As someone not originally from Canada, many things stood out to me as a child. One of those things was the lack of pressure that adults place on kids. There is a belief here that we are all born unequal, and as a result, some are left to fall by the wayside as the spotlight begins to shine on little prodigies.
From the minute I stepped foot onto Canadian soil I was looked at as someone who would never shine under this spotlight, with an inability to keep up with the rest, perhaps due to my foreign tendencies. Later on, my grade school teachers did not see it fit that I enter the "Academic" tier in high school, but rather the "Applied" tier as they saw me as an individual lacking in academic discipline (for those unaware of the tier system in Canada; you are placed in either the Academic, Applied, or Essential learning stream in high school, which will then determine whether you enter university, college or perhaps go straight into the workforce).
I knew from the very first day of high school that I was better than this, and so began my journey to become a successful university student. Along the way through this journey I would ask my councillor for guidance (as their job entails). In retrospect, what she offered was not guidance, but rather the roadmap to a life of complacency.
One thing to note is that sometimes a child may have unrealistic dreams. What councillors tend to do, from my own experience at least, is they over estimate the amount of children with unrealistic expectations. I was always level headed and knew very well what my abilities were, which provided me with sufficient evidence to say that some guidance councillors simply don't believe in their pupils.
I'm also not saying that university is what everyone should be aiming for. Heck no! The jobs one can attain from college are just as intriguing in their own right, with the added benefit of lucrative starting salaries, but with less debt compared to university. The problem is simply that as kids, we are always told to forget our true ambitions and instead listen to adults for they know what is best for us.
I wonder how many eager and bright children's dreams were brushed aside as guidance councillors told them that they were not capable of doing what they wanted to do. "This may not be the best thing for you", "College would better suit you", are some of the demeaning comments that I would hear. It's sad to see a system like this that encourages people to settle for what they can currently do instead of teaching them that they can become a better individual through hard work and determination.
My international friends also shared this same experience when coming to Canada. Perhaps not with councillors, but we've all noticed how accepting of mediocrity the school system is here. I'm not saying that guidance councillors should be banished, but they should start believing in the kids instead of lighting the way to the road most travelled (as opposed to the road not taken).
Not listening to my guidance councillor was the best decision I ever made.