In the home stretch

  In my last year of undergrad, I felt pulled in a lot of different directions. Should I start working after graduation, or go back to school? What could I actually afford to do? Scariest of all, what did I want to do? 
A field with two paths stretching out ahead.
There are probably more than two paths for you post-grad, but you get the idea! Image via Google Images.
I'm now less than a year into my Master's program, and less than a year out of my undergrad! To this day, I can't say I'm totally sure of exactly what I want, which is part of the reason I decided to come to school - to figure out what career path I want to take, and to develop the skills I need to get there. So here's the good news for those of you in your final semester or heading into your final year next year, and I'm living proof of this - it's okay not to know what you want do for the rest of your life! In fact, statistics show that young adults in North America are changing jobs way more than previous generations did. Don't be afraid of not knowing - be excited!  If, like me, you're still figuring it out as you approach graduation day, don't stress about building road map to your career - instead, think about what makes sense for you and what you truly want to do. The Home Stretch website can help you to explore your options. To open your mind a bit, here are some less conventional post-grad routes to think about to remind you of just how wide your options are once you've finished your degree.
  1. Become an entrepreneur. Every year, start-ups are born out of U of T's incubators, courses, and clubs. Starting your career can also mean starting your own business! You don't need a business or computer science background to get started - just a great idea!
  2. Build hard skills in a college program. Complement your transferable skills and foundation of critical thinking and writing from your U of T degree with hard skills for working in a hands-on environment by doing a college program.
  3. Explore career options through mentorship and job shadowing. Not sure quite what career you want to go into? U of T's Career Centre and Mentorship Office offer opportunities to explore your options by connecting you to mentors who can share their career experiences and connecting you directly to workplaces through job shadowing programs.
  4. Take some time off to volunteer or travel. Rather than jumping right into your next career move, take some time to figure out what you want while exploring the world and/or helping to make it a better place. I recently heard from an alumni at a career panel that volunteering after graduation helped her to realize her passion and shaped her career. Be sure to be mindful of your budget and seek funding opportunities!
    Me watering a plant on a farm I volunteered at.
    I volunteered at an urban farm before graduating and found the experience really grounding and meaningful. I definitely recommend trying volunteering before or after you graduate!
  5. Continue learning while on the job. Work during the day, and attend classes in the evening. You can use your Continuing Studies credit to explore a new area at U of T, or try out educational programs in the city like learning coding at Bitmaker Labs. You can also learn at home through the internet's vast e-learning resources.
You can learn more about post-grad options, how you can get ready for convocation, and more on the Home Stretch website. In your final year? Share your thoughts on graduating and advice for your peers in the comments or on Twitter! 

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