Before moving from the comfort of home, I had little to no clue what “adulting” truly was, as my parents had provided constant support for my siblings and I, and took care of all the responsibilities that came with raising children. Leaving a small island to attend college in one of the world’s largest countries, has truly been an eye opening and extremely enlightening journey for me. I’ve observed, learnt and experienced a vast amount of things outside of the mandatory college material, over the past three years of living alone in Canada. Though many of these insights have been positive, I’ve also been exposed to some of the gloomy aspects of reality, especially in regards to today’s working-class society.

One of the biggest things I’ve realized based on networking, is that so many individuals have given into the comfort and safety of working in a typical 9-5 job, not because they like it, but because many of them believe that their career choice was the smartest and most financially secure thing to do…and hey, the opportunity of affording a fleeting yearly vacation or two if they’re lucky, partially makes up for the weekly, 5-6 work days of boredom/misery. Throughout college, the most popular response I’ve heard from so many students when they’re asked about plans for their future jobs is, “I just want to get a good paying job”. Now, while the prospect of having a job that pays well is obviously appealing to anyone, I can’t help but wonder how many individuals actually stop to think about other aspects that are so much more important than the check cashed in on a typical bi-weekly pay day…at least, I believe they are.

What about feeling a sense of purpose, a thrill or excitement to get on with your workday? What will your daily work environment be like? Is there room for growth? I feel that questions like these have been reduced to trivialities, yet they’re the most important in determining the true value and success of a person’s career. I’ve asked such questions during conversations, and have been told multiple times, that I’m just “not thinking realistically”, or that “it’s not that simple”. Well, I must admit that I’ve always been a dreamer, but the good thing is I’m also a believer in taking action and turning those dreams into goals. The idea of making a career of something I have no real passion for is a huge NO in my book. I believe that if you determinedly choose to make a career of something you’re passionate about, success is almost a given. Sure, there will no doubt be huge pot holes and road blocks along the way, but what will ultimately make the difference, is perseverance. I don’t know about you, but I’m not aiming for a TGIF kinda life, but more of a TGFE (Thank God for everyday 🙂 lifestyle.

I was recently invited to speak to a group of high school students, at a Co-op workshop. These students were considered “at risk”, as they were on the verge of graduating, and most were said to have little to no idea of what career they wanted to pursue in college. This workshop was aimed to stimulate interest, by providing an informational session about different selections of programs, and the benefits of taking a course that offered co-op placements. I didn’t go into this session like I had everything put together, nor did I act as if i was completely sure of the path I’m on. I found that being openly honest with the students got them to feel more comfortable during our small group discussions. I was able to discover that, although majority did not have the typical going to college idea, they did in fact have dreams and ideas of what they saw themselves doing in the future. Most students were slightly insecure about openly sharing, based on the fact that they were told, either by their parents or random people, that there’s no stable future in pursuing those jobs, unless they’re one of the lucky ones that made it big. Three of these dream jobs were interior decorator, acting, and fashion designing. Two students in particular, shared that they wanted to take a year off before deciding to go to university, as they wanted to explore their likes and dislikes, before making the decision to apply for college. Though many people may frown at the idea of delaying college or university, I personally believe this is a smart decision, especially if you’re in such a situation as these two students.

While putting a time period on when to go to college/university may be good for some individuals, I think delaying and focusing on self discovery and personal development is a very wise decision. Why waste time and money in a program you’ll probably end up hating and never pursue a career in? I honestly don’t even think going to college is always necessary, as I know many legitimately successful and financially secure individuals who didn’t step a foot into a college door to get where they are today . Yes, the credentials are absolutely necessary for a lot of careers; but there are so many resources available nowadays. If we’re able to think outside the box and strategize smartly, using such resources to hone different skills are of way more value to us than most of what we learn in school. The thing is, not many people are willing to give the time nor the amount of self discipline and sweat needed to follow this path. School may teach us how to work hard, but we have to ultimately decide on learning how to work smart.

All this coming from someone who’s already completed 4 semesters of college, along with 3 co-op work terms may seem odd, I know. The thing is, while I might enjoy the career path I’m on, I don’t plan on falling into a 9-5 mindset. Sure, I know that there’s no doubt I’ll probably end up working those same hours upon graduating college and finding a suitable job. The difference is, my dreams go way beyond the 9-5 lifestyle, and I plan to see them through. Do you know that saying: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough”? Well, thinking about all that I aim to accomplish always gets me so driven, yet leaves a huge knot of fear in the pit of my stomach.

To address, if there are any misconceptions, I’m in no way trying to devalue the worth or importance of 9-5 jobs (who am I to do so?). I’m just saying that, if you’re working or planning on working one, it’s necessary to make sure it’s for more than just the money. Follow your passion and don’t let the thought of failing at something cripple your goals. Ignore the naysayers, and remain determined. We’re only here for a short while, so it’s up to us to decide what we want to be investing such valuable time into. If you’d like to share some of your own thoughts on this topic, go ahead and do so in the comments section; I’d like to know your opinion.

P.S ~If you’re interested in topics like this, then stay tuned, because there’s a lot more to come 🙂 Thanks for reading!