Saturday, 10 September 2016

WHY MY UNIVERSITY DEGREE WAS WORTH THE TIME | TARA BERRIES



When I was in high school I wanted to be a pediatric nurse as I loved working with kids and I wanted to help them. I kept saying I was going to be a nurse until I realized what the job of a nurse actually entailed. Nursing is twelve hour days giving medicine and needles, taking care of patients, and giving important information to doctors. Nursing it turns out, was not for me and I realized this towards the end of my grade 11 year. 

My neighbour and good friend was attending university and so I began asking her which university she attended and the degree she was getting. Kelly told me that she was attending Trent University, a small liberal arts university in Peterborough, Ontario. However, she attended the satellite campus in Oshawa at the UOIT campus where she studied sociology. I quickly did my research and realized that a lot of my friends were attending this university and they were getting quality education right at home. I knew Trent appealed to me and applied to Trent, York, and Carleton in grade 12. I was accepted to all of the universities but Trent gave me the highest scholarship and I was able to stay at home and save money.

When I accepted Trent I was the first person in my family to be accepted into a university and it was a big decision to go. I was accepted in 2008 when the economy was so bad we were in a recession. Youth unemployment was high and there were hardly any entry level positions. Not to mention that I wanted to become a teacher which was increasingly becoming a competitive career choice in Ontario. In the back of my mind I kept thinking, "I should get a practical diploma at Durham College and see where that gets me" but I kept wanting to study and give myself time to grow.

So off I went to Trent University, which at the time of my first year we were on the UOIT/Durham College campus. This worked out great as my best friend was living on residence at the university and I knew many others at both UOIT and Durham college. I got to see my friends a lot and also made many new friends. 

My first year I became good friends with a girl named Crystal and we are still good friends to this day, in fact, I am the Maid of Honour in her wedding next year. That first year seemed like a blur but I did manage to go to the campus pub a lot and stayed overnight at the residence a few times with my friend Dale. However, I stuck to myself a lot in classes and didn't join any campus clubs or activities. I realized the summer going into second year that I needed more on my resume than just studying psychology. I joined the Trent Pen Pal program and the Peer Mentoring program which helped me network with other students who wanted a similar career as I did. Each summer I took a course which meant my workload during the school year wasn't as chaotic and I could do the extracurriculars that I wanted.

In third year our satellite campus got their own space on Thorton Road in Oshawa and they officially called it Trent University Durham. It was a neat transition because we finally had our own community and I became so much more involved in university life. I worked hard and by fourth year I had become a totally different person. I was able to network with people and talk about what I was studying and what I wanted to do after I graduated. I learned to persevere during my third year advanced statistics class which was as horrible as it sounds. 

I experienced a lot during those four years at Trent University Durham that helped change me into the person I am today. I lost both of my uncles as well as my cat within one year and I became an auntie. I also was accepted into Trent University's School of Education and Professional learning where I obtained my Bachelor of Education. Five years and two university degrees later I was ready to start my career.

I remember bumbling my way through interviews at the beginning of university like I had no idea what I was saying. By the time I graduated from Trent I was able to speak to all of the experiences I had made in university and was able to answer questions with confidence. University had prepared me to be a critical thinker and a constant researcher. As a teacher I am always looking up best teaching practices and taking additional qualifications each summer and that is because I learned that research is important to our everyday lives.

When I think back to where I was in high school I know I made the right decision with choosing Trent University. All throughout my university career I would see this great academic advisor and he would give me advice on the best track to becoming a teacher. I learned to become a great decision maker from staying at home and saving money to applying to teacher education programs that were close by, and to put myself forward and become involved in my campus community.


Now that I am an occasional teacher and an early learning facilitator I and constantly meeting other Trent graduates in the community. I love to share with them my love for the university, professors, and staff who made my time there so wonderful. I miss both the Durham and Peterborough campuses so much and each for different reasons. Trent Durham was a very social place to be with really positive and helpful people whereas Trent in Peterborough was where I became a teacher, my true passion in life. 

Choosing to go to a liberal arts university may seem like a bad decision when you can take a diploma program in half the time but like my academic advisor told me, no program guarantees you a job. Whether you choose a diploma program at your local college or you choose a university degree, your time there is what you make of it. You can choose to only go to class and do the bare minimum of work to get your degree or you can choose to go to class, join clubs and programs, and meet new people. My Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree and my Bachelor of Education degree did not get me the jobs that I have now. What got me the two jobs I have was my knowledge, skills, work ethic, and experience all of which I got through being involved with the university and the community. 

If you are thinking of going to university or college please let me know where you are applying. Also, if you went to a university or college let me know where you went and what your experience was like. Please follow me on bloglovin' to never miss a blog post!

Xo. Tara Berries





14 comments:

  1. So nice to hear of people who have such a fantastic post secondary experience and find jobs in their field. I wish you all the best in your future of teaching <3
    xo Jannine | www.happystylishfit.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I completely agree that a University degree is worth the time and money. You learn so much. Not just academically, but you grow emotionally and socially, as well. It sounds like you had a lot of different experiences that have made you into the person you are today, as well as cultivated long-term friendships. Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good read! I know for a lot of people in my life, getting their degree has been a waste of time- I also know a lot of people who love post secondary, and even if they don't do anything with the degree they got- they still think it was a good thing they went.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love the photos! I agree that a degree is important.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Though expensive, the learning, experiences and friendships I made during my post-secondary work has been immeasurable! I love that we were all there because we wanted to be, not because of obligation.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I was a graduate of computer science degree back home and i was so lucky because i was given a full scholarship! it definitely made a good foundation for my career as a programmer :) Thanks for sharing this article!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was a liberal arts major, too, and so happy I went that direction (although I wish I had done a bit better in my math/statistics classes)! Congrats on making the right decision for you!

    ReplyDelete
  8. its always a special feeling when you graduate and land your first job!! Wish you all the every best!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Congrats. Congrats on your degree and making a good decision for you.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm currently doing an associates degree for Business Management and I may continue to get my bachelors in Marketing.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I agree that a degree is important and its always a special feeling when you graduate! Congrats on your degree!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I totally agree with you.Education definitely broadens your mind and makes you capable of doing a wide range of activities.Enjoyed your journey

    ReplyDelete
  13. I totally agree with you.Education definitely broadens your mind and makes you capable of doing a wide range of activities.Enjoyed your journey

    ReplyDelete
  14. I absolutely agree with you. A degree is worth the time

    ReplyDelete