Life after graduation

4 things no one told you about life after graduation

September 30, 2019
Author: Jenn McGarrigle

Your guide to career success as told by VIU alumni

You’re going to spend the next few years with your nose buried in textbooks, cramming for exams and befriending your local barista. But what is life like on the other side? Will you just fall into a job? How will you find your dream career? Four VIU grads share their path from university student to working adult.


You might not start off in a job you’re passionate about, but it will give you the experience you need to do what you love.

YouTuber, freelance digital marketer and published author Zoey Poulsen moved to Toronto in 2013 after graduating from VIU with a degree in Sport, Health and Physical Education, where she worked for a few years in the corporate marketing world before striking out on her own to follow her passions – travelling and sharing her positive message with people. She started a YouTube channel as a creative outlet because her position in marketing was very analytical. Her YouTube channel now has more than 120K subscribers and has proven to be a successful stream of income. She’s also written four books focused on different aspects of wellness and self-improvement.


You’ll work harder than you think – but if you do something you’re passionate about, that’s OK.

Kara Shedden has always wanted to own her own ice cream shop, and now that her dream has come true, life is pretty sweet. For those wishing to follow the same path and open their own businesses, Shedden, a Professional Baking and Pastry Arts alum, cautions them to do their research to make sure it is the right fit. If it is, then get to work, and get ready to live and breathe topics related to your business.

“Owning your own business is one of the most rewarding, humbling, challenging, terrifying and gratifying things you can do,” she says. “I knew I wanted to open an ice cream shop and I’ve spent countless hours reading books, making a wide variety of ice cream recipes and failing a whole lot. With every mistake, I’ve learned something and grown as a pastry chef.”


Rob Tryon

What you originally envisioned doing after university might not be the thing you end up doing.

After VIU, Rob Tryon used his Fisheries and Aquaculture Technician training to become an oyster farmer in Effingham Inlet in Barkley Sound, just off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Looking for a way to make his product stand out, he dubbed them “Effing” oysters. In May 2013, Tryon quit his business to pursue work in the Alberta oil fields, but the Effing name did not die there. In 2015, he returned to the seafood business as a fishmonger, establishing Effing Seafoods in Edmonton, where he has been hooking locals on his fresh products ever since.


Aaron Colyn

You might end up doing the opposite of what you thought you’d be doing.

Dreams of pursuing medical school motivated Aaron Colyn, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2012, to study microbiology and psychology at VIU, but plans changed when he discovered his love for the science of fermentation. Once he realized that beer was going to be his true calling, he returned to his home town of Port Alberni, where in March 2017 he opened Twin City Brewing. Since then, the business has turned many folk into regular customers and accepted a wide range of accolades for its beer, including Best in Show at the 2018 BC Beer Awards. Next steps include expanding production capacity and keeping things ever-changing and always improving. 

Read more alumni stories

To read more alumni stories, check out VIU Magazine.

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