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How did you know what you wanted to do...

LeoGirl

TRIBE Member
There has been a lot of talk lately about going back to school, following your dreams, etc.

That being said, my dreams were always very unrealistic - in Kindergarden when asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, I answered proudly... A SuperStar.

Yes, just like the Saturday Night Live skit. No, I'm not kidding. Exactly like it.

I have 1 year under my belt of post-secondary education - in Business. My first full-time job was in data entry and I've worked my way up. I am pretty damn proud of what I've accomplished professionally, but feel that I've hit a plateau lacking the 'education' to go any further.

I've contemplated many times over the years going back to school but I have some serious reservations for a few reasons:

1) I don't know what I want to do. Do I take something related to what I am doing now, or do I go for something new?
2) I hated school. I am not a good learner while sitting in a classroom reading a textbook or being lectured. I am very physical, hands-on.

A few ladies have inpired me to think about it again. But the whole process is very foreign to me. It's been 15 years since I looked through a course booklet.

How did you know what you wanted to do? If you didn't have a clue yourself, how did you choose a direction? Where do you begin?

Just thought of it makes me feel like I've just entered a giant warehouse packed to the tits with Denim, Summer Dresses and Shoes and I don't know what to try on first.
 

Cheer Bear

TRIBE Member
I've been thinking about this myself lately. I get a raise at the end of the summer, and with Caelyn going to school next fall I'll have the time to take some courses. But like you I don't do well in a classroom setting, so I'll probably take online courses. I went to an alternative highschool and did most of my work at home anyways, so that's not a problem. My workplace will give you a percentage of $ back after you're done school too, which is awesome, so I totally have the incentive to go back. They really encourage people to go to college/university. :)
 

penelope

TRIBE Member
Hmmm, interesting questions. Here's how I ended up where I am. Graduated university the first time with a Bachelor of Science (double major biology and english). Discovered that wasn't much good for anything but grad school but grades weren't high enough for grad school. Fell in love with Ethics, Master's program in ethics required undergrad in law, religion, philosophy or nursing. Process of elimination chose nursing. Didn't want to do another 4 years of undergrad. Went to college for 3 years instead, much cheaper, worked full time while going. NO INTENTION OF EVER BEING A NURSE. Only using it as a means to an end. Attended my first delivery with a doctor I worked for, who is now a friend (thanks Talitha!!!). Well in love with obstetrical nursing. College prepared nurses phased out, realized that I needed my nursing degree to compete for jobs, enrolled at Ryerson part time and now here I am with 7 years full time post secondary and 4 years part time. What I found:

1) I did MUCH better in school when I was in a program to accomplish a goal. I really didn't know what I wanted to do the first time around, marks weren't great. Now that it means something to me I do well. I think this may also be age related.

2) The older I get the easier school gets. I have found in my courses too that older (our age) adults tend to help one another out more than fresh out of high school kids. I learn a lot more from other students, everyone has so much life experience that they have a lot to contribute to discussions.

My husband went back to college after being in the workforce for a while and found the same thing. He wanted to get into media, chose a program at Humber that would get him where he wanted to go and did it.

Have you thought about sitting down with a career counsellor? One of my profs said this was one of the most valuable things she ever did for herself. It helped her recognize where she wanted to go and how to get there, and what made her happy.
 

KillaLadY

TRIBE Member
As cheesy as that sounds, I connect with my inner child and try to remember my dreams and my wishes when I wanted to be little. It's very important to never forget your dreams.

I always knew I wanted to help people, in one way or another. I also wanted to fly, because I thought I would be closer to God, and now more than any other time (like last night for example), I felt closer to my mom. Flying has been my passion since little.
Now I am trying to find a way to connect these two passions I have in life... see how they fit in my life.

I just do what my heart tells me to do and whatever decision I make in life, I have to be aware of any responsibilities I have towards myself, my family and anyone around me that may be affected by my decisions.

I don't think we ever know what we want to do in life and if those that DO know are pretty lucky. I think we need to always remember who we really are, deep down inside.

