Life after Laurier: A tale for optimists

Economic stagnation and an influx of BA students to the job market hasn’t exactly inspired faith in expensive degrees and university as a launching pad for a successful career. But some Laurier Brantford graduates have proven to be a formidable match for the depressed economy, and found jobs that are both interesting and personally fulfilling. From law to education to journalism, graduates are branching out in a multitude of ways.

Concurrent Education major, Katie Hashimoto is one such student. After graduating in 2009, she was hired on by the Grand Erie District School board as their first-ever Environmental Coordinator.

“It started out as a six month contract,” says Hashimoto, “[and] six months has now turned into a year.

When she began her job, there was a particular focus on recycling, but that’s now ballooned in ways she didn’t expect. Soon after being hired, Hashimoto was researching and applying for environmental grants, traveling from school to school to give presentations, and helping high school ‘Green Teams.’ In a mere twelve months, she’s accomplished so much, helping Paris District High School get its Ontario EcoSchool certification and contributing to a plan which will see solar panels on 32 school rooftops.

“I love it,” she says. “I absolutely love it.”

Adam Loyens is another Laurier Brantford alum making good use of his degree. After graduating with a degree in Criminology and History, he attended Western University’s law school and is now articling at Waterous Holden in Brantford. It wasn’t an easy ride getting there though, having to trek through the LSAT exam and finally the bar, described by Loyens as being “the worst exam I’ve had to write.”

Work isn’t easy. Loyens put in, on average, a ten hour day, beginning at 8 AM and ending around 6 or 7 PM.

In end the end, he says that he wouldn’t have chosen anywhere else to attend undergraduate, saying Laurier provided him with the fundamental tools to expand on his knowledge base.
“Good research skills, good critical thinking skills, good reading skills,” he says.

Ryan Flanagan took his degree and himself all the way to Thompson, Manitoba in order to pursue a journalism career. After graduating from Laurier Brantford this summer, Flanagan is now a reporter and photographer for The Thompson Citizen. It’s a paper that serves approximately 13,000 people, a large population in relation to the surrounding area.

“I’m probably doing between ten and fifteen news articles a week,” says Flanagan, commenting on his hectic schedule. “I definitely feel like I have less free time.”

Flanagan concedes that although his degree didn’t prepare him for the hectic nature of his job that in some respects it has helped.

“It did prepare me for the more practical aspects,” he says.

Jamie Graham is just beginning his career as an officer for the York Regional Police. As a graduated Laurier Brantford student, Graham earned a degree in Criminology and is completing his time with the Ontario Police College and looks forward to being sworn in this January.

Graham is focusing on preparation now: learning how to drive a police car, how to handle a weapon and how to act in particular situations.

“I get pepper sprayed in October,” Graham says. He’s volunteering for this in order to explain what it feels like to others and so in the event that it happens to him on the job he’ll be prepared.

As for career aspirations, Graham is particularly interested in getting involved with the organized crime unit and the drug unit. He explains how Criminology classes at Laurier Brantford really turned him in that direction.

“I took classes on organized crime, and that’s what really got me into it,” he says.
Hashimoto, Loyens, Flanagan and Graham all spoke with a pronounced excitement distinctive to any fresh beginning. All have had the opportunity to learn, grow and test the waters but can finally exhale and experience the life they were working so hard for during their university years.

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