Advice to Graduates from Jen G

Congratulations on graduating! You have successfully navigated academic requirements, met friends that are like family, and are walking away from Ryerson with a credential that will assist you in making your biggest dreams come true. So why do you feel anxious? Worried? Perhaps a combination of excitement and apprehension?

Life is full of transitions. In fact, these last years you have spent at Ryerson have been full of transitions that you have navigated successfully! Here are some tips and tricks to help make graduation a catalyst to your success.

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[dropcap background=”no” color=”#0012DE” size=”25px”]1. Follow Your Joy[/dropcap]


10 years ago this May, I graduated with an Honors Science degree with a specialization in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Guelph. My parents immigrated to Canada to provide my siblings and I with access to better education. In my family, success meant becoming a doctor, lawyer, or teacher. I left for university with a 10 year plan en route to medical stardom!

The first sign my plan was flawed was the utter exhaustion that came along with my program. At the same time, I had become a student leader in residence and in contrast, felt incredibly energized and happy. When I really dug down to why I wanted to be a doctor, it was to help people. Knowing that I was making a difference to student lives every day in residence gave me the same feelings of connection and productivity I craved as a doctor. I chose to change my course and pursue a career in student affairs.

I courageously took the advice offered by my mentors to “follow my passion”. Look back at your four years and identify what made you feel MOST fulfilled and joyous. Talk to anyone about how they navigated their journey and you will notice fulfilled people have abandoned plans in pursuit of joy. If you are excited about your next steps you are on the right track, if you aren’t find your joy!

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[dropcap background=”no” color=”#0012DE” size=”25px”]2. Count Your Successes[/dropcap]


You are frightened. With no job prospects in sight, and a summer of nothing planned, you find yourself paralyzed by your inability to arrange for yourself what the education system has planned for you in the last 18 years.

This is your opportunity to create. Remember the countless times you felt lost during your undergrad and remind yourself of the little (or HUGE!) victories you have had along the way. While the voices of the media, your well meaning family and friends may be highlighting how “open” your schedule seems to be, take the time to reflect and celebrate your accomplishments. Being able to clearly identify how far you have come both academically and personally will help you feel optimistic and poised to take on your next chapter. Take this time to have fun!

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[dropcap background=”no” color=”#0012DE” size=”25px”]3. Pay Attention to Life Outside the Career[/dropcap]


You have landed a job upon graduation – Congratulations! Make sure to take time investing in other areas of life. Paying attention to family, peer relationships, community, your health and other leisure passions are critical at this time. It can be quite challenging to adjust to work life and learning critical lessons on how to balance work with all the rest of the things that make life fulfilling will pay off as you progress in your career.

Create a bucket list that is not career related. A dream written down is much more effective than a dream that lives in your head. By telling others about your dreams, people are often able to help you see those dreams become a reality.

Personally, I invested many summers in my 20’s traveling and volunteering abroad. I was dedicated to service learning projects across the globe that helped me become a better employee and citizen in all other areas of my life. We need interesting, engaged leaders and citizens to make change in our world. Diversify and develop yourself after graduation.

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[dropcap background=”no” color=”#0012DE” size=”25px”]4. Integrate Into the Ryerson Family[/dropcap]


Ryerson was transformed because you chose to complete your studies here. As alumni, you join a community of people who are making a mark in the world. Connect back with faculty, staff and your fellow alumni and ensure you are staying connected to the ramily. As an institution, we value you and want to keep in touch. Like a family reunion, attend alumni weekend get involved with events and know that the investment you have made in Ryerson will continue to pay off for years to come.

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Editor’s Note: If you are one of these students and need someone to talk to, Jen G is also a life coach! You can reach her at Speaking from personal experience, it’s worth reaching out – Bailey Parnell