So, here’s the deal with this blog post. I’ve spent a week thinking about it, and how I was going to approach the timely topic of post-secondary education. It’s a topic I have many opinions on, and a ton of experience with, but this made it really difficult to decide what I wanted to talk about. Finally, I settled on it- “What I learned about doing what you love.”
I, like many graduating high school students, spent a lot of time trying to decide what I wanted to study in post-secondary school. I sat there with books from many different schools, looking at the different things I could major in, and went back and forth many times. Originally, I wanted to take Journalism, and become some kind of writer- I love writing, and Writer’s Craft was my favorite and best class in high school. However, I faced a lot of pressure not to choose that major- many people told me it was too competitive, and that I’d never get a job in it when I graduated. So eventually, I pushed that idea aside and started looking for another major.
If you have something that you love doing in life, then I strongly recommend that you pursue that dream of yours because nothing can really stop you from achieving it. You are the only one who can stand between your dream and you. The last thing that you want is doing something that you don’t love for the rest of your life.
Finally, I stumbled upon the idea of studying social work. The classes seemed interesting, as they were studying human behavior, and how people are impacted by the world around them. So, I put in applications to 4 Social Work programs, and 1 Social Development Program, which was a combination of classes in social work, sociology, and psychology. I was accepted to all of them, and eventually chose the Social Development Studies program at the University of Waterloo. I thrived in this program, earning higher grades than I ever could have dreamed of in high school because I was finally in control of what I was learning, and I studied what I found interesting, rather than just what I was required to study. However, as I started to look at job prospects, I realized few of them were really what I wanted to do. So, after taking 1 year off at the end of my B.A, I entered a post-graduate Bachelor of Social Work program, again at the University of Waterloo (what can I say, I liked the city!). I studied and worked in a placement over the course of a year, learning the skills needed to work in social work. From the very beginning, I knew I didn’t want to work in counseling or clinical areas of social work. So, several of the classes seemed less applicable to me, because of their focus, but I worked hard and achieved good grades in them as well.
Once I left my B.S.W and moved to Toronto, I started looking for a job- still not really knowing what in social work I wanted to do, just that I wanted to “help people” (cheesy, but true). Nothing was coming up though. I applied and applied until I was pretty tired of seeing my resume and writing about myself. Then I took a break from applying and started volunteering. I had more fun volunteering than I had to apply for jobs. I wasn’t volunteering in social work either- I was doing data entry for a wonderful non-profit, and several other small tasks for them.
Finally, one day, a position came up for me in international development (which I’m going to go ahead and admit I knew nothing about). One of the tasks I was given was to manage their American social media outlets. That was it, I was in love. I had spent time on Twitter and Facebook along with a few other spaces before, but never had I been in control of the community building of a decent sized organization. I began reading more about this topic and getting better and better at it. Then The Rose Centre came along, and I volunteered to be their social media/communications manager, and I knew it was love.
Had I known 10 years ago this would be a job when I grew up, I likely would have gone down a very different path than the one I did. While I am not being paid to do social media any longer (I’m still “the voice” of The Rose though), I at least know where my passions lie- working with non-profits and helping to organize and create a community using the tools of social media.
So- what do I hope everyone will get out of this post? The idea that if you look around enough, and push on, you’ll eventually figure out what you’re in love with. And even if you can’t get paid to do it just yet, it’s still worth doing. Find what you love and find a way to do it- you won’t regret it.