What's Next: Life After University
After spending anywhere from 3 to 5 years studying at the undergraduate level, the thought of transitioning into a world where our days are not spent travelling to and from classes or sitting in the library cramming for midterms, can range from daunting to exhilarating. As you enjoy your cherished final months of your final semester, you may be left wondering, “what’s next?”
Life after university is an inevitable and exciting life change that does not need to be as dreadful as some students may believe it to be. There are endless routes that will open up to you, the second you throw up your hat, diploma in hand, ready to leave your mark on the world. You have the privilege of taking your Gryphon pride with you and applying it wherever you go!
Whichever path you decide to wander down, it is important to remember the knowledge and skills you have acquired and the priceless experiences you have been a part of throughout your undergrad that have moulded the wonderful, intelligent, and ambitious individual you are today. Here are four possible routes to pursue after you graduate!
1. Get a job (and it’s okay if the first job you get isn’t your dream job, you have to start somewhere!)
As the vast majority of new graduates begin their job hunt, your first resource can be to check out experienceguelph.ca for a list of jobs that are advertised and targeted towards graduating alumni. The database is updated daily with new job postings and options to search for jobs that are somewhat related or directly related to your field of study. Even if you have not narrowed down the specific career you would like to pursue, allotting time to navigate various job search engines such as Indeed.ca, Monster, etc. will give you an idea of the types of jobs that are out there and the qualifications they are looking for.
2. Become self-employed
Having trouble finding jobs that call out to you? Do you have a notepad on your bedside table for jotting down all of those mid-dream business ideas? Perhaps putting your ambitious entrepreneurial skills to the test could be just the right fit. Creating your own business can allow you to exercise independence, autonomy, and flexibility. However, be sure that self-employment is right for you and establish clear boundaries between both work and leisure time.
3. Pursue postgraduate education
Another route that continues in the world of academia is to return to school and pursue postgraduate education. It is important to make sure that you are pursuing further education for the right reasons, and not entering for the purpose of “postponing the real world” or because “it’s what everybody is doing”. Prior to committing to a postgraduate program, be sure to do your research into programs that not only interest you but that will benefit you in the future.
There are many postgraduate programs that exist such as post-graduate certificates, Master’s degrees, professional schools (e.g., medical school, veterinarian school, law school), just to name a few. Speak to career advisors, professors, and family members to consider postgraduate options as well as people that are currently enrolled in a postgraduate program that is of interest to you to gain more information and to answer any questions you may have.
4. Take a gap year
If you have not quite made up your mind yet, a gap year can recharge your mind and be utilized to set you up for success in the future. If you have the urge to explore more of the world, experience different cultures, and/or learn new languages, this could positively impact you and shape your thoughts about what is next for you.
You could also take a gap year to gain some valuable volunteer experience in a field that is of interest to you, that you perhaps could not fit in during your undergrad. Whatever you decide to do during your gap year, make sure that these experiences you embark upon benefit you in the moment as well as in the future. As you decide where your professional interests lie, travelling or gaining life experiences can allow you to make more informed career-oriented decisions in the future.
The four routes listed above are simply some options to consider prior to or upon graduating. If you are feeling lost or are not sure where to start, swing by the Experiential Learning Hub to chat with a Career Advisor who can provide you with some great starting points of what lies ahead, once you step foot off campus.
Always remember: there is no “right” path after undergrad. It is yours to wander and to decide what is best for you. Find enjoyment in the journey, and you will inevitably arrive at your destination.