There was a time, not so long ago, when I wanted to be a forensic pathologist. Yup, I wanted to give a voice to those who no longer had one. That changed while in Grade 12, after my incredible principal introduced me to the wonders of advocacy through something called Culture of Peace. This passion to change the world led me to taking International Development and Globalization at the University of Ottawa. While I loved the idea of this as a career, it was short lived when I realized I would struggle to find a job in the field.
So I went back to my first love – science. You should know that I’m a science nerd to this day, and will be until the end of time. Anyway, following my stint in night school getting my high school science classes under my belt, I enrolled into the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s Forensic Science program. It wasn’t until second semester, in my Intro to Forensics class, that I learned how few jobs there were in that field for someone with a generic forensics degree. Not only that, my dream of becoming a forensic pathologist soon went down the drain when I learned how few there were in the province and across the country. Essentially, after my completing a degree, medical school and a specialty in pathology, I would need to move to the states in order to secure a job. Thanks, but no thanks.
That’s when I changed my career path again and switched from the forensics to pharmaceutical chemistry. Unfortunately, my heart wasn’t in it. I struggled to find my footing, and eventually had a breakdown. How could the girl who always knew what she wanted be when she grew up be so damn lost? This was around the time Peter and I became engaged, and we agreed I would take a year off to work and figure out what the hell I actually wanted to do with my life.
Peter suggested I look into public relations, which to be honest, I was a little bit hesitant about. For one, I didn’t really know what it was all about. Secondly, I’ve been an activist and scientist up until this point, what the hell would I have to offer this profession. So instead, I decided to take the Pre-Media program, now known as Media Fundamentals, at Durham College. It’s a one-year certificate program that basically offers you a sampling of the various media-focused careers out there. Needless to say, I fell utterly in love with my communications courses and had to admit to my husband that he was right, public relations was where I wanted to be.
That led to the DCPR program and the rest is history. But let’s be real here, it was terrifying not knowing what my future would look like during that gap year. I felt like a failure, especially when I saw my high school friends starting great careers, buying houses and having kids, while I was over here like, “I don’t know how to adult.” You know what though, if it wasn’t for all the struggles, I wouldn’t be the person I am today with a career I love. Sure, I was a late bloomer, but hell, I’m actually happy with what I’m doing and what my future holds.
This chunk of my life taught me so much, especially that it’s OK to change my mind about things – a career, where I want to live, or anything else. If you can’t adapt or learn to explore new options, you’ll never find what really makes your life feel complete. I thank Peter every day for pushing me towards PR – if it wasn’t for him, I would probably still be stuck in that “gap year”.
If you are struggling with finding what you want to be “when you grow up”, don’t hesitate to try new things and explore all your options. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with what you find out about yourself along the way.
Until next time!