The transition: what to expect
By Erin Compeau
Staff Accountant II | Audit
After graduation, I travelled to France and cycled through the Pyrenees and Alps. I trained in Ontario, where the largest “hills” cannot compare to what I would face on the trip. Inevitably, there was an adjustment period in France when I learned how to climb. While making this transition, another cyclist told me that the key is to ride as if the mountain has no peak. This way, rather than constantly trying to look to the finish line, you focus on the process of getting there and enjoy the climb.
When I got a job offer from Deloitte, I was thrilled - this would be the start of a new phase of life that I frankly felt suited me better than university. But when I got together with my friends from high school I realized that I was the only one who would be joining the workforce this year. It made me wonder, am I ready for this? This uncertainty is something that I think most of us face when making the leap from student to working adult.
With the CPA exams, I have not, in fact, left studying behind as much as I had anticipated. As someone who didn't have a part-time job while in school, it has been a struggle to find a balance between work, studying, and other commitments. After a full day of work and the commute home, it’s difficult to pick up the books every night.
Where I once had 15 hours a week of class time in university, I now have a full time workload and study time for my CPA which leaves me with a lot less free time. It's a challenge to stay in touch with friends from school when your schedule has less spare time and you’re living in different cities.
Outside of finding that work/studying/life balance, starting a new role also brings some difficult life decisions to the forefront. Finding a place to live can be stressful. How close to the office should you live? How much rent can you afford? Should you live alone, or with a roommate? People who have the option of living with their parents or other family members also have to figure out when the right time is to make this leap. You also have to build your professional wardrobe which is not everyone’s cup of tea and it can be taxing on your budget after just finishing school.
It's a transition that I'm still in the middle of. During summer jobs, I always had this feeling that I was somehow just playing house. It never felt as real as working full time. This year will push me outside of my comfort zone, but, it’s also challenging me to develop new skills that will help me in the next five, ten and fifty years from now. Transitioning from being a student to the working world can be a bit intimidating at times, but there are also many great moments and achievements. Right now I am keeping my mind set on enjoying the climb.
Erin is a recent graduate from the Schulich School of Business at York University majoring in a Bachelor of Business Administration. She is currently a Staff Accountant II in our Toronto audit practice.