You've just graduated, now what ?

Updated: May 24

Before you start thinking about life after graduation, you have to think about life before it. I was 16 when I started thinking about varsity. At the time I hadn’t experienced any major changes in my life so applying to different universities and getting in wasn’t a big deal to me. It was just the next step in life. I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew I wanted to do a double major in genetics and microbiology.

I had never considered taking a gap year, never considered alternative dreams to the one I was already on the path to achieving. I had a one-track mind back then. For instance, in high school when it came to choosing subjects my choices where simple; Maths, Physical Sciences, Accounting and Life Sciences. The other alternative was swapping out Physical Sciences for Business Studies, but I never followed through on that. Then it was varsity, I had to do something in the sciences and it had to have genetics in it. Then I would go on to pursue my Honors, then Masters which would eventually be followed by a PhD and then I would start publishing.

But during first year, I stumbled upon a degree called BSc Human Physiology, Genetics and Psychology. I read about it, did more research and the more I read the more I loved it. I particularly loved how it allowed me to avoid doing microbiology because I had been exposed to a tiny bit of it in the first semester and I wasn’t interested in going through the hardships it entailed.

I eventually switched my major from biological sciences to the triple major. I loved psychology in the lecture hall but not so much in the exam room because it was the only module I had that required extensive grasping of information and was very much detail-oriented as compared to my science modules which were more application and calculations than theory.

By the time I was doing my final year, the module I had no desire to see was genetics. At the time that module had put me through hardships worth a lifetime. Losing my love for genetics led to me finding a new love in psychology. A path I never planned for, a path I never saw coming. My vision only involved genetics and nothing else. It took a lot of time to reconcile my dreams with my new reality and passion so much so I felt as though a gap year would be what is the best for me to do in order for me to be able to forge a new path.

However, a gap year was never really an option and I realized that I wanted it more because I was scared of what the future might hold after graduation. I was afraid that the universe was going to be a cruel teacher but I realized that if I at least try and find my place in this vast universe then maybe there won’t be a reason to be taught a cruel lesson.

Not letting fear and anxiety cripple my decision making and affect my future forever, I figured: apply for as many psychology Honors programs as you can and take it from there. If you get in then you have options as compared to having no options. At the end of final year, responses were coming in and I had fewer options compared to undergrad as finances were also now a contributing factor to my decision. I was faced with either finding employment or pursuing my careers which required me to study further. I chose to study further.

Anyways as the saying goes, ‘we plan and God laughs’. I had planned for a career in the biological sciences field but I am now pursuing one in the Human Sciences field. The biggest lesson I am taking with me now that I am a graduate is that don’t have a one-track mind. You are more capable than you think, you can pursue more than one dream at a time. Don’t set rigid goals that you end leaving no room to expand those goals. Always have options and never give up, if you reach a dead-end or a roadblock on your way to achieving your dreams then find an alternative one.

I am a graduate who met a roadblock on my way to achieving my original dream, but I found a new alternative path that I am much happier with.

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