Unconventional Degree Choices

Did you know that there are 89 degree programs at UVic? That’s 89 different disciplines, 89 different skill sets for you to learn, and 89 different ways to change the world from Vancouver Island! For some people, 89 is a huge number to choose from, and that number can seem like way too much choice, but for others, like me, there is always one program that seems to perfectly fit with what you’ve always wanted to learn.

For me, that perfect program was French. French has always been a part of my life and I’ve always had that innate feeling that it would be for the rest of it, so when it was time to choose what I wanted to study at UVic, French was my first and only choice.

Me at my high school graduation! I think I was asked what I was going to do after high school 500 times by then.

If you’re finishing high school, chances are you’ve been asked that million-dollar question: “So what’s next?”. I used to cringe at that question because I always knew what the response would be when I would answer my teachers, my peers, and my family:

“I’m going to the University of Victoria to study French.”

“Oh, French! Uh… good for you, I guess.”

And I would always have to “save” myself from the awkward situation I found myself in by immediately following it up with:

“–yeah, it’s because I want to become a teacher.”

“Oh, that’s great! For a second, I wouldn’t know what you would have done with a French degree. But at least you’ll do something ‘useful’ with it.”

It was almost as if I was prouder of being able to justify my degree than being proud of myself for even pursuing one at all. But at the time, who could blame me? Many of my classmates in high school didn’t need to explain why they were in the program that they were in, some were even congratulated for choosing the program they did.

With 89 programs to choose from, how will you change the world? | Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

One of the greatest out-of-classroom lessons I’ve learned in my program was that even if a French degree wasn’t the most “conventional” degree choice according to the people around me, there were so many reasons for me to seek one. It was the most conventional choice for me. Even though those around me didn’t know what I would do with it after I get my degree, I don’t need to justify what I’m going to do with it. I’m proud of where I am in my learning journey because it is one I take responsibility for, and I shouldn’t need to prove my worthiness based on what I study for anyone but myself. That is what other people should see: my dedication, my drive, and the hard work I put in to each assignment and paper that I do, no matter what the subject matter is.

And at the end of every class, what gets me up in the morning, and what motivates me to keep learning is being confident that I chose the thing I love the most out of 89 different paths. What more can I ask for?

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