The Martlet’s new bi-weekly advice column
Dear Birdie: Throughout my whole undergrad degree (I am in my fourth year), I have been planning to enter a specific post-grad program to become a certified high school teacher. Recently, I have had a change of heart, and I really want to enter a different post-grad program to become a middle school teacher instead. But this would mean I would have to obtain completely different prerequisites, which means returning for a fifth year. I really think teaching middle-schoolers will be a better fit for me, but I also really want to get out of here.
— Riddle-Me-This Riley
You do not strike me as the kind of person who would let someone else make a decision this important on your behalf. Yes, I’m kind of writing myself out of a job here, and yes, I recognize the paradox of that statement, and yes, you may notice a glitch in the matrix down the line. But what I mean is by not taking the prerequisites for the middle school teacher program, you would no longer be the one in control of the situation. Give yourself the luxury of choice. The whole point of university — or so I tell myself — is to get closer to the goals you have for your life, whatever those may be. By the sounds of it, you’ve identified what you want (i.e. to be a middle school teacher), so there’s the uphill climb done. Now don’t cut your legs off on your way down just to avoid another year of school.
If you still crave change, switch up your living situation or part-time job. Volunteer somewhere that will give you experience in teaching so that your goal will feel more within reach. Remember, eight months is a miniscule thread of time in the vast quilt of life, and someday, there will be hundreds of middle-schoolers very grateful that you decided to take that extra time to be their teacher.
Dear Birdie: I’m away from home for the first time, but I’m not missing my friends or my family — I miss my dog. Where can I go to find pettable dogs to fill the canine-filled hole in my heart?
— Poochless Pete
How does the saying go? It is a truth universally acknowledged that a lonely man away at university must be in want of a fluffy pupper? I’m sure I’ve heard that somewhere. A good way to quench that hound hunger is to volunteer at the Victoria branch of the B.C. SPCA, where plenty of dogs, cats, rabbits, and other animals await your care. I believe there is an application process and a bit of training involved, but once certified, you will be able to pet and walk dogs that really need your compassionate soul in their lives. But if you want to stay closer to campus, there is a puppy petting session every Wednesday at 2:30 in the UVic Multifaith Chapel. The UVic Student Ambassadors also usually host a “De-Stress Fest” in November and March that includes puppy petting, but keep in mind that the lines are often quite long, so it’s not a sure thing that you and a dog will actually make contact.
Dear Birdie: I’m living in residence this year and I find that my whole life is spent on campus. How do I find time to leave campus and see more of Victoria while still keeping up with my responsibilities?
— Housebound Harry
I’ve never been to an all-inclusive resort, but I imagine the experience is similar to that of living on campus (apart from the housing, the food, the weather, the homework, and the existential dread). Basically, both provide convenience but reduce any incentive to explore beyond the boundaries of home, especially if you are new to Victoria and do not know where to begin. But the majority of UVic students do not live in residence and even the most reclusive of us homebodies put on pants every once in a while to explore the city, so it is possible! Arrange outings with your friends once every week or two, depending on your budget and workload, and choose activities that none of you have tried. If you’re not into drinking, there are still plenty of places to go, like the Board Game Café or the Crag X Indoor Climbing Centre.
If you are worried about your school obligations, just incorporate them into your off-campus outings. Do your homework at one of the many coffee shops downtown or go to a branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library — those places are packed with students, so you will be among friends.
It is also important to remember that if your friends are busy, you can do things on your own and still have a great time. Go to a movie or try solo dining. It’s intimidating, but if we always wait for other people to invite us out, we may never go anywhere.
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