One day as I was sitting in my condo, eating what was becoming a regular dinner meal of popcorn paired with the finest wine that $20.00 can buy. Waiting for school the next day, with the buzz of pending assignments ringing in the back of my head, I was de-stressing from the classes and essay I had completed that day. The monotonous routine centralized around school had made itself a quiet and unwelcome constant in my life. Perhaps it was the mechanism of enrolling in courses, then completing the courses having learned much but having minimal channels of application. Perhaps it was the stress coupled with an uncertain future given the disdain surrounding the state of the job market. But I was ready for a productive change.
The framework of a university degree is becoming increasingly dynamic, at least in my program and degree. At U of T, individual students can set their own paths. I found this to be especially true in my case, as I am pursuing a specialist in Political Science and minor in Digital Humanities, I choose what types of courses I want to take, and more importantly, I have options as to when I can take them. Shifting my courses to pursue a stellar opportunity is the correct decision. The pressure to complete my undergrad in 4-years to keep pace with my peers is based not in the fact that pursuing that path is inherently better, but instead in the prestige assigned in being able to do so.
So I applied for an interesting internship that I saw online. The opportunity landed itself in my mailbox, and while I was hesitant towards changing my original plan, I figured it would be helpful if I had more work experience under my belt. To get over my hesitation, I dropped in to chat with my academic advisors at Woodsworth. They helped me layout my options and assured me that my course-plan would be shifted, but not negatively impacted. That means that, given my specific pace and program structure, I am allowed some flexibility.
A few weeks in the internship has been moving along nicely. I’m learning that the ‘real-world’ is nothing like the world that exists at U of T. Being away from the university bubble I’ve noticed how some people act and think differently. While university may be a place where many different kinds of people come together, in a city like Toronto the ‘real-world’ has exposed me to viewpoints in a professional setting I otherwise would not have witnessed until much after graduation.