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Why I Spent Two Years in a Diploma I Knew Was Wrong for Me

How I Ended up Getting a Diploma I Am Not Doing Anything with

I started working on a college diploma in woodworking when I failed out of university. I spent a lot of effort to be able to get into a university program. I took extra summer school courses to upgrade some of my grades. I was ready to get my university life on the road.

Then I went to university. I was somehow unprepared for the workload. I became very depressed. This caused missed classes and a lack of motivation to do homework or study. I failed all but two of my courses.

I came home and had a discussion with my parents. I didn't want to go back to school, and they didn't want me going back. They didn't like how I was feeling and thought university was bad for me.

I spent the next several months researching other options. What could I do that didn't involve endless amounts of math and more chemistry than I could handle?

My solution: go to a diploma in woodworking. I had won the award for it all through High School, and I was actually pretty good at it at a high school level. I applied to the program at Conestoga College and was accepted into the co-op program.

I started the program and found I had very little in common with the other students in it. But what I was doing was interesting enough, and I was pretty good at it.

I started not liking going to class, but still went every day determined to not have what happened at University happen again. As someone who could get into University, I was better prepared for most of the course work and did very well in most classes.

Having finished what was required for the non-co-op version of the diploma, the decision was made that, due to health concerns, I would not be completing the rest of it. This meant that I walked away with a diploma that didn't have all fancy stuff attached to the co-op. Somehow it was a relief. I didn't want to have to finish a program where I hated working the co-op jobs. I was starting to resent the work and what I was learning.

I felt trapped in the program I was in and knew that I needed to get some kind of post-secondary education. Unfortunately, between the co-op environments that were unwelcoming to women (not everyone, just some people), and the constant small fears plaguing my mind in regards to the large machines, I did not want to finish it even without the health concerns.

When all was finally done, I walked away with a diploma as a woodworking technician. I got to go to a convocation. I am now enrolled in school and will be starting again in the fall. I feel more prepared for the school I am going to now because of the mistakes that I have made. A close friend says that the only failure in life is the failure to learn. I am going to a school program that was my choice and was what I wanted in life. It will let me get a job in a field that I hope to love. I don’t regret having done the diploma—I learned a lot—only the time that I have lost not doing what I enjoy.

The feeling that you need to finish something is very powerful and the want to please others has as much to do with it as anything. I hope that this can help people that are not enjoying the program they are in to evaluate its outcomes. If it’s the school environment you are not enjoying, then maybe the job will be fine. If it is the work itself and what you are learning about, maybe take a second look at what you are doing. 

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