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July 05, 2020, 09:30:11 pm

Author Topic: How / Why did you choose your career pathway?  (Read 3063 times)  Share 

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lm21074

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How / Why did you choose your career pathway?
« on: April 03, 2020, 10:18:28 am »
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Hey there!

As a VCE student trying to decide what to do after high school, I was recently reading the thread If you weren't studying what you're studying, what would you be studying? and discovered that some people were set on a certain path while others were torn between different courses/careers.

I am at crossroads in terms of choosing a career pathway. I have a passion for teaching and fighting inequalities in education, but am interested in doing something in healthcare.

How and why did you decide to take a certain career pathway? Why did you choose it over other career pathways?

Whether you're in high school, uni, TAFE, or a job, keen to hear your responses!

Thank you :)

« Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 08:46:26 am by lm21074 »

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Re: How / Why did you choose your career pathway?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2020, 11:38:49 am »
+13
I'm currently studying animal health science with the goal of becoming a veterinarian. Before I was in high school, I worked with circus animals a lot (mostly dogs, birds, and on one occasion, the cutest baby monkey) and I loved it - so working with animals as a career was always something on the back of my mind.

In high school though, I changed my mind to allied health - specifically music therapy, though a less-than-satisfactory year 10 work experience and my lack of music theory knowledge changed my mind. I then did a second round of work experience at a vet clinic in year 11, and stayed around as a part-time helper afterwards. I loved the environment (and the constant flow of doggos for me to pat) so in year 12 I knew I wanted to go down this path.

I am at a slight crossroads situation at the moment though, as a few months ago I discovered I have (mild) a cat allergy :-[ so I've been exploring other fields such as maths and finance, just in case.

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Aaron

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Re: How / Why did you choose your career pathway?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2020, 01:33:38 pm »
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Well, from a very young age i've wanted to teach but just haven't been sure what level (primary, secondary, tertiary). As I went through my schooling (and yes, I can remember even back in the primary days) I wanted to teach at the level I was exposed to at the time... so for example, at primary school I wanted to be a primary teacher, in secondary I wanted to be a secondary teacher etc... but the trend stopped after I went to uni.

I did a year as a lab demonstrator / teaching associate (so many names for it these days, hopefully those at uni understand what I mean) and it was somewhat appealing but I had to make a decision as I was approaching the end of my bachelor's degree. Did I still want to take on the secondary teaching pathway or did this new level of teaching appeal to me more? I think the turning point for me was observing one of my lecturers at uni - he looked so sad and didn't want to be there. While this isn't a nice observation and I really did feel for him, it was the catalyst for me to make a decision to go into secondary teaching. Plus, teaching somebody else's stuff that doesn't change year after year didn't really appeal. I am somebody who needs to be consistently stimulated so it didn't make sense for me to stay.

My reasons for going into secondary teaching were as follows:
- I knew I wanted to be a teacher, but just wasn't sure (even now) if I will make the right decision as to what level.
- Primary probably wouldn't suit me because I have a 3 year bachelor in IT backing me up. Would I be getting any sort of worth out of the degree or would the $30k debt be for nothing?
- Tertiary, well... probably would get the most worth out of my degree if I chose this one but my happiness played a significant factor in my decision making.

For the 3 years i've been teaching now, I've taught from Year 7 to Year 11 (yet to do Year 12) and I feel that I made the right decision in terms of career but I still to this day question whether I would've been better in primary. Every year I have a preference to teach lower secondary by choice purely because I engage with them so well. Being a young teacher, I can relate and have conversations with them that older teachers can't have. I know what they do outside of school, I know why they behave like they do. The rapport comes naturally with minimal effort.

Being a government school teacher, I also continuously question whether I made the right decision as to system as well (government as opposed to independent). I've had I reckon about 3-4 contracts in my 3 years of teaching which were all short-term (maximum of a year). I was recently made permanent but I sit back and wonder if I would avoid all of the rubbish that I've had to put up with if I chose independent.

