As someone who is in their last semester, the thought of what I am going to do after graduation has been at the forefront of my brain for the past couple of months. The reality is that after June of this year I will be leaving the safe academic bubble and that is TERRIFYING. I have been enrolled at the University of Victoria for the past 5 years and before that, I went straight from high school to University. Almost my entire life has been surrounded by academia and being a student has been a stable part of my identity. With graduation looming, I am feeling more and more lost. To help myself gather my thoughts, let’s walk through some steps we can all take together.
Step one: Celebrate.
Graduating from university is big deal and something you should be proud of yourself for it. With the current lockdown restrictions, celebrating will look a bit different, but please take a moment to bask in the glory of your accomplishment. You deserve it.
Step two: Grad School? Job? Break?
The big question on a lot of students’ mind is “do I go to grad school?”. A lot of application deadlines for the fall semester have passed already, so if you haven’t applied already then you have at least a year to decide. However even if you have applied, and you do get in, you do not have to go. Grad school is a big-time commitment and you should only go if you are feeling okay in doing so. I know for me, I am burnout after 5 years of university and while I want to go to grad school, I am taking a year off before I go.
The next option is “where or how do I find a job?” This looks differently for everyone depending on your goals and your degree, but I recommended the different online job fairs happening right now (check out learning in motion through Uvic). Another tip is to meet with a career advisor through Uvic before graduation.
Lastly, the third option is “do I need to take a break?”. If you are already employed at a part-time job and are unsure of what to do next. Stay working there. Take your time. Do not feel like you have to make a decision right away. Also taking time to focus on your mental health by taking some time off from the hustle of a full-time job or full-time studies can help a lot. Being a student is exhausting and it is more than okay to not jump right into another time-commitment right away.
Step three: Okay, I am taking a break. Now what?
Taking a break does not mean that you have to stop doing what you love or progressing your career. A great way to do this is by volunteering. Many organizations have shifted their volunteering to online, while some places are still in need of in-person volunteers.
Step four: Map Out Your Goals.
What are you wanting to accomplish? When are you wanting to accomplish it? Where are you wanting to accomplish it? These are great starting questions, and I recommend checking out the various ‘after graduation’ events and webinars through Uvic. Once again, as I stated above, Uvic has amazing career services for each faculty and I recommend checking them out. There are great recommendations and recourses are there to help your process as well.
Graduation is an equally exciting and exhausting time for many, but I am so proud of all my fellow students that are graduating this June. We did it. There have been added pressures due to the pandemic and the shift to online learning has been hard on many. I wish you all the best and so proud of everyone working hard to complete their studies. You are doing great, and I hope you take some time to celebrate your accomplishment.
Thanks for reading,
The views expressed in this blog are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the University of Victoria. I monitor posts and comments to ensure all content complies with the University of Victoria Guidelines on Blogging.
Thanks so much for writing this, Tiffany! I am in the exact same boat as you and it is nice to see a blog post acknowledge what I am going through right now! It is such a strange time to be graduating. Thanks for your lovely post.