by Alicia Pan, FIRST Team 6070 and Girls in STEM Student Council Member
Upon entering the “real world”, it becomes apparent that there are no set answers that somebody else can provide for us regarding career choices. We each have to forge our own path in our own way. So when the race is something as daunting as gradually shaping your ideal career, how can you tell if you’re running toward the finish line or wearing the right shoes to get there? In short, what is the best way for young people to discover which direction to take when approaching something unfamiliar and complex? In situations like these, we look to our mentors, the people who have garnered ample experience and are willing to share their insights with those who are feeling lost.
Emily Chung, a senior Science and Technology writer at CBC, recently took some time to speak to a couple of members of the Girls in STEM Student Council from FIRST Canada. She shared her career story and the series of events that led her to where she is now, as well as the strategies that she used to combat challenges.
Ms. Chung discovered her passion for journalism while still in high school. By the time she graduated, she had already published a column in the local paper, though this first taste of the journalism world did not come easy; Ms. Chung had contacted the paper’s editor with several ideas for a written piece and reached out again and again when she heard nothing back. She was met with doubt due to her age and inexperience at the time, but she remained resilient and sure of her goals, following-up with the editor until she was given a chance to demonstrate her abilities. Ms. Chung went on to study chemistry in her post-secondary education but continued to write as she freelanced and took journalism courses. She was given an internship at the Toronto Star and started to shape what would become her current career, one that combines her love of writing with her passion for science and technology. She says that though journalism (and indeed many other industries) is a field that is always changing and oscillating between highs and lows, it is important to believe in the strength of one’s passions and to remember that life is about exploration and trying new things. It is essential to take the initiative to build up skills that not only open doors when they present themselves but to proactively seek out new opportunities to further one’s career.
When it comes to the question of finding footing in a world of uncertainty upon entering the workforce or gauging the environment of the industry in which we would like to take part, mentorship is the answer. Experienced individuals like Emily Chung who are willing to talk to young people about their journeys in the professional world are the answer and they are the best resources that society can offer, regardless of industry or time period. We never stop learning, meaning that we never stop needing mentors and the invaluable stories that they can share.
For more information about the Girls in STEM Council, please visit here.