Revisiting York

Published on the York University Blog Nov 3 2008

     So I’ve come back to York after living in the big bad world for awhile. I’ve traveled, lived in Asia and returned home to an uncertain economy. The reverse culture shock was difficult to get over. As an English teacher in Korea life is pretty sweet. You’ve got a paid apartment, a cushy salary and oodles of time to hang out with friends. It is almost like an extension of university without the financial worries.

     So when I came back I applied to a whole list of jobs without any responses. I was not prepared for the job competition, and the lack of job security in Canada. I ended up in a dead end teaching job pining for a position where I could use my political and writing backgrounds. I soon realized that a few of my friends were in jobs that they didn’t like. I knew talented people who were underemployed or working in uncertain and precarious employment. So I began to think that maybe my teaching job was the only position that I could ever get. That I would not feel the excitement and stimulation that I had felt when I had started teaching.

     I turned to my mom for advice. “I’m not happy, ” I told her. “This is not what I want to do.”

     “I never liked my job. It was just to put money on the table. We had to survive. A lot of people don’t like their jobs.” She was resolute.

     I couldn’t believe that this was the norm. I knew that people got caught up with mortgages, car leases and supporting children. These material demands seemed to make people sacrifice happiness for security. I had been doing just that for over a year as a promise of benefits and paid vacation kept me in a place that I had outgrown. I have always been an absorber and observer of new experiences and I craved something different. So after talking with many international students who had quit their jobs and come to Canada to improve their English and their lives I realized that I had to follow a similar path.

     So now I’ve made the leap. I’ve given up a steady pay cheque and dental for the promise of something new. I have chosen insecurity and uncertainty over routine and predictability. I did what I was afraid to do, which I’ve found is usually the best thing to do. So I’ve come back to York as a mature student to try to do what I want to do instead of what I should do. I have already connected myself with a part/time writing job which allows me to write these blogs. I have also attended events on development for the UN National Day for the eradication of poverty. I have listened to Jian Ghomeshi from CBC Radio 2 speak about journalism. I have also gone to graduate fairs to discover what the next step in my education will be. Only a few months ago I thought very few options remained for me in the working world. I realized that I just had to come to a place where I could make new connections and experience new things. And so I am a student once again


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