I always look forward to Thanksgiving. This time around, I had a very productive time; I cleared out my closet of all the old clothes that I never wear anymore, I baked several pies, I caught up with friends from high school, I enjoyed the lovely wilderness that I REALLY miss when I’m living downtown, and I caught up with my little sister and my little canine sister.
One of the things I don’t like so much about Thanksgiving is the fact that everyone seems to want to know how I’m doing and what my plans are. Now that I’m in fourth year, this is only amplified. Family friends I ran into at the grocery store, my next-door neighbours, my old teachers, and my hometown friends all had the same question:
“So… What’s your plan for after graduation?”
Of course, it’s really nice that so many people are willing to chat with me and show a polite interest in my future plans. Those conversations are just a bit tricky when you have no clue what your future plans are.
It seems like I’m speeding towards graduation at light speed; I can’t believe that it’s almost November already! That, combined with the barrage of questions I got over Thanksgiving, have made me hyper-aware of the fact that I need to start getting serious about my next steps.
I talked it over with my parents at Thanksgiving and they told me to find a career counsellor at the school so that I can talk out my options. I called the Career Centre, booked a career advising appointment, and ended up sitting across the table from career educator, Echo, the very next week.
I went into the appointment pretty much clueless. I know that I want to pursue further education and I have been doing some program research, but I am still torn between a few different options. Echo was really patient with me; she helped me narrow down what I was looking for and pointed me towards a number of useful resources.
Here are some of the most helpful things that I learned:
1. Grad applications are fast approaching; I need to get started on narrowing down my program choices and preparing my applications. The Career Centre can help! The Career Centre hosts a ton of events about different grad programs as well as a variety of workshops. They can help me craft my résumé, cover letter, or personal statement and hone my interview skills. Check out Madeline’s experience at the Career Centre’s résumé workshop.
2. There are amazing programs available to help me figure out what field is right for me. I’m particularly excited about a program called Extern, which allows UofT students to job shadow someone in their field of interest for one to five days. The next job shadowing period will be over Reading Week.
3. UofT’s School of Continuing Studies offers a $750 course credit to all UofT alumni. They offer a wide variety of courses aimed at helping students get ready for the workplace. It’s definitely a nice perk upon graduation that will be worth considering.
4. LinkedIn can be a really helpful resource for getting a better idea of what certain jobs entail. Echo suggested that I find people on LinkedIn who are working in my fields of interest and read about their credentials. I can also use LinkedIn to see what recent graduates with the same majors as me are up to now and to connect with UofT alumni.
5. I’m flirting with the idea of taking a gap year but I was worried that I wouldn’t have anyone to help me figure out grad school applications and the like if I ended up delaying them for a year. When I asked Echo about that, she told me that the Career Centre provides its services to UofT alum up to two years after they graduate. It’s really comforting to know that I will have access to this great resource for a long while yet.
I am so happy that I went to the Career Centre! Although I’m still not 100% sure about my plans for next year, Echo helped me figure out the questions I need to start asking myself and she provided me with some great tools and resources that can help me find my answers.
To book an appointment, call 416-978-8000