IR Coffees with Cate Morrison and UBC Residence Life

~Written By Kieran Davey

coffee3I was lucky enough to have an informational interview with Cate Morrison, the assistant director of UBC Residence Life.

At first glance, it seems that UBC Residence Life and International Relations are not immediately related; however, Cate was able to provide me with a wealth of advice and experience that could apply to any career, including those in IR. Also, given that UBC has over 13,000 international students from over 150 different countries, international relations is extremely relevant to somebody in charge of managing university housing programs and staff.

We first discussed her career path and how she arrived in her current position. She had worked in UBC residences during her time as an undergraduate student, but left Residence Life to work in UBC Orientations and then spent two years as a corporate administer at a technology company. Finally, she ended up returning to UBC in a professional orientations role, which lead to her position as a Residence Life Manager and finally the Assistant Director of Residence Life. She stressed that exploring different careers is very valuable for learning what you want to do.

When asked what skills helped her excel in this role, she mentioned that being able to problem-solve, creativity, and having innovative ideas are essential to her role, but also are instrumental to successful careers in international politics. We need people who can provide new ideas and the ability to seek out creative solutions to global issues. She also stated that balancing professionalism and being genuine is essential to any career.

We also talked about the importance of learning from failure and underestimating our expected success, both individually and collectively. This can also be applied to our work to foster an internationally connected world, as politicians, environmentalists, and economists continue to find that their models don’t perfectly apply to the global community.

Overall, I had a lovely time talking with Cate and I learned a lot. I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to talk with her and I hope I get to chat with her again in the future.

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