After all, all we want is to self-gratify ourselves, one way or another.
 

penelope

TRIBE Member
Cheer Bear said:
I've been thinking about this myself lately. I get a raise at the end of the summer, and with Caelyn going to school next fall I'll have the time to take some courses. But like you I don't do well in a classroom setting, so I'll probably take online courses. I went to an alternative highschool and did most of my work at home anyways, so that's not a problem. My workplace will give you a percentage of $ back after you're done school too, which is awesome, so I totally have the incentive to go back. They really encourage people to go to college/university. :)
I was thinking of you this morning. I got an email from Jack Newman about his breastfeeding clinic becoming something to do with breastfeeding education and they are offering programs for people who want to become lactation consultants, lay people, nurses, doctors, whatever. He has different programs based on your education and experience. If you want more info I'm happy to give it to you.
 

Cheer Bear

TRIBE Member
penelope said:
I was thinking of you this morning. I got an email from Jack Newman about his breastfeeding clinic becoming something to do with breastfeeding education and they are offering programs for people who want to become lactation consultants, lay people, nurses, doctors, whatever. He has different programs based on your education and experience. If you want more info I'm happy to give it to you.
That would be awesome Penelope, I'd appreciate it VERY much! :)
 

penelope

TRIBE Member
KillaLadY said:
As cheesy as that sounds, I connect with my inner child and try to remember my dreams and my wishes when I wanted to be little. It's very important to never forget your dreams.

I always knew I wanted to help people, in one way or another. I also wanted to fly, because I thought I would be closer to God, and now more than any other time (like last night for example), I felt closer to my mom. Flying has been my passion since little.
Now I am trying to find a way to connect these two passions I have in life... see how they fit in my life.

I just do what my heart tells me to do and whatever decision I make in life, I have to be aware of any responsibilities I have towards myself, my family and anyone around me that may be affected by my decisions.

I don't think we ever know what we want to do in life and if those that DO know are pretty lucky. I think we need to always remember who we really are, deep down inside.

After all, all we want is to self-gratify ourselves, one way or another.
Well put, I couldn't agree more. What I was trying to say in post above is that I did have a plan but I recognized a true passion when it came along and then figured out how to make that fit into my life.
 

Skipper

TRIBE Member
KillaLadY said:
As cheesy as that sounds, I connect with my inner child and try to remember my dreams and my wishes when I wanted to be little. It's very important to never forget your dreams.
No offense, but I think this is a bit of a cliche. If everyone connected with their childhood dreams, we wouldn't have janitors or garbage men or people who clean up TTC jumpers.

In the whole process of evaluating whether I wanted law or biz school I realized that the things I wanted out of law I could get out of business. I want my tasks to change regularly, working for different clients or on different projects. I want to do research. I want to work with ethically challenging situations/dilemmas.

Since I was 15 I thought I wanted to be a lawyer - for the last 2 years I kept telling myself, if I don't do it now, I'm never going to do it, I'm always going to regret it, etc. I never questioned what was my childhood dream until maybe 2 months ago and am I ever glad I did.

I dunno what to tell you, Cori. I think when the time is right, you'll know it. Going back to school was just kind of this growing desire that I couldn't ignore. I really encourage you to talk to people about what they do - both inside your company and among friends. I find career discussions with friends to be really informational and inspiring.
 

kmac

TRIBE Member
Skipper said:
No offense, but I think this is a bit of a cliche. If everyone connected with their childhood dreams, we wouldn't have janitors or garbage men or people who clean up TTC jumpers.
LOL. My childhood dream was to be a flight attendant. Got laid off years ago and thought I would pursue it... then I went on interviews and found out how much it pays (not a lot).

Am I doing what I thought I'd be doing? Hell no. I always knew journalism was for me, but not the particular journalism I'm doing right now. But surprisingly it works for me and I like it. Anyway, I think the key is identifying what areas or things you like to do and work it from there.
 

JESuX

TRIBE Member
leogirl - you and i are in almost *EXACTLY* the same boat.

i always wanted to be an actress when i was little. actually, first a chef/pastry chef, then a gymnast, then an actress.

i think i stuck with the actress wish until about 19, when the real world hit me and i realized there was no way in fuck that i'd make it in that industry, with everything from physical appearance to financial instability holding me back.

my career path has come a long way, just like leoG's. i worked my way up from a retail path into a shitty telemarketing job - and from there, within 3 years, i've become an executive assistant.

i recently enrolled in courses at humber for corporate communications - but to be honest, being in the corporate office environment stifled from all creative outlets for the rest of my life is of absolutely NO interest to me. i'm doing this because it's what's best for me right now, and i'm relatively 'trapped'.

ideally, now, i would LOVE LOVE LOVE to be any of the following:

