From May 24 to June 1, UBC holds twenty-six graduation ceremonies to honour thousands of students receiving their baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. Everyone crossing the stage this spring has their own story of hard work, challenges, setbacks, and achievements. In all, 1213 master's and doctoral students have earned the right to cross the stage of the Chan Centre this spring, and we wish all of them the very best in their future endeavors.
For anyone who has not yet settled on their next steps, UBC alumni offer words of advice on how to carve out a career path:
Pursue what you like and be honest with yourself about what you don't like. I felt a little trapped since I didn't want to become a researcher but the whole system is set up to train you to become a researcher. I found talking to people that were research-adjacent helped me discover just how many options were available outside the university. I was surprised at how giving people were with their time even though they had no idea who I was. Taking the time to get off campus to go talk to people was refreshing and they always were able to suggest someone else I should talk to.
Jean Michel Lauzon, PhD in Chemistry, 2013, currently: Product Manager, SAP
Graduate study can open multiple career options for you; from academia, industrial research, and startups, to specialized highly trained person in the industry. Figure out early what do you like to do after your PhD and tailor your PhD to best help you in your career and to make you competitive in the market.
Samer Al-Kiswany, PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2013, currently: Assistant Professor, University of Waterloo
What you think your life will look like will almost certainly turn out to be something different. You can't control the "what", but you carry who you are - your values, relationships, ability to learn and change your mind - with you as you go. So think of university more as a forge for your mind and soul, and less of a fixed path you move past between high school and a specific career (unless you're a doctor or specialized scientist, in which case, ignore me completely). P.S: pay attention to the rise of A.I. and the automation of knowledge work. The more you can focus on your unique, human value-add, the better the chance you'll be employed in 20 years.
Lauren Hunter, PhD in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, 2007, Currently: Head, IN.spire Innovation Hub, Natural Resources Canada
Keep yourself wide open to options that present themselves. If you don't get the job you think you want, look elsewhere; there is likely a better option around the corner.
Heather McDonald, PhD in Nursing, 2011, Currently: Health Policy and Quality Officer, Seabird Island Band
For more words of wisdom from UBC alumni, visit our alumni profiles.
Visit graduation.ubc.ca for a full schedule of all graduation ceremonies, and information on additional campus events. While many of the graduation ceremonies are now sold out, there is a standby line for each ceremony. All graduate ceremonies can also be viewed online.