UBC Okanagan student Jennifer Lazaroff shifted her focus from economics to philosophy - photo by Bud Mortenson
UBC Reports | Vol. 52 | No. 5 | May 4, 2006
Young Mother Finds Dream to be Professor
Hard work no deterrent
By Bud Mortenson
Jennifer Lazaroff’s road to a bachelor of arts degree took some twists and turns. But this full-time UBC Okanagan student and mother of a young son refuses to let hard work stand in the way of her desire to study philosophy.
Lazaroff, 25, attended university for a year after high school but decided more school wasn’t what she wanted. Three years later, in a job that paid only modestly and with a baby on the way, she was determined to resume her education.
“I decided going to school was the only way for me,” says Lazaroff. “I thought, ‘I can’t keep working for $10 an hour and I can’t get a better job without an education.’”
Less than a week before her son was born, she started three correspondence courses.
Her son Austin is three now, and Lazaroff is about to receive her BA in political science, philosophy and economics (PPE). Recently, her philosophy professor raised the notion of a master’s degree in philosophy.
As Lazaroff considered a future in philosophy, a subject she particularly enjoyed, she also considered becoming a teacher — something she saw as a “pragmatic option.”
“I thought about it for a good two weeks and finally decided teaching wasn’t where my heart is,” she says. “I didn’t really want a career that was just a job to me. I came to a fork in the road — should I do what I really want to do, or do what’s pragmatic?”
After making the Dean’s list several times — a feat she’s particularly proud of — with one semester remaining Lazaroff switched her emphasis from economics to philosophy, taking three extra philosophy courses on top of the remaining courses she needed to graduate.
“This semester was supposed to be a walk in the park,” she says, “but it was the toughest semester I ever had.”
With her BA in hand, Lazaroff now hopes to enter the interdisciplinary master’s program at UBC Okanagan this fall. Her long-term goal is to earn a PhD and some day teach philosophy as a university professor.
That’s the future, but right now she is just looking forward to graduating. “I’ve been going to school non-stop for three years since my son was born,” she says. “It has been a juggling act for sure, but it’s worth the sacrifices — I have something to show for all that hard work.”