By Leah – 4th year student
We all wonder what people do after they graduate from Quest. Some go onto graduate school, some go on adventures, some get jobs right away, some travel, the list is endless. Whatever it is people do after Quest, students come out with a better understanding of critical thinking, working with others, how to be efficient, time management, and overall more knowledge. These skills transfer into all different activities that Quest students may partake in after graduating.
Here are some of our recent alumni and some stories they wanted to share.
After graduating from Quest in May, I spent the summer hanging out by Squamish’s beautiful lakes and eating way too much sushi. After spending four years in Canada, I finally started to feel Canadian this summer—I saw multiple bears, visited the Terry Fox Memorial in Thunder Bay, and picked up a Canadian accent on words like “out” (for which my family teases me mercilessly). But in September I had to say goodbye to the beautiful town that I had begun to call home to start graduate school! I am just wrapping up my first quarter at Eastern Washington University’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program with another two and a half years to go. I was definitely nervous about switching back to lecture style classes that weren’t on the block plan, but my Quest education prepared me so well for graduate school by pushing me to constantly ask questions about the things I am learning and advocate to make my education the best one possible.
Over the summer I worked at a backcountry lodge near Banff, AB as a guest host. We worked a lot and hiked even more during our breaks. It was a great way to transition after graduation in May and to take a break from academics. Since the lodge season ended I have been working as a physiotherapy assistant, where I help treat patients and put to practice tons of the skills and knowledge I learned throughout my blocks, tutors, and mentor at Quest. With fingers crossed I hope this is my ‘foot in the door’ to my future as a practitioner in rehabilitative care, starting with a master’s program at a new school next fall. For the time being I will continue gaining experience and getting out to enjoy the Albertan mountains as the snow flies!
This summer, I worked with the BC Wildfire Service out of Vanderhoof and Revelstoke BC. As it was the busiest fire season in BC history with over 50,000 people evacuated, it was nonstop work. A typical day involved beginning on standby and getting a callout by about 10 o’clock once it was warm enough for the fires to become visible, flying to the fire by helicopter and landing. From there, we would cut a trail around the fire with a chainsaw and then put the fire out with water. Typically, this would take two or three days and we would camp overnight. This was my third season working on fires and I am consistently surprised and amazed by the new opportunities and experiences that I have gained from the experience. Since the end of fire season, I have left Canada and am currently travelling through Europe for the next two months. From there, I plan to go to South Africa and travel until fire season 2018 resumes in April.
For the past year I’ve been helping manage a sexual education company, called Shift Education Inc., and working at a boutique Vancouver law firm on Commercial Drive. To satisfy my hunger for in-class learning I applied and was accepted to the Urban Design Certificate program at SFU. This has acted as a fabulous intermediary as I am currently applying to graduate schools in urban planning, sustainable urbanism, and landscape architecture. In my not-so-abundant free time, I’ve become increasingly involved with a local organization called CityHive. As a co-lead of the Civic Engagement Hub, I am working with a handful of wonderful young adult change-makers to increase civic literacy within our city and metropolitan region. Despite my busy schedule I’ve had a hard time breaking the habit of block break adventures and have been lucky enough to hike both the Juan de Fuca trail and the West Coast Trail this past summer. I most definitely miss that one of a kind community that I feel so privileged to have been a part of at Quest but as this photo suggests, I’m feeling pretty content with where it has brought me.
This summer I worked at the Yukon Research Centre as an assistant climate change analyst. The main project I was working on was for the mapping of traditional ecological knowledge, permafrost degradation and forest fire prevalence in a community in Northwest Territories. The project aimed to gain a better understanding of how caribou herds and habitat in the area are being impacted by climate change. I also toured around to small arts festivals in the Yukon as a fiddler in a bluegrass band, learned a bit about whitewater kayaking and rehabilitated a broken foot. Now I am working as an Environmental Assessment Officer for Environment Canada in Whitehorse, Yukon. I am learning lots about environmental assessment and development in the territory, as well as federal policy and regulatory systems. I am still playing in a few different bands, starting to ski with the arrival of winter, doing lots of yoga and planning a fiddling/surfing trip in Ireland and Portugal for the spring.
The recent alumni have chosen to share these stories. After graduating from Quest there are multiple opportunities that people seek out. Similar to Quest, in the real world, students need to market themselves in a way in which they want to be perceived. In different situations graduates have put on different thinking hats to fit different roles. Quest prepares students and graduate to excel in various life positions, not just academics, essays and test writing. This is seen clearly by some of our alumni. The Quest education is not about getting a job; the piece of paper we receive is not a golden ticket into the work world, but provides us with tools to create our own opportunities in the work, travel, social, academic world out there.