Alumni Stories: Karina

“I started to understand what my work ethic was like as a professional rather than someone who was studying.”

Like many students, Karina Tatarinova from the Class of 2016 headed off to university relatively unsure of what career she wanted in the long run. At Queen’s University, she took a variety of subjects in pursuit of a major, finally deciding on Economics after her first year. Five years later, Karina may not be working in the economics field, but has found her passion in media relations.

“I took French, Political Science, Sociology, Psychology, and Economics,” Karina explained. “I just took the most applicable course I could think of. But after my first year, I loved all of those subjects.”

After debating between Psychology and Economics, Karina decided to major in the latter. Unfortunately, by the time she graduated, Karina didn’t feel like her Economics degree prepared her for real-life scenarios.

“So after I graduated, I kind of felt lost,” Karina discussed. “I thought, ‘I really don’t know what to do at this point.’ I really enjoyed studying and being at university.” After leaving the structure of academic life behind, she didn’t really know what else was out there. “You’re used to the midterms, the finals, being in the library and studying for a long time. It’s kind of a difficult transition.”

Karina knew that she wanted to start working. “I said to myself, ‘I need to do something,’ you know, ‘I can't just sit and not work,’” she explains. “My friends at the time, and a lot of people around me, told me that the more you try, the better it will be for yourself. So, if you can find something, even if you don’t like it at first, see what it is and if you can grow in the company. Or, you might find different opportunities, but make sure you’re doing something.”

Graduating during a pandemic made the job hunt difficult, but Karina ended up landing a role as a Customer Success Specialist for a start-up delivery company. She worked there for just three months, but learned a very valuable lesson.

“At that company, I started to understand what my work ethic was like as a professional rather than someone who was studying,” she explained. 

“It helped me understand what I really wanted out of a job, and it helped me transition to understand what kind of job I wanted in the future.”

Karina is currently working at an investment relations company as a director of media relations. “Working here seemed to align very well because I had a background in economics, and I could understand what the company does and their lingo,” Karina says. “It was nice to apply my knowledge, but also learn more about things I like and actually use my creativity.”


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Alumni Stories: Kabir

Kabir Shahani (’15) always wanted to make an impact, and says that being taken seriously as a kid is what led him to tackle the very adult issue of affordable housing.

Alumni Stories: Marc

Marc Mitri (’13) learned how to build consensus as a student council leader at Hudson, and it’s a skill he’s used everywhere since—from his business master’s at UofT to innovative product launches.

Alumni Stories: Alex

Alex (’14) shares the advice that prepared him for Industrial Engineering at University of Toronto and entrepreneurial challenges at the crossroads of finance and technology.

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