Here is a story about the transition between high school and “the real world” — whether that’s college, university, the workforce or something completely different. This article reveals the gaps in the Canadian education.
When Pearlia Veerasingam was in high school, she didn’t know what she wanted to do after graduation.
She was in Grade 11 and remembers talking to the school’s counselor for guidance, but it wasn’t a quick solution to her problem.
Veerasingam said she felt very disapponted after that conversation
The counselor asked Veerasingam about her degree, which type of university she was considering and if she had any experiences with apprenticeship. This left the 21-year-old even more overwhelmed.
“She was asking me what degree I saw myself getting, what my grades were to qualify for the programs I was looking at. For someone who doesn’t know what they want, and then facing all these questions, it makes you feel so under pressure.”, she continued.
Not going to university wasn’t an option — an expectation she attributes, in part, to her Sri Lankan upbringing. But the Toronto-native didn’t want to waste her time or her parents’ money by making the “wrong” choice either.
“In the South Asian community, taking time off or going to college… you’ll get the support eventually, but it will be a choice that’s criticized at first,” she said.
“One of the biggest things you always hear is ‘you’re going to find your calling,’ but I feel like a lot of students are still trying to find themselves at that age.”
That same year, her law teacher had suggested a politics degree and that’s when things started to make sense: she always had a passion for it.
“It was my teacher who said, ‘you’re great at advocating for policies and procedures… you should really look into something like that,’” she said. Veerasingam, who graduated from Ryerson University earlier this year believes she made the right choices in Grade 12.
According to a recent study by think tank Canada 2020, the average student spends roughly $29,568 on higher education. The report found 70 per cent of all new Canadian jobs will require post-secondary education or skills training.
Like Veerasingam, thousands of teenagers in Canada will face the same decisions about their futures in the next few months.
Often, students feel pressure to make the “right” choice — a decision that can lead to anxiety and confusion. With all of this at stake, experts wonder if teens are actually prepared to move forward.