"Well my cousin in Canada said that……" or "My friend's son did this…and this happened"… are typical statements often echoed when discussing schools, programs and/or study destinations. . Usually, such stories are shared in hopes of achieving a similar outcome. However, quite often, these stories are relayed with little to no context.
One common scenario is the scholarship story; where persons heard of someone that received multiple scholarships. This blanket statement is provided with little to no supporting story lines. I have often found that there is always more to the story. For example, the student had a different citizenship or residency status making them eligible for more scholarships or the person was an athlete and the scholarships were worked out internally with the school or the scholarships were from different schools and were not full etc. There is always context. This has taught me that people are more attuned to the outcome but never well versed in the process.
I am taken back to a recent video clip of Michelle Obama, while on her book promotion tour, where she talked about the importance of context. We all witnessed Mrs. Obama endure immense scrutiny during her husband's two-term presidency. Many times, her words were misquoted and taken out of context. Even in our own personal lives, I am sure we can think back to a situation where we ourselves were misquoted or our words were taken out of context. It is important to provide a background to stories in order to better understand why a particular outcome occurred.
Context is everything.
As an advisor, I often have to guide persons towards focusing on their own individual situation to establish a basis to work from. This is not always an easy process especially when persons are so focused on that one in a million 'good news' story.
Therefore, before sharing someone else's story, it is important to gather some context: have the answers to the how, when, why, who, what questions. So below are two main questions to consider before deciding whether to share or not share:
- - If Yes, go on to question 2
2. Does the background story mirror your own circumstances?
- If No- then there is no need to share. Focus your efforts on determining your own context.
- If Yes - then there is still no need to share. Focus the time getting your process started.
Your education plans are based on your own circumstances. Yes, it is good to learn from others but sometimes, this can be more counterproductive than constructive. Context is everything!
With the new year upon us, the talk of change often comes as persons look to revive, revamp and/or renew. Right here in Barbados, change and reform has been part of the ongoing dialogue following the historic 2018 general elections. Barbadians are facing constant changes; some pleasing while others have been a hard to chew on.
"Have you visited the school?" is a common question asked by those seeking college/university counselling and placement support. Being able to answer this question positively helps to assure a student and/or parent as well as to instill confidence in the advice provided.
It is not possible to see every school in the world but as an advisor, it is important to have a high degree of familiarity with colleges and universities. What is also important, is having some familiarity with the country of interest, its education system, people, culture and customs to ensure advising is comprehensive and holistic.
The release of the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination and the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate results across Barbados and other participating CARICOM Member States is a highly anticipated period during the summer holidays. Firstly, it marks the official end of summer for students (and educators) and secondly, students can now decide on their next steps. Be it, Sixth form, college, university, work or whether they have to go back to the drawing board.
This time of the year is what I often term as bitter sweet! As much as I am excited for my students who are about to start their college/university lives, there is a tiny sense of sadness when it is time to say goodbye. Recently, I said goodbye to our student intern, Darian, who will be commencing his studies at Humber College this September. After working with Darian for a year, both as an intern and as a student, I had the distinct privilege of getting to know this remarkable young man, who has a passion for the field of business.
For those that are going abroad, the months leading up to their departure can be a bit of a 'crazy' period, with all the steps that need to be taken before their arrival. From the time Darian accepted his unconditional offer from Humber College, the remaining months consisted of sorting out his finances in preparation for his tuition deposits and study permit application, applying for housing and registering for classes.
The last day of secondary school was the best day of my life for many reasons. I was elated to be moving on to the next stage of my life: adulthood. I was eagerly awaiting life as a young adult in a new country as a college student. Despite the excitement felt, I couldn't help but also feel a sigh of relief that I would never have to step foot through the hallways and classrooms I occupied for the last seven years. For the most part, my secondary school days were filled with positive experiences, where I enjoyed an active social calendar and celebrated great academic achievements. However, there were days where I faced challenges, which seemed somewhat insurmountable at the time. While some experiences could be categorised as teenage growing pains, there are those that had such an impact, where my vulnerabilities were exposed by persons whose sole intention was to cause harm.
Do you have questions about the college and university process?
Send us your queries.