This April I’ll be hitting the 2-year mark since I graduated from university. I know I’m not “old,” but saying that kinda makes me feel old. That means it’s been seven years since I graduated from high school! Woah. Now I really feel old.
I’ve experienced a lot in those two years since graduation. I spent the first year pretty much jobless. I’d scrape by on small contracts working for the university, but they weren’t enough. But I eventually found a job—in fact, it’s a great job and it’s in my field of study.
Having experienced the recession, the challenge of trying to find a job and finally getting my first professional position, I can now look back and reflect on those four glorious years of post-secondary insanity and think about those “shoulda, coulda, woulda” things I wish I had done in university.
This was something I’d always vowed to do. I even went to the start-up meeting and chose a few schools overseas. But, when it came down to it, I kept making excuses: not enough money, in a relationship, different programs of study, transferring credits… I made every excuse possible, but looking back, I see that I was just scared.
A few of my friends went to France, Australia and Spain. Tracking their pictures on Facebook was absolute torture for me. Even my sister has been living in Europe for over four years, and I’ve been living at home in Ottawa for 23! I’m now stuck with this crazy travel bug—I’m just itching to get out and go on crazy adventures. But duty calls.
Ottawa’s a government town, which means jobs are secure and the market is solid. But this also means it’s a boring, slow government town, with no big fun corporations like in Montreal or Toronto, and no fun marketing companies. So I wanted to do a coop placement, but felt like my options were limited to government… or more government.
Still, the great thing about coop is that it gets your foot in the door. A coop will almost guarantee you a job once you graduate, because companies would rather hire someone they know than a stranger off the street. During my time in school, nearly all of the accounting students did coop but very few students outside of accounting did coop. Guess who graduated into full-time jobs? Yup, the accounting students. Now I’m sure that had I done coop, I’d probably be living my own personal nightmare of working in the government rather than working in a marketing firm, but at least I would’ve had a job right out of school!
To students outside of Ottawa or who don’t mind working in the government, do coop! Save yourself the agony of a year of job hunting—or at least go get the cash and the experience for your résumé.
As I mentioned above, I’ve lived in the same house with my parents for 23 years—so yes, I lived at home during university. I’m lucky enough to have parents who let me stay rent-free while I saved my money during university, and even now as I’m saving up to buy my own place. The only cruddy thing about this is that we live in the suburbs, i.e., about 30 to 40 minutes away from downtown. Because of the distance, I had to take the bus to and from school, which was an extra pain living away from a main bus route. I missed a lot of fun parties (and still do). But more than that, I missed out on the experience of being independent while in university.
(I think I’ll stop here as I know my parents are loyal readers of my blog. I love you and I am eternally gratefulJ. I promise I’ll leave your house… at some point in time… eventually… maybe.)
There are quite a few more things I wish I’d done in university, so come back for next week’s installment!