- a kindergarten teacher
- an interior designer
- a stylist
- hairdresser
- anything to do with fashion
- pulmonary/respiratory specialist

unfortunately for me, i come from a long line of university educated, PhD, and Masters-weilding relatives. if i were to accomplish any of the above, it's always been rammed into my head that they're not careers that utilize my abilities/intelligence to the fullest, and that i'd be somewhat of a disappointment. :|

i also need to know that i'm going to be financially secure - the thought of not going to work and going back to school full time for something like 6 years to accomplish any of those things at age 27 is pretty fucking unreal. especially when i have no idea if i'm guaranteed to make any money in any of those lines of work. and even more scary when i make a decent salary now and i'm always broke as it is!

so yeah, i understand your frustration! if anyone has an easy answer, by all means, share it!

:)
 

ila

TRIBE Member
kmac said:
LOL. My childhood dream was to be a flight attendant.
Better than mine, which was to be a female body builder (which my mom took to mean, "giant lesbian")

I'm still really into being physical and playing sports though. lol
 

LeoGirl

TRIBE Member
the only thing I am sure about is that if I were to take a course - I would have to be passionate about it.
 

sugar

TRIBE Member
The only thing that I *really* love doing is spending time with my friends and talking and giving advice. I know that could translate to being a social worker/psychologist/psychotherapist/psychiatrist, but that's not what I want to do. I want to do that, but only for my friends :p Therefore, I need a benefactor so I can spend my days doing just that!
 

jus me

TRIBE Member
Still working on it over here!

It recently hit me when I was interviewed for a private sector job. "Looks here that you haven't had any recent experience in a business setting".

True that.

I'm in a different situation where I recently finished my bachelors and am looking for permanent employment.

I am considering going for my masters. Especially after most of my peers are going for theirs (either masters of law school). But not until, I find the right program and school.

This past week I had to make a major decision (I think at least). I took the time to weigh my pros and cons, remember the promises I made to myself according to the current circumstances and vague deadlines.

Now, I find myself in the NGO sector which isn't the most glamourous field. But I love the people and the causes. :) I took a plunge and will be off in the next couple of months, but I'm holding my breath until I have my visa and plane ticket in my hands!
 

She

TRIBE Member
Interesting topic for sure…over the past year I’ve also thought about changing career paths. I’ve wanted to be in journalism/communications field since I was in highschool and it’s been a really great career for me over the past 7 years. I don’t see myself doing this forever anymore…so as of late I’ve been thinking of other jobs that would interest me, all of which having no relation to what my skills/education are in..such as mortgage broker, health technician, small business owner and the list goes on.

Right now I am all over the map and new career ideas continuously pop into my head. My only thing is I can’t imagine going back to school…but as Skipper said I guess if the feeling grows, you just have to do it and when the time is right you will want to. I think it would be extremely difficult for me to not have a fulltime income if not impossible, so how do people do it? Take out a big fat loan and pay for school as well as live off it?

I want to find one of those careers that you don’t need to go back to school for a million years for, pays well and that I like…but I’m probably just dreaming!
 

Casey

TRIBE Member
My problem has always been that there are too many things that I want to do. I effing love paleontology, and still would love to do it, but to be honest I am a little concerned about job prospects in the future. So, I chose something else that I really love (chemistry!). I decided that environmental chemistry is something that I would love to do forever, and career opportunities are (relatively) plentiful. The cool thing is that I got a job working on water quality for the summer, so I get to try it out before I head back to school. I can tell you, it's a lot of fun! I'm very happy that I got to try it out, because it has me convinced that this is exactly the kind of thing I would like to do. As an added bonus, next week I am going out to do some lake sampling, which basically means I get to spend a few days hanging out in a boat. Cool beans!
 

xsre

TRIBE Member
Ever since I was old enough to knock on doors I've wanted to work in politics. Luck and some hard work got me where I am, and I think that when you are starting on the path to what you really want, the luck part happens...getting to where I am has made me believe in fate, destiny, kismet, whatever you want to call it. However, I also know that there were two essential ingredients:

1. You have to be passionate about what you're doing. You have to work at this passion every day, and you have to have a base love of whatever your chosen field is. If you don't, you'll lose heart. And heart is something that can't be pretended or imagined or maintained without true passion.

