When I decided to return back to school it was so that I could create the career of my dreams. I have always wanted to work as a diplomat. To build this career, I made a plan. First, I wanted to complete a degree in International Studies. Although I have one degree from the University of Toronto, I opted to complete a second degree at Glendon College; to improve my research, writing and critical thought. I will complete graduate studies after my second BA and ultimately pursue my PhD and a career with the Canadian Foreign Service. As I am in my thirties, I do have quite a bit of work experience. When I am applying for internships I am often unsure if this works in my favour. I think that more often that not, internships are intended for students who lack work experience. I have work experience, with many transferable skills. I don’t have much of experience in the field I want a career in – International Relations – and so, much of my extra time is being spent trying to accumulate that experience. I am putting myself out there, applying for every possible opportunity to try and catch my break and have a door open (so to speak).
It’s scary putting myself out there. I often wonder if I will be overlooked for internships or jobs I apply for because of my age rather than be considered because of my experience. In the face of my fear of failure, I choose to forge ahead. I always think of a couple of things when I hesitate in moving forward:
1. What’s the worst that can happen? Usually, lack of effort is what causes failure rather than the attempt itself. Each time I apply for a job or internship increases my chances of getting one that fits my career goals. I know that I may not be the ideal candidate for each and every position I apply for, but sooner or later, I will get one that fits my profile.
2. Have no regrets. Regret is a powerful feeling that often leaves you feeling helpless. When I was working, I regretted not doing the degree I wanted and pursuing the career I wanted. Now that I am back in school, I will not give regret any opportunity. I will always try. If I try and fail, I will be happy knowing that I tried.
3. Pursuing my dreams and being unhappy is better than settling and being unhappy. This is what I have learned from my experience.The unhappiness I experienced settling for a job I didn’t have passion for was far more defeating that than any of the unhappiness I feel now.
It also helps to have a support network. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful family. My husband is my biggest cheerleader. My sister, my mom and my dad always have words of encouragement to keep me positive. I have also found a community at Glendon College of classmates who I can rely on for an ear or a shoulder when things get tough.
Achieving your dreams is challenging. It takes guts, determination and dedication. But the first step is the most difficult. I hope whatever dream you may have, that you find your courage and take that first step. It is well worth it!