Figuring out What to Do After Graduation

Graduation brings up many questions intermixed with feelings of accomplishment. The years culminate in walking on stage and receiving that much sought after piece of paper, the diploma. Still, questions persist: Where will I live? What sort of job will I find? Should I pursue a graduate degree? Where will my friends find themselves? These are all important to consider. After all, the process of becoming a fully-fledged adult is understandably nerve-wracking. Pondering these very questions is what led me to speak to Corey Dickinson, a master’s student(MSc) in Development Geography, here at McGill University about his journey.

Prior to coming to McGill, Corey did his bachelor’s in Geography in the U.S. While in his undergrad, he felt it was important to get outside of his comfort zone and gain real world experience outside the world of academia. He felt it would complement what he had learned in the classroom. Thus, he applied to spend the summer in Alaska as a tour guide and monitoring toads. The summer proved informative and hammered in the importance to him of gaining work experience before applying to a master’s degree. He gained this at Mammoth Cave, a national park in the U.S.; helping with anti-poaching efforts in Uganda; and working as an urban park ranger in New York City, which helped lead him to where he is today. They gave him perspective when selecting a graduate school. When applying, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of programs and universities out there. This is where work experience can be helpful: it allows you to network and meet people to learn about their field and experience, learn more about yourself, and hone in on your interests. Through this process, Corey eventually settled on Development Geography.


Still, it is important to note that life is full of imperfect choices, and there are some drawbacks to attending graduate school a little later in life. There are inherent differences between professional and student life, and this change comes with some adjustment. A student schedule is more flexible and the hours are not as set in stone. Additionally, there is a greater age range amongst students and with this, comes different points of reference and perspectives with which to grapple. Still, the experience has proved worthwhile. Corey speaks highly of his program and supervisors, and he is excited to apply technical skills to qualitative problems.


He does offer some advice to his younger, fellow students. He says that if circumstances allow, it can be a wonderful experience to take an exciting job after undergrad. While scary, it can open the mind. It offers the opportunity to meet new people, gain work experience, and try new things. Additionally, this route gives you time to consider where your interests and aspirations lie. Still, whether to continue on in school and if so, when, is a personal decision that will vary from person to person.


Often, it is necessary to make a decision without knowing all the variables or with imperfect choices. Everyone has different goals, thresholds, and parameters with which to work. Deciding what to do is also very much so subjective and a process. Just remember, graduation offers exciting opportunities and a bright future as McGill alumni.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.

Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.