Exploring the Future of Work After Graduation

Thu, 12 Apr 2018

Sarah Duggan
Volunteer, SFU Public Square

Sarah is an undergraduate student at Simon Fraser University majoring in International Studies and receiving a certificate in Sustainable Community Development. She has been a volunteer with SFU Public Square since September 2017 and has been involved in office design work, regular events and the 2018 Community Summit. Sarah is looking forward to continuing to use the skills and knowledge she has learned through her undergrad and volunteer experiences in the next steps after graduation.

“So, what are you going to do when you finish your degree?”

This has become a common question that frequents my daily life from family dinners to social events with friends. The answer is usually “I don’t know yet” followed by me quickly changing the subject.

With only three weeks left of my undergrad it will soon be time to confront the unknown of not being a student anymore; a way of life I have not experienced for any long period of time since I was four years old.

Being an undergraduate student has shaped my identity for the last four years. I love what I get to learn about in school and know what I am passionate about academically. At the same time, I am ready to move on from the constant stress of assignments and exams that come with the rewards of learning and creating knowledge.

At the beginning of the school year I decided I needed to find ways to help transfer the passion I had gained from academics into something more tangible and career oriented. I wanted to continue to learn skills I could use in a job in a supportive and engaging environment.

Volunteering with SFU Public Square has given me the opportunity to explore skills in community engagement, event planning, graphic design, and event photography.

I have been exposed to new networks of people through working in the office as well as participating in various events. It has been valuable to be more engaged in the larger community at events with both students and people in the workforce. I hope these networks will help me to find a job I am passionate about in the near future.

My advice to other students nearing the end of their degree programs is to find an experience outside of academia to help them test out career options. Whether this is a coop, volunteer or internship position; finding ways to bridge the worlds of academics and work are necessary. This is especially true when many degree programs don’t come with a job title with your diploma.

My answer to what I want to do with my degree is still “I don’t know, yet.” But I do have a better idea of what skills I want to use and what things outside of school I am passionate about pursuing in my future of work.