Photo Credit: Leon Wu (via Unsplash)
A Look into the Lives of Two MUN Graduates and Where They Are Now
The one common goal for all university students is to successfully graduate with their degree and get the job they’ve been working towards.
While, at times, it may seem like we’re going to be students pulling all-nighters at the MUN library forever, we will eventually graduate (and sooner than we think). But thinking about this brings up the same question we all want to avoid,
What comes next?
Throughout our entire degree program, this is the one question that looms over graduation. What do we do when the studying ends?
Well, I have some answers for you (and me!). I sat down with two MUN graduates and asked them every Uni student’s burning questions about life after graduation and how to make it through your degree successfully.
But before getting straight into their tips and tricks for surviving Uni, here’s a little intro to the graduates,
Both Sharada Crann and Ceara Keough graduated from MUN with a Bachelor of Arts through the Humanities and Social Sciences faculty.
Sharada went on to complete a Master’s in Health Science Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Toronto. She now lives and works full-time in Toronto.
Ceara completed a Bachelor’s Degree focused on French language and literature, and Geography and is currently working with the Canada Revenue Agency.
Alright, now let’s get straight into the advice we’ve all been waiting for!
Question number 1!
Did you ever feel unsure about your degree/change your major, and do you think it is normal for students to do so throughout their degree?
I don’t know about you, but I have definitely questioned my program more than once. It’s extremely difficult when you feel as though everyone around you has their life figured out and you’re feeling unsure.
But we’re not alone in feeling this. It’s much more common than we think. Both Sharada and Ceara admitted that they 100% felt unsure about their program more than once throughout their degree.
Sharada changed her major before entering year two and said that she feels it is completely normal to question whether you’ve chosen the right program. Moreover, it would be strange if you didn’t have second thoughts or perhaps consider a different degree at least once during your undergrad.
For Ceara, she said she felt unsure for four of the six years she was completing her degree. She considered many different programs before finding what she was truly passionate about in her fifth year. Just like Sharada, she feels that it is more than normal to feel unsure about your program. Ceara even said that she knows more people that have changed majors 3-4 times than those who have stuck with their first choice to the very end.
So there you have it, folks!
If anything, it seems that it is more normal to feel hesitant and question the program you’ve chosen than to not- which makes sense! It’s a big decision, and we don’t want to choose wrong. But this isn’t a one-and-done type of scenario; we go to university to find ourselves, and trial and error is a part of that experience.
Following the first question, what advice would you give a current undergraduate student considering changing their major?
Don’t finish a degree/major just for the sake of finishing!
This is Sharada’s first piece of advice and one I think a lot of students need to hear. It is in no way a failure to change your major, whether it’s after your first year or your 3rd.
She says to trust your gut and allow yourself to experiment and switch majors if your original choice isn’t the right fit.
On top of that, Ceara suggested asking questions!
Talk to people in the department that piqued your interest, whether it be a professor, the department’s undergraduate society or simply someone in your class that’s above your year. Ask them questions, and figure out as much as you possibly can about the program.
While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with switching majors, always make sure that you are making an informed decision. Decisions like these shouldn’t be made on a whim. Being informed is important when trying to make the decision that will have the best outcome for you.
Now, what about motivation? How were you able to stay motivated throughout your degree?
Lack of motivation. Something every student has grappled with at some point, especially during exam season!
Sharada and Ceara are no exceptions to this.
When asked about how they stayed motivated, both started out by reassuring that it’s normal to go through periods where you’re feeling unmotivated. Some worse than others.
While staying organized, planning ahead and keeping track of deadlines can be extremely helpful so as to not feel overwhelmed and get into a rut. The clear advice from both Ceara and Sharada is to surround yourself with those who motivate you and to be able to put down your assignments every once in a while and take time for you.
Your mental health is extremely important, and when neglected will not only result in a lack of motivation but also a severe burnout. When we don’t allow ourselves to make time for what makes us happy, we will always spiral downward.
And finally- in what ways do you feel Memorial University has prepared you for entering the workforce, life after graduation and helped you get to where you are now?
The thought of graduation and entering the workforce can be pretty scary. Especially if you’re not in a program that has a specific job market open to you right after you graduate.
It’s difficult to say, when you’re still working toward your degree, if your program is preparing you for real life. Unless you’re doing co-ops, you can’t truly know how prepared you are until you’re thrown in headfirst.
So, who better to ask about MUN’s effectiveness in preparing its students than two graduates who not only successfully completed their degree but are now thriving in their work lives.
From Sharada’s point of view, after completing her undergrad she went on to get accepted into the master’s program for health science Speech Pathology at the University of Toronto. She credits a portion of this success to skills she learned right here at MUN.
She said thanks to the personal growth, development and confidence that she gained through her studies at MUN she was able to make a smooth transition into a master’s program and then the workforce.
Ceara added that Memorial University’s deep connection to the local community is quite often taken for granted.
Living in a small community can prove extremely beneficial, as it gives the different faculties the ability to connect with different companies and organizations within the city. This connection creates many networking opportunities for MUN students, opportunities with benefits that have the potential to reach far outside of NL.
The key takeaway
While there is a lot that can be learned from the advice and experience of these two incredible individuals. I think the most important takeaway here is that they are just like the rest of us and they succeeded.
They experienced their own ups and downs, made their own mistakes and questioned all of their choices just like the rest of us. But still, they persevered and they found their thing and themselves.