By Zeynab Kazi
One day before my 33rd birthday, I wrote and passed my very first exam towards becoming a Real Estate Agent! After almost a decade of being a full time mom to 3 kids, this was my first step towards building a professional career. It had also been a really long time since I had written any exams, and trying to get into the right mindset of studying and learning was challenging. Throughout the year, I found myself studying every chance I got; at the arena while my kids played hockey, locked in my room early mornings or late at night, and with study groups from class. Every exam I passed empowered me to move on to the next, and by 2019 (still 33), I was licensed as a Real Estate Sales Representative!
Although I had successfully obtained the education required to be a Realtor, I soon realized that this was just the beginning of my learning journey.
Once I joined a brokerage, I had to learn the practical knowledge of being a Realtor; things like how to host open houses, how to generate and convert leads, and even how to search for properties. After months of navigating the system and transitioning to working full time as a Realtor, I had successfully launched my career!
But then, when our country went into lockdowns, I faced new learning curves! While I was not able to go out to network and grow my business, I took the opportunity to continue learning virtually. By 2021, among other things, I had completed additional courses and upgraded my licence to Real Estate Broker, launched my own real estate company, and learnt to build a community through social media. Another milestone was set in the same year when I successfully completed a Women’s Leadership Program through Yale School of Management Executive Education.
Even as I’m writing this, I cannot believe how far this journey into learning has brought me. I’m surprised at my own achievement because I did not believe in myself, and because I thought that my opportunity for learning was long lost. On this journey, I have met so many inspirational adults and seniors that never let their thirst for knowledge fade. I truly have fallen in love with learning.
Here are some things that I have learnt that I wished that I had known earlier in life:
- I am constantly seeking out knowledge through my daily life, and have learnt that we do not necessarily need to be in school to learn. There is literally an opportunity to learn something new from almost every moment in our lives, however, you have to WANT to learn in order to seize these opportunities!
- Chase Your Passion. As an example of this, I have always had a passion for helping people, civic responsibility and duty, and for public service. I chased this passion by getting involved and constantly reading and learning about policies, politics and about the needs of my local communities. This led me to my current journey of running my first political campaign to be the next City Councillor for Pickering Ward 1, which is leading to even more learning, and I am loving every moment of it!
- Believe in Yourself. Once you’ve decided on what you’re passionate about, don’t let anyone deter you from it. Don’t let others dictate who or what you should be; only you truly know who you are and what you would be amazing at. You’ll find that this new journey will lead you to a world that will be embracing and supportive.
- It’s NEVER too late. Whether you have kids or grandkids, don’t ever think that it is too late for you to start a new learning journey. In fact, I believe that when Adults actively decide to go back to get educated, they are more motivated and eager to learn!
I hope that my experience with Adult education and my journey towards these new career paths serve as motivation for others to find their new paths.