University is a place of learning. Here, we place so much importance on knowledge. We pride ourselves on what we know and how we think. Unfortunately, there’s also a huge pressure for us to know every step on our personal career ladders.
It starts in infancy. As soon as we can string together a sentence, adults are asking us what we want to be. Through high school, we’re told to tailor our choices For Our Future. We pick our courses, seek out volunteering, choose our university courses, before we even get there. We work on the assumption that if we pick out an end goal, we’ll find a way to connect the dots.
Something really weird has been happening lately. It seems that people think I have my life together.
I can tell you right now there are a lot of us who aren’t 100% confident with referencing. Many of us question whether we still like our majors. The question “and what do you want to do after you graduate?” strikes fear into the hearts of thousands. And frankly, I’m tired of pretending I have an answer. I’ve wanted to write since I was 10 years old: that’s all I know. Writing is my only skill that sets me apart from the masses, and other than that, I have no solid career plan. And I’m not ashamed of it! Do you know why? My mum. She went to York too, and she majored in Economics. She always thought that someday she’d go to Med school. She worked in Pharmaceuticals. She raised three kids singlehandedly. And now she’s a documentary filmmaker- a great one. From her I learned that you don’t have to have it all figured out, you just need to do something. One thing leads to another, and eventually you find the direction you want to take.
I know a lot of people who have had their career plan worked out since they were 12; that’s amazing. I also know a lot of 25 year olds or 40 year olds who are still figuring it out- and there’s nothing wrong with that either.
I chose my undergrad because I wanted to study something I love. The furthest ahead I’ve planned is the university I want to do my Masters at. And it’s not a Masters that will shoe me in for a set career- it’s a Masters that will hone my talents in the art that I love. A Masters that will help me network, that will help me build on the skills that I’m developing now in my undergrad. My plan is to develop these skills, learn all the things (including French, touch wood) and meet a lot of people. Somewhere along the way, I’ll figure it out. Instead of thinking of university as the final piece of “learning” before heading into the “real world” of work, shouldn’t we be embracing the gift of learning beyond the campus gates? Why not use the support we have here- and at Glendon, we have a myriad of incredible support systems- to prepare us for the next stage of learning.
As Rainbow Rowell says,