Navigating the Career Centre

On Sunday, Nov. 1, I was struck by a sudden realization that this semester is almost over. For me, that means graduation is only a few months away.

And while you might think that this would be a cause for celebration – I’ll finally be free after four long years here at Laurier – in actuality I am finding the approaching ceremony to be a cause of considerable stress.

I have no idea what I want to do after graduation. I don’t have a clue as to what career path I want to take, let alone how to find my way toward it. I suppose it could be argued that I’ve had four years to figure it out, and I have tried, but dreaming about becoming a writer with a Carrie Bradshaw-type dream job could really only take me so far.

I figure I’m not the only student experiencing stress over what to do after graduation. With this in mind, I visited Laurier’s Career Centre to find out how they could help me start planning my post-grad future.

I spoke with Tara Orchard, career consulting co-ordinator at the centre, who had plenty to tell me about the many services available to Laurier students to assist in the career decision-making process.

The starting point is Career Planning 101, a workshop that presents students with the key steps in the career planning process, and provides them with resources to help in identifying possible career choices. Students are required to attend this workshop before they can book an appointment with a career advisor. It is offered at least three times every week.

At the end of the workshop students can choose from different assessment tools that they can complete and then meet with an advisor to debrief and start doing some career research.
Other services offered include resume writing and job search workshops, personality testing and career assessment tests.

Orchard emphasized that there are definitely steps that students can take to start to develop future career plans, and also that the Career Centre is more than happy to help along the way.

“There is a plan and a process. It’s not an overnight process. But I think that’s the de-stress point for students. If you understand that there is a plan and a process, and if you work the plan and the process one bit at a time, that gives you back control,” she explained.

“You’re in control of what you do as opposed to sitting there going ‘What should I do?’ Getting that process is what we offer. There is a plan, there are steps you can follow, so start to follow them and we will help you along the way.”

For students fortunate enough to have an idea of what you want to do after grad, Orchard suggested that you still come in to the centre to speak with an advisor, do some assessments and make sure you’re actually moving in the direction you want to be going in.

Students deciding whether to pursue further education can also find help at the Career Centre.
And remember that handout you got when you first started at Laurier, the one that lists potential career options for your major? Go back to that and take a look, you might get some inspiration.

But Orchard warned, “Don’t let your degree define you. Your degree gives you an education and a level of knowledge and skills. Figure out what you want to do.”