While traveling in Hawaii this January, I met a couple who are retired and spend their time traveling around the United States. When I explained to them that I am a dual citizen of both Canada and the United States, they told me that I have the best of both worlds. It’s true, I feel privileged to be able to claim citizenship to two of the most well known democracies around the world.
With that privilege, there comes responsibilities though. Not only do I have to keep up to date with current politics and affairs in the city, province, and nation that I live in but also the nation in which I don’t. If you think keep up to date with politics in your own country is hard, try keeping up to date with two. Being an active member of the democratic process is difficult in an age with so much misinformation spreading through the internet like a virus. You can’t trust information from just one news source, you have to keep looking at different ones to get some resemblance of the full picture.
As a student of history, I know that eventually the truth will come out but that certainly doesn’t help in the moment when decisions and opinions are being made in the now. As much as I would like to be able to see the whole picture right away, I have to make my own best guesses as to which horse to hitch my cart to in any political race. When I was filling my paperwork to take possession of my US citizenship, I was asked to pick my political party right there. I honestly didn’t know much about which party supported what when I did, so I picked my mother’s party, the Democrats. From what I knew from my observations of Republicans in the early 2000s, I figured that Democrats were the closest to Canadian Liberals as I could get but in reality, what a liberal is to Americans is very different than what it is to a Canadian.
Last week, I had an enlightening discussion with a Bostonian. Hearing his points of view and politics in the United States and finding out what a liberal is to him, got me thinking about how much of my own political views are influenced by Canadian thinking. There was a point in the conversation when he asked if I felt so passionate about history, sociology, and politics, why I didn’t go on to study it further. My answer was simple, money. Thinking back on it now, my real reason was I ran out of stream for the university, I just wanted out. I needed to live in the real world for a while and grow up a bit.
After that conversation, I started thinking more about what my passions are and what kind of a future they can give me. With music, I am enjoying challenging myself on a daily basis to get better at the guitar. For me, music will always be the slow burn in the background of my life but not my focus. In regards to writing, I think that I will continue to write in my blogs about subjects that I am interested in and I am passionate about. I don’t think it will be a career for me but more of an ongoing project. Then there is my certification as a yoga instructor. There’s a game new yoga teachers have to play in order to find teaching opportunities that I am just not willing to play anymore. I will always have my certification to teach yoga, no one can take that from me. At this point, I am using it to continue my own yoga path but as far as going out of my way to teach more, I will put that on hold. I believe that I have gotten a world of value out of my teaching certification that was as valuable as my history degree, if not maybe more so.
This brings me back to my degree in history and what can I do with it. I have been tossing around ways to build on my degree but after hours of countless deliberations, I am brought back to one simple revelation: I need to focus point of direction. Getting the degree was the easy part, figuring out what to do with it was hard part. Ever since I finished up my degree in 2008, I have been waffling for a direction and how to use the degree appropriately.
I have been looking at changing careers for a long time now. I don’t want to just run out and get more education if I don’t know what I want to do though. I have been contemplating what to do next. My first instinct was to finish my education degree but now I am thinking that career might not be best suited to me. I am tossing around a few other ideas but I don’t want to share them yet as I have a feeling people may try to talk me out of them. The last thing that I want is someone trying to influence me before I have come to my own opinion on the matter.
What I do know is that I will likely need to upgrade my degree somewhat, it’s just a matter of deciding on how I want to do that. My first step is upgrading some of my adult basic education in English and Math. After that, I will need to bring up my university GPA with ten credits, which is a full semester of courses from 400 level classes. After I bring up the GPA, I may consider applying at other Universities outside Canada. If I can be the good student I know that I can be, I may be able to achieve bursaries to cut down on further debt.
Figuring out a plan of action at this point seems to be the next logical step. I have some ideas of how to move forward but I don’t want to do so until I figured out the next career path. I have some seminars that I am going to attend to learn more about prospective careers and I am going to go up to the university to get my alumni card and talk with an educational counselor there about what do next as far as how to expand on my degree.
~Clara D. Munro