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Patrick Underwood

SFU Co-op Student
Applied Sciences › Computing Science

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a work space set up with a big computer screen
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Worried I’d be starving on the streets, I considered my options very carefully and decided I would go back to school and study computers to help me get a teaching job.

Patrick started his career as an elementary school teacher and now he is completing SFU’s Computing Science Second degree program.  He shares how he got there and how co-op has been a great help!

Starting over can be daunting...even terrifying especially when approaching “middle-age”. I know this first hand, but thanks to the Co-op program my fears have been dissuaded.

I started off as an Elementary school teacher. I got my first degree in Fine Arts, went on to get another in Education and began a career as a professional educator. After working for two years as a Teacher-on- call I finally got offered a full-time position, but at the same time, I was presented with the opportunity to go teach English in Japan. Having never ventured off of North America’s shining shores I opted for the latter and turned down the full-time teaching position. I figured that I could teach for one year in Japan then come back and pick up my public school teaching career where I left off (since my seniority would be maintained for one year). One year in Japan turned into three, as these things often do, and when I returned to Canada I searched in vain for a full-time teaching position... if only I could speak French or teach computers I’d be a shoo-in for a job.

Worried I’d be starving on the streets, I considered my options very carefully and decided I would go back to school and study computers to help me get a teaching job. I got accepted into SFU’s Computing Science Second Degree program and entered a brave new world of concepts and skills that I had never thought of before. To make matters worse, most of my classmates were literally half my age and filled with the optimism and vigour of youth; how could I compete? Did I make a horrible choice?

Beyond the Blog

About the Author

Patrick Underwood

SFU Co-op Student
Applied Sciences › Computing Science
Connect with Patrick on LinkedIn!

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