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I am convocating this week (well if i was actually attending the ceremony). So after three long years of work and study and stress and little socialization…but still lots of fun…I find myself asking what now? Aside from having a ton of free time all of a sudden, I wonder how I want to utilize this new specialization I have. Not only has it been 3 years of school, but also 5 years at Environment Canada, time to assess the situation I’d say.

I eagerly accepted a job at Environment Canada because I wanted the work I did to make a difference.  I didn’t want to be a part of the development of the next useless gadget or widget (don’t get me wrong…I LOVE useless gadgets and widgets as much as the next person) but I knew it would be easy to get caught up in all the big business hype of software development.  I know government work has it’s (many!) drawbacks but I do feel like I’m part of something that’s trying to accomplish positive things.  Yes, most of the time it’s indirectly…and there’s a lot of bullshit you have to deal with to achieve something, but trust me, government is not the only place i would experience such a thing.

I also chose my research topic because I wanted to look at something that would hopefully make a difference to people.  I appreciate that government aligns itself so closely with accessibility standards, even though most developers and clients groan about it.  My father was a computer programmer who also suffered from Multiple Sclerosis.  When he went on disability, his major lifeline was the computer.  As his mobility degenerated it got harder and harder for him to use the computer.  I know all too well how important it is to design tools for an accessible audience.

The thing that’s making my feet itch though is at EC I’m sitting in front of a computer, talking to clients who are also EC employees.  I’m not actually in the thick of it to see the impact any of my work may be having.  At UofT, I’m sitting in front of a computer and hoping that at some point my work may have an impact.  I have a selfish desire to “get out there” much like my days as a NetCorps volunteer in Ghana, that I endlessly talk about because it’s so close to my heart.  I interned as an IT Specialist, but most of the time instead of helping out with anything IT related, I was visiting the women’s shelter to deliver supplies, or going into the villages to participate in HIV/AIDS information sessions.  I am daydreaming for something like this again, if even for a little bit to refresh my commitment to the fact that yes, even the people sitting behind the computers in the gray cubicles have the potential to contribute positively in some way to the world.

Making decisions has never been an easy thing for me, and I am usually pretty easily influenced by the people I love and respect.  But instead of just doing what they tell me…I’m trying to take some time, and just consider their opinions as well as take part in things just for me while I figure it out.   I have been having a lot of fun flexing my carpentry skills, getting involved in a group I am passionate about, studying french, a few other enjoyments here and there, and well, just being with the people I love as I owe them a lot of time from being in a bubble for the last 6 months or so.

Any suggestions for me to consider?

I’m also trying to figure out what is going to happen to this blog, as I have come to enjoy writing posts…but it was originally intended to be a research blog, and not much of that is happening right now. Stay tuned if interested.