Five years ago Jennine Colson thought she had her life laid out for her.
With a diploma in business administration under her belt she was working in the field.
However, in the summer of 2010 things changed for the 27-year-old woman from St. George’s.
“I was off work that summer,” she said. “I had a job that I hated, so I quit and I was on unemployment for the summer. And by the end of the summer I was ready to find something else to do.”
She went online on the Job Bank and came across an advertisement for a position at Care-a-lot Daycare in Stephenville.
As she started out in September it was with the thought “I’ll give it a try. If I don’t like it, I don’t need to stay there.”
But something happened.
“I went there and I ended up falling in love with it.”
Colson laughs as she talks about how the experience changed her. She said five years ago she would have told anyone who said this is what she’d be doing that they were crazy.
“I had babysat a couple of times and stuff, but I wasn’t one for kids so much. Some people are kid people and some people aren’t kid people and at that point in my life I wasn’t.
“But then I went and I got involved in it and right now I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
And she credits the children she works with for that.
“The kids, they’re all so different and they’ve all got their own little personality. It’s really cool to sit there and watch them learn and grow everyday.
“Everyday they can do something that they couldn’t do yesterday. It’s really neat to see, and knowing that you’re a big part of that.”
After a few months at work Colson decided to enroll in the College of the North Atlantic’s early childhood education by distance education program.
The distance program has enabled her to continue working as she studies.
After nearly four years she’ll complete the required course work certification as a Level 1 early childhood educator in June.
She’s currently completing a five-week fieldwork course at the college’s Fisher Children’s Centre in Corner Brook.
“Then I get to go back to my own babies,” she said with a smile.
The pace of working and studying can get hectic at times, but Colson wouldn’t have it any other way, because the certification will open more opportunities for her at work.
She said some entry level courses are needed just to be an assistant at a day care.
“But when you’re doing this program and you start your course, then you’re able to take on a lead staff position where you have your own classroom. You run your classroom. You plan the activities.
“And I wanted to be able to have my own classroom, and be lead staff and play kind of a bigger role, rather than just an assistant.”
She also plans to continue her studies with hopes of reaching Level 2 certification in about a year and a half.
With this being Early Childhood Educators Week, Colson has no doubt she’s made the right career choice.
“I did the business thing for a while, but I’m not one to sit down all day long in front of a computer. I’d rather be up, and busy, and active and doing stuff.
“They definitely keep you on your toes,” she said of the children she works with.
She also knows her career choice may not be the most high paying one.
“But it’s not all about money either. You’ve got to be happy with what you’re doing, especially if you’re going to be doing it for 30 or 40 years, you’ve got to enjoy it. You can’t do something you hate.
“It took me a while, but I think I finally found my place.”