A graduating student’s guide to the (Brock) galaxy

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It’s your final year at Brock University. You just came back from a pleasant winter vacation; presents, a regular sleep cycle, maybe even a tan. You are living the dream right now, that is, until you realize that in the next four months you will be graduating. Before you go ringing the anxiety alarms and burying your head in the sand, let’s take a second to remember the simple fact that you made it this far, which is, in itself, a feat to be celebrated. There are a lot of things to do as a graduating student and Brock is filled with resources to assist students in making the exciting transition from student life to the real world.

Start planning, even if you don’t know what you are planning for.

Planning ahead is what gives you the time to find options for whatever it is that you want to do. Some students may have a better idea of what they want to do than others, but planning is imperative to success regardless. As a student, it is important to figure out how your courses have panned out over the last three, four or five years, and how all the time you have spent in class can help you out in the future. More than just passing your courses, you must make sure that their specific degree requirements are satisfied as well, or you may not be able to graduate.

With this in mind, its every students’ responsibility to make a trip to see one of Brock University’s many academic advisors, trained professionals who are incredibly knowledgeable and willing to help you sort out your credits and courses in order for you to succeed.

Academic advisors are a free resource available to every student here at Brock. Booking an appointment online can be done through the my.brocku.ca portal or by attending weekly walk-in hours. You can make an appointment for five minutes or 30 minutes, or book multiple meetings, but it can put anxious students at ease by knowing that they are in good academic-standing. It would be a student’s worst nightmare to find out a month from graduation, that they are missing a half a credit. Don’t take the risk, talk to an academic advisor to make sure that you are ready to graduate.

Getting a full-time job is the next major life task for the graduating student, and admittedly, it will not be easy. However, with planning and effort, you can alleviate many of the pressures of creating a resume in a rush and getting stuck trying to find things to help boost your corporate appeal.

Career Services is a resource tailored to students looking to prepare themselves for a future with beneficial employment. The Career Services website can be accessed by any Brock student using their login and allows students unlimited access to workshops and tutorials ranging from how to properly and professionally write a cover letter and resume, to how to prepare for an interview and develop a composite portfolio.

There are also career assessment tests, job fair listings as well as job postings, volunteer and employment opportunities, all for free. It’s often difficult to think about how you would really perform in a job, if certain attributes of yours would fit well, and a job assessment can help you find what you excel at, and translate those skills and successful attributes into possible career opportunities. Career Services can help you prepare for the next phase of your life, helping students gain the experience and knowledge that will get them jobs after graduation.

Mentorship Plus is a program organized by both Career Services and Brock Alumni Relations that aims to provide students with support through the transition from high school into university as well as the transition from university to the professional world.

With a final-year student, they would be partnered with an alumni or community member within their professional field of interest to gain valuable, inside knowledge about possible career paths. This kind of cooperative experience provides beneficial networking opportunities for the student and honest testimony from real workers about the inner workings within a professional setting.

Stay on track.

The next four months are the homestretch in this university marathon, it is important that you stay strong and keep focused on the task at hand. There are going to be keggers, dance parties and two-for-one drink nights, and there are going to be theses, final exams and job interviews. Decisions are going to be a major part of a graduating students’ experience and it’s all about making smart choices, and not being hungover for important meetings. Sacrifices will have to be made, but that’s O.K.

This semester, try paying a bit more attention to your wallet as well, and where your hard earned money is going. Many students will have OSAP loans to pay back, a car to purchase and despite loving their parents greatly, finding their own place to live. The future holds a lot of necessary expenses, so start putting away a portion of your paycheck, or go out to dinner one night a week instead of three, a little can go a long way.

The future is bright and exciting, as well as mildly terrifying for all soon-to-be graduates. But with all the opportunities and resources that Brock offers, graduating students are in a good place when it comes to preparing for the impending professional realm. In the last semester here at Brock, remember to not only strive for academic and professional success, but to enjoy your time as well.

For more information, visit your department web page, academic advisor and Career Services on the main floor of the library or at careerzone.brocku.ca

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