People of Georgian: Marine student trades in acting, marketing for ship life
Sept. 28, