Some students make the switch

The journey through post-secondary education can help you develop new career interests and insights and lead you in directions you didn’t initially expect to go

Karla Karcioglu, Roving Editor Ω

Scott Stokes didn't even know being a brewmaster was a viable career but now he is employed by one of Canada's largest brewing companies. Photo courtesy of Scott Stokes.

Scott Stokes didn’t even know being a brewmaster was a viable career but now he is employed by one of Canada’s largest brewing companies. Photo courtesy of Scott Stokes.

Thirteen per cent of first-year college students and 10 per cent of first-year university students switched out of their initial program of study, according to a recent study.

The survey consisted of 6,758 first-year college students and 4,839 first-year university students and was commissioned by the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation.

“Switching,” as study authors Ross Finnie and Hanqing Qui call it, includes both switching programs within the original institution and switching to a new institution. In the study, 40.5 per cent of university students polled made the switch “to change schools or programs” and 28 per cent switched, reasoning that they “didn’t like it” or it was “not for [them].” Switching for financial considerations accounted for 15 per cent of university students polled.

TRU alumni Scott Stokes and Havovie Suraliwalla both changed their educational directions part-way through their university programs.

Havovie Suriwalla initially planned to be a nurse but she is now happily employed as a conference coordinator. Photo courtesy of Havovie Suriwalla.

Havovie Suriwalla initially planned to be a nurse but she is now happily employed as a conference coordinator. Photo courtesy of Havovie Suriwalla.

Havovie Suraliwalla first began her post-secondary education with the goal to become a nurse, but realized partway through that it wasn’t for her. She then took an aptitude test which suggested event planning as a good career option for her.  Suraliwalla said she didn’t even realize that event planning was a real career but once she looked into TRU’s Events and Conventions Diploma she switched into the program.

While in the program she sought out many practical work experiences in event planning to ensure it was the right career choice. She is now enjoying her career as a conference coordinator with Sea Courses Inc., an organization that offers continuing education courses aboard cruise ships to medical professionals.

Stokes went into the science program at TRU with the goal of graduating and applying to medical school. “As my bachelor degree progressed, I was less and less interested in doing [another] four-plus years of school,” Stokes said, adding he was also concerned with the additional financial impact.

Stokes started looking for other employment opportunities with the degree he was completing. He discovered a co-op work placement with the Labatt Brewing Company, a career he didn’t even realize was viable at the time. He has now been employed as a brewmaster with Labatt for a number of years and enjoys his job.

“I don’t think I would like being a doctor,” Stokes said. “If you end up somewhere you don’t like, it’s not good for you and it’s not good for the people you work with.”

“It’s ok to quit and go somewhere else.”