I thought I’d never get out of high school. Due to health reasons, I was 20 and still attending classes with about a year to go. Despite multiple meetings with guidance counsellors, it wasn’t until I was speaking with a teacher that I saw a way out. This teacher was the one who said, “You’re definitely capable, why don’t you just apply to college as a mature student?”
Wait, hold the phone! What was a mature student and why had I never heard of it before? It turned out that mature student status fit me perfectly, and so began my journey with postsecondary education. I started the Interior Decorating program at Humber College the following September. I loved the students, teachers and classes, but realized after my first year that a career in interior decorating was not for me. It was actually the networking opportunities organized by faculty, and speaking to professionals in the field that helped me realize that. So, in an effort to find my path, I spent over a year working full-time before trying college again.
The next time I went to college, I chose the Baking and Pastry Arts program at George Brown College. I chose George Brown because it was the only college at the time that offered the specific program I was looking for. Even before completing the program I knew that again, it wasn’t ideal for my future.
Instead of being discouraged, I felt grateful! I was happy that I had the opportunity to realize that the programs I had taken would not satisfy me as a career, before spending a few years trying to make them work. After a lot of thought and soul searching about where I wanted to be in the future, I decided on the field of accounting.
I knew this time that I wanted to get a degree, so I started to research my options. I found that Humber had a Bachelor of Commerce – Accounting program, which would enable me to be in the same academic position upon graduation as any university. The program also included a 14-week internship, which would actually give me a leg up from university grads in terms of practical work experience. I looked at universities as well, but found that Humber was much more accommodating with my mature student status, and I had such a great experience the first time, I knew it was the best option for me. It also meant that at the end of my four-year program I would have much less debt when entering the workforce. Bonus!
Now, completing my third year of the program, I still think I made the right choice. Humber has supported my academic growth through the small class sizes and the personal relationships forged with teachers. The fact that my path didn’t include a high school diploma hasn’t prevented me from achieving honours status every semester, which still constantly surprises people when they hear that I am a mature student.