So you have finally finished university and the world seems to be your oyster! So, what’s the next step? First of all congratulations to all graduates it is a great achievement and not a easy feat at all! I got a few friends to share their experiences and thoughts on life after school, to offer some perspective and encouragement to those in a state of confusion about their next steps and for those who are in eager anticipation of achieving this amazing accomplishment. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing their replies.
Chemical Engineering, University of Alberta
1. What were your expectations for life after university?
I did not have a lot of expectations of life after University other than to find a well-paying job, make money, build my career, buy a house, get hitched, have kids and begin the rest of my life. Joking! Nonetheless, I did expect to at the very least, obtain an Engineering job which would help me discover the area of interest I could then pursue a successful career in.
2. Were those expectations met?
As with any beautiful story, life did not go as expected or planned. For starters, it took me several months to acquire a job. Applying for jobs was a job in of itself. I eventually got called for an interview which led me to my current job. This position which God so graciously gave to me isn’t directly an Engineering job although it is in a related field. It has broadened my career options and got me thinking about various business opportunities. This job also provoked a spiritual and mental growth I could not have gotten otherwise. God indeed has a specific plan for each of us and takes us through different paths to achieve His wonderful plan for our lives.
3. What would be your advice for those in their final year looking forward to life after school?
My advice for those in final year is to enjoy the pain. This might sound cliché but it’s the best advice I can think of right now. Life almost always does not go as planned but these situations we go through prepares us for the future. You have a calling on your life, and you have to “train” to be fit for that purpose. It’s just like body-building or working out… You go through some pain or soreness post-workout but you know that pain is a good kind of pain – muscles developing, arms swelling, knees weak, mom’s spaghetti. Enjoy the process and pain of searching for jobs, deciding career paths, answering uncomfortable questions, etcetera, because it either builds or destroys character. You can choose to build your character through this painful process. At every challenging point in your life, take a moment to think of how you can use the situation for your good i.e. ask yourself
‘How can I use this situation for personal growth?’ ‘What can I take from this experience to make myself a better person?’
4. What is one thing you wish you knew when you were in your final year in order to better prepare you for life after school?
Develop yourself. I’m not only speaking in terms of career, which is also very important, but an all-round self-development. The job search period can be a period of self-discovery. Learn to play that musical instrument you’ve always wished you could play. Play that sport you’ve never had time to get into. Build those abs you’ve always wanted. Lose that weight that has always made you feel insecure. Read books that stimulate your logical thinking. Learn some wisdom from the book of Proverbs. Literally anything or any skill that can add to you both personally and career-wise. Speaking of careers, acquire certifications if you can. It’s a bit difficult for some people to do that because you are investing money and time in a cause you’re not sure would yield a fruitful outcome. Seek tons and tons of advice and purposefully acquire any certifications or training that can increase your chances in the job market.
Do not in the pursuit of your final destination, lose sight of the path you take to arrive there.
Huge thanks to Shalom for sharing her knowledge and experiences. Don’t forget to reach out to her and follow her if her story resonates with you!