Graduating with a year of work experience

As I sit here and type this I’ve finished the courses for my undergraduate degree. It’s 10pm on a Tuesday and I’ve completed the first of three finals I have for the last and final term of my undergraduate degree. Personally, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic even though I probably need to be up at 7am. I’m graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and while it took me five years to complete my degree I’m also graduating with something extremely valuable… a year of work experience. 

The Alberta School of Business is fantastic in the sense that it provides students with the opportunity of something so much more valuable than lecture notes, real life work experience. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my work experience. I have a year under my belt and as such I know exactly what field I’m getting into, what to expect from my post-graudation job/industry and most importantly I feel like I actually know useful stuff.

It took me a while to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, 4 faculties to be exact, and while I may get some criticism on that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve learned a lot of invaluable life lessons along the way.

Rewind to September 2009.

I was your typical stubborn, type-a, over-achieving, go-getter. I was enrolled in the Faculty of Engineering, I thought I had the next eight years of my life planned out but frankly I didn’t have a clue. It only took one semester for my marvellous plan to unravel and fall apart, I hated Engineering and I wasn’t good at it. Barring that, I had no desire to spend the rest of my days calculating vectors. Props to the guys (and gals) that I started with that are graduating this year, I’m very proud of you all, it just wasn’t for me.

Life Lesson #1 – If you hate what you are doing, then quit. 
I was absolutely terrified of “failing”, not finishing what I started but it was the best decision I’ve ever made. If you’re miserable in what you are doing then it’s 100% up to you to change your life. Don’t be afraid to say “this isn’t for me”, it’s okay to quit things and do what you are passionate about – you will be much happier this way.

So at 18, when everything fell apart I was faced with the question. What the heck am I going to? General Science seemed like the go-to so that’s where I ended up. I took a nutrition class and fell in love with it, I was so interested in healthy-eating (I still am), but I wasn’t sure that I wanted the end career goal.

Life Lesson #2 – Always have the end goal in mind
I found nutrition extremely interesting but I didn’t like the end career. I still learn about nutrition on my own time, it’s just not my career. As my mother always said you must want the end career, the courses along the way are just the stepping stones.

As I continued in the Faculty of Science and eventually Agriculture I realized  I wasn’t passionate about what I was learning. My mom suggested I take an accounting class and despite my best efforts I ended up falling in love with the subject and transferring into the faculty the following year.

Since I’ve been in Business I’ve never looked back, it has always felt right, I’ve felt at home and this faculty has given me the opportunity I would have never dreamed possible. After one single semester in the Faculty of Business I was off to my first work term and had absolutely no clue what I was doing. I learned more than I had ever imagined in my 8-month work term, and I’m so grateful that I was able to work with the people I did. I would complete my last work term in Calgary and again learn more than I ever imagined.

Life Lesson #3 – Don’t be afraid to take risks 
Moving to Calgary on a whim without knowing a soul was t e r r i f y i n g, but it was also the best thing I’ve ever done. I met so many amazing people, furthered my career more than I ever thought possible, and learned that I’m 100% okay on my own.

During my last year of school I’ve focused on doing and learning about things that make me happy and spark my interest. My life is a lot fuller because of it and while some people think I’m an absolute nerd for having an opinion in the rent vs. buy debate, I love it.

Life Lesson #4 – Follow you passion and never explain it
I have a passion for business, accounting and personal finance all of which come together in my mind to form bliss. As silly as it may sound I love talking about the stock market or personal finance with people who are interested. I’ve tried to share my writing with more of classmates and I’m happier for it. So often I’ve had people come up to me and say they enjoy what I’m writing, which wouldn’t be the case if it wasn’t for my business background.

I guess all in all I would say that I graduating with a year of work experience has taken me to a place I never thought possible. I’m so thankful for my University education and opportunity to pursue professional work while completing my degree, without it I think I’d be lost!

Only two more exams! Wish me luck =)

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Comments

  1. Good luck Janine! Graduating is such an amazing feeling. I almost didn’t go to my graduation ceremony, but it turned out to be SO worth it. I really liked the physical visualization that it made of graduating by walking across the stage.

  2. Good luck! I didn’t realise your path to accounting had been so windy. Glad you found the right path.

  3. Congrats on ending up with your degree, AND experience. It really does make all the difference. :) Glad that you found accounting after starting with engineerings – it’s all numbers, just a little different of an approach!

  4. Ah, belated congrats, Janine! I had a similar experience changing majors, and I agree that it’s all worth it if you’re in love with that end job. :)

  5. Bryan Flake says:

    I am starting up my own business after the first of the year. I need to line up a great business accountant that can help me keep the books. Is there a reputable accounting firm in Geelong I can contract through?

    http://www.tagwealth.com.au/content/about-tag

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