Image by Keith Luke




By Mathew Schroeder


Matthew Schroeder graduated in 2019 with a

Bachelor of Arts from Trent University. He lived and

studied in Japan during 2018 and plans to return to

teach as an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher). 

In December, I graduated from university with a hopeful attitude and an eagerness to begin my career. By January, I had been hired and began work as a supply teacher at a local school board. 

Unfortunately as COVID-19 hit, and after only having been employed for one month, I was out of my new job. My hopeful and optimistic attitude was quickly lost. Many recent graduates, like myself, have been feeling rather down during this bizarre episode. However, during this time I was able to bounce back by making a few, easy, changes. Hopefully my experience can help other recent graduates navigate uncertainty in their lives.


The first thing that I did to help lift my mood was simply changing my environment and routine every few days. Some examples are choosing to do an activity outside for some much-needed vitamin D and writing in a common space to increase my social interactions. Changing my physical environment helped me to avoid feeling like I was in a rut, and made the day feel less predictable. I also credit changing my environment with helping me to achieve my next suggestion: inviting a new perspective.

This period in our lives is, in many ways, like the end of a season on our favourite show. We get immersed and emotionally invested while we follow the protagonist’s growth and advancements when suddenly, the season ends, and we’re left on a cliff-hanger. We know the show is not cancelled—it will continue—but we have to endure the wait for the next chapter to be released. Just recognize that all the advancements you made to complete your degree are not going to waste, you are just waiting for the next season to begin!

Lastly, take this period in your life to reward yourself. You GRADUATED and should feel proud of your accomplishment. Before school, I used to love to write and create art. University, along with our work culture, caused me to think of these things as a waste of time as it didn’t advance my career in any way. However, life is all about experience, and your career is not your sole purpose. Shifting this career-driven mindset if only for this moment, can help remove feelings of anxiety for being “unproductive”, a word that has long been associated with doing something that doesn’t advance your career or generate income. To me, being productive can also mean helping your mental or physical health by engaging in hobbies that you’re passionate about. Take this time to be productive in a different area of your life and revisit an old hobby or take a chance and try something new!