By Renee Baker
For the graduate fresh out of high school, university can be one of two things. It is either a golden gate illuminated with the possibilities that come with adult independence, or an unreadable door leading to a future that may or may not have a place for you. For Jada Chan (Class of 2013), if she can just find what she is genuinely passionate about in university, everything will be worth it. Jada recently completed her DEC in health science at Marianopolis College in Montreal, Canada.
DEC is a French abbreviation for Diplôme d’Etudes Collégiales – Diploma of College Studies. It is the light at the end of the tunnel for students enrolled in CEGEP, another French acronym for Collège d’Enseignement Général Et Professionnel. Jada explains CEGEP as a general and vocational college; you can choose programs from pure and applied science to commerce programs, and they prepare you for university. Despite CEGEP being pre-university, so to speak, its courses are far more rigorous than most entry-level courses in university. As a health science student, Jada’s classes included organic chemistry, electromagnetism, physics, calculus, mechanics and linear algebra. “Classes were the hardest, but I truly learned to not give up in CEGEP,” Jada says. “You just have to persevere and move on. Don’t drop something in life just because it’s hard.”
At the end of CEGEP, Jada completed an internship project at a physiotherapy clinic. She observed how physiotherapists treated patients with concerns ranging from sports injuries to arthritis. “I got to see how physio works. Even though the physiotherapists don’t go to the ICU and save people’s lives, I saw how the treatment really eases people’s pain and helps make their lives better.”
Jada is currently studying Chemistry at Concordia University in Quebec. She hasn’t decided on a career yet, and admits that unnerves her a little. However, she knows which direction she would like to go in. “I want a career one day where there can be innovation and life and a future. Something more positive to push you forward – maybe working in a business or corporation related to science.”
She wonders if a job like that exists, but considering how many positions nowadays integrate a business aspect into a science career (biotechnology and economics, for example, go hand in hand), I don’t think she has anything to worry about! Jada is a self-motivated individual who has always held high aspirations no matter what. “I would love to be the CEO of a company one day. I want to take a risk and aim for something high in the next 20 years,” she says. “Even if I don’t get where I want to be at, I know at least I tried. I won’t have regrets.”