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Professionals from Booth University College and Providence University provide tips on how to embark a new career when you're not a recent graduate.

Rhonda Friesen, the Dean of Students from Booth University College, understands due to personal experience how difficult changing a career later in life can be. However, the current economic state of our nation has a lot of people doing just that. Her tips include some questions that you need to ask yourself when embarking on a new adventure. 

"My first question that I would challenge somebody with is to ask them 'what's stopping you?' I mean that seriously. I think it's important for us to take a good look at what our fears, doubts, and uncertainties. And to try and identify if there is anything in our circumstance that is truly insurmountable. I've spoken with many students over the years that have overcome incredible barriers to get where they are. I do truly think that though change is never comfortable, it's absolutely doable. We just need to be prepared."

Friesen says, "Focus on what is to be gained. The alternative to doing something is nothing. If you want to stay where you are, okay do nothing. If you IMG00019Supplied photo of Booth University College campus.truly have a dream to do something different, then press into that. Can you imagine yourself doing something different? Something that's a better fit, perhaps? Pursuing that could be the best thing you have ever done."

However, she would also like to remind everyone to keep it real. "Try to avoid that 'grass is greener' syndrome. Talk to people already in the field that interests you, talk to your friends and ask for their opinions. Friesen also recommends going over the achievements you have reached since that will reveal what you are good at.

"You're not going to master a new skill overnight. You won't have the same confidence, prestige, or paycheck. Go in knowing there is a cost, and consider it an investment in who you are."

"In my parent's lifetime, you stick with a career your whole life. I think its definitely different now. Change is the really new norm in many ways. Keep that perspective. It's about you pursuing your potential, not living up to others' expectations. For myself, I know I enrolled back in graduate school after the kids had grown up, and I find that students are coming in from all walks of life. High school grads, right up through people in mid-career, and right up to those heading into retirement. Your classmates are going to be diverse."

"It's not just about the classes and assignments, it's about learning from your classmates. Enjoy it." 

Ismail Hussein is the director of enrollment management at Providence University College and Seminary. He says, "we have students that change their majors multiple times. This is considered normal. We get exposed to new things, new material, new topics, and some of us graduate and come back. It's really normal to change careers. There are a lot of new programs that institutions are developing and existing careers are evolving."

Hussein feels that an older student may not feel like they are contributing anything to the classroom dynamics, but actually having older students with a younger demographic serves as a source of wisdom and a different perspective on life. "It's not only what the instructor bestows to the class, it's alprovidence college6The Providence University College and Seminary the conversation that takes place in the class. A lot of younger kids can be blessed with a lot of wisdom that older students bring."

"Looking at the requirements of the next career you're thinking of is the first thing you should do. Then talk to a representative in that career," says Hussein. "In today's day and age, the whole scope of education has changed. 20 or 30 years ago you would find young people at post-secondary. It would be weird for someone older to be in their midst. But now it is normal to find students with diverse age groups. Education is so flexible now that it is a norm to find the difference in age groups.

Bursaries and grants are fully accessible to every prospective student. The government has student loans and scholarships. The government permits you to withdraw from your RRSPs, and most schools always have scholarships and awards to give. Hussein adds that asking churches for grants or bursaries is also a common practice. Providence offers a senior bursary for students going into seminary. You can also audit classes which allows you to sit and listen in class as well as contributing.

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