When I was in my penultimate year of high school, I applied and received a scholarship to attend Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific, an international boarding school in Victoria, BC.
There, I would take part in the International Baccalaureate Diploma program. This is where I started taking classes in philosophy, but I also took part in classes on theories of knowledge as well as economics, French, English, and physics. All of these classes were set to a background of international understanding and listening. I made friends from all over the world, and the values I developed there would shape who I am to this day.
My time at Pearson College is one of the reasons I try and include my diversity statement in all my job applications. I believe including and sharing this statement creates a culture of openness about issues that need to be tackled. If nothing else, it makes a statement for who I am and the values I hold.
There was no university in Yukon when I graduated high school, so I had to pack my things and venture South. That’s how I ended up in Vancouver.
When it was time for me to choose where to go to university, I looked for a program that would best suit my interests. I knew I wanted to study philosophy and psychology, but of themselves, I found those disciplines lacklustre. I found out about the COGS program at UBC and was immediately hooked.
COGS combines elements of psychology, philosophy, computer science, and linguistics. The easiest pitch for its focus is to say that it reflects on the impacts – cultural, scientific, and economic – of artificial intelligence.
More to the point, COGS attempts to create connections between its four core disciplines and attempts to find solutions to the issues that arise from innovation. New technology, be it AR, VR, deepfakes, AI, and automation at large, all have an impact that needs to be mitigated. By focusing on the bigger picture, COGS students are able to navigate the complex and interdisciplinary issues that come from rising technology.
After graduating with a bachelor’s in COGS with a focus on philosophy and informal logic, I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go in. I didn’t have the technical skills to code and didn’t want to spend more time in psychology labs. That’s when I decided to pursue a related field.
In 2020, I enrolled in the Digital Strategy & Communications Management certificate program at the University of Toronto. The timing was perfect as COVID-19 forced classes to take place in a virtual environment and the program focused entirely on virtual community management and social media.
There’s a lot to be said for the power of digital communities, and if it’s possible to create healthy, inclusive, and thriving digital environments, I’d like to be a part of that.
Following my time studying communications, I got the opportunity to study Climate Resiliency Strategies through a partner program with Royal Roads University.
In March of 2022, I attended the Howl Experience Rockies Exploration Program. There, I would interact with youth from all over Canada who all share the ideal of communication as a pathway towards sustainability and a greener future for Canada. Over the course of the program, I was able to interact with folks from many impactful organizations in Canada, including Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y), and the Nakoda Youth Council, an important advocate for indigenous rights and knowledge on Treaty 7 land.
I completed the program feeling a greater sense of purpose than I had felt in a long time, and I’m thankful for all the connections I made during my Howl Experience. These connections are an important step toward a cross-national community of young people who want to come together for the future.
I believe in lifelong learning, and I hope that my steps to go back to school after my degree are an indication of what I’ll be able to achieve in my life. I’d love to continue studying and deepening my knowledge of the topics I’ve studied in the past.
It’s also important to me that I develop useful skills in parallel to all the academic concepts I might study. My interest in tech is a big part of who I am, so I hope that I can bolster it with useful knowledge on how to use applications and software to work towards my goals.
It might be a little much coming from someone who has studied philosophy, but you have to recognize it for being so succinct:
I know that I know nothingPlato