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What to do when you don’t know what to do

by Candice Yee February 4, 2014
What to do when you don’t know what to do

I first fell head over heels for Montreal during a sweltering hot summer. The narrow streets, public art, the French-buzz and of course, the lower drinking age, convinced me—Little Miss West Coast—to go to Montreal for university.

Photo provided by Candice Yee

In reality, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was raised in the land of sushi, beaches, and Lululemon pants. My French was horrible, and I didn’t foresee the Canada Goose jacket trend for months to come.

Prior to Concordia, I worked hard in high school for my grades. I wanted to leap into post-secondary school, confident in my abilities and my future. My grandparents’ plan was for me to stay in Vancouver and become a doctor or a lawyer. My plan was to get the hell out of there, and study something that I loved.

The problem was, someone needed to remind me of my passions and aspirations. Truthfully, I had no idea what they were. I attended a mini arts program for visual arts in high school, so I chose the safest route from there.

I applied to the Studio Arts program at Concordia, where the Journalism program was my second choice; just for kicks. However, the extent of my journalism experience was writing flimsy fashion articles for my high school newspaper.

After going through extensive (and expensive) application procedures, I received acceptance letters to both programs. I accepted my offer to studio arts. Then, upon the daunting prospect of being a jobless hipster working at Starbucks, I switched to journalism.

Yet, since entering the program, I understand that news writing guarantees little financial security.

Here I am—a journalism major at Concordia—and I’m not happy. I have not fallen in love with journalism. I waited to plunge into the world of style blogs and the world of Vogue and Elle magazines, but alas, I face the realities of writing and reading about politics and drab human-interest stories.

I didn’t want to admit to my parents that journalism wasn’t a good fit. If I were to switch programs, personally, I would feel like a failure. The major would be left unfinished and I would have wasted time and money. But then, I met a guy named Eric. Someone who once battled the same dilemma that I’m facing now.

My random conversation with Eric made me rethink my choice to jump straight into a major. Taking a six-year break between studies, Eric found his place at Concordia’s Liberal Arts College. I had no idea what I would be doing in six years, but I hopefully would not still be in school.

I told him about my quest to find my “true passion,” and then he asked me a question that really got me thinking. “Why are you so concerned about finding out what you want right away?”

He was right. What was the rush? The urgency I felt was rooted in pressure from my high school counsellors, parents, and most importantly, myself. But truthfully, I feel like I’m running out of time.

I don’t want to be the 27-year-old in an undergraduate program. Nor do I want to be the travelling “taking time off” student, wasting away my parent’s cash while attempting to find my inner-self.

I’ve decided next fall, I will take it easy.

I need an open-ended program to allow me to breathe, and see where my interests lie. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll find it here at Concordia, or even in Montreal. Home is where the heart is they say — until I feel like I’m going to strangle my parents, that is.

The memory of my eagerness and excitement to start the first semester is such a contrast from where I stand now: unsure, afraid, and homesick. However, I realize I can’t continue my first-year experience looking forward to the end. My independence has been tested. The only thing left to do is make the best of the present.

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