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Having a plan B for life (and still loving it)

Having a plan B for life (and still loving it)

Written by Joel Sheasby

In May of 2019 I was rejected from all the universities I applied to in Canada. My chances of starting my studies to become a dentist in the upcoming academic year were gone. I could apply again next year, but realistically my chances in the upcoming year would likely not be any better than they had been in 2019.

But three years later I sit in my room having finished my last exam for the semester in my third year of dentistry. That final rejection letter was obviously not the end of the story.

Before I had even received the final rejection letter from the university of Alberta, my applications were in the works for universities in Australia. I was just waiting to hear from USyd, Griffith, UQ, and of course Charles Sturt. All these options absolutely excited me. If I were to be accepted, I would not only start my studies to become a dentist but move to Australia and start a whole new chapter of my life.

Studying dentistry in Canada was always my first choice for several reasons. Being closer to family and financial reasons are enough to make almost anybody lean toward staying domestically. But just because coming to Australia was my second choice doesn’t mean it is any worse than studying in Canada. I didn’t have to settle for something else when I got rejected from the Canadian universities because I had given myself another option that I would be equally happy with.

Things don’t always go to plan, and often things seem totally out of our control. Although that is true to an extent, if we plan for the uncertainty of life, it is far more likely that we will come to a desirable outcome. I didn’t sit and wait to see if I would be accepted to universities in Canada when the applications were complete and the decision was completely out of my control. I thought to myself, what could I do if things didn’t go to plan, what other options would give me the same satisfaction as studying dentistry in Canada?

Plan B was to study dentistry in Australia. Plan C was to study physiotherapy in Australia. I even had a plan D, which was to do some other certifications in Canada and start progressing my career in other ways. Luckily for me, plan B was successful, and in less than three years I will graduate from Charles Sturt University as a dentist. That being said, I would not have any less satisfaction with my life if I had to resort to my third or fourth plan. It is because I had multiple different options that I am doing something that I love. Had I depended entirely on Canadian universities, I would likely still be sitting in Canada, dwelling on the fact that my one dream didn’t pan out.

In the end, I am overjoyed that I ended up studying in Australia. There is no real way of knowing, but I can’t imagine my life in Canada being nearly as interesting and enjoyable as my life is here. Australia may have been plan B, but it ended up being the best option for me.

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