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#156: Courtney Hardwick – Every BA program should have a co-op or work study component

“What is the point of all the book learning if we never get any of the experience we need to actually GET A JOB?” – Courtney Hardwick, Graduate, University of Windsor

I always knew a BA in English wasn’t going to make it easy to get a job, but I thought having a university degree would at least count for something. Turns out, not so much. I ended up going back to school and just recently finished a post-graduate publishing program at Ryerson.

Even though I have focused in on the industry I want to work in, it has still been next to impossible to find a job. I have done two internships at publishing companies and although they were both amazing experiences, they don’t seem to count for much either. I had one interview for an internship where they told me straight up that my time there would not lead to a job, so I shouldn’t have any kind of expectations regarding that.

Now, I understand they are only telling me this to be realistic, but it is still discouraging to hear that at an interview and it is depressing to think that all I will ever be able to find are an endless string of internships that pay next to nothing.

I am at a roadblock. Do I continue to do internships and hope eventually one will pay off? Or do I look for work elsewhere just so I can make some money and actually start paying back that student loan that’s lurking just past another six-month repayment assistance term?

What I’m doing now

I got a post-graduate certificate and it helped me get internships, but that’s still not enough. I have done some volunteering as well. To pay the rent, I work in retail, and I can’t wait until the day I can quit and never look back.

My recommendations for employers, career centres and schools

Maybe the whole university model just needs an overhaul. What is the point of all the book learning if we never get any of the experience we need to actually GET A JOB? Sure, I can write a comparative essay on The Great Gatsby and some obscure short story in one of my literature anthologies, but who cares?

I think every BA program should have a co-op or work study component, no matter what the focus is. If I could go back, I would probably go to college instead, because the practical experience is so much more valuable than the book smarts.

My advice for other students and recent graduates

Anything you can do to get practical experience while you don’t have to worry about rent/paying back student loans/bills, do it!

Also networking, because unfortunately it really is true that it seems to be WHO you know rather than WHAT.

This #StudentVoice belongs to:

Courtney Hardwick
Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature
University of Windsor

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