Graduating soon? Don’t know what you’re going to do next and tired of people asking, “So what do you see yourself doing in the future? What career do you want to be in?”

Don’t worry, you are not the only one! Up to 47 percent of recent graduates’ first jobs are outside their field of study. Now what does that mean?

To be honest, no one knows. No one can fully prepare us for what’s next. Life after graduation can be scary, but it doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for the unexpected.

Here are my five thoughts on how to maximize your TRSM experience and leverage it to help you find out what your passions and career aspirations are.

1. Be active on campus, not just your own faculty!

Be active beyond your own faculty

Board of Governors Candidate 2014-2015. From left: Ganesh Thavarajah, Jessica Machado, David Kwok

A lot of us may be very active within our own faculties, joining various student groups or participating in events. You may be well known and a rock star within TRSM, but how about in the Faculty of Arts or the Faculty of Communication and Design? As individuals, we tend to stick within our own little bubble and what we are comfortable with, but I am telling you to step outside that comfort zone.

Go out and learn about what else exists on campus, whether through the different zones, student groups or amazing activities that are taking place.

2. Network! Network! Network!

In today’s world, it is no longer enough to simply be academically strong; one must also understand the importance of relationship building.

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, figure out your networking preferences and attend those specific events. It can be meetups, career networking nights or a conference. Just put yourself out there.

Network & Relationships

David hosted the TedxRyerson 2014 Salon event at the Launch Zone with Brian Millado

3. Build mutually beneficial relationships

When you’re networking, think of others within your network and how you can help them. Networking is about building valuable relations that are mutually beneficial, so don’t always think about what they can do for you. Rather, think about what you can do for them first and understand the theory of “what goes around, comes around.” If you help those within your network, one day they will be able to return the favour.

4. Participate in work study or work for a startup!

Startup

David co-founded ZerotoStartup upon graduation and was recently interviewed by Trepfuel

Within Ryerson, there are many work study positions both during the school year and the summer months, take advantage of them! I’ve worked in a different office every year, and that allowed me to expand my network and really gain valuable relationships within the university.

However, another great option is to work for startups because, not only will you gain great work experience, you will learn the true meaning of multi-tasking. In any startup, you will take on multiple roles and be constantly pushed outside of your comfort zone to learn new skills.

5. Sometimes you have to fail before you succeed

Life is never perfect, and it shouldn’t be! If everything went the way we wanted it to, we would never learn from our mistakes and improve. So if you’ve ever been scared to apply for something or start something, you are failing and cheating yourself out of the opportunity to succeed. Take that leap of faith and believe in yourself! If you fail the first time, then get up and try again. If you fail again, then keep trying and just make sure you learn from your mistakes. Whatever you did wrong before, write it down and learn from it. Constantly grow and challenge yourself to be the best version of you.

Final Summary Paragraph

David traveled to Dago, Kenya, with Enactus Ryerson to work on several initiatives: micro-finance program, beekeeping association, and seedling program

Now, I am not saying that these five things will land you the job of your dreams, but it will allow you to work in what you think you’ll love or speak with industries to gain a deeper understanding of the role. Sometimes our dream job sounds great in theory, but theory is not reality.

So my final piece of advice is to go out and try it! We are at a university at the forefront of experiential learning, so leverage that. If you want to be in marketing, go out and find a marketing role. If you want to be in project management, then go out and experience it. You will never know what your dream job is until you’ve tried it, and it probably won’t be the first job that you try.

So uncertainty is normal, you don’t need to know what you want to do for the rest of your life now.

As long as you try and don’t settle, you will find your dream career.

Posted by David Kwok

David Kwok is the Programs & Community Coordinator at the DMZ at Ryerson University. Upon graduation, he co-founded an educational non-profit called ZerotoStartup and has dedicated his career to helping youth fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams. David also serves on the Advisory Board for Pledges for Change and SAGE (Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship) Canada.

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