Thu | Apr 19, 2018

Glenford Smith | Unsure of career path

Published:Sunday | April 23, 2017 | 12:02 AM

Q: I am hoping to find a different career from what I'm doing now, which is a high school teacher. I have decided and applied to the University of the West Indies (UWI) to start my master's degree in September. Like a young lady you spoke of in an article, I'm also unsure of what to study and do not like economics or mathematics. I do, however, still have a great love for children and socialising. I'm not sure what career path or studies I should now take on. Any advice you have for me would be greatly appreciated.

- High School Teacher

A: Thank you for your question, which had to be cut for space. It is good that you are striving and want to earn your master's degree. It is especially wonderful that you seek this counsel prior to enrolling in the course. Many students attend university, do a course, and only then do they find that that is not what they really want to do.

You say that you do not like economics and mathematics, but they are required. When I wrote the article 'What would you do with a cash windfall?', I got a letter from Ms Peta-Anne Baker, PhD, who is a senior lecturer and coordinator, social work programme, UWI, Mona.

In an effort to help students such as you and the original subject of the article, she gave the following clarification.


what is necessary


"It appears that she (a student I counselled with) believes that she does not need to have mathematics to qualify for admission to the social work degree programme. This is not the case.

"The matriculation requirements for admission to our programme, as with all programmes in the Faculty of Social Sciences, include a passing grade in CXC mathematics. Social work students do courses in statistics and research methods. You may also want to let her know that we also expect applicants to have a creditable co-curricular profile."

So it appears that you will need to do mathematics if you decide to do social work. If you decide to do it, you will need to change your mindset. You may find that mathematics and economics are not as onerous as they now seem. Your love for children and socialising can give you the motivational fuel.

You say you are thinking of doing social work and public relations. However, you are not sure if those careers are in demand here. You would not want to study them further if that will lead to the same result of being stuck where you are.

Much of the confusion arises because students tend to look out at the world and try to figure out if their area of interest or demand will still be hot. This is the wrong approach. You should start with such questions as, what do I like to do? What am I great and extraordinary at?

And then look around in the world and ask, where do I see a problem where I can use what I'm great at and what I like to do and find a solution? The problem of finding a fulfilling career is answered within the self.

- Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.