Reflections of an Acadia Alumnus

Photo by Chelsea Smith

Having called Wolfville my home for five years, and as a 2018 Acadia University alumnus, the Athenaeum has invited me to reflect on my time at Acadia University and its impact on my current career. Here is my story.

I now work as an analyst in the Regulatory Affairs Sector of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. My work includes researching, analyzing, and providing recommendations to enhance Canada’s regulatory system. Despite what may seem like an unconventional leap from my studies in music and math education at Acadia, I absolutely love my job. While my Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree at Dalhousie University paved the way for this specific position, I would be lying if I said Acadia did not play a significant role in shaping my career. 

I embarked on my Acadia journey with the goal of becoming a music teacher. I was interested in many things, but was not passionate about anything. By the time I had to choose my profession, this seemed like the most – or the only – “logical” option, considering I grew up inspired by music teachers and spent the majority of my time in the music room.

In hindsight, many signs foreshadowed my waning interest in teaching and subtle clues of my growing interest in a more analytical field. However, even if I had recognized and acted upon these indicators earlier, I doubt I would have found a shortcut to my current career. 

During my time at Acadia, I surrounded myself with people that motivated me. I learned from people who challenged me. I explored activities that interested me but felt too shy or awkward to participate in others. I have felt reward from successful concerts after many nightly and weekend rehearsals that I have been tempted to skip. I initiated various programs and built lasting friendships, even creating a resident community during my three years as a Resident Assistant. I have chosen Aerosmith and Slash concerts over my week of classes in my first year. I have juggled four jobs alongside full-time studies, hoping they would lead to something remotely meaningful. I somehow taught myself a whole semester of linear algebra in two weeks and received a decent mark that no employers to date have cared about. I began to recognize that my “strict” professor only raised his voice when he saw me on the brink of squandering my untapped potential. I negotiated my shifts between my winery and Resident Assistant jobs by finding ways to persuade my managers. I discovered the type of job I did not want in the future.

Little did I know that all these moments were shaping me into the person I am today and were equipping me with transferable skills and experiences valuable to my current career: time management, reliability, prioritization, adaptability, communication, and an ability to navigate and overcome challenges, to name a few. I realized that pivoting from a career path I had invested four years into produced a net positive impact on my life today. If I had not encountered these hurdles and accomplishments, I may not have been ready, and I am glad Acadia gave me these opportunities.

Byungmin Kang, Acadia Alumnus ’18