I thought I had it all figured out coming into university. Despite life constantly changing, I thought my career choices wouldn’t.
However, two years into my bachelor’s degree, I realized that my career plans weren’t exactly what I wanted or could achieve. I originally had two paths: Becoming a published author or an editor. Soon enough, both went up in smoke. I started and restarted stories I wasn’t proud of, with countless remaining unfinished. Searching for internships in editing made me realize how few opportunities are available in the industry, specifically in Montreal, and the job descriptions didn’t quite fit with what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Being a shy person, I always tend to figure things out by myself instead of asking for help. Therefore, I was reluctant to go see an advisor, even though, second opinions can often be the best solution.
At McGill, career advisors are readily available through the Career Planning Service (CaPS). Booking an appointment with a career advisor is simple and students should make use of the services available to them at school. McGill’s impersonal nature can often make students forget that there are many services to assist them. Coming into university, students might easily feel like they are all alone, left to themselves to figure things out in an environment where everyone seems to have their life planned out. However, this isn’t the case—most people I have encountered don’t know what they want to do, or, if they did, have realized the lack of job opportunities in their field, and ended up changing their minds. From my own experience, going to see a career advisor earlier would have saved me the anxieties I faced for months. Students should use the career-planning resources accessible at McGill in order to figure out what they want for their future while minimizing stress.
In CEGEP, I majored in a program I had no interest in simply because my father encouraged me to pursue it. Family members can suggest career paths that they view as the most advantageous for your financial well-being—which is understandable—without taking into consideration where one’s interests lie.
Although the pressure from my father to find internships and other alternative career paths was well-intentioned, the constant and inescapable lectures led to career anxiety. I understood his concerns about my future, but being pressured to think and plan about multiple things while I was confused only created more uncertainty and fear of the future. As a person who likes to be in control, not knowing what I wanted was difficult to handle mentally.
Once I was able to gather my thoughts, do some research, and experience different work options during the summer, I finally decided to make an appointment with CaPS. The reason for this was to get a second—and most importantly, professional—opinion. A professional opinion can be beneficial because it’s unbiased, meaning that the advice isn’t meant to lead one down a certain preferred path.
To avoid confusion and anxiety, students should go see a career advisor to help structure career ideas or interests as early as possible. The moment students start doubting their career choices, they should go seek one out. It is best if students see a career advisor even before having second-thoughts.
Furthermore, students should do some research in possible fields they may like; however, if they don’t know where to start, CaPS has a list of possible careers in accordance to your major. Along with doing research, it is very important to see a career advisor. They are helpful and they have insight that students do not yet have.
Career advising helped consolidate what I wanted to do. Getting the opinion of a professional helped reduce career-related stress and my anxiety attacks essentially stopped. It helped consolidate the research and self-reflecting I did during the summer months. It gave me reassurance that the steps I wanted to take to achieve my new career path were the proper measures to take. The guidance I received from CaPS built upon the interests and plans I had stated during advising.
Everyone’s case is different, but if one has some ideas, career advisors will be helpful in giving new ones and solidifying whatever thoughts or plans that have already been formed.