March 28, 2017

Undergrads need future guidance too

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We don’t have to wait until the last possible opportunity to cut down on students’ stress about the future.

Queen’s Grad Maps is a joint initiative by the School of Graduate Studies and Career Services that provides customized career maps for graduate students, based on their programs. The maps help graduate students navigate their career trajectories by laying out the options and directions available.

Nearing the end of any program induces anxiety about what the future holds. Initiatives like this one are valuable in ensuring that students enter post-graduation life with ease and preparation.

While it’s certainly valuable for graduate students, expanding this initiative to undergraduate students would help students’ future planning for careers, including possibilities like graduate school itself. It’d be helpful if students could be aware of how to map their futures and what trajectory is best suited to them before they commit to graduate school.

Although the Queen’s Major Maps are geared towards undergraduate students, they’re mainly academic and aren’t specifically meant for helping people plan their post-graduation lives.

Applying an initiative like this to undergraduate students would require that the resources are accompanied by proper education about how to use them. Maps like this not only need to exist for undergraduates, but also need to be accessible — students should be able to know they exist without walking into the Career Services office.

SOLUS currently provides a mapping option for a degree, listing remaining requirements and breaking them down by year — integrating personalized career maps within SOLUS and its existing resources could help further mitigate inevitable stress about the future.

In hopes of incorporating all kinds of academic and career paths, it’d also be interesting to see more intersectional learning opportunities incorporated in the career maps. For instance, if a student was interested in a more unconventional trajectory, a program-specific map may not be applicable. 

In the future, Career Services could work to include more atypical paths by further personalizing the already-existing maps and even providing resources for students interesting in starting their own businesses.

While graduate students need the guidance, there’s no reason this initiative shouldn’t be filtered into upper-year undergrads. We all worry about the future — it’s never too early to start planning it.

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