I recently had the opportunity to speak about the blog series I wrote, I AM ABLE, at a conference held by the Disability Resource Network of BC. It was such an interesting experience to be able to talk about the articles I have written. One of the articles I wrote, in my opinion, stood out to the crowd and that specific article focused on navigating one’s career path.
At the time I wrote that article, titled How Volunteering Helped Me Expand My Career Options, I was trying to fulfill credits to be accepted into the Professional Development Program at SFU, which is a program that helps aspiring teachers get work experience. However, after dropping one of the required math courses, I decided it was not for me.
I have thought about becoming many, many things. I have wanted to be a singer, a songwriter-rock star hybrid, a psychologist, a social worker, a lawyer, a probation officer, a teacher (as mentioned above), a human resources professional, and an author, along with many other things.
A lot of the aforementioned careers to me seem to be stable careers but a couple of others I would describe as a “pipe-dream”. For example, becoming a successful singer like, say, Ed Sheeran or Adele is a really rare and difficult thing to become and no matter how hard you work, the reality is sometimes certain things don’t work out in your favour. Another “pipe-dream”, in my opinion, is becoming a successful author; say like JK Rowling, Stephen King, or John Green. I love to write. I have been writing since I was around nine years old, with my first publication being a poem about mental illness, published around the time I was in fifth grade.
I talked about all of these aspirations at my talk for the Disability Resource Network of BC. After my talk, one of the attendees came up to me and told to never stop writing as she saw potential in me, as a writer, since I read the articles I wrote during my talk. Currently, I tutor elementary and high school students and teach them how to write fiction and non-fiction. I can definitely see myself continuing tutoring for several more years. However, I feel like I need a full time career, as I only tutor as a part-time gig. In respect to my “pipe-dream” of becoming a successful author, I have tried writing a novel and only ended up with two chapters. I have also written an unfinished movie script. Embarrassingly, I was also an avid FanFiction writer throughout high school. Even if I do pursue becoming an author, I still hold on to the idea that I need a stable day-job of sorts. Right now, my attention is on Social Work. I am currently trying to gain work and volunteer experience in the social services field in order to apply for registration with the BC College of Social Workers.
Sometimes, I like to Google my name for fun. Through going through the search results after typing my name on Google, I saw something that amazed me. A writer from the USA wrote a blog piece about “reclaiming (her) name” and she used a quote from an article I wrote to illustrate her point. She had two quotes in the article, one from me and one from Shakespeare! I felt very honoured. I also found it interesting how my blog article about labelling yourself as a person with disability resonated with someone who wanted to reclaim their identity and their name.
My thoughts on this whole process are that I am very blessed to be able to get the opportunity to talk and write about important topics. In my opinion, my experience was mostly positive with only a few negative hindrances. Out of so many comments on social media, I only saw one negative one. My parents, initially, were disappointed that I chose to “air my dirty laundry” to the public but, after seeing me speak at the conference, they changed their mind and instead of being disappointed, they were proud.
It’s been a pleasure to come back and write a short little series for the OLC again, after writing for SFU Career and Volunteer Services in the past 2 years. I am excited about graduating and future prospects, whether that is becoming a social worker or something completely different.
Congratulations to all the graduates of SFU, this year. Remember that there is a reason why you were put on this Earth. As one of my favourite songs, Thrive by the band Casting Crowns, states “We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives/it’s time for us to more than just survive, we were made to thrive.”
Beyond the Blog
- Be sure to check out Jien's entire series, I am Able: From Art to Advocacy