GUEST COLUMN: I graduated from university – now what?

Vanessa Hrvatin

Back in 2010, I decided to go to Queen’s University to pursue a Bachelors of Science. Having been born and raised in Sarnia, the thought of living east of Highway 402 seemed like a great adventure.

So off I went to live the dream! I majored in Biology and Environmental Science and had an unforgettable university experience.

Throughout my four years people kept asking, “What are you going to do with your degree? What job do you want?”  My answer: No idea. I have plenty of time to figure it out. For now, I am happy and that’s good enough for me.

After completing my degree in April 2014 I moved back to Sarnia. Unfortunately, the question of “What are you going to do with your degree” was still looming, and I wasn’t much closer to having an answer.

For three long months I tried to answer this question. I did extensive research on potential career paths. I called several companies in Sarnia asking about employment opportunities. And I came up pretty much empty handed. Even more upsetting, my days had gone from a constant buzz of assignments, friends, and parties to sitting around alone with not much to look forward to.

Being 22 and having to decide on a career path is more stressful than any exam I’ve ever written. There’s pressure from family and friends accompanied with a constant fear of failure. And although I enjoyed my classes, most of the jobs requiring my degree aren’t something I can see myself doing long term.

While people who take engineering or nursing have a career waiting at the finish line, people with general degrees don’t have this luxury. I was always told that one of the great things about a science degree is it can lead you down so many different avenues. But to me, the concept of infinite possibilities is terrifying and overwhelming.

For now, I’ve decided to go back to school in September with the hopes of making a career out of science writing. I am taking advantage of being in Sarnia by doing activities I missed out on over the past four years, such as Reapers Realm and First Friday.

For all you recent graduates who feel the same struggles as I do: don’t give up! No schooling is a waste of time, and that degree gave you so many skills you don’t even realize you have. Keep searching and you’ll find your way, even if it does take a little time. What’s the rush, anyways?

Vanessa Hrvatin is a recent Queen’s University graduate pursuing a career in science journalism