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Discovery Before Degree

Giving Yourself Time to Make an Educated Decision on Your Education

The dreaded question of a high school graduating student is the one they get asked most often. What do you want to do with your life? Surprisingly, most people can answer this question. The answers all sound quite similar: I am getting a diploma in early childhood education, I am going to law school, I am going to study biology, I have a full-ride to play soccer. When I was asked this question in high school, I was able to answer it myself. I was going to study honours kinesiology at the University of Waterloo. Impressive, I know. This answer always got a series of wows and amazing and congratulations. Little did they know, or I know, that I didn’t really answer the question. Sure, I was going to get a degree in kinesiology, but where did that leave me after my five years of no sleep, gaining debt, and of course, the unavoidable freshman 15?

After my first year of university, I felt successful, I had made friends, joined clubs, and got good grades. However, I had even less of a clue of what I was going to do with my life. After an amazing summer at home September came upon me and so did a sudden realm of panic. I felt as though I could not back and spend another 20 grand on a degree that I had no idea what the heck I was going to do with. It made me panic even more that none of my friends experienced this worry. I began asking some recent kinesiology grads what job or industry they had gotten into after university. Majority of the answers were that they were working at a gym, or going back to school, or taking a complete U-turn in their education. I began asking even more people from other degrees what career they had gotten into. The same answers arose, and I began to really take a look at what I was doing with my life. I decided not to go back to Waterloo for a series of reasons. The main one being I couldn't justify spending more money on a degree that I wasn’t sure I would be able to do something with. I decided that I didn’t want to drop out of school, however. So I took a business diploma at the local college and in those two years I learned quite a bit about myself. Looking back on grade 12 graduating me, I am in a very different place now. I have a passion for videography and graphic design, a completely different industry than the one I was looking at getting into.

So now the big question, why am I sharing this?

Our generation is being shoved out of high school with the stigma that we need to immediately pick a degree and stick to it. For many people, this might work, however there are a lot of people that this stigma is failing. Leaving them in debt, without a job, with a half finished degree, stressed, and feeling like a failure. Taking the time to discover myself before I decide to go back to school or get a degree has been the best gift I could have given myself. I refused to conform to the stigma, I refused to let peoples judgement change my mind. If you are sure that you want to go to school for ten years to be a veterinarian, than by all means go for it. However, school will always be there, do not feel rushed in making your decision, take time to work and travel before you get the degree; you will thank yourself later.

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