Navigating Life after Graduation
Life after graduation is clouded with confusion, uncertainty, and concern over the next step for many young people. Now more than ever, the impact of Covid-19 on job opportunities has made the transition more challenging.
As their graduation dates draw closer, Ashinaga Africa Initiative (AAI) Scholars are considering how to establish a solid foundation for their career or find the right Graduate program. To help AAI Scholars answer these questions, the Graduates and Alumni team at Ashinaga invited AAI Graduates to share their experiences navigating life after graduation.
AAI Scholars heard from three AAI Graduates: Gaelle, Juniour, and Annet. They talked about the transition from university to the professional world and shared advice on securing opportunities during challenging times.
Gaelle is currently working as a Political Analyst in Gabon. She used LinkedIn to reach out to the right people and secure a job after months of research, applications, and countless rejections. Reflecting on the challenges of graduating right when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world:” It was hard, but you must believe in yourself. You will always face challenges but stand strong. “
Gaelle shared the panel with Juniour, who started her master’s degree at Kwansei Gakuin University. She found out about the scholarship opportunity through Ashinaga and received the offer. She is currently studying online from Zimbabwe due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions. According to Juniour, community played an instrumental role in her growth and success. She gave the example of her host family in the US, where she completed her undergraduate degree. The family hosted Juniour and connected her with the organization she worked for before starting her MBA (Master of Business Administration) degree. “Keep in contact with people because you never know when you will be stuck and need your connections,” she said. She encouraged the students to stay connected with the alumni to help connect them to opportunities.
On the other hand, Annet works as a lecturer at Ugandan Christian University. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Oxford, and she plans to start her Ph.D. program there. “Make sure your professors know you very well,” she advised. “You may need references one day. You also must invest in yourself and keep learning. But always remember that you cannot do it alone”. She also stressed the need to remember to stay connected with friends and colleagues.
The three AAI Graduates highlighted the importance of striking a balance between learning hard and soft skills. Communication, networking, and working in teams were some of the skills that helped the Graduates distinguish themselves. Gaelle said, “I was the leader of the African association at SAOS, which taught me how to work with different people and lead teams. I had to do many presentations, and therefore my communication skills improved. Thanks to these skills, I just got a promotion at work to lead a team.”
Gaelle, Juniour, and Annet all agreed that the transition from the student lifestyle to a full-time job or Graduate program comes with various challenges. Still, it also offers an opportunity for growth, increased self-awareness, and resourcefulness. Juniour shared: “Make the most of your resources, including your friends and professors. Keep your mental health in check, especially when people look down on you for returning home. Those small things like asking people to help review your CVs and essays matter”.
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