There are two questions that I am often asked by perspective students: the ones at the beginning of their careers generally ask “what jobs can you get when you’re done?” and the later career clinicians, researchers or healthcare professionals ask, how will this help me?” Inevitably, I answer with a question (or two) “what do you want to do? What are your goals?” Since this is often met with looks of bewilderment or frustration because some people want a direct and concrete answer, I feel I need try to explain.
I am not trying to be vague or noncommittal. But I’m also not trying to sell you anything.
The truth is that no program is right for everyone. And I don’t think that any program (outside of one-on-one mentorship, maybe) will be all things to all people—there are going to be compromises.
So, I think there are two key questions that you must ask:
- What am I looking for in a graduate education?
- Will this program allow me to get what I’m looking for?
What are you looking for?
There are several reasons (by no means exhaustive) why you might consider taking a graduate program. You may want:
- Credentials or accreditation.
- Access the resources or networks of a program or institution.
- Learn something new or different that you couldn’t (or wouldn’t) learn on your own.
- Find like minded people or learn with others.
- Get mentorship or facilitation that you couldn’t get in another forum.
If you are looking for specific credential or resources, you need to find the program(s) that offer you clear pathways to those outcomes. If you want to pursue Rehab Med, a master’s in cultural studies may not be your most direct route.
The TRP is not one of these programs. There is currently NO official profession of “Translator” in health science or medicine (although I suspect this may not be a long way off—though hopefully under a different label). TRP is designed to provide you with specific discrete bits of knowledge that you can memorize for a specific test. The consensus in health science innovation (aka translation) is that it is generally a complex emergent process that rarely follows a single predefine unwavering path. So being able to plan, adapt, abstract and problem-solve as processes unfold is definitely more useful than memorizing regulations that will likely change before you are done your education. The added bonus is that these competencies are not job, career, or domain specific. Learning how to learn, how to problem-solve and how to refine your approach over time, are life skills that really transcend a particular discipline or domain of knowledge.
At the TRP we believe that a graduate education should do precisely that: help you learn core life skills that will allow you to be a better learner, more adaptable, more creative and a better problem-solver. We just happen to do this in the context of health and care with the mission of challenging our students to think in ways and from perspectives that they normally would not or have not yet learned. We do this in a collaborative environment that generally you would not have access to our could not maintain on your own outside the context of a formalized academic program, and we do this within a framework or context that allows people to learn (and do) collaboratively.
So, although I can’t tell you whether the TRP is ‘right’ for you, you should come talk to us if you:
- if you are unsatisfied with the status quo
- if you want to take initiative and improve your community or context
- if you want to challenge yourself and move out of your comfort zone;
- f you want to be more creative and a better problem-solver;
- if you want to have more impact and feel like what you are doing matters;
- if you want to learn to learn, and want to do it with others;
- if you want to learn to better navigate uncertainty and complex situations;
- if you want to be part of a community;
- if you want to champion change;
- if you want to better understand and reflect on your purpose and motivations;
- if you want to better chart your goals and direction;
- if you want to be more open to different perspectives and points of view;
If any of the above are true for you, and you want to understand how the TRP might be able to facilitate your learning, and are interested in a ‘non-traditional’ graduate education, I want to hear from you.
Why? Why would I make such an offer when anyone that knows me will tell you how limited my time and resources are? Simply because a mentor of mine made me realize that my mission, may way of making a difference is:
“To empower learners who want to make a difference”
And at the TRP, all of the team strive “to challenge students to think differently so that they may champion change in their contexts”.
I believe in this and I am proud to be part of something so much bigger than myself. And I want to surround myself with like-minded people. So, if that might be you write me: Joseph.ferenbok(at)utoronto.ca.