I have always been the person who helps others - whether that be friends, family, strangers, etc.. I have that natural 'help' trait which I feel is absolutely pivotal to becoming a teacher. If you don't want to help and care for these students, you aren't in the right career and need to make a different choice. Teaching is so much more than just standing in front of a class and delivering your regurgitated spiel. It is sad so many new teachers enter the profession with this view in mind and then are shocked when they go on their first placement and realise it isn't what they thought (either in a good way or a bad way).

I think the great thing about teaching is that it's so dynamic. What you teach changes every year if you want it to (subject, year level, etc). You get to explore through excursions, camps, etc and you get to interact with young people on a daily basis. When I walk through the gates on a daily basis, I might get an extra for a class i've never had before where I have to quickly learn who these students are and what they're learning about. I might be on yard duty and a student's fallen over and hurt themselves or a fight occurs (this is not to make it sound scary but to prove the point about it being dynamic). The profession is crying out for people who are strong academically AND ALSO those that can be balanced with a 'down to earth' attitude and strong co-curricular base (e.g. sports, leadership, etc).

If you are thinking about teaching - please don't let age or inexperience be the thing that stops you from doing it. I graduated from my masters at 22 and entered teaching immediately after that. If you choose to be a teacher and have expertise in a high demand area, you will be picked up immediately (ESPECIALLY in government). I have a Maths/IT combination and that has honestly made me high in demand because qualified (lol) IT teachers are so low in Victoria.

If you've already investigated teaching and have been sold on the MTeach (or Masters) program, then it is so important if you're doing a generalist degree e.g. Arts, Science etc that you choose your majors / minors carefully as these will often end up being the areas you'll be qualified to teach (and most likely will end up teaching).

I'm always happy to field questions about teaching through PM but note I can only give a general perspective since everybody and every situation is different. :)
« Last Edit: April 03, 2020, 01:55:44 pm by Aaron »
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Educator with experience in secondary and tertiary settings. Currently a secondary teacher.

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AngelWings

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Re: How / Why did you choose your career pathway?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2020, 11:03:10 pm »
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I have a passion for teaching and fighting inequalities in education, but am interested in doing something in healthcare.
You could always do both? Just some food for thought...

How and why did you decide to take a certain career pathway? Why did you choose it over other career pathways?
So, Iím one of those people where I sort of stumbled around a lot until I am where I am now. Some of it was pure luck, some of it was reflection, assessing what I liked and what I didnít, what I valued most, and what simply seemed most logical and ďrightĒ to me.

I changed directions quite a number of times at different stages of my education. Some of those careers included: architecture, business, forensics and mathematics. Their fundamental aspects seemed to indicate towards STEM areas, which I had a natural inclination towards. Being a Kwonger, but being closer to Monash, I picked the degree that felt most comfortable to me. A broad degree that would cover as many interests I could and would give me the flexibility to do what I wanted, but also not be too far away from home. (Convenience was a big thing for me.) So I went into my Bachelor of Science at Monash without a real career plan per se and said Iíd figure out the rest along the way.

Slowly, each one of my career ideas began to tarnish with different experiences. After being super dedicated to business and commerce in Year 10 (and Year 11 Economics), I discovered I didnít really want to do business as a career. My dream of architecture had been decided on more of an interest rather than passion. My interest in forensics wasnít realistic in that I couldnít deal with cadavers and crime scenes too well. My interest for mathematics dwindled moreso during uni, as it brought me more confusion than a want to pursue it.

What did begin to blossom, though, was my passion for research. Hearing my lecturers talk about their own research inspired me and, knowing myself, I figured that was the direction Iíd take as a career. Biology offered the most options to major in at Monash, offered the most job positions and felt the most ďrightĒ for me out of the major sciences everyone knew about. Genetics came back to me as something Iíd enjoyed through a Year 9 CSI elective, constantly seemed to have more questions about and a genuine passion for. It was logical that I jumped towards genetics research.

