Brescia | Student Life Centre Blog

What an undergraduate degree IS NOT intended to do…

graduationDear Brescia students,

Have you had a chance to read the article ‘Dear undergrads: Your degree was never intended to land you a job’ (By: Todd Hirsch, Special to the Globe and Mail, Published Thursday Sept. 26th, 2013)?

If not I recommend that you do…yes the title seems a little bit off-putting but don’t let that stop you…the messages in this article are so crucial to helping you better understand the value of your undergraduate degree.

Hirsch tells students that you can’t be too fixated on “landing a job in your field”…because you really don’t yet have a field. What you study in university may or may not lead to a career within that area of study. Students often ask us “What can I do with my degree” and unfortunately there is not an easy answer to this question. Your future career isn’t just determined by what you’ve studied in university, but really by a combination of your interests, your skills, your values and your personal style. Of course there are some fairly specific careers that require a specific educational route (e.g. Registered Dietician, Teacher, Lawyer, Doctor) but the majority of careers/jobs out there (and many don’t even exist yet that will exist when you get into your career) don’t fall into this ‘gated entry point’ category.

So what’s the benefit then of a university degree?  What does it really provide you with if it isn’t intended to directly land you a job?  Hirsch tells us that it teaches you how to learn, how to think and problem solve in more complex ways and develop the ability to make rational arguments. We know that these invaluable transferable skills and the knowledge that you gain with an undergraduate degree are going to apply in a vast array of experiences throughout your life, these are skills and ways of knowing that you will be able to use in any career.

We encourage you further explore this and think about what your undergraduate degree means to you?  What types of transferable knowledge and skills are you developing as a result of your studies?  What kinds of curricular (through your academic courses) and co-curricular (beyond/outside of your academic courses) experiences are you getting involved in to help you better understand your interests, develop your skills and help you clarify you values?

Our role in the Student Life Centre is to help you explore these questions and enable you to gather the resources you need to make informed decisions about your degree and your career development.  You can learn more about how we do this by visiting us in person in the St. James Building or by visiting our webpage at:

So what can you do with your degree?  Anything and everything!!!

Your friends,

The Student Life Centre

By: Pam Core


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