What’s the next step?

Graduation is creeping up and I have no idea what will be next.

We all come to University with different plans. Mine was just to get my undergrad and figure the rest out when the time came. That time is here and it’s terrifying.

Since second year I have known that I want to go for my masters once I’m done my undergrad here at UOIT. At first I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to go straight out of my BA or take a year off to work and gain some experience. During third year I decided I didn’t want to take a year off and would rather just continue my academic career without taking a break. Part of the reason I felt this way, was the fear that I wouldn’t be able to get a job related to my field and would be stuck working a minimum wage job for the year, ultimately doing nothing for my resume. I also worried about not wanting to come back to school once I’ve been off for a year. School comes with endless amounts of work and stress, and who wants that? Not me. Through talking with people who have master’s degrees I heard arguments for both taking a year off and not. I firmly decided I wasn’t going to take a year off. By the time I made this decision it was the middle of August 2016. I started looking into various programs at different school across Ontario. There were a few that I was really interested.

My mom convinced me that I should take advantage of the career centre at school, so I made an appointment for mid September. I showed up to my appointment knowing the programs I was going to apply to and just had a few questions… or so I thought.

After looking the programs I was interested in over with my counsellor, I realized I needed to take another look at available programs for a few reasons:
1) I missed the date for the psychology GREs and the next date to write is in April, long after applications are due.
2) I was looking at very theory based programs, when clinical is more appropriate for where I want to go with my career.
3) The careers I am interested will require a Phd, something I had not planned on getting (some schools prefer you complete both your masters and Phd at their school for they link together).

This is when the tears started. To this day I’m not entirely sure why I was crying. Maybe it was the fact that the programs I had decided I was interested weren’t the best fit for me. Maybe it was the fact that I realized I might have to take a year off. Maybe it was that I realized all this is coming up so fast and I’m not ready. Or maybe it was all these things combined. I think I was just overwhelmed with information and decisions, unsure of what to do.

Its been almost two months since I went to speak with career counselling, and I’m still not entirely sure which programs I’m going to apply to, but I do feel more confident in my choices now than I did sitting in that office.

I wanted to share this story because I think there are a lot of students in the same place as me, unsure about what comes after graduation. It’s a difficult decision to make – whether to continue your education after completing your undergrad or not. It’s important to consider what you want in the long run, and where you would like to end up. Taking advantage of the services on campus such as the career centre is extremely helpful, and I highly recommend looking into these services for anyone who is struggling with what they should do next.

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3 thoughts on “What’s the next step?

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience, I too had felt and still do feel the same way; I thought medschool, masters, PhD, college? I really found clarity doing the practicum program and it’s made me think college is the best fit. Hopefully you find a program that fits you and try not to stress too much about the future, life will go on 🙂

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    • I’m really thankful our school has a practicum program, I’m in it next semester! I’m glad your placement helped you figure out what you should do next and I’m hoping mine does the same! Kinda wish I took it first semester so I would start my placement before most applications are due 😦

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