As a hopeful graduate this year, I’m starting to think about what I’m doing with my life next year.
The options are endless—I could travel the world, I could volunteer, I could apply to a graduate program, I could apply to a college program, I could even say “Not today!” and just sleep all day, every day!
Or, you know, the dreaded… finding a job thing.
I have heard horror stories and seen memes about undergrads trying to find jobs. That endless cycle of needing experience to get a job, but needing a job to get experience. Or needing a Masters or a Ph.D. to get a job but then being overqualified for said job. How is this possible? How do I get experience in my field… with no prior experience in my field??
I am currently working two jobs and taking six courses. My jobs are not in my field, and I don’t think much of my coursework counts as job experience. If anything, I have barely enough work to put together a portfolio of some sort (I’m in CCIT and English), and even if I can make one, how valid will that be to an employer if it is not from the actual workforce?
One of my friends has already secured a job for next year. People, I am freaking out.
I talked to a career counselor two years ago, and she told me that one of the best ways to get this mythical experience is by getting involved in relevant organizations on campus that have something to do with my field so that I can put them on my resume. I have been trying to do that. However, already having a lot on my plate with jobs and school, I admit it’s difficult and requires intense time management (shoutout to the Passion Planner) and little to no time for myself. I like to think that I am involved, but is it enough? What do employers want?
I hope you are well. This is you, at 22, writing a blog post to inquire about your life, tell you about mine, and perhaps motivate you to do bigger and better things than you’ve already accomplished, to always strive for more.
First, do you still drink three teas a day? I don’t think it’s good for you. Sometimes, the caffeine makes you nauseous. When this happens, I hope you still hydrate and take (*dramatic gasp*) a few days off tea.
It is 2016 and I am about to graduate from UTM. I feel conscious of time, because I remember graduating from high school like it happened last night. I remember wearing tall black heels and a leopard-print A-line dress and shaking hands with the principal at Brampton Centennial Secondary, receiving an Ontario Secondary School Diploma to-go.
Whether or not you’ve been at UTM for a while, you’re bound to have a favourite and least favourite professor. I know I do! In my experience, a professor can make or break your interest in a subject.
About a year ago, I wrote a post about a professor that I did not get along with. This professor was inconsiderate, pompous, and patronizing, but they also had some good qualities, like their presentation skills and overall knowledge about the subject. Ever since then, I’ve been hyper-conscious about “good” and “bad” professors. So, why do some profs appeal to us more than others?
1) Engagement and interactivity
I had a professor in summer school after my second year who made an effort to create a community within the classroom. There were about 30 to 40 students in the lecture and it was only a half credit, but this professor made an effort to know everyone’s names. I had her again last semester, and she did the same thing. Most of her classes were discussion-based, and she was really good at facilitating learning through different activities instead of just a solid lecture. I find that a professor who makes an effort to engage with students is better than a professor who talks to everyone like they are a number instead of a person.
The posters are plastered all over Davis, the Facebook pages have infiltrated our social media feeds, and the halls are swarming with campaigners. What time of year is it? It must be election season!
This is my fourth time seeing elections happen at UTM. It’s taken me four years to figure out what all of these unions, directors, councils, and committees “lobby”, “fight”, and “advocate” for, and even now I am not entirely sure. I wrote a post last year with a breakdown of the different kinds of elections that happen at UTM, but this time, I want to point out a few tips and tricks I have picked up over the years about surviving UTM elections when you’re not running for anything.
My friend who graduated last semester would say, “This is the last time that I’m going to [blank]” every time she did something for the last time. The last time she wrote an essay, took a certain bus, or did a presentation, a smile would spread across her face and she would say in a fake sad voice that it was the last time she was doing that thing as an undergrad.
A few years ago, I signed up for a networking website called Ten Thousand Coffees, which is basically a platform that connects career-seekers with industry professionals just to have an in-person or online conversation about what it’s like in the field.
Truthfully, after my initial sign-up, Ten Thousand Coffees dropped off my radar. Now that I’m graduating, I’m starting to realize how nifty it would be to actually talk to people who are working the jobs I hope to work in the future.
About a week ago, I learned that there is a name for these conversations—information interviews! An information interview is basically a conversation with an industry professional where you’re able to ask questions about the job they have in the interest of possibly working in that field in the future. Think of it like job shadowing, only through a brief conversation.
Initiating an information interview is entirely up to you. You can break this down into tasks and focus on one thing at a time. From what I’ve gathered in my readings, visiting the Career Centre website, and asking some friends, here are some tips on how to go about doing this.
I’d like to tell you that when I clicked the “Request Graduation” button on ROSI, four years’ worth of memories flashed before my eyes and I had a great slow-motion, nostalgic moment.
I’d like to tell you that I shared a screenshot of my intention to graduate on Facebook and got ALL the likes, or that when I saw the screen of my computer say, “You indicated earlier that you intend to graduate with a Honours Bachelor of Arts at the June 2016 Convocation,” I smiled and told my parents.
But in reality, when I decided to request graduation on a snowless December day, I was reminded to go into ROSI and click the button by someone else’s Facebook screenshot, so on ROSI I went.
I think I first heard the term “bully” in elementary school. I’m guessing that’s about when you first heard it, too. The teachers would press on about what bullies were and what to do if you were confronted with one. Walk away, ignore them, tell a teacher or a parent.
Cyber bullies, playground bullies, classroom bullies, neighbourhood bullies, verbal bullies, physical bullies. Essentially, we were vulnerable to mean people in any area of our lives.
Midterms, tests, assignments, shifts at work, the December exam schedule coming out—the struggle is real at this time of year. The leaves may be turning pretty colours and pumpkin spice lattes are all the rage (shout-out to Starbucks!), but that does not change the fact that we each have roughly ten billion things that need our attention.
Allow me to be blunt with you: I hated UTM when I started here.
The constant construction, the unseen community of clubs and groups, the unattended pub nights, the commuter-campus vibe—I literally hated almost everything about UTM.
But looking back, I don’t think I had an accurate perception of this school. In fact, I think a lot of it was skewed by my own negative mindset and refusal to accept change (except the construction—ugh!).