I graduated from UTSC 2018 with an Honors Degree in Science, majoring in Molecular Biology and Minoring in Psyche and English. Yet it was my journey in English that really impacted my career trajectory.
Initially just completing an elective, I found that English classes gave me an opportunity to explore multiple research interests. Classes in English Literature demonstrated that texts need to be explored not just absorbed. The critical thinking skills, the close analysis of text and the independence of thought offered in an English class made for an enchanted learning experience overall.
It was due to my courses in English that I found the most valuable asset out of my university experience: ideas. I was most intrigued in the field of Knowledge Translation and integration, exploring the gaps between research and community implementation. I found it difficult to find a place to combine my multiple interests. However, that platform became available in English courses, especially courses in Victorian Literature. Although the limitations of a degree did not allow for me to take courses in all the subjects of my interest, Victorian Literature offered a combination of history, philosophy, science, economics, sociology, psychology, and language amongst many others. It was a perfect place to build the bridges between the different disciplines. I used the insights gained from literature to write papers and develop ideas in anthropology, health studies and even scientific research.
After graduation, I sought a niche that combined creativity and research with real-life application, but most options were either-or. After battling between having to choose either science or literature, I was guided to a niche that perfectly combined both.
Currently, I work as an Educational Clinician providing English reading and comprehension remediation to students with a range of cognitive needs. The program is based on evidence- based methods in Cognitive Psychology and Education but involves core values of empathy in teaching. I get to work one-on-one addressing every student's individual needs. I’ve found a combination of Science, Psychology and English in my current job that when I graduated, I had no idea existed. After two years here, I now get to design and innovate programs, working behind the scenes to creatively create a plan that will best suit specific profiles.
I would encourage current undergraduate students to try out courses beyond their degree requirements. One of the best decisions I made in undergrad was to take courses beyond my comfort which really cultivated problem-solving and critical thinking. Perhaps in those courses, you’ll also find ideas that lead to research and opportunities that don’t exist yet. Perhaps you’ll find a career that you didn’t even know existed.