Written by Arthur Gallant, @ArthurGallant27, CAF ambassador and former young person in care.
For most of my life I feel like I have not been told what I am capable of doing; instead I’ve been told what I’m incapable of. This has had a tremendous impact on my self-esteem and I’ve kept asking myself: “Am I actually good at anything?”
I’ve experienced a few personal failures in the last few years and that has affected me in ways I cannot describe.
It seems like no matter what I did, I was constantly apologizing and there came a point where I didn’t know what I was saying sorry for. Was I really that bad of a person and was it humanely possible for somebody to screw up so bad?
Initially I went to journalism school and did 2 years of the 3 year program. While in journalism school I experienced great success including interviewing several provincial cabinet ministers, NDP leader Andrea Horwath, and completing my internship for CTV News where I got to work on some big stories.
However, it just didn’t feel like the right career for me. That’s when I left college and went back to working in retail to pay my bills as I determined what was next for me. I was uninterested working in retail, barely having enough money to get me by, and knew my future was much brighter than standing behind a counter scanning groceries all day.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t always finished what I’ve started, so when I began to consider going back to school for the second time there was a lot of anxiety.
Could I finish what I started? Is this the right career for me? Could I become successful doing it?
As I talked about in a previous blog, that’s when I began to shadow some lawyers (and even a judge) and I finally felt as if I nailed down that becoming a paralegal was the right career for me.
I’m almost halfway through my program and I love every second of it. Since I’m taking an expedited program, most of my assignments and exams are heavily weighted. While I put a lot of hard work and time into doing my homework and studying, I continue to second-guess myself as to what I’m capable of doing.
I’ll give you an example: Earlier this week I had an exam worth 60% of my final mark and I spent a lot of time studying. As I was writing the exam I really didn’t think I knew the material well and when I handed in my exam I knew I passed but not by much. Well I got the exam back and learned I scored 95% on it and finished the course with 93% overall!
This has happened to me several times so far. I’m almost 25 and it is challenging for me to now accept that I’ve actually found something I’m good at. Yes there may be difficult days but for the most part I have the ability to excel as a paralegal student and eventually as a paralegal.
While the exam wrote was challenging, the biggest challenge of all is learning to believe in myself and what I am capable of accomplishing.