What Do You Want To Do When You Grow Up?

How many of us can say that we knew from a young age what it is that we wanted to grow up to be? How many of us have wanted to become lawyers at 14 years of age and actually became lawyers by 25? Some of us, yes, but for most of us it doesn’t always pen out that way. I can remember my sister wanting to become a doctor since she was in high school. And today I can proudly say that she is about to start medical school this January. Unfortunately for me, knowing what I wanted to do for the rest of my life didn’t come as easily.

I started at Concordia University in September of 2011 as an Independent student. Being an Independent student allows you to “test the waters”, it allows you to try out different courses and see what your likes and dislikes are. I tried literally everything, from night grueling math classes, to marketing courses, to biology – really, I tried it all. I also started volunteering for the first time in my life, because honestly, I don’t really count Christmas caroling when I was 8 years old as an appropriate volunteer experience to put on my CV. This experience was different, it was a project organized by Concordia called ASB, or Alternative Spring Break, which allows students to choose a location such as Montreal, the Laurentian’s, or New Orleans, and leave for a week to do volunteer work. So I left for New Orleans in February with a group of students to work in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild the homes of those who lost theirs to hurricane Katrina in 2005. And, as cliché as it may sound, that was really the week that I knew that I wanted to be in the social work field. I wanted to help people achieve their true potential. It just fit, like a key in a lock and just like that I knew what field I wanted to study in and how I wanted to align myself in terms of career goals and aspirations. Coming back from this trip I immediately applied into the Human Relations program at Concordia. I started getting more and more passionate about helping others and took on more volunteer work such as volunteering at the Tyndale St-Georges Community Centre which is a centre who’s goals is to empower the community of Little Burgundy by offering programs for both parents and children alike. My time spent volunteering was focused on the children’s summer camp program as well as helping tutor the children in their after-school program in September.

By the time I was nearing my final year in University I started volunteering at Face a Face. This was by far the best learning opportunity that I ever could have dreamed of. I got to work with a wide variety of wonderful clients from whom I have been able to learn from. Those clients have made an impact in my life and I hope more than anything that they can say that I have done the same for them. I am currently doing my summer stage at Face a Face and will be graduating from Concordia with my bachelor’s this upcoming December. Volunteering has changed who I am for the better. It has given me the opportunity to learn, and grow, and it has given me a purpose and direction for my life. I look forward to the future and I am eager to take all the amazing things that I have learnt from volunteering and from school into my career. And to all those of you who still haven’t figured out your life’s purpose – don’t worry too much. Because in the end it always works out the way it’s supposed to be. And volunteering in your community is also an amazing way to figure out what you want to do; I can definitely say that it worked out for me.

Stephanie Underwood