Nov. 2, 2020

You’re graduating… now what?

Katie is a recent University of Calgary graduate who obtained her undergraduate degree in political science during the fall 2019 semester. Recently, Katie answered a couple of questions about her last few weeks at UCalgary and updated us on what she has been doing since graduation.

What did you do at the end of your degree to prepare for your next steps?

One of the first things I did was sat down and wrote out everything I might want to do with my degree, which career paths might be interesting, if I wanted to use my degree as a starting off point for future studies, or if I wanted to couple it with another degree or diploma. I found it helpful to discuss this with someone else which is why Career Services and the Student Success Centre advisors are such valuable resources at the university.

From there I researched what each path would require from me. For instance, to get a job in my field I needed help with my resume, so I went to Career Services.

When I wanted to talk about graduate studies, I met with Jared Secord at the Student Success Centre. I told him I knew which master’s degree I wanted but I needed help understanding how the application process worked.

Were there any University of Calgary resources you didn’t know about that you wish you had?

I certainly wish I had utilized the Student Success Centre from the very beginning for my academics. But the resource I was the most upset that I didn’t know more about was the Wellness Centre. I didn’t know you could get massages until my final year – I had a membership to a more expensive off-campus place when I could have been getting cheaper ones without leaving campus! I have never used their counselling services, mostly because I did not know they were there until later into my degree, but I wish I had known about them when transitioning to university and during some of the more stressful times of my university career.

What have you done to take steps forward since completing your undergrad?

The biggest lesson I have had to learn since leaving university is to be patient. Things are not going to happen overnight. I have made sure to keep in contact with former classmates and other members of the university community that I worked with both academically and on a volunteer basis. I have sent out my revamped resume while taking steps towards applying for my master’s degree. Graduating can feel a little like stepping outside on a foggy morning. You can’t quite see where you’re going but you know you have to keep moving forward. I say just be sure to research everything, use resources and try to not get too discouraged if things don’t happen right away for you.

What advice do you have to students new to the university?

Try and take advantage of not only the resources the school has to offer, but the activities as well. Clubs and volunteer positions keep you connected to the university community and can help you feel more at home on campus.

Something else that everyone says but I feel it doesn’t get utilized as much as it should – I realized if I had attended more of my professors’ office hours, especially during some of my earlier years, it could have helped me learn more tools for success to take forward with me. Visiting office hours opened me up to other areas of research I had not considered before, solidified what professors were looking for from my assignments, and were an incredible resource for my education. Another big reason I wish I had connected with my professors more is that they are potentially the people writing your future graduate studies recommendation letters. They need to know you and you them so you can form a professional relationship going forward.