As of last night, I have completed draft 1 of Cozby and Rawn (2013), Methods in Behavioural Research, First Canadian Edition! My stomach did a somersault when I hit “save” on that last chapter. Excited and relieved to be done; nervous of what other instructors and students will think of it. I did my best work on every chapter, but of course it’s never going to be perfect (where’s the fun in that?).
I never expected to be writing a textbook at this stage in my career (i.e., early!). Then I got the opportunity to take an existing textbook that I had been using for a few years and update/adapt it for a Canadian audience. It took a long time for me to decide to do it–it’s so much work!–but I immediately knew that I would ultimately agree. See, here’s the thing about me: I have built my life by jumping on opportunities that have passed my way, and then carving my own opportunities to grow, which has led to more and more opportunities. I had to. I was raised by a very large, very loving extended family, and for them I am grateful. But I don’t come from money or big connections or a tradition of higher education (let alone post-grad). I was once a kid with modest dreams and a mountain of people who cared for me. My earliest teachers offered enrichment and suggested extra-curricular activities. I jumped on every chance I had to do more, learn more, grow more. As I did, my circle grew too. Fifteen years ago I could never have imagined I would be here, writing a textbook and teaching psychology at a world-class university in a world-class city 4000km away from what I used to call home.
But opportunity means risk. Taking a leap into uncharted waters is not for the faint of heart. Heading off to undergrad a mere half hour from home felt devastating at the time, but I knew I had to do it. It was the next opportunity. Then four years later, with a well-developed independence in tow, I moved across the country. In many ways it wasn’t as difficult that time. I didn’t end up with the same set of opportunities here that I initially expected, but I worked hard, seized the opportunities I found, and created more.
So if you’re about to start your time at UBC — or start a new year here or anywhere — I encourage you to figure out what opportunities you want, and go find them. Don’t be afraid to jump on them when you do. Or if you are afraid, but you know it’s probably best for you in the long run, take a deep breath and do it anyway.