Career Centre’s Who Am I? game in high demand

picture of "Who Am I?" Careers graphic

York’s Career Centre is offering York students and new graduates the opportunity to take part in a fun and interactive self-discovery board game, the Who Am I? Self Assessment Game.

Created, developed and designed by the Career Centre, the game helps students learn more about themselves by encouraging them to reflect on their desires, abilities, skills, interests and personality to help guide their career exploration and career decision-making.

With its enticing title, the Who Am I? Self Assessment Game is in high demand. Played in a small group workshop format with a maximum of 15 players, it allows for both individual and group reflection. The Career Centre regularly offers it as part of its roster of Career Exploration workshops and it has been presented to various student cohorts as requested by York campus partners.

Who am I chartThe Who Am I? workshop was launched in 2007 as a pilot project in response to students frequently asking, “What career is right for me?” But now its demand is growing to include other universities and community agencies.

The game was originally created to offer students an enjoyable way to explore important information about themselves so they would be better equipped to make career decisions. Natacha Wood, one of the workshop facilitators and a former career counsellor at York’s Career Centre, says for many students, career decisions can elicit feelings of apprehension because they realize in the future they will need to create a professional identity to navigate the world of work.

“Many students, including those in their first year and those who are approaching graduation, realize that they aren’t aware of all of their career options, or what careers would best fit their interests and abilities,” Wood says. “The Who Am I? game offers students a way to take part in career exploration that is educationally innovative, fun and engaging.”

The game is facilitated by career counsellors, who guide the participants in their self-exploration by asking self-reflective questions over the course of the workshop. “It is important that the game be facilitated by career professionals, as participants often require assistance to relate the information they obtain to their career-related questions,” says Wood. “The facilitators are there to probe further in order for participants to reflect on the information they share about themselves and understand how it may be significant in making future career decisions.”

Many York students and recent graduates say they feel more empowered and excited about their future careers after having played the Who Am I? game. York alumna Christina Petruccelli (BAS Spec. Hons. ’11) says, “This workshop has been very interactive and engaging. The game has more clearly defined my desires, abilities, the type of person I am and what assets I have. This workshop has allowed me to have a better understanding of who I am and what I want.”

Julia Parkman, a fourth-year student in the Faculty of Health and a work-study student at the Career Centre, says, “Playing the Who Am I? game was a fun and informal way to explore the factors that are influencing my career path. It was comforting to realize that other students feel the same pressures and have similar concerns, and reassuring to confirm that I am headed down the right path for me.”  

After the Career Centre team showcased the Who Am I? game at the 2010 national conference of the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers, many career educators attending the conference were interested in purchasing it for use in their own career services departments.  The Career Centre team spent the next year updating game materials so that they were appealing to a broader audience and creating a facilitator’s guide so that external parties were well-equipped to incorporate the game into their own career development programming.

Amy Elder, director of Career Services at Brock University, says, “While we utilize a number of other self-assessment tools and resources, we had been searching for something new to use in our Mentorship Plus program. Students in Level Two of the program participate in peer group activities and training to help them begin exploring their own future careers, and to prepare them to become mentors to younger students. The Who Am I? game is the perfect way to introduce the peer groups to self-assessment in a fun and interactive way.”

The Career Centre has since sold 15 games to various universities, colleges and community agencies across Canada. York’s own Human Resourcesdepartment is using the game in its Career Pathing series with University managers to help them with their career planning. “The  exposure to and facilitation work with the Who Am I? game has been a fantastic addition to our own internal career pathing process for managers, and soon staff at the University. We are so proud that the game has been created right here at York by our Career Centre,” says Maria Milanetti, a leadership & organizational development specialist in the Learning & Organizational Development unit of Human Resources.

Because of the continued interest in the game, the Career Centre is working with York’s Office of Research Services to commercialize Who Am I?.  “This game is highly innovative and we are confident that by licensing it to other institutions, it will have an impact on the career paths of many students and professionals,” says Sarah Howe, associate director, intellectual property & research agreements, in the Office of Research Services. “The Career Centre has been dedicated in their development of this game. We hope it will inspire researchers and employees at York who are creating intellectual property, early stage or otherwise, to speak to our office about how it could be disseminated and have an impact on society.”

For more information, visit the Who Am I? Self Assessment Game website.

For information about York’s Office of Research Services, contact Sarah Howe at ext. 20579.