Know the places you’ll go

Jamie Bishop, ArtSci ’07
Jamie Bishop, ArtSci ’07

A student of the liberal arts is forever confronted with the confused looks of loved ones and the inevitable, “Where does that get you?” or “What are you going to do with that?” The most frustrating part may not be the questions—but the inability to formulate a good reply.

This inability is because most of us do not spend enough time thinking about what it is that we like to do or want to be doing after graduation. University is a transition period that paves the way to enter the workforce. And as students approach graduation, it becomes necessary to think of what comes next.

The future is frightening. It just seems unclear how an arts graduate is supposed to fit into a world of bottom lines and quarterly earnings. The natural starting point at Queen’s for information about what the future may have in store for you can be found at Career Services.

Jane Good, a career counselling co-ordinator, said that Career Services offers appointments whenever you’re ready to start thinking about the future—whether you’re in first year or fourth. Career Services offers many workshops on a variety of topics from summer employment to help with resumés. Their website is also helpful, as is the information area located in their spacious new residence on Gordon Hall’s third floor. The career counselling sessions are an invaluable resource to students and they also offer employment programs that allow students to glance at prospective jobs.
Whether you choose to use the resources at Career Services or not, we are all forced to confront the realities of needing a job. The process of finding a job, especially with a degree that may not have any direct correlation to a career after graduation can be daunting. The key, according to Good, is to turn the question on its head.

The issue is not only looking at what jobs exist, but also how each of us as individuals fit into the world. She outlined a series of steps to get a head start on the job hunt.

The resources of Career Services aside, the process of career searching is introspective by nature. that is it that you love to do? From this simple question you can begin to focus on your interests. This process of increasing self-awareness is invaluable when it comes to assessing what are the skills that
you have to offer because the skills developed in class are transferable to the world that emerges after graduation. You just have to know how to relate what it is you like and are good at with what a potential employer is looking for.

Once you’ve begun to realize what you’re interested in, start to look at and contact groups and individuals who work within your field of interest. The important thing is to begin to talk to people and to find a common ground based on shared interests. From here, you can use your skills as a leverage point. After doing this, it’s time to figure out what matters to you. Together, these steps give you the necessary tools to merge into the working world.

To say that the future lies within you may sound simple, but this changes when the tools available
for conceptualizing one’s career are put to use. Most students are constantly confounded by what lies ahead. It’s important to keep emphasizing what’s out there to be had instead of what we can fit into
and be good at.

When it comes time for you to think about the future—now or years from now—it is nice to know that you may have skills that you never thought to think you had. The answer to the question of what may be next is to be found in your everyday life—the skills that you have to offer the world may be things that you do everydayand thoroughly enjoy. As students, we are constantly in the process of creating a set of interests and skills applicable to the world.

The Career Counselling appointments at Career Services may begin with an examination of Dr. Seuss’s book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! who reminds us that with the proper approach in life, “Kid, you’ll move mountains!” Childish perhaps, but also profound and reassuring; in a journey into the unknown, where Hakken-Kraks are bound to howl, it’s nice to have a little reassurance.

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