This summer, my bubble of certainty that I thought contained my career plans in the medical field were crushed by outside factors and I had to learn to land on my feet and problem solve. My study permit extension, which I had filed for five months back, had not come through. My anxiety soared with every passing minute and questions like “How will I be able to finish my graduation?” or “How will I attend graduate school?” ran through my mind night and day. This uncertainty impacted me emotionally, which inadvertently interfered with my student co-op. I had set high expectations for myself in my third co-op, all with Fraser Health, but my not-so-productive mind was constantly battling doubt and fear. I felt lost as things were not going my way!
There is always the other side to hardship. Fortunately, there was another side for me as well, a side which made me appreciate the people in my life. At work, as I shared my experience with my supervisor and the prospect of stabilizing my immigration status in Canada, she was more excited than I was and encouraged me to chin up and give my best. She supported me until the end. Further, as I finally decided what I would like to do in my career, my supervisor, academic advisors, co-op advisor, and other co-workers never questioned me and instead said “GO FOR IT!” People in the field I am hoping to pursue happily shared their experiences and told me ways of how I can make the most of my experiences right now to maximize my chances of getting into my dream graduate school. All the doubt and fear was replaced with happiness and gratitude and I was finally able to focus on my co-op term. But how did this happen?
Am I lucky? Yes, I consider myself very fortunate, but there is one more thing that made all of this possible — my workplace investing in its people. Unconsciously, I have been a person who loves to know the person behind the work. No matter what the scale of a project is, I have always taken the time to respect my co-workers and get to know them as people, and consequently, this established a two-way street. A mutual relationship goes a long way and will help you during your challenging times. No matter how cliche this might sound, I am a firm believer of Steve Job’s famous quote, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
Purposeful networking and relationship-building can be intimidating, especially when your workers are the leaders in your field. But trust me, there is a person behind that title, and if you take the time to invest in them beyond their work and treat them as your mentors, that relationship might potentially fulfill you for the rest of your life!