School Update: Where I Rant About Lack of Motivation and Working in Publishing

So I’m currently on Reading Week, also known as the “Canadian” version of Spring Break, and I’m supposed to be catching up on schoolwork, but I’m obviously procrastinating. Should I list out everything I need to have done by Monday? Yes? No? Oh well, I’m going to anyway:

  • 7 physiology lectures – watch and take notes
  • 3 anatomy lectures – watch and take notes
  • 1 anatomy lab
  • Read Agamemnon for Mythology class
  • Go over notes for Classical Medicine class

I’m kind of screwed and it’s mostly because of my lack of motivation. I’m not sure what’s wrong with me. It’s not just with studying and catching up on schoolwork, but I also don’t feel motivated to read, watch tv, or DO anything??!!!

This kind of takes me back to my second year of university, which was just an AWFUL year! I went into second year hopeful and willing to work hard, but I was so burned out from the summer and taking summer courses that everything when downhill. For some reason even when I got bad grades I just felt indifferent. Instead of feeling angry and then convincing myself that I could do better, I just didn’t care. It was like I had given up, but I had never even decided to give up in the first place.

I’m starting to feel like that now, but not exactly to the same extent. I’m not even doing terribly bad in my courses. I almost failed my physiology midterm, but that’s been it. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit though. I used to be such a good student, especially in high school. My first year at university was great, even though I was in a program I hated. When I switched into science and ended up taking summer courses my entire summer, I was excited and willing to work hard to get into the major I wanted to get into to. I guess I just got tired by the end of the summer and just lost all that motivation I had at the beginning.

I think it also partly has to do with my university and the stupid course policies and stuff like that. My second year was a mixture between first and second year science courses, both of which were demanding, and it was just too much. But if I had split those courses up over the next two years, I wouldn’t have been able to get into the major I wanted. I didn’t end up getting in anyway (b/c of marks), and had to compromise with a major in medical science and minor in classical studies, but I think it was for the better. If I was doing an honours in microbiology or pathology right now, I think I would hate my life even more than I already do. At least I enjoy classics. I even like some of my science courses, but I don’t feel like I’m learning in those classes all the time. It’s more like stuffing my head with information and hoping to pass the midterms/finals.

Sometimes I wish I had gone to a different university. Maybe my experience would have been better. But I guess there’s no point in thinking that way, since I’ll never know.

Anyway, since I’m in my third year, I have to start thinking about what I’m going to do after I graduate. Contrary to popular belief, going into science doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a job. I was told that by pretty much everyone when I was in high school – by my guidance counsellors, teachers, parents, random strangers… In reality, the only way you can get a job is if you go on to graduate school or professional school (medical, dental, pharmacy schools). I  guess you could get a job working as a lab tech, but you need experience and contacts from working in a lab while in university. I’ve tried getting a job working at a lab, but no one wants to hire me because I’m not pursuing an honours degree and so they immediately write me off as someone who isn’t interested in research, but just wants something to add to my medical school application. I even have previous experience working at a lab when I took co-op in high school!

There is a science internship program at my university, but I decided not to apply for a couple of reasons:

  1. Most people end up getting internships outside of our city. Knowing my parents, I probably wouldn’t be allowed to move away from home.
  2. Most of the internships in my city are lab-based. We don’t really have pharmaceutical companies here (most of them are in Toronto), so it doesn’t give you many options.
  3. Since I’m not pursuing an honours degree and no one wants to let me work at their lab at my university, I doubt most employers would even consider me. (I know I’m being pessimistic and judgemental, but if I applied to multiple labs at my university, and none of them accepted me, I doubt in the real world it will be any different.)
  4. I’m not really sure what I want to do with my life anymore. I definitely don’t want to do my masters or go to professional school, so that doesn’t leave me many options.

