For some students, after all the exams and final papers comes graduation. Students who feel nervous for what comes next in their life can find support from the University of Winnipeg (U of W), even as alumni.
Patricia Navidad is a U of W student who is about to graduate this spring after five years of working toward a degree in Rhetoric, Writing and Communications. She says she is excited to be finished her classes but feels slightly anxious about what will happen after graduation.
“I have two part-time jobs, so I’m going to work at those, and I also have an internship that I do online. I’m hoping I can learn some skills that I can use to go intern abroad next year in Singapore,” Navidad says.
Though she has a specific plan, she says she is still slightly nervous about what is to come, much like many of her peers who are also set to graduate.
“I think it’s because once you’ve been in school for a few years, you know what to expect (from university), but all of a sudden, you’re going to enter ‘the real world,’ and now you have to find a job, and it feels like it’s all happening so fast,” she says.
Deanna England, a career and academic advisor at the U of W says graduation can be overwhelming after having a set plan working toward a degree.
“Once you leave the womb of the institution, things are a lot more open-ended, and you have a lot more choices. That’s something we can help with,” she says.
England says that U of W Career Services offers supports to alumni through job search tools, interview preparation and resumé and cover letter review.
“There’s a whole section on our website that focuses on ‘what can I do with my degree’ ... that’s something that’s a good idea to check out, regardless of what stage you’re at,” she says.
Students and graduates can access U of W Career Services for help with finding possible jobs within the field that they’re interested in pursuing as a career, England says.
“Our job is not simply to prepare people for getting a job. We can also talk about additional career development (and continuing education), because learning is a lifelong process.”
Helen Cholakis, the manager of U of W’s Alumni Affairs office, says graduates are a valued part of the U of W community. Graduates of the U of W are encouraged to keep in touch with the institution through Alumni Affairs.
“In a nutshell, we communicate with our alumni to keep them in touch with what is going on at the university, with their faculties and with students and other alumni,” she says. “We aim to encourage alumni to maintain a lifelong relationship with the university and the university community.”
Alumni Affairs offers graduates from U of W opportunities to volunteer, give and attend guest lectures and receive discounts at places like the Bill Wedlake Fitness Centre, Cholakis says.
Navidad says through the years in her university experience, she has learned “you’ve got to go at your own pace and figure out what works for you, because not everything that works for the majority of the (student) population is going to work for each individual.”
She says students should not compare themselves to others in terms of building a career upon graduation.
“You shouldn’t feel you have to get a job right after you graduate just because everyone else is. It could be totally different for everybody, so I’ve just learned to accept and follow my own pace.”