About   /   News & Updates   /   Career Mentors Series   /   James Strong, Stantec Architecture Ltd.
November 23, 2020

James Strong, Stantec Architecture Ltd.

Job Title

Designer & Intern Architect

Skills I rely on most in my job:

Creativity & problem solving

In high school, I was voted most likely to:

Travel the world

Question from Eileen, Vancouver, BC

“How did you choose your profession and was it always what you wanted to do? If so how did you achieve it? If not what made you change your mind?”
This is a great question Eileen!  Like many high school students, I had no real idea what career I wanted to pursue after graduating high school. I had structured my coursework and maintained my grades in order to keep my options open, but well into Grade 11 I still had no real excitement about a possible career path and felt… kind of lost.
So, what helped me change my mind? It’s not a particularly exciting or original story, honestly – it was a mandatory meeting with my high school’s guidance counsellor. She asked me what kinds of things I did outside of school (not much!), what topics I was interested in (not many!), and if I had any career choices in mind (nope!). 
As our conversation continued she was able to intuit that I was making things in my spare time (practicing photography and photo editing as a hobby, maintaining a sketchbook, and creating digital artwork) and created a list of careers for me to begin to research. It seems strange to say now, but it had never occurred to me before then that these things would factor into my career decision making!
We scheduled a follow up meeting after I had done some research and, together, we made a plan to study architecture.
My guidance counsellor was able to place me in courses that I didn’t yet have the required credits for; she helped me fill out my university applications and, with the help of my art teacher, prepare a portfolio of my work (which is a unique requirement for some architecture schools); and she was honest with me about my chances of being accepted into the programs we had selected. It was an incredibly powerful and extremely helpful experience.
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