Throughout the first four years of my now seven-year-journey in post-secondary education, I found myself tormented by my “wandering eye” when it came to my education and career pursuit.
Despite wanting to become a medical doctor from the age of three years old, upon starting school at Ontario Tech, I found myself becoming ever-more interested in topics outside of the course requirements for my degree.
Not having a lot of friends from my program that shared the same interests, I always felt like the odd one out. I couldn’t seem to make others understand that I was passionate about STEM and other fields.
It was also becoming increasingly clear to me that my education at that time did not please my new and evolving interests.
My involvement in a variety of on-campus extracurricular activities allowed me to discover a new set of talents that I was unaware I had. They also opened me up to a new circle of friends that belonged to faculties other than science and engineering.
This, ultimately, was the beginning of a different “path” for me in life. I was straying from my previous life-long desire to pursue medicine and heading towards something entirely different: teaching.
Follow your interests
Once this realization hit me full-force, I had already graduated with my Bachelor of Science degree and was doing a post-graduate degree at another institution.
Though my enrolment in that program was an act of avoidance of the scary “real world,” in hindsight, I realize that it was essential for me to solidify my desire to enter a career in education.
Although this meant beginning school again, without this experience, I never would have discovered my true calling. To me, that is much scarier than thinking of where I would be if I didn’t “start over.”
I am so fulfilled by the choice that I made, and it has led to me doing some really great things in my both my professional and personal life. Even if the choice I made did not work out, guess what? Nothing is set in stone; different decisions can be made.
Don't be afraid of change
The moral of me sharing this all with you is that, if you are uncertain about your program choice or future career, that is okay
You are not alone in the existential dread that is sometimes associated with choosing the “right” path, especially because there exists a lot of pressure to do it all “right” the first time.
Well, I will let you in on a little secret. There's no such thing at the correct path! Everyone's path with be different, and there's no shame in changing your mind from time-to-time, even when it comes to your education or career.
However, to avoid the rigmarole that I went through of completing degree after degree to find my true calling, here are some strategies that I recommend. I wish that I had used them more, but hindsight is 20/20!
- Talk to your Academic Advisor. Their job is to help you, and in my experience, they are great at doing so!
- Reach out to the services that Ontario Tech offers its students. These include Student Life's Career Readiness events, such as Job Preparation, Workshops, and One-on-One Support.
- Realistically consider your finances. Give Student Awards and Financial Aid a visit. They can help you with everything from the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) to scholarships and bursaries.
Take the leap
Yes, choosing to be Ms. Deoraj rather than Dr. Deoraj came with a lot of shame, guilt and condescension.
However, at the end of the day, we all need to evaluate who and what is most valuable to us, including our education and future careers. If we are not satisfied in our career, is it worth pursuing?
Making a change was scary, but I can finally say that I am in a position where I am enjoying my studies and the work, while making a difference in the world. Oh, and I still will be Dr. Deoraj one day... PhD life! 😉
Always remember that the most worth-while investment you can make is in yourself. Be true to who you are and where your passions lie.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I hope that you have found it helpful and that your anxieties (or at least some of them) have been soothed. Trust that it will all work out in the end. If not, it's not the end!
Want to see what career paths the programs at Ontario Tech can lead to? Download our viewbook for more details!