Before, During And After Graduation – Part 2: During

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We all know what they say when we’re young: “The world is your oyster!”

Naturally, upon hearing that, we all think that the possibilities are endless and we can actually accomplish anything.

While this may be true, I don’t think any of us anticipated the reality of all those possibilities.

The truth is that getting a job after graduating isn’t as easy as it seems.

“I always hear about nursing shortages, so anyone would assume it’d be easy to get a job with a shortage.” —Cherry Ko, Nursing graduate, Ryerson University

This series, called Before, During and After, will profile three different individuals at each of these stages, showing the real-life struggles of students before, during, and after graduation.

Before: Ferdelle Capistrano, University of Toronto student

DURING

Name: Cherry Ko

Studied: Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Ryerson University

End goal: To become an oncology nurse

How do you feel about the job market now that you’re graduating?

Cherry: The job market is definitely competitive, especially in Toronto. I’ve sent out many resumes and have only had about seven interviews. Just like all the other new graduates, I’m a novice in nursing which is a bit of a problem for us. Most of the job requirements want us to have a certain number of years worth of experience in specific units – that’s something that new graduates don’t have. So where do we fit in now?

Did you anticipate it would be a very competitive market when you were graduating?

Cherry: No. I always hear about nursing shortages, so anyone would assume it’d be easy to get a job with a shortage. I was actually expecting myself to have a job a year after graduation.

What are some steps you are taking to get to your end goal?

Cherry: Since I’m currently working outside of my field, I’m really doing any nursing related work. In order to keep myself current and not fall behind during this “gap” I’d have to go back to school and take courses to keep myself updated. Even during interviews employers will look at your work history and ask what you’ve been doing during the time you’re not working as a nurse. At least I can say I’ve been trying to continue my competence; my skills and knowledge are still “fresh”. But right now I hope to at least get a foot in the field first, and work my way up from there. Of course I want to work in a big hospital, but the reality is that I’d need to start somewhere small first. I’m also applying to long term care facilities now.

Do you think it’s harder to get a job because it’s so competitive?

Cherry: It’s definitely harder. A lot of people come to Toronto for work because they want to work in a big city.

In regards to this “in between” job you have, do you feel as though you are settling or just paying back your dues before you “make it”?

Cherry: I am definitely not settling for this in-between job; that would be like four years of hard work down the drain. I would be devastated if I let myself give up. I still have my hopes up that I’ll find a nursing job soon. It’s only a matter of time until I reach my goal. But for the time being, I have to continue with this in-between job. After all, I still need to pay for my bills –especially OSAP. That’s a big reason why I have to get a nursing job.

Has this competitiveness had any effect on your “dream job”?  

Cherry: It has. It’s already hard enough to find a nursing job, let alone get into the specific unit you want to get into. But all that simply means is that it will take me longer to get where I want to go. At the end, I’m sure I will get there.

Can you relate? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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About the author

Francesca Castor is a freelance writer from U of T with an Honours degree in English and Book & Media Studies. While her passion lies in writing, during her “time off” she can be found getting lost in books, laughing along with The Office and Community, and making pop culture references every chance she gets. If you ask her what her favourite things are it would be: word games (although she is terrible at them), fashion, attempting to DJ on her DJ app, and anything to do with Community. You can find her on Twitter: @hellochesca.