Keeping Options Open
Students will soon be heading back to school and every student will be asked again, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” That is a big answer to expect from someone who has not been able to chart much of their life path to date.
As a teenager I never thought I would be your elected Member of Parliament or a Member of the Alberta Legislature before that.
When I was studying at SAIT to become an electrician, I was not aware that I would ever find a passion for community service; however, I was given some very sage advice early on. I was told, “Keep your options open. Build as many bridges and open as many doors as you can so that you can choose to do whatever you want in life.” So, I later decided to ‘open another door’ at the University of Calgary for my Commerce degree.
I share this because I want students (and especially their parents) to know that there is often the temptation or expectation to ‘specialize’ or ‘focus on’ a shrinking field of study.
There is a saying, “An expert is someone who knows more and more, about less and less, until they know everything about nothing.” There is no need to be an expert in anything as a teenager.
As our economy evolves, it will become even more important to be able to transition between careers. Those with a variety of experience can be the best assets in a team. They bring different knowledge, insight, skills and perspective.
So, instead of asking our kids to pick a life path so early, let’s encourage them to take a variety of courses to broaden their interests and skill sets. Let’s build those bridges and open those doors because we never know when we may need to use them.