Ask FCSS-FESC: Edition 2

Ask FCSS-FESC is back with a second edition! As always, we loved reading your submissions — it was great to hear from so many different students, and we hope our advice will be helpful.

How can I tell my parents I'm considering college or an apprenticeship instead of an university?

Exploring post-secondary options outside of your parents’ expectations can be intimidating, but starting with an honest conversation will help both sides understand each other's perspectives. Prepare beforehand with some research on taking a college program or apprenticeship versus going to university, and the respective career paths they lead to. What skills and high school courses are required? Are there any volunteer, co-op, or internship opportunities that you can get involved with now to help you succeed in this direction? What are the work environments like? What expenses and salaries can you expect? Being well-informed about the advantages and challenges of various post-secondary programs will not only make it easier for you to explain to your parents why college or apprenticeship programs can be a good fit, but also show them that you are dedicated and will work hard for your future plans. In the end, it’s important to remember that your parents probably just want the best for you, and with patience and time, I’m sure you’ll be able to come to an agreement together.

How do you deal with fake people who just care about climbing to the top of Wall Street, and super prestige obsessed people, etc?

I’m really grateful that you asked this question, because right now I am trying to work this problem out myself. I have a similar group of people in my life, who only discuss the numerous executive positions they hold and how influential their LinkedIn circle is. At times, I was almost tempted to act like them — the thought of success and glory is certainly attractive — but over time, I’ve learned to tune them out. And this is the advice I’ll give you: pay no attention to them, and focus on your own progress. 

Sit down and ask yourself: what do you, and you alone, want your future to look like? It can be an extremely specific vision — like a specific post-secondary institution you want to attend — or a general encompassing idea — such as being a source of support to those around you. It can even be both. Next, focus on that vision, and use your goals to further your skills and set milestones for your life. Passionate about cooking and hope to pursue the culinary arts? Make some delicious treats for your friends and family. Want to be a source of inspiration? Start doing small acts of kindness. Devote attention to yourself, so that in a few years you will find yourself where you want to be. Keep out the stress and heartbreak of unnecessary competition; and know that in the long-run, you are winning.

How do I handle the stigma of taking applied courses when all my friends are doing AP/academic? I was never really good at school (except English), but I was able to get by in grade 7/8 because all courses were mandatory and I could just lie about my marks to my friends. Now I'm in grade nine and I feel like my friends are going to stop spending time with me because I'm not smart enough for them. Any advice?

First, I want to tell you that whatever stream of courses you take should not be able to affect your friendship with anyone. Friendships are based on the respect and appreciation of each other’s personalities and mutual trust. Your friends most likely became close with you because of aspects of your personality, such as your honesty, willingness to listen, or supportiveness, and these traits are the most valuable parts of your friendship — not the level of your courses.

The level of courses you take doesn’t define how smart you are; the only thing it means that you are simply following a different route to personal success than your friends. Instead of worrying what your friends may think, use this time to work on yourself and reach your full potential. Focus on identifying your goals and sharpening your skills, so that eventually you’ll stand out as a person who is both competent and emotionally positive! Dazzle everyone with your personality and optimism, not how “smart” you think you are — you are more than that.


Thank you for everyone’s submissions; we had a blast reading them! Do you have a question about the FCSS-FESC and what we do? Submit your questions and comments to Ask FCSS-FESC! We look forward to reading the next round of submissions!



Hannah & Jessica

Jessica CaoComment