There's hope after graduation

First aired on Calgary Eyeopener (26/03/13)

Graduating from university or college can be overwhelming. There are expectations to land a good and steady job. Thousands of dollars in student loans need to be repaid. Suddenly, you've been launched into the "real world" with big decisions to make. That's why Jenny Blake wrote a manual for twenty-somethings called Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want.

CBC Calgary Eyeopener's Chris dela Torre spoke to Jenny Blake when she was in town to give University of Calgary students a pre-grad pep talk. She says college grads often feel they need to have it all together when they receive their diploma.That's a mistake.

"A career is an evolution and the best thing they can do is explore and take some time to think of what they want; not what society, their parents, and professors might want for them."

life-after-college-120.jpgInstead of thinking of a career as a ladder, where everything is linear, she says we should sees it as a smart phone with different "apps" for skills, interests, education, and side projects. Whereas the ladder provides safety and stability, the app model can provide unpredictability and opportunity. Blake says comparing ourselves to others will only make us feel worse. So we should stop it.

"Your phone is your own. It's dynamic. It doesn't matter what anyone else next to you is doing. Does the set of apps work for you? If not, it's times to get some new ones."

Blake says new grads and young professionals shouldn't be discouraged. People who are 20 or 30 years into their career still struggle with what they want to do.

"You may not always see the whole path laid out in front of you. So in some ways, you need to start taking actions and making choices and know you can adjust as you go along."

This is something she knows firsthand. At 25, she was burnt out by the constant need to achieve. So, she quit her job as a manager at Google and became a life coach.

She still sees the value in high education.

"I don't think a degree was ever supposed to get us totally job-ready. So let's drop that expectation. It's really incumbent on the student."

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