How i found what i love?

Chantelle Blair - December 7th 2020 - 3 min read

Hello young minds,

Today I am going to describe my journey, which led to choosing my undergrad and my masters! I was a dancer throughout elementary school and junior high and enjoyed nothing more than performing, singing, and dancing in my basement. I also have two much younger sisters who I grew up with and am still very close to today. I also loved track and field and spending time with children.

As high school came, I was very unsure of what to pursue in my future, and my confidence was getting crushed as I struggled through math in Grade 12. I had a keen interest in psychology and read a ton about it but was told time and time again that becoming a psychologist was too difficult a career to pursue. I had applied for a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the U of A and received early acceptance. By the end of my Grade 12 year, my acceptance was revoked due to my math grade.

After graduation, I was very unsure about school and moved from a small town to Edmonton on my own. I had worked throughout high school and continued once I moved to Edmonton. I have to say that my work experiences guided me to find my passions and interests more than anything else. I worked in the food industry, retail industry, and hotel industry. I was a dance teacher, a nanny, and a Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer. My work experiences guided me in deciding what I really liked and what I hated.

After attending a boot camp with my mom (which was led by my little sister’s elementary school teacher), the teacher told me she had a combined degree in Kinesiology and Education. I had never heard of this before, but it set off a small spark inside me. Running around and doing sports with kids could be fun, right? After high school, I worked, upgraded my math mark, and took some time to make a decision based on my passions. I did not have the money to start a program and switch, so I really had to see myself practicing in this career and enjoying school as I completed it.

After applying to the Bachelor of Kinesiology and Bachelor of Education at the U of A, I was accepted. I had no idea how to make my schedule, where to go, how to pay, when to buy books, who I would talk to, or where I would sit. Even though I was scared, I was so excited to be doing something new. I had a friend from my hometown who was attending the U of A, and she showed me around. Another friend made my schedule and helped add me to a multitude of waitlists to get into the classes I needed.

The first year was not easy, but it helped me establish and learn much-needed study habits and organizational skills that come with time and university experience. I spent my first three years in the faculty of kinesiology and my last two years in the faculty of education. Once in the faculty of education, my passions really came to light. Doing teaching practicums and learning about child development set me off in a fascinating direction. I began taking educational psychology courses and joined a research lab in my last two years. My dream of becoming a psychologist grew within reach as I learned about the programs and requirements to take this path.

After graduating with my kinesiology and education degrees, I applied for the School and Clinical Child Psychology program at the U of A but was not accepted. During this year after graduation, I accepted a full-time position as a teacher with my own Grade 1 class. Having my own class was one of the most challenging but also the most incredible years of my life. The students taught me so much, and I realized, even more, my passion for child psychology after working very closely with the students with disabilities and their families.

During my year teaching, I applied for psychology programs across Canada and was accepted into the School and Clinical Child Psychology program at the U of A. This program was my top choice and my dream program. I am now in my first year in this program, and it has been very challenging yet so interesting. I wanted to share my story and my path because it can take many failures before you get to what you want. Just because your school counselor or others in your life are saying you won’t be able to do something doesn’t mean you can’t. Take your time and find what you love.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes: “You can learn about others based on their history with failure … In the end, it’s what you do with failure that defines your character as a leader.” -Glenn Llopis