Graduates and alumni reflect on their time at MRU
Keo Bunny, Features Editor
Six years. I’ve been at Mount Royal University (MRU) for six years — that’s a lengthy amount of time to do anything. But as the dawn of the semester slowly starts to encroach upon us, and graduation looms over my head, I’m not afraid to admit I definitely would’ve done some things differently if I knew it’d turn out like this. With that thought in mind, I set out to see what other advice graduating students and alumni have for their lower-year counterparts.
University can be a scary place and while we may see other people everyday, interacting with them may be a different story. It’s a lot easier to stay in our own little bubbles especially when it’s a place we’re not necessarily comfortable with but you might find that breaking out of your shell and branching out might be beneficial not only to your personal life but also your professional life.
Alumni Gabe Chai who graduated in 2020 with a degree in Human Resources says that life outside of university depends on your life in it too.
“I wish I knew how important it is to know people in your field. Networking doesn’t secure you a job, but it helps to know people and they can reach out when an opportunity opens,” he said.
Networking seems to be a big subject for graduates and alumni. Aisha Sheikh, a fourth year student in Broadcast Media Studies, also suggests students put their resources as well as their peers to good use.
“Networking starts the day you walk into MRU. Talk to people you typically wouldn’t socialize with,” Sheikh said. “You have yet to determine what connections will land an internship, a reference or a summer position…”
It seems like another common piece of advice is use the services available to students, academic or otherwise. Spencer Yu graduated in 2022 with a degree in Journalism and says it was convenient to have everything nearby.
“I certainly miss the many amenities that were present on campus. Having a gym and a food court within close proximity to your classroom was certainly a benefit,” Yu remarked.
There are also other services students could use to make the most of their tuition here at MRU.
“I would have spoken to academic advising to find more even leveled [semesters] (mix general education courses with cores),” Chai continued. “Speak with career advisors to build a stronger resume. Take advantage of a-co-op program … [and] discounts as a student such as banking, monthly or annual subscriptions.”
Not only that but it might be wise to seek out help from members of the MRU community as well.
“All the profs and technical support staff have so much experience. They are always willing to sit down and teach students individually. I wouldn’t have survived if I couldn’t access my profs individually whenever I needed them,” Sheikh said.
According to Universities Canada, an organization that aims to represent Canadian universities at home and abroad, there was approximately 2.1 million new jobs created between 2012 and 2022 aimed at post-secondary graduates.
Leaving the mundanity and rhythm of university is intimidating. According to Statista, graduates will be joining over 300,000 other post-secondary alumni who’ll also be looking to break into their various industries.
Although it could be anxiety-inducing to think about the future, alumna Vanessa Iula suggests trying to change your way of looking at things.
“Instead of allowing the stress of ‘what the hell am I going to do after’ take over, try to reframe that,” Iula adds. “It’s really just the start of such a cool journey. You’re the captain of your ship, time to live [how you want].”
When asked about something she wished she knew earlier, Iula said sticking up for yourself is key.
“[I wish I knew] the importance of advocating for yourself in a university setting. Once you master that, you’re genuinely in complete control of your outcome,” she said.
If you’re feeling uncertain about your future after university, remember that now is the best time to plan for that.
“The biggest advice that I can personally give to people who are currently in university and people who are about to embark on any form of post-secondary education is to have a clear vision of the path they want to take,” Yu advised.
Of course, everyone has their own way of dealing with university and sometimes you never know what to expect.
“Each semester felt like a different season and with that, came with their own ups and downs,” Chai said.
And maybe that’s okay too. You’re in university, you might as well make the most of it.