A LOOK AT LIFE AFTER GRADUATION
by: Jenna Pulver
I previously went to Laurier for a Bachelor’s of Arts in sociology. Then I went here (Sheridan), I took the social service worker program at the Davis campus. I don’t know what year I graduated exactly (It’s terrible, I know), but I believe I graduated 5 years ago (2013). I didn’t pick Sheridan because of the reputation but because it was close to home and I already had my group of friends.
My college experience was a little different than most since I had already been to school and already did the stereotypical university thing. I would go out often, drank often, and lived away from home. When I first went to school I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do. I thought it might be social work, so I looked into that. I still had my friends outside of school, so school was very academic. I’d come to school and just go home until I got involved with Student Union of course. When I joined the SSU it was a little bit easier to get involved. I was one of the older people in my class, but in the Social Work program a lot of people were pursuing their second career so it made it really easy to get along with people in class since they were closer to my age. That was kind of nice.
Once I got involved with the SSU in my second year, it was just literally by chance – I was looking for a job on campus, and I ended up getting the opportunity to be the EVP at the Brampton campus. That was really awesome because I could see the impact that I was making at school; I was working at school, I was meeting people and that turned into a job so, yeah it was awesome.
I was the President of the SSU for two years. The Executive Vice President position rolled into the Presidency, which ultimately lead to this job, and I was lucky enough to get hired for it so that was awesome.
I did extracurricular activities outside of campus volunteering for the city of Brampton. I previously ran a program for kids and adults with special needs, but I never ran a club on campus.
Working one on one the kids was great. I worked with the director there, and I made some good contacts with some parents who were looking for someone to help take their kids out and go to a baseball game. Through that I made a few connections with that lead to some work.
I chose Social Service work as my program because I actually started out taking Geography, and I’m really bad at Math, so it was obvious that Geography was not going to work for me. I switched over to Sociology because I didn’t really know what I wanted to take. Arts is often the field that you study when you don’t really know what to take. I was really interested in the impact of society and its norms, and how what people think they’re supposed to do impacts people’s behaviour. There’s psychology focused on what your brain tells you to do, and what you’re naturally meant to do was the concept I was interested in. It naturally flowed in. I liked the idea of social work because originally I really thought that I wanted to make an impact and I still do. I felt that the best way I could make that impact was to go to some of the hardest, toughest, saddest, situations with some people that have been through such awful things – helping these people was the best way to make that impact.
When I was graduating I was a little bit scared. I was a bit worried because I felt like after I finished university and college, I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was pretty sure that at that point I felt that traditional social work wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do, but I had really enjoyed working with Student Union and I saw a lot of things I was inspired to change and things that I really liked. I also wanted to keep going with relationships that I had built. So that was really exciting but also nerve racking, because lots of people that are equally qualified and equally as ambitious were applying, and you don’t really know what you’re going to do. I was applying for lots of jobs, trying to wrap up my grades - assignments and what not.
"Trying to figure out what my next step is going to be; it was terrifying."
However, the transition from being the president of SSU to my position now, was actually pretty natural because I very much believe in Student Union being very student lead environment, so I felt like I got my opportunity and I kind of moved along. I had a very good relationship with Sylvia when she was president, and she had such great ideas too so it was natural - I had really developed some ideas about leadership development and engagement that I really wanted to start implementing so yeah, I was very excited. The Presidency is actually a really tough job - it’s exhausting, and after two years you kind of want to move on to something that’s less hustle bustle.
Now my typical day is comprised of, getting up, walking my dog, and then I come here and have a set amount of expectations so I know what tasks I need to do at any given day. Older and settled - it’s a much more structured routine. It’s very clear what I need to do, and at the end of the night the biggest difference is that even if I have work or life responsibilities, you have more autonomy to choose what you’re doing when you’re done school. I think that when you’re in school, your job is to be in school, so you go home but part of that is doing assignments and studying. You have less autonomy in the evening time than you have now. I’m talking in that in between stage, before kids, but I think that right now I have the ability to do a little bit more.
If you could go back in time I would get involved a lot more. I basically just came and went to University.
"I wish that I appreciated learning more while I was in school."
It was always kind of a means to an end and I kind of just went to class because you have to get your assignments, but I never necessarily got into it. I was really passionate about some of the topics and I wish I could’ve gotten back and enjoyed the process a little more instead of waiting for the next thing.
I think when you’re in school you wait and think that you want to be working. As soon as you’re working you say “Okay, I’m going to be here for 60 years” so I should’ve I enjoyed class a little more.
The idea of always wanting to learn and make change is always going to be something important to me so I’ve created plans with my next 5 years in this job. Being focused on always creating an impact on someone else is going to be a massive piece of it, and continuing to learn - whether that’s through work or taking classes on my own, constantly learning something new is my goal.
"My advice to students is don’t stress.
Things always work out as they’re supposed to."
I think a lot of us now in this age range have expectations of where we’re going to start, but here’s the reality: Be ready to grind a little bit. We assume that we’re going to start in these amazing positions and we’re going to be exactly where were going to be, but sometimes it’s not going to be in a linear path. You’re not going to be a manager straight away, even though you know you have the skill to do it. Sometimes you’re going to have to put in the work and grind it out.