5 tips for following your dreams of a second career
Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2019
By Michelle Read
Have you ever asked yourself: Why didn’t I become what I have always dreamed of?
After accomplished careers as a medical laboratory technologist and an aerospace engineer, two MD students at the uOttawa Faculty of Medicine share tips from their own journey of self-discovery into medicine.
1. Don’t ignore a gut craving for fulfillment.
Agnes Sobiesiak (MD 2022) sensed an “insatiable addiction” for health care and medicine while working as a technologist, before taking the step of applying to medical school at uOttawa.
“My job taught me what it was like to be in the service of others,” she says. “But my role in the medical field had plateaued, and I started wondering: What if I did something more?”
David Lavoie (MD 2020) felt the same attraction to medicine as Sobiesiak. “Although my previous career in aerospace engineering was diverse, challenging and exciting, I always felt that medicine was my true passion.”
2. Try out your passion in some capacity.
“Medicine was my first career choice since the age of five,” Lavoie says. “The flame for medicine was reignited by my volunteer work in various health-related settings—it combines everything I love in a career.”
Sobiesiak says she haunted the hospital halls on night shifts in search of ways to help the sick and their families. “I saw what it was like to be in the service of others,” she explains. “My need for fulfillment caused me to bounce around jobs—and finally to apply to uOttawa’s medical program.”
3. Recognize it’s never too late to explore a passion.
“Life’s current responsibilities—home, car and family obligations—may mean a reduced ability to participate in the student experience,” says Sobiesiak, “but this doesn’t make the challenge impossible.”
Despite years since the last time they were in school, both students acknowledge the importance of embracing change.
“Technology is different from when we were students,” admits Lavoie. “But I know I learn in a different way now—by applying what I am learning and challenging each other as a team. The Faculty of Medicine is structured for my current way of learning.”
4. Have faith that it will all be worthwhile.
Lavoie and Sobiesiak emphasize the importance of seeking contentment in life.
“Do what makes you happy,” smiles Lavoie. “We only live once, so life must be as fulfilling as it can be.”
“There is so much about medicine that makes this long hard road worthwhile,” Sobiesiak says. “100% do it—it is never too late, it is never impossible. When you’re feeling like a failure, keep going.”
5. Draw strength from family and friends in taking on new challenges.
Sobiesiak works hard to maintain relationships with friends and family. “As I move through my journey, I definitely draw strength from them,” she says. “It’s important to involve them so it doesn’t feel like a lonely experience.”
As a husband and father-of-three, Lavoie says that leaning on family has made getting back into the swing of being a student easier than expected.
“I thought balancing school and family would be difficult,” he admits. “But, I have tremendous support from my wife, and we are thriving as a team.”
Interested in a career in medicine at the University of Ottawa?