It is the beginning of my fourth semester at UFV. In my time here, I’ve gained a greater understanding of my chosen degree program and career path; an understanding that I wish I had at the beginning of my adventures at UFV.
I chose my program, Library Sciences and Information Technology, because I thought it would be something I was good at. At the time, I had no clear idea of what sort of job I would be interested in that utilized this degree, beyond some vague notions about working in a public library. Fortunately, going through the program courses has given me a clearer idea of what to expect, and what specific workplaces I might like to apply to. On the other hand, I discovered that I am not as passionate about my chosen major as I expected to be. However, at this point, roughly halfway (I hope) to earning my degree, I feel that the chance to change my mind, and pursue a truer passion, has come and gone.
It is not so much a matter of time, as it is money. If money were no object, I would be content to “explore myself” in an academic environment for however long it takes for me to find my true calling and master it. Unfortunately, money is an object for most of us. When my grandparents agreed to pay for my tuition, they had only one condition: do not let their money go to waste. Nobody wants their, or someone else’s, money to go to waste. We need to be careful how we spend our money, and the more we have already sunk into a particular program track, the more anxious we are to get some kind of payoff, even if it isn’t what we really wanted. Some might say this is playing into the sunk cost fallacy, but it is a lot easier to dismiss abstract theoretical costs than real money that comes out of your own (or a friend or relative’s) pocket, with no quick or easy way to replenish it.
For those of you in your first or second semester, I would strongly encourage you to seek career counselling. It is important to find out if your chosen education plan is an accurate reflection of your talents and interests, and if not, what would suit you best. If you discover that your chosen major is not for you, it is much less painful to switch gears early on, than to wait until you can no longer afford to cut your losses.
For the rest of us, career planning can still do us some good. Don’t forget about practicums, master theses, and other prerequisites to graduation. It is better to learn about these things and take action sooner, rather than later. As one’s vision shifts to look toward the ending, knowing how to fill out the rest of your graduation checklist will save you valuable time and money.
This may not be the ideal way to chart one’s higher education, but expenses are high, and earning power for students is limited. In a perfect world, we would not have to justify our mere existence, and we would be able to follow our dreams without reservation. Sadly, that is not the world we live in, and we must all make difficult choices, even and especially when many of those choices are already behind us.