Written by Sarah Kim
Like so many, I graduated with an Honours B.A. with a specialization in Psychology. It has always been important to me to have meaningful, impactful work, especially if it directly helps hurting people, so I thought psychology was the answer.
When I graduated, I didn’t quite know what options were available to me in psychology beyond research or becoming a psychologist. I knew I wasn’t meant for a desk job, and cranking out another 5+ years in grad school for a Ph.D. did not seem appealing.
Read more: Theology and psychology: Enemies or allies?
I started working with kids in after-school programs and playrooms because I thought that these might lead me to work with disadvantaged children and youth. Outside of work, I had time to focus on my passion for horticulture.
I designed, then dug out a sizeable front garden bed, and grew flowers with vegetables and herbs. I spent every day out there, tending the garden, and I met so many neighbours who had questions or compliments.
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One friend in particular looked at me one day and asked, “Why aren’t you pursuing this as a career?” For him it was clear that this was something I’ve been extremely passionate about for a long time.
I’ve been daydreaming about gardens, landscape designs, and homesteading for as long as I can remember. In my final year of high school, I took part in an environmental leadership program where we kept chickens, grew vegetables, met local farmers, and learned about growing sustainably.
Read more: There’s more to food than what we eat
Yet I suppressed leaning into this type of life and work, to fit into the mold of having a “successful career” and helping people in a conventional way. Attending a respectable university to gain a white-collar career was the dream of my parents’ generation.
But God has opened doors for me in the horticulture industry. He’s been teaching me that I shouldn’t feel guilty for pursuing what I’m passionate about. And in fact, God is using my passions for his glory and purpose.
I’m now working as a landscaper, dabbling in landscape design on the side, and learning more about sustainability and soil health. But regardless of the decisions I make, I know God will always lead me to where I need to be.
Read more: Can I be confident in knowing God’s will?
My undergrad still comes in handy:
- I get to share about the psychosocial impacts of environmental spaces.
- I try to tie in environmental psychology as much as possible because I find it fascinating, meaningful, and applicable to my work.
- Horticultural therapy is an emerging field that perhaps I will explore in the future.
But for now, I think gardening—and sharing the love of gardening—is what I do best.