ADR Student Interviews

As part of ADR Student Awareness Week at ADRIO, we interviewed some students in the ADR and Paralegal Program at Humber, Durham and Seneca College. We asked questions about the challenges, rewards and overall experience of being an ADR Student in Ontario. This post is a compilation of their responses, which are all at once insightful, endearing and helpful.

Saman Devalu
Student, Accelerated Paralegal Diploma Program
Seneca College

What has been your biggest challenge but also your biggest achievement as a student studying ADR?

My biggest achievement so far has been making it through the competitive pool process and getting a job with the federal government. My biggest challenge to date has been maintaining balance in my life by juggling: eight courses in school, part-time work, volunteering, physical wellness and mental health.

What segment of ADR are you most interested in?

The segments of ADR that interest me the most are conflict coaching and mediation. I am intrigued by the concept of empowering individuals to work towards their own solutions, which is the foundation of mediation. Furthermore, I believe that conflict coaching is also an opportunity to also empower individuals to learn the resources and acquire the skills in order to resolve conflict on their own. This is especially important considering that mediation is temporary, and individuals need the essential conflict resolution skills to help navigate through life. Afterall, conflict is inevitable and part of our everyday life.

Can you share with us what surprised you most about the ADR field?

Mediation- arbitration (med-arb) is surprising to me since both methods of ADR have separate purposes. Mediation involves a third-party neutral who facilitates the conversation and arbitrator is a third party with the power to make a decision on behalf of the parties. I am interested in learning the greater purpose of med-arb is and in which situations it can be used.

What are you looking forward to most in the field of ADR?

I am eager to discover how ADR can help with the growing issue of access to justice. In my opinion, the biggest barriers are the lack of knowledge on judicial process as well as the financial burden of seeking legal representation. ADR is a great alternative to going to court and not enough people use it or know about it!

What concerns do you have when it comes to the field of ADR?

My biggest concern with regards to the ADR field surrounds the difficulty of getting my foot in the door. Although I recognize the importance of networking, ADR is a competitive field and it seems like few people are willing to help students or young professionals get started. I believe that if the profession wants to be more recognized and respected within society, professionals must begin by collaborating more and supporting each other. This could also include mentorship with young professionals.

What’s one piece of advice you have gotten that really impacted you?

The best piece of advice I have gotten that has greatly impacted me was to listen to my intuition- my gut. The gut helps us connect to a higher energy which will guide us to make decisions and manifest a life of meaning and purpose. My favorite quote: “there is a voice inside you that doesn’t use words, listen.” – Rumi

Kateryna Borodenko
Student, ADR Graduate Certificate Program
Humber College

What has been your biggest challenge but also your biggest achievement as a student studying ADR?

My biggest challenge has been learning how to be okay with conflict. As an individual I would consider myself to be a conflict avoider. That being said my ADR program has challenged me to think about conflict in a different way. Conflict allows for the possibility of resolution, emotional growth, new found knowledge and much more. As a student I have come to appreciate and understand more about people in conflict. I am grateful for this opportunity since these acquired conflict resolutions skills will be useful in many areas of my daily life.

What segment of ADR are you most interested in?

I am very interested in areas of ADR such a Circles. I have recently participated in my first circle and saw first hand the emotional impact it can have. Not only does it foster a deeper understanding amongst participants but it also creates an emotional awareness for all those involved. I think this is a great tool and I look forward to it being implemented within various practices. 

Can you share with us what surprised you most about the ADR field?

Surprisingly I have been able to apply lots of the material learned in the ADR course to my personal life. Specifically, I have a greater awareness of others, their conflict resolution styles, their moods, triggers etc. I have also challenged myself to be more patient in personal arguments. That being said I was also very surprised to learn that ADR is used in other areas including hospitals, schools and churches among others. Originally when I started the program I believe this area was limited to mediators and arbitrators within the court system.

What are you looking forward to most in the field of ADR?

I am hopeful that the ADR field will grow both in its members, users and knowledge. I envision a future where individuals are familiar with the work of ADR professionals and seek their services. I am hopeful that organizations both large and small take the time to invest in conflict resolution methods, to improve job satisfaction for its employees. Although conflict is everywhere I have come to appreciate the change which comes about through meaningful interactions.

What one piece of advice you have gotten that really impacted you?

As a student I was told that staying up-to-date within your field can make a big impact on the ways in which you perceive issues. Whether it’s using wrong terminology, or not being aware of other organizations, the services we provide depend on us being information holders. ADR is definitely a field which is constantly evolving and therefore education is a key aspect. It’s important to find ways to gain access to this information even on a student budget. This can be volunteering and then being able to access training events, partnering with organizations or looking for a mentor!

Julia Zuckernick
Student, Mediation – ADR Program
Durham College

What has been your biggest challenge but also your biggest achievement?

Networking has felt like one of my biggest challenges, yet also my biggest achievements. It was challenging because of the nerves I felt and sometimes still feel at first, and I was worried it would take a while for me to feel comfortable. Although after attending my first couple of networking and education events, I was extremely happy that I made the decisions to go. Without attending those events I would not of made the connections and relationships I have today, which are now shaping my future.

What segment of ADR are you most interested in?

Mediation interests me the most in terms of ADR right now. Mediation teaches people a lot about communication and conflict resolution skills that can be applied to so many aspects of everyday life. It also gives people the opportunity to work together, which cannot always be offered in some cases, or in legal situations.

What’s one piece of advice you have gotten that really impacted you?

‘Fake it till you make it’. Not literally but adapting this mindset has really helped me loosen up and has also relieved me of pressure. Additionally, a piece of advice that has helped me get through the transition process from school to real life, is that everybody needs to start somewhere. This may sound like a cliché, although I think it is often forgotten. Since we are living in an era where competitiveness is at its peek, it is important to remember that the most successful practitioners all began by taking a chance. After all, change and/or growth will not happen without stepping outside of your comfort zone.

Fola Fashuwape
Student, ADR Graduate Certificate Program
Humber College

What has been your biggest challenge but also your biggest achievement as a student studying ADR?

I find trust building both challenging and reward—trust building within the parties and getting them to trust the process.  

Can you share with us what surprised you most about the ADR field?

I am most surprised by the use of collective bargaining and labour/employment relations.

What concerns do you have when it comes to the field of ADR?

I share some concerns about the breakthrough for a young and new mediator/ADR professional.

What’s one piece of advice you have gotten that really impacted you?

“Each mediation is different. You cannot use the same style or skill for every single case so you have to be flexible.”

Oleksandra Koshyk
Student, Accelerated Paralegal Diploma Program
Humber College

What has been your biggest challenge but also your biggest achievement as a student studying ADR?

Managing the whole negotiation process by myself; that has been both rewarding and challenging.

What segment of ADR are you most interested in?

I am most interested in conflict coaching and employment disputes.

What are you looking forward to most in the field of ADR?

I am looking forward to being able to achieve successful results and make a positive change for a client.

What concerns do you have when it comes to the field of ADR?

…being able to manage emotions and effectively deescalating in case of high emotions within triggering them further.