I’m at a point in my life where I feel very overwhelmed by society and the expectations that come along with being a new graduate. It seems like there are three options nowadays:
Get a job in your field of study.
There are some people who are very business-oriented. They’d have completed a few internships already, and have a solid foundation to work with when job hunting. And that’s great! I’m so proud of them, for being so committed and knowing what they want in life. They are the ones who will work endlessly throughout their final months of school to score the perfect job for post-graduation. Unfortunately, that was not me.
I was always very involved in my community. Whether it was the right thing to do or not, I loved what I was doing so much that I ultimately did not have much time to be building my resumé with professional office work experiences. I have never regretted not applying for the co-op program, but now that I’m at home with no responsibilities with the organizations I worked with on campus, I can’t help but feel like I’m in a slump.
Would I have gained tremendously from co-op? Hell yeah. I would, at the very least, have connections to companies I would have worked with. But would I have been able to be as involved on campus? Unlikely. In my mind, I only had four short years to explore the options provided at school, and I was definitely going to do everything I could to focus on these opportunities.
I do, however, regret not being a little more ambitious in securing opportunities that were business-related. I definitely have the work ethic and various skills gained from my untraditional roles, but it’s discouraging to see that most positions want you to have “2+ years of experience in (insert field here)”.
Pursue higher education.
There are some people who have known their path in life since the day they applied to university or college in Grade 12. These people have already mapped out their education for the next ten years, perhaps! They are dedicated to learning a craft and for that, I sincerely admire them.
I personally do not want to spend any more time pursuing higher education, but I’d love to learn skills that weren’t taught at university. For example, graphic design, knowledge of digital marketing tools, and UX/UI design are quite sought-after in marketing roles these days. The only problem is, where do you draw the line? Do I forgo the professional job for another 2 years, and add to the growing pile of debt accumulated from student loans? Or do I work first, and learn later? This is one of my dilemmas.
Travel, and achieve some personal growth.
Ah, this is the dream, of course. Traveling to a completely different part of the world. Taking myself out of my comfort zone, learning how to be more empathetic, more independent. Opening my eyes to things in the world that I can’t possibly know of by staying at home. Really see what I’m passionate about, and how I deal with tough situations. Traveling around the world sounds like it could be all fun and games, but I think it would be really hard. It’s in a sense, a quest you’d go on to find your inner peace.
It’s my dream to just leave for a few months and soak in new cultures and live as a local. However, as always, there are worries — should I pay off my student loans first? Maybe I should gain some work experience in my field before I just take off and leave for months on end? What if I come back and nobody will want to hire me because I haven’t been working and they’d prefer newer graduates over me?
I don’t know what to do, still. I’m looking for a job and looking into potential 1-2 year programs, but my heart is still lingering on the traveling. I would like to leave comfortably, knowing that everything will be okay when I’m back. I think I will try to reach this stage by the time I turn 25, at the very least.
If you happen to be reading this, I’d love to hear about your experiences and thoughts about new graduates! It’s just so unbelievably tough when people around you are falling within one of these categories and you’re still trying to figure things out. Leave me a comment and let me know, or even share your own worries!