Last semester, in November, I was bored and looking up things about working in the publishing industry and I came across a college in Toronto that offers a graduate diploma in publishing. It was like all the puzzle pieces were finally fitting together! The program didn’t even require you to have an English degree! I had always thought that to work in publishing you needed a degree in English and so it was always never an option. For once I felt like this was right! I had always wanted to work with books and had considered becoming a librarian, but having volunteered at a library, I just didn’t enjoy it that much. There are a few problems though:

  1. The college is in Toronto, which would mean that I would have to convince my parents to let me go.
  2. Getting a diploma in publishing doesn’t mean I’ll immediately get a job. Even though the program comes with a 6-week internship, there is no guarantee that I would have a job at the end. I would also have to convince my parents of this.
  3. As part of the admission requirements, I needed to have a portfolio of my writing. Not a problem, EXCEPT I didn’t have anything to put in my portfolio. That was kind of why I decided to take a couple of writing courses to help me get back into writing. Also, I’m pretty sure my classics essays will count too.
  4. I’m really shy and I’m not sure if I would be good at networking to make contacts and get a job.

I mentioned this to my brother and he doesn’t like the idea. He thinks it’s “sketchy”, which doesn’t make any sense. He keeps telling me to go to college and become a paralegal or something, but it’s not something I’m interested in at all! I’m tired of doing things that are “right” or “reasonable” or will lead to a “job” because I’ve come to realize that none of that is true. At the end of the day it depends on you and how hard you work.

I’m thinking of seeing my science academic counsellor sometime next week. I need to discuss if I have all my graduation requirements for when I graduate next year, but I also want to discuss a couple of other things. So here’s what I’m thinking:

  • I’m going to have to bring up the idea of moving away after I graduate to my parents. Hopefully that will happen sometime next month or at least this summer. If that instigates WWIII, then I’ll have to think of something else. Otherwise, this is what I’m going to do if they’re okay with it.
    • Apply to the publishing program
    • I’m going to ask my academic counsellor if it is possible to apply for an internship after my fourth year of university AND if it’s possible to intern at a textbook publishing company like Nelson, McGraw-Hill, or Pearson.
    • Also apply to either a Medical Laboratory Technitian program (at the same college) or a Medical Laboratory Technologist program at a different college (a lot farther away than Toronto)The last two points are in case I don’t get into the publishing program
  • If they’re not okay with it, I guess I’m going to have to find a job and start paying off student loans. I’m not sure what else I’m going to do.

So yeah, that’s kind of what has been going on in my head. Maybe I’ll be more motivated now that I have all of that off my chest.





3 thoughts on “School Update: Where I Rant About Lack of Motivation and Working in Publishing

  1. I’ve done some publishing internships (in the US), so maybe I can help answer questions you have. As far as I know, most publishing programs are “worth it” in the sense they have very high placement rates. I would look into the particular program you want and see what percentage of their graduates get jobs after getting the certificate. It may be more worthwhile than the science degree., I agree the stereotype is that science degrees are employable..but most of the time you actually need a graduate degree to get a job, maybe a master’s but in many cases a PhD.

    I know academic publishers have internships, but personally I’ve never been accepted to one. I’m not sure what they’re looking for that I don’t have. Getting a publishing internship anywhere is a little harder after graduation (at least in the US) because most are unpaid and they get around this by “paying” you with college credit. If you can’t get school credit, they won’t hire you. That said, I’ve had a number of remote internships with literary agents who seem perfectly happy to have me do unpaid labor for them,


    1. PS Literary does remote internships, AND they’re Canadian, though they take remote interns from around the world. You might look into them as a place to start if you want things for your resume.


      1. Thank you so much for the reply! The college website doesn’t really have any statistics, but they say that the majority of the students that graduate get employed after their internship. And since only about 30 students are in the program each year, it seems like a good possibility. I’ll definitely check out PS Literary though! I’ve checked out a few publishers and they usually only offer internships if you’re taking a college course that requires one. I’m pretty sure the college I’m interested in is the only one in Ontario that offers an internship, so it definitely is a good bet. I just hope I can get in 🙂 Thanks again!


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