes we focus too much on a single goal, and this book really helps to explore possibilities. Check out Bill Burnett's TED Talk to learn more.




A portrait of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Adichie, Nigerian writer

Rosie the Killjoy Rioter (they/them), Women’s Resource Centre

The Women's Resource Centre's mascot and in-house librarian, Rosie the Killjoy Rioter, recommends that you watch novelist Chimamanda Adichie's TED Talk, The Danger of a Single Story.

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. In her TED Talk, Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

"Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity". — Chimamanda Adichie

The cover of Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

Emily Donville (she/they), Communications Assistant, Career Services and Student in the Faculty of Arts (Communications)

My recommendation is Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino, a staff writer at The New Yorker. Raised in Texas, she studied at the University of Virginia before serving in Kyrgyzstan in the Peace Corps and receiving her MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan.

This book is a series of essays about the incentives that shape us, and about how hard it is to see ourselves clearly through a culture that revolves around the self. Topics include the rise of the nightmare social internet; the advent of scamming as the definitive millennial ethos; the literary heroine's journey from brave to blank to bitter; the punitive dream of optimization, which insists that everything, including our bodies, should become more efficient and beautiful until we die. For fans of media outlets such as Vox, The Verge, and WIRED.

The cover of Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell): My Decade Fighting for the Labor Movement by Jane McAlevey

Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell): My Decade Fighting for the Labor Movement by Jane McAlevey

Mateusz Salmassi (he/him), President, Faculty of Arts Students’ Association (FASA)

Raising Expectations gives you an inside look at workers organizing together to stand up to their manager, boss, CEO, and state governments all at once.  I love this book because you get to see the inner workings of high-risk campaigns that, if aren't done right, can result in the loss of jobs and blacklisting.  But Jane does it right, and despite constant surveillance, bullying, threats, and more, workers are able to transform more than just their lives; they shift the political power of entire cities and states back to ordinary working people.  I think it's deeply important that, as students, we learn the same organizing skills and audacity, and apply it to pushing back against the major budget cuts we face as a province.

The cover of Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez

Ryan Klopp (he/him), Employer Relations Specialist, Career Services

It's almost a given that you'll run across poorly designed/thought out metrics in your career, where the implementer often didn't think about the second or third order consequences of that metric. Reading this book has influenced how I approach my job, causing more intentional thought around how gender impacts the data that guides decision-making at all levels.



Not sure what your next step is for your career? Career Services can help you with career planning, building your professional skills and finding work you'll love.