My Post-Grad UVic Life: I Got a Job!

Let’s take a little stroll down memory lane. You may recall my dithering blog posts where I complained about how I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life, and thought I had no hope at getting a job in my field.

Fast forward a month and a half, and I’ve moved to Vancouver, landed my dream job (which I started the day after I finished school), bought a car, and got my first place with my boyfriend.

It’s been a far more ‘adult,’ month than I can comprehend — yesterday at work I had to write down my ‘beneficiaries’ for my insurance. But here’s the not-so-secret truth to how I somehow pulled this one off:

It’s all thanks to Co-op.

I’d like to start this post off with a big thank you to Nancy, my EPHE Co-op coordinator. Not only did Nancy help guide me through my co-op journey (from Cave Guide to Health Educator in Bali to Camp Coordinator), but she wrote letters to help me get the scholarships I needed to get through my degree, and provided helpful life advice throughout it all!

Thank you, Nancy! I would advise anyone in a co-op program to get to know your advisor, and make use of the wonderful resources and expertise they possess.

On the ferry on the day of the big move – despite my smile here, leaving Victoria and UVic was heartbreaking

When I got the job, I was sitting in the silent floor of the library. It had been a week and a half since the job had said ‘they would get back to me,’ and I’d given up hope.

I refreshed my email for the 200 billionth time that day, and actually saw something appear in the subject bar: Job Offer.

I nearly screamed (which would have been extremely disruptive), and ran off to the stairway to tearfully call my mum, my dad, and my boyfriend. Of course, they weren’t answering their phones, so I had to make about 4 trips to the stairway and back, in a full sprint of excitement.

Anyways, I digress. At the time, I was honestly shocked that I had somehow managed to get the job. I was a fresh grad, 22 years old, hadn’t even finished school yet, and didn’t have a Master’s Degree or any fancy certifications. But when I look back, it all kinda made sense: everything I’d been doing for the last two years was to set me up to get this job. It had just finally worked.

I’ll explain. The job is at DASH BC (The Directorate of Agencies for School Health), working for a provincially sponsored program: Action Schools! BC, a program that provides free supports and grant money for physical activity and healthy eating in elementary schools across the province.

As a Regional Development Coordinator, I visit schools and help them make customized Action Plans for health promotion. In the last few years of my degree, I had two co-ops running summer camp programs for elementary school aged children and a co-op teaching Health Education to grade 5 students in Bali. I took as many courses I could on Health Promotion, wrote a term paper analyzing Action Schools! BC, and did a Directed Study with Dr. PJ Naylor, one of the founders of Action Schools, on a very similar program, but for pre-school aged children. Thus, in the last few years, almost everything I was doing would help set me up for this job.

New Year, New Digs. The view from my new desk.

Everyone told me how bad the job market was. That it would probably take months or even a year to find a job, that it wouldn’t be in my field, that I’d be working at the climbing gym forever, that I should just get my Master’s or go traveling or something. Despite my fear that this was true, I thought that I may as well give it a try anyways.

Here’s the truth about the job market: it’s only as bad as you make it.

Be willing to move, to buy a car (when you’re broke), apply for a million jobs, and set yourself up for the opportunities you want. I worked so hard throughout my degree, striving for the highest grades I could get even when it seemed I was getting nothing out of it. But, here’s the thing: it pays off. Everything you’re doing now catches up, and you may, somehow, be one of the lucky few who get dream jobs post-graduation.

I believe in you, fellow Vikes. Stay tuned for updates from the world of skyscrapers, rent as high as your paycheck, and car insurance rates even higher. Hello from the ‘real world!’

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