TWU alumni speak on 'Starting Your Career During a Pandemic', share tips and reflections

"The greatest lesson we have all learned is that when life does not go according to plan, the challenges can bring unique opportunities to grow if you approach them with a posture of curiosity."
— Sarah Patterson-Cole, Naomi Lomavatu and Chanhee Park, Trinity Western 2020 Fellows

Sarah Patterson-Cole, Naomi Lomavatu and Chanhee Park are Trinity Western University Fellows, part of the inaugural Trinity Fellows program in 2020. They were mentored by TWU executive leaders to explore their gifts, passions, and opportunities for growth through the lens of renewal and mission in Christ.

This November, the three TWU graduates share some of the best lessons learned from their first year after graduation, in an article for The Banner magazine.

"None of us pictured graduating in a pandemic, trying to navigate through an online world, or starting a career from home," they wrote. "As recent graduates, we felt discouraged and lost after a dramatic—yet painfully anti-climactic—ending to a critical season of our lives." 

They wondered, "How do you embrace an unknown season when past seasons are snatched abruptly from your grasp? How do you launch into new, exciting chapters of your life when the past chapter feels unfinished, forced to end mid-sentence?" 

The Fellows started their career in the "land of Zoom" and faced unique challenges. Yet they took up the challenge to be curious, learn and grow.

"The greatest lesson we have all learned is that when life does not go according to plan, the challenges can bring unique opportunities to grow if you approach them with a posture of curiosity," they concluded.

Their top tips include:

  • Choose your front row. Take the time to decide which people you want to build into your life and continue to build memories with, because these people can change the trajectory of your life. 
  • Be strategically curious. Rather than focusing only on projects that are assigned to you, look for opportunities to make a difference based on the “fresh eyes” you bring to an organization. Following your curiosity in this way is a strategy that can bring surprising benefits to your organization. 
  • Reach out. Look at the skills you have to offer and reach out to companies or organizations that you are passionate about to offer your help and support. Not only does this build your network and your skills, but it causes you to step outside your comfort zone.
  • Study the culture. Pay close attention in meetings to observe how everyone interacts with one another, see how decisions are made, and discover unique social norms that your new workplace has. This will help you not only to have a better understanding of the organization, but to communicate more effectively with your colleagues.
  • Actively listen. There can be tremendous power in actively listening, intentionally reflecting, and respectfully contributing your perspectives at the opportune time.
  • Establish relationships. Text, call, or email your colleagues or peers to intentionally show that you are interested in getting to know them and that you care for them. This will help you to quickly obtain that sense of belonging, and it can become a valuable network.

Read their story, along with ideas on how to navigate work life as new graduates in "Young Adults on Launching Life During a Pandemic," in The Banner.

About Trinity Fellows Program

The Trinity Fellows Program under the Office of the President enables extraordinary Trinity Western graduates to prepare for a life and career of significant impact.

Each year, the program selects only three of Trinity Western’s most promising recent graduates to become Trinity Fellows. 

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About Trinity Western University

Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is Canada’s premier Christian liberal arts university dedicated to equipping students to establish meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. It is a fully accredited research institution offering liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has four campuses and locations: Langley, Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, and Ottawa. TWU emphasizes academic excellence, research, and student engagement in a vital faith community committed to forming leaders to have a transformational impact on culture. Learn more at or follow us on Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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