As I went through my degree, I discovered I naturally understood  aspects on evolutionary genetics more easily than others and I really enjoyed it, so I ran in that direction for my research projects. I stayed with theory because I wanted to continue to build my foundations in the area and strengthen them, as well as due to my passion there. I was genuinely curious about how complex my supervisorís models could be.

But then, reality set in. I was ending my degree soon. Theoretical population genetics wouldnít give me much of a career and I didnít quite reach the  PhD entry requirement by a couple of marks. That led me to a dead end. I fell back on biological research and hoped to increase my practical skills, in hopes of applying for a PhD at a later date.

Meanwhile, Iíd started working right before I started uni. At the end of my first year working, Iíd had connections that led me to take a position in a new job, a part time job in the health industry. Part of it what I liked and still like (Iím still there) was the aspect of service. I liked helping others and being there for them. But I got emotionally exhausted from the amount of face to face interaction quite easily, being a natural introvert, that I knew I couldnít do it full-time for many years.

I knew then that I needed a job that would prize service and be important, but not so frontline. I needed to find a job that would have that aspect of biological research and be practical. I needed a job that really used my science degree to help others.

And so the search began...

I sent my resume to many places, focusing on practical biological and health positions, as these fit the criteria. Things that would get my hands dirty but also not quite frontline. After many rejections and interviews, I landed one that did exactly that.

And thatís where I am today.

My current full-time job uses a lot of the old biological skills and knowledge I accumulated. I still read scientific journals, but theyíre all on humans now. I still get to learn. I still get to grow. Iím not frontline, but Iím still helping society and people. Itís not quite research, but itís still within the realm and Iím OK with that. Will I still pursue a PhD? Maybe, if I ever figure out what I actually want to do it on. But for now, Iím content and Iím happy in the job Iím in.

So you see, Iíve stumbled a few times and not known what Iíve wanted, but Iíve let my experiences and passions guide me to where I am and rule out things I know I canít handle and donít like. Itís OK if you donít know what you want. As long as you know what you value and try to build up as much experience from your life, youíll be able to slowly figure out what you do want and youíll be able to narrow down the careers you are truly after. ;D

Edit: Fixed grammar and formatting.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2020, 12:59:11 pm by AngelWings »
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Re: How / Why did you choose your career pathway?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2020, 02:55:02 pm »
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How and why did you decide to take a certain career pathway? Why did you choose it over other career pathways?

When I was in primary school, I was always frustrated with the lack of science subjects offered so I took it upon myself to read as much about science as possible, reading science textbooks and Stephen Hawking books. It was then when I realised how much I loved physics. Initially, I wanted to be a physicist but a science teacher told me that there aren't a lot of job prospects as a physicist. Then I turned to engineering, and after doing a bit of reading about aerodynamics, I realised I wanted to go into aerospace engineering because I found the theory of flight to be fascinating.
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lm21074

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Re: How / Why did you choose your career pathway?
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2020, 09:14:15 am »
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Thank you so much for your replies! I really appreciate the insight, and thoughtfulness of each of your responses :)

You could always do both? Just some food for thought...
I've definitely thought about doing so! I've considered becoming a health professions educator (not sure if that's the official title), a health teacher, or doing healthcare after teaching and vice versa. Are these the kinds of options you were thinking?


One piece of advice for anyone in a similar situation is, it's okay not to know the course of your uni course or even career. No time is wasted time, so even if you do a year of a course and then realise it's not for you, you will still have learnt so much in that year, about yourself, and other skills. :)

AngelWings

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Re: How / Why did you choose your career pathway?
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2020, 05:56:58 pm »
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I've definitely thought about doing so! I've considered becoming a health professions educator (not sure if that's the official title), a health teacher, or doing healthcare after teaching and vice versa. Are these the kinds of options you were thinking?
Yup! Thereís plenty of people I know who either worked their way to become trainers to health care workers, teachers/ health-based academics/ researchers, health teachers or doing one course after another. But of course, do whatever you feel would be best for you personally. :)
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