Our Education System and Career Navigation
Updated: Aug 3, 2019
Let me start by reminding everyone that your grades at any point in your education, are not a reflection of your capabilities in nearly any regard. That being said, formal education is the primary variable that people tend to plan their career around.
At the beginning of my time at the U of T, my GPA was high enough that I could pretty well do anything I wanted to do in my areas of study. Unfortunately, after my fourth year, my GPA dropped to a point where I could only recover it by getting a minimum of an A- in every single course I took going forward which was not realistic especially while working and commuting. My full time education will come to an end in less then 6 weeks so as you can imagine, my entire life has been devoted to making sure I'm not jobless immediately after.
My original plan for this fall was to work in either a laboratory or a veterinary clinic for a few months to a year, and use my spare time to organize my long term career. Whether that meant going back to school, or attaining experience and certifications in one or a couple of fields.
After about a month of deliberation and searching job postings, I realized 2 things: first, to work in a lab as a technician, you need a college diploma and other certifications I don't have (even though I've worked in a lab on campus for 2 years). And second, while I love animals more than life itself, I don't really want to work as a vet assistant because there's no room for growth, the pay isn't great, and it involves a lot of shift work and can be very stressful.
I could see panic on the horizon, and the only career that continuously ran through my mind was something I have been terrified to try because it is so heavily sales, customer service, and well... people based. In any case, I jumped in and, I took a personal training course. I finally accepted that I would never be happy working at a desk sitting in front of computer 40 hours a week, or working in a restaurant, or any other sort of corporate job, and that working with animals would not be realistic.
The only two things left that I could see myself doing were working in health and fitness, or academia and that one is currently out of the question.
So here I am about 2 weeks after my 3 day intensive course concluded; I have accepted a job offer at a new gym called FlexZonia Fitness in downtown Toronto, I have a second offer from a kickboxing gym just north of the city to train with them for a bit and then maybe teach some classes in a few months time so I'm sort of just seeing where that may go.
I want to provide two pieces of advice here: 1. don't think so much about what you "want to do", think about what problems you want to help solve (we all know there's enough of them right now), and then navigate different ways your could help solve it. 2. don't take the results of our broken education system too seriously, more on that below.
If I had chosen my courses in university according to my high school education than I never would have discovered how much I love math and science. If I had taken the fact that I was always a very mediocre gym student in school as me not being athletic at all, than I would never have been offered these positions, or joined a swim team last fall. The education system is broken and has been for years.
I can't say that I wasn't devastated when I realized that graduate school was just not in cards for me right now, but there's always more than one way to get to where you want to be. Further, many of the most notable people didn't follow the beaten path to get to where they got. Whether by choice, or forced because of various circumstances, they had to zig zag their way to success. This is particularly common with people who are creative and entrepreneurial; I have been told that creativity is negatively correlated with graduate education programs so I always need to remember to fact check that before I make my final decision on the matter.
I will now copy and paste those two points again and leave you with that.
1. don't think so much about what you "want to do", think about what problems you want to help solve (we all know there's enough of them right now), and then navigate different ways your could help solve it.
2. don't take the results of our broken education system too seriously.