At the age of four we begin kindergarten. After learning our ABCs we move onto grade school, then high school and finally, if we are fortunate, either college or university. But what comes after graduation? For the first time in our lives, there is more than one obvious option with no guide or script to follow. Traditionally, there are two choices: either go back to school for another degree, or get a job. In choosing the latter, where do you start? Unless you are lucky enough to have an opportunity lined up after exams conclude, finding a full time employment can be a long and difficult process. This is where having a mentor can be a great advantage.

            At Bishop’s University we were fortunate to attend a school that offered so many fantastic programs to its students, something that continues once you graduate and become an official alumni. JUMP is one such program.

            Pairing protégés with an experienced mentor, JUMP helps give recent graduates the necessary tools to get them off on the right foot. Whether it’s setting their protégés up with the right people to assist in finding a job in their field of choice, or lending advice on adapting to the real world, the mentors are all ready and willing to help however they can.

            Personally, my mentor answered my questions regarding the transition to everyday work life after graduation. He also introduced me to some contacts that helped give me more information about the field in which I’m interested, charmed with some interesting stories and even allowed me to chew his ear off on occasion.

            While the one-on-one meetings with a mentor offer the opportunity to pick the brain of an experienced business professional and are the foundation on which JUMP is built, the monthly events put on by the steering committee are what really set this program apart. This year many amazing guest speakers – from former Toronto Mayor David Miller and co-chairs of Toronto’s Pride Festival Aaron GlynWilliams and Alica Hall –were invited to address the program’s participants. Though the speakers were entertaining and educational, the most compelling of these events had to be the after-hours curator tour of the Royal Ontario Museum’s exhibit on Mexican Textiles. The museum at night is a sight to see on it’s own, the exhibit was fascinating and the bonding experience with drinks and appetizers afterwards at a nearby bar was an added bonus.

            Aligning with the school year, JUMP takes a break for the summer after the final event in May and, much like attending Bishop’s, while I know I am going to enjoy my summer, I cannot wait to get back at it in September. Having met so many wonderful people and learned a lot about myself, I can safely say that I thoroughly enjoyed my first year in this incredible program and would recommend it to every other recently minted Bishop’s alumni. If interested go to www.bujump.com and fill out a brief application.