Risks are possible when we have a good plan
By Glauce Fleury, Contributor
Have you ever thought about how an experience can change you? I’ve done that often, and being an international student at Douglas College is part of it. In the fall of 2005, I came to Vancouver to attend an ESL program and ideas started to pop up. In two months, I made friends all over the world—some of them, I now consider to be my best. Moreover, I learned a lot about other cultures and practiced tolerance every day in this multicultural society. How could I still be the same person?
[quote]Life is about taking risks, and it is totally possible to do this safely. We just need a good plan, a bit of courage, and an open heart. [/quote]
Back in Brazil, my homeland, I tried to adjust to my old life, but I missed a more open-minded environment. I wanted to be among foreign people with different backgrounds, and to share experiences. I needed something more. I had changed, but my environment was still the same and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have a backup plan.
Five years went by and Canada was still on my mind, so I started thinking of coming back to pursue higher education. As I had majored in journalism, one possibility was to study writing so I would have more knowledge and experience writing in English. I was researching programs when, in the beginning of 2011, I was promoted to Communications Coordinator. I accepted. My days were now full of meetings and events, and I didn’t have time to write a single paragraph. I was unhappy.
On my vacation, I visited a few colleges in Ontario and BC and here, at Douglas, I found the perfect program for me. I was faced with one of my biggest challenges: I had been working for 11 years at the same company, where I improved a lot my communication skills, but where I was unhappy. I felt lost. I could have seen that moment negatively, complaining and whining, but I wouldn’t have benefitted from this behavior.
Then, I remembered an old book called Who Moved My Cheese?, a tale about adjusting our behaviour towards change. When we see changes coming, we have to move with them instead of waiting for some miracle to give us back everything we had. Change happens all the time, whether we are ready or not. With this in mind, I resigned from my job, took the TOEFL test, and applied for a seat in the Print Futures program.
I decided to think positively. Although some people were shocked by my decision—I left the boss’ position, status, and money to be a mere student—I was surprisingly happy. When I got the acceptance letter, I sold almost all my stuff, found a new family for my ten-year old boxer, Gordon, and came to Canada.
My decision was made from a very honest need to pursue something new. Life is about taking risks, and it is totally possible to do this safely. We just need a good plan, a bit of courage, and an open heart. Changes don’t affect just the environment. They make us different too. It’s our job to use these changes to become someone better, taking opportunities in pursuit of success. My definition of success is “being happy with our choices,” because they define the existence or absence of happiness. Every day, I choose to be happy.