First Year? No Problem!

Champlain College‘s abundance of resources can be overwhelming for first years. I recall the end of my first year; as I packed to go home, “celebrating” my semester’s surreal end, I wondered about everything I hadn’t done.

I’m proud of my college successes. (And embarrassed at some, uh, less important failures.) But the best time I spent in my second semester was the career-centered month of March 2023. One late night after I got home from Mega Prize Bingo, I was ecstatic at the job offer waiting for me in my email. Today’s technical writing is brought to you by our (metaphorical) sponsors: Hard Work and Discipline.

My part-time paid position at the Leahy Center provided me with real technical writing experience. Even working twelve hours a week extended my learning over the summer with no added tuition. By interviewing students about their experiences, I learned about Cybersecurity, too.

I’m confident in my future in Cybersecurity Technical Writing, and I’m only in my second year. Here’s four ways incoming first years at Champlain College can similarly take advantage of what the LC has to offer.

Take A Tour

At my Admitted Students’ Day last April, I toured the LC and spoke with two eager employees. I was undeclared until the end of my first semester, so, that day, I looked at everything Champlain had to offer. I didn’t have much tech knowledge at the time, so I didn’t immediately resonate with the space. But the more I interact with the LC, the more it builds my skillset, and the more crucial those skills seem.

Join an ITS Club

Juggling college with working at the LC can be a lot to handle. If you don’t want to go all in, the ITS clubs on campus let you dip your toes into the proverbial water first.

There is an ITS club Discord, but the server prohibits direct invites, so I can’t link it here. Here’s instructions on how to get to the server through Discord. Scroll down through your servers, and click Explore Public Servers.

It should look like a compass. Or the Eye of Sauron.

From here, click the Student Hubs button, then the Join Hub button, then take steps to enter in your email. Once you get in the hub, search for “Champlain ITS,” and the Champlain ITS Clubs server should be listed.

Logo for Champlain ITS Clubs.

Said clubs include the Champlain Cyber Security Club (CCSC), the Digital Forensics Association (DFA), Womxn in Technology (WIT), the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NECCDC), the Math Club, the Association for Computing & Machinery (ACM), and the DevOps Club (DOC). For most of my first year, I wasn’t aware these clubs existed, so I hope this information serves you well.

See If Your Degree Program Lines Up

Even if I had known of the clubs, I probably wouldn’t have joined them. I hadn’t been aware of technical writing, and the clubs didn’t relate to my writing major. At least I thought they didn’t. Now that my technical writing lines up with Cybersecurity, I can talk to my faculty advisor about setting me up in Cybersecurity classes—classes that’ll likely involve the LC.

Go to Self Service, click the mortarboard, then click Student Planning, then Plan and Schedule, and then Advising. At the end of this rabbit hole, you should see the name of your faculty advisor. (You can’t see mine, though. He’s probably busy enough feeding llamas on his farm.)

If you’re an ITS major, enrollment in a Champlain internship is required. Luckily, the LC offers several types of Technical Internships. ITS students could become Research Assistants, Programmers, IT Interns, Security Interns, or members of the Marketing Team.

And once you’re given access to the LC, it’s easy to connect with similarly interested peers and learn even more from them.

Work with Career Collaborative

Champlain students in all majors are accepted, and from all periods in their college life. Regardless of when you want an internship, though, Career Collaborative is colossally crucial for getting career experience.

All the education in the world doesn’t matter if you can’t get past the interview stage. And if you’re starting a business of your own, you won’t hire good people if you don’t know how to interview.

For me, being interviewed is a real struggle. I don’t handle the nerves well. When I was uncertain in myself, I talked to my career advisor, and she offered mock interview opportunities for me. With her help, I made noticeable progress. As I spoke with her one Monday morning, dining hall donut in hand, Sarah Moore informed me about a technical writing position at the Leahy Center. And here we are.

Career advisors are solely assigned to entire divisions, but you can still check who your advisor is. Go to your Champlain-given Handshake page, click on Career Center, and go through the steps of scheduling an appointment. You don’t have to lock in said appointment to see your advisor’s name.

Dropdown menu, from clicking on Staff Member.

Career Collaborative’s base of operations is the Garden House, next to Adirondack on Finney Quad. Even though they’re awfully busy, they always made time for me. I believe walk-ins were 10 AM to 4 PM on weekdays, but that may change this school year.

Conclusion

A second year student gave advice to our group of inbound students at Orientation. They wished they’d used more of their resources. Luckily, I don’t have similar regrets. I’m fulfilled with how I used my time, and I wish the same for future first years.

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Written by:
Briar Gagne ’26 // Professional Writing

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