2. You have to be ready to work hard. Everyone has slack times, but you have to get on the horse when push comes to shove. You have to work your passion, and your passion will work for you.

Cori, have you thought about doing some career counselling (the Y has a fantastic program from what I understand) to see what your aptitudes are?
 

LeoGirl

TRIBE Member
Skipper said:
I really encourage you to talk to people about what they do - both inside your company and among friends. I find career discussions with friends to be really informational and inspiring.
This is really it. And it's what has sparked my interest. I see many women who are very focused on their careers, personal goals, etc and have begun thinking about what I plan on doing for the next 20 years.
 

Pyrovitae

TRIBE Member
i didn't know what i wanted to do with my life until i was 25.

i realised that i wanted to go to school for a joint english/history degree and eventually teach, but there was no way i was going to give up financial stability to go back to school and work towards a four year degree, with a year afterwards for teacher's college. i know friends with massive debts and that's something i never wanted to incur.

i ended up going to school part time while working full time and it was incredibly HARD. after four years i'm halfway through a four year degree.:eek: fortunately, i have the resources now, (a very supportive husband who's willing to support me financially,) to go back to school full time and obtain the qualifications i need to be able to do what i want to be doing.

my mom always said she understood my indecision, as our generation has too much choice. in her day, a woman could be a secretary, a teacher or a nurse, basically. now we're inundated with options and it can be really debilitating to choose just one.
 

JESuX

TRIBE Member
xsre said:
Cori, have you thought about doing some career counselling (the Y has a fantastic program from what I understand) to see what your aptitudes are?
i didn't even know this existed...thanks!

i'm looking into it, too. :)
 

LeoGirl

TRIBE Member
xsre said:
Cori, have you thought about doing some career counselling (the Y has a fantastic program from what I understand) to see what your aptitudes are?
I haven't. It's a great suggestion. I have a big BUT though. When we did these in highschool, the career choices they gave me were so off the chart as far as I was concerned... as a 17 year old. I'm sure that if I were to do the test now, I might feel a little different. something to look into.
 

Bean

TRIBE Member
As a child, I knew that I wanted to do something related to science. In high school, I took every single math and science course (well, not Grade 10 science ;) ) offered. At first, I was primed to enter university for pure science, but then discovered applied science (engineering). I saw a practical side of science that pure science didn't offer and pursued that in university.

Lucky for me, it worked out. I enjoyed completeing my degree, despite how difficult it was at times. I've been working as an engineer for a few years now and thoroughly enjoy my work.

Approaching education as an adult is totally different than approaching it as a child/adolescent. For one, you know that you WANT to be in school, which wasn't necessarily the case in high school. Wanting to be somewhere and to do something directly influences your ability to succeeed and to focus. You will surprise yourself! :)

It's difficult to decide what you want to do! Take a look at where you would like to be in short (1-2 years), medium (2-10 years) and long (10+years) terms and how you can achieve these goals. Don't focus on job titles or careers, rather look at what you would like to be doing. (For example, don't say "I want to be a doctor", but rather "I want to help people"). Thinking in terms of verbs offers a wider choice and doesn't narrow things down right away.

xoxo
 

mandapanda

TRIBE Member
i always wanted to be a fashion designer...since i was little. i also wanted to be a dancer. i wanted the latter so badly, but the fact of the matter is, however good i am, i would NEVER be at a professional level no matter how much i tried. so i went to ryerson for fashion design, realized i hated sewing and pattern making, so switched into fashion communications. now i work in fashion as a sort of stylist/photographer/retoucher/marketing coordinator, so i guess i'm doing what i wanted to do, but i'm not satisfied. also, it doesn't pay well, at least not yet. and from what i can see, that's just the industry, unless you're at the top.

i would love to go back to university and get a more academic degree as i kind of feel like i'm wasting my brain! but the idea of going back to school and incurring more debt terrifies me. i would also love to get a masters, but what am i gonna do - a masters in fashion??!!?

other areas i'm super interested in pursuing are graphic design, photography, and make up artistry, but that again brings us back to going back to school.

i am just so confused. i honestly don't know if i'll ever know what i want to do.
 

She

TRIBE Member
Bean said:
Don't focus on job titles or careers, rather look at what you would like to be doing. (For example, don't say "I want to be a doctor", but rather "I want to help people"). Thinking in terms of verbs offers a wider choice and doesn't narrow things down right away.

xoxo
This is GOOD advice!
 
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