Post-Secondary to Work
You’ve probably been asked this question countless times during your undergraduate degree: what are you doing after you graduate? The pressure hits hard when we’re younger, though. Students are forced to choose a major and a university or college when they’re still in high school, expected to know what to do with their lives at the tender age of 17-18. Then university rolls around and the same question gets asked. We always need to be one step ahead it seems.
When I was in high school I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I changed my major at the same time I changed universities and for the most part I’m happy doing what I do (the essays are a bit much). But now that I’m reaching the end of my university career, people see that I’m a writer and immediately wonder what I’m doing with my life. And, to be honest, it’s hard to answer them sometimes.
However, I can understand the stress placed on students upon leaving university or college so I’m here to give a few quick tips on what I’ve learned from my time here:
The first thing students should do is start early. Try and get a job on campus, even if it’s not something in your field. Everyone knows someone and you never know who you’ll network with at school. Plus, everything is experience. If you want to focus solely on positions related to your field of study or interest, then you should visit clubs on campus pertaining to your interests. Some offer paid positions and others offer volunteer experience. That’s not a bad place to start.
Another good thing to do is to make friends professors in your field. Oftentimes they need help in the office or with their research. At the end of the day, you’d be an excellent candidate if you kept on top of your work and showed them that you were dedicated. Not to mention, an added bonus of knowing the professor is that they always know someone. Plenty of my friends have met contacts of theirs through their professors. Plus, getting to know your professors helps when you need reference letters.
One of the best things you can do when you’re unsure of your next move is to go to your career centre or professors in the field. Professors were students once, like you, and they likely know your struggle and are more than willing to help you. The career centres on campus are also good places to go given that they help you after you graduate. They help you construct resumes, build skills, and help you figure out what you want to do.
It can be daunting to leave university or college and step into the workforce. But, you should start as early as you can to boost those skills and meet new people because you never know what good karma is waiting for you on the other side.