Employment in a Time of Graduation: The pressure to have a “plan”


Exams end in a whirlwind of late nights: scattered papers, empty mugs of tea, and a bed that has not been relaxed in for far too long. But then comes relief — it’s finally done! That last paper has been submitted, undergrad is officially over. You can sleep all day — heck, all weekend if you want. Then the alarm buzzes, and you’re off to campus again, but this time for work. Spring has sprung, the summer grind has begun, and now the wait for graduation day begins! That was the start to my summer 2017.
                     I finished my iBA in international studies this past June, and no, I don't have a set plan for what I want to do, yet. In today’s culture, I find that students are under a lot of pressure when it comes to life post-graduation (and much of that pressure we put on ourselves!). Personally, I found the end of my degree daunting. I was ecstatic to have it completed, but I was also worried about what the future had in store. Being surrounded by many close friends and peers applying to pursue graduate studies last spring, my feelings of confusion and anxiety only intensified. Add to that every beloved auntie and family acquaintance asking what I had planned for after graduation, and the self-doubt became so overwhelming that all I wanted to do was hide in a corner somewhere. All of this because I didn’t “have a plan”.
                    From April to August, I was hired by the Glendon recruitment department (who I had been working for since second year as an eAmbassador), to be the producer of this year’s edition of the Coeur de Lion Chronicles. This opportunity gave me the chance to work with a wonderful team of people, as well as develop my professional writing, digital media management, and video production skills, all while showcasing the beautiful place I have called home for the last four years to prospective students. I was living the best kind of life for me - I mean, how many people get to say they made a mini-series on YouTube for their summer job? Yet, as September drew closer, I began to worry what the start of the school year would have in store for me. In late July, I was contacted through Linkedin by a bilingual headhunting agency called Bilingual Source. I chatted with the recruiter about my skills and interests, and was set up on a number of interviews. Unfortunately, none of those developed into a job offer. Luckily, the Glendon Recruitment department offered me a job working in a familiar environment that I adore — for now.
                     So what am I trying to say? That for those of you already thinking about where you’ll be this time next year or the year after, it’s OK to have feelings of anxiety and doubt about graduation, and the abyss that comes post-grad, and it is totally OK to not have a plan. Instead, I would suggest reaching out to your established connections, and focusing on the skills you already have to offer (I promise you have more than you think you do). Even if you don’t immediately begin “working in your field,” recognize that you are doing something and in doing so, you are gaining new and valuable experiences and connections that may help you get exactly where you always dreamed you would end up. That said, if you’re anything like me, the way you define “your field” may grow and evolve from what you imagined it to be when you began your academic journey. You never know where life is going to take you, so seize every opportunity, work your butt off, and don’t forget to enjoy a taste of freedom every now and then as you work towards your own graduation day.