As a child growing up, I always dreamed of being someone who had a career that involved helping others. When people used to ask me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would answer in a very positive way. I would reply, “I want to be a nurse.” As years passed by, my decision of wanting to be a nurse slowly changed. But I knew I wanted to be in the field of helping others because I enjoy doing that.

I want to have a career that I can be proud of, something that I will enjoy doing. Not just something that makes a lot of money. The career I have picked to write about is educational and vocational counselling. This career had recently interested me, as I start to plan my future. It would be a new aspect to my life. I would not only help others but I would also help myself.

I have a lot of personal traits that will help me with this job. I am good at communicating with people, especially the youth. People respect me to be the leader. I have a strong sense of responsibility and an understanding of Cree language, of traditional and modern ways of Cree life. I am also proud to be a Cree. There are other personal qualities that I don’t see in myself, but people say I have a good sense of humour, that I am a good listener and that I am a very understanding person. I see myself as a very sociable person.

I think I would be a good guidance counsellor.

As we look back several years, careers have changed rapidly. The career opportunities have changed over the years. Technology has been changing our lives. People need more education. We know for a fact that going to school down south is very challenging. Learning about white man’s cultures, education and different things could be very difficult It is not easy for everyone to suddenly change cultures, but if you try hard and don’t give up you can do it. Having an understanding Cree guidance counsellor would certainly help our Cree students adapt to these changes.

This career I’ve chosen involves many things. I want to assist our community to make suitable educational and vocational decisions, to help them pick the right courses and programs. I will be able to assist in pursuing their interests in career planning by giving them the information and the service they deserve. I want to help the young people and the adults by encouraging them to take school seriously and to go on to higher education. I also want to help students who are experiencing personal problems. Personal problems often make studying very difficult or impossible. Having control of their future would mean great power, great power indeed for the Cree society. A career is a lot different from a job. We need careers because they require great knowledge. Knowledge is power, not only to white society but also to the Crees.

In the old days, there were many respected Cree careers. Men were the trappers and the hunters. The men would do their jobs, they had no choice. If they didn’t hunt and trap, their families would die. That was some kind of career to them because they liked doing it to live. Also the women had traditional roles of their own. They cooked for their husbands, cleaned what their husbands had killed and took care of their children. Even though there was no money offered, they would still do it Again they really had no choice.

A lot of people today still follow the traditional Cree way of life, but they have other jobs too. This is because things are really changing in our world. Technology is bringing us closer to the south. As a Native counsellor, I will be able to help my people make these changes.

There are a lot of qualifications required for this job. First, I have to have my Diploma of Secondary Studies.

I will need to study general arts and science in CEGEP for two years. After three years of university where I’ll be studying psychology I will finish a Bachelor degree in psychology, that includes studies of human behaviour and counselling in education. A person who wants to be a vocational and educational guidance counsellor also has to have a Masters of Psychology, which will take another two years. I know this career I have chosen will be challenging and will involve many years of studying. There are many things to discover about this career.

Today most teachers in the secondary sector are men and non-Native. It would be good to have a woman as confidant and mentor. Maybe women are more understanding than men.

This career I have picked is very important in my life. I really affects me. I just want to be there for people who really need my help. I know not everybody who needs help can be helped but I won’t give up hope. I especially want to encourage Cree girls to go into fields like science, business and law that are dominated by men.

I have spoken to our guidance counsellor in Wiinibekuu School about how he feels about his job and what he does. I now know that it takes a lot of work to prepare students for college and planning their college, trying to find the right college for each person. He also helps the administration. He mostly deals with the school and students who have school and personal problems. He has to be in touch with everybody who is in the position of helping to fix problems. There are a lot of things a guidance counsellor has to do and there’s a lot of work. The most important thing is just to always be there. I am a person who can always be there.

What we need are Cree educational and vocational counsellors who know everything about counselling and can assist others in their career planning. We need Natives to replace the non-Natives. They can explain better and communicate to the students in Cree.

The reason why I’m so positive about this career is that I’ve seen Native people who have successfully finished their studies. It had made me try hard to succeed to reach what I want to be. I see a need that can be filled by me. This is the career I plan to practice back in Waskaganish. In closing I want people to say, “If she can do it, so can I.” It would help others to succeed. I know for a fact that this career is my future.