Name: Claire O’Donnell
Degree: Bachelors of Social Science with Major in Sociology and Minor in Psychology
Relationship Status: Single
Profession: I am currently travelling, volunteering abroad and teaching yoga. I’ll be back in school for the fall!
Favourite Book: The Alchemist
Favourite Quote: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery.”
Fun Fact about yourself: I grew up in Switzerland for 10 years of my life. Coming back to Canada for University was a huge adjustment but definitely worth it in the end!
Your go-to place as a student: I always did the majority of my studying at coffee shops, so the Timothy’s on Laurier Street was always my go-to spot. It was way quieter than the Second Cup and also had the best selection of teas.
Favourite class at uOttawa: Definitely the class called “Conflicts and Social Movements” that I took with Kathleen Rodgers. It’s a fourth year class, so a bit smaller, but she’s an incredible professor and always tried to engage us in what was happening within the Ottawa community from an NGO standpoint. I loved the course content as well, social movement is a fascinating topic!
HC: What is the first thing you did after receiving your degree?
Not the most interesting story, but I started an internship at a local NGO, Ecology Ottawa, and a new Job within 4 days of graduating…I was incredibly busy that summer, but it has given me the opportunity and freedom to travel now.
HC: Are you thinking of going back to school for your Masters?
That is definitely the plan to come back to school in September. I will be doing my Masters in Geneva, Switzerland for International Relations. I have been accepted to the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations, but I am still waiting on an offer from The Graduate Institute in Geneva, fingers crossed that I get in!
HC: What is the best memory that you have from uOttawa?
I think I would have to say my sorority bid night for Tri Delta! Being accepted and welcomed into a community of sisters for life was an amazing and memorable experience.
HC: How were you involved on campus as an undergraduate student?
I tried out a lot of different things in my first year, like joining some intramurals and doing some work for the OXFAM club. However, I really hit my stride in third year after joining Tri Delta and becoming a part of the Greek community: I started going to and helping with fundraiser events for our charity, St Jude’s, engaging students on campus to join our organization and coming out to Greek week. I also volunteered at 3 places outside of uOttawa because I wanted to engage in the local Ottawa community as well.
HC: Do you find that being a part of the Greek community helped you once you graduated?
Absolutely! It doesn’t just end after University ends, it’s a whole giant network of people across the globe that you can interact with. Having lived between two countries my whole life, Switzerland and Canada, Tri Delta has been a huge help in being able to reach out to sisters no matter where I am on the globe. It’s a comforting feeling to know that a sister is always nearby to help whenever needed!
HC: What advice would you give your undergraduate self?
To remember that even though it might be freezing outside in the winter or other things might get in the way, go to class! It’s the one way that you can ensure you learn all of the course content needed and that you get a good grade. I wish my second year self could have heard this advice, but at least I know better now.
HC: Who do you look up to?
Without a doubt my mother is a huge inspiration in my life. She is a natural born leader with so much charisma, drive and an innate ability to grab your attention in a room. It is more than inspiring to witness. I’ve heard her give conferences, talk to her work peers and it is amazing what she does, I’m always proud to be her daughter. She is a woman who can balance being an amazing and fun-loving mother and a huge career at The Global Fund. She is a strong individual and a huge inspiration to many women alike who seek success and family. She is definitely a big reason for me wanting to specifically go into Women’s Rights. If my mother can balance her family and work life successfully, then I can too.
HC: What is your short-term goal?
For now, I hope to finish out my travels across South East Asia and work and teach yoga over the summer. Ultimately, I would like to do my Master’s degree in Geneva in the fall, which is shaping up to be my future! Getting back to Europe is definitely a goal of mine as well.
HC: What are you most proud of since graduating?
How all the hard work that I put into my studies, into engaging in university life and into the Ottawa community is now all paying off! I used to be nervous about graduating, thinking what am I going to do with my life? But now I can really see that everything is going to be okay. I’m going to be able to get back to Geneva and live my dream of attaining a Master’s in International Relations and working for a women’s rights NGO. It is an incredible feeling and I hope to be able to help and inspire those who also want to do the same through my endeavours. We shall see what the future holds in store for me!
HC: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully working either as a project manager in the field for a women’s rights project, or working on specific campaigns for women’s rights NGOs somewhere in Europe. I would love to end up in the UK, the Netherlands or Brussels.
HC: What advice do you want to give to our readers?
If you are nervous about what the future brings after University, don’t be. If you have worked hard in your life I swear that you will reap the benefits. People appreciate a hard working individual with goals, and all the struggles of University will pay off one day and lead to an amazing life. Just go with it!