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Passion can drive educational pursuits

<p>Today, Jennifer Otley will proudly tell you she's a dietitian. At 27 years old, she's found exactly the career she wants. But being a dietitian wasn't always part of her plan.</p>

Today, Jennifer Otley will proudly tell you she's a dietitian. At 27 years old, she's found exactly the career she wants. But being a dietitian wasn't always part of her plan.


Like many young people, Jennifer went straight to university after high school. After four years, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education. It was during those four years that she discovered her true passion.


“I took a range of things. That's why I liked my degree program — because you dabbled in a bunch of different areas,” says Jennifer. “I loved my nutrition classes. I would read the textbooks for fun.”


Exploring different programs of study can help prospective students make an informed decision. CanLearn.ca provides search tools and information about jobs and wages, schools, and scholarships.


Soon after graduation, Jennifer decided to become a dietitian. That meant three more years of university in Toronto.


According to a 2009 report from the Canadian Council on Learning, just over half of college and university students follow the traditional path through their post-secondary education, graduating from the program and school where they first began their studies. The rest take a less direct route. For some, this means attending more than one institution, switching programs or changing subject areas.


Jennifer recently completed a one-year internship as a dietitian. After a three-month job hunt, she's now working in diabetes outreach. “Even though I'm in debt, I don't have any regrets,” she says with a laugh. Nor should she; in today's labour market, two out of three jobs require a post-secondary education, according to a labour market report from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.


For Jennifer, the journey has been worthwhile. “University opens a lot of doors and gives you time to figure out what you want to do,” she says. “I'm glad I kept following what I wanted to do."


To explore the possibilities, visit CanLearn.ca/explore.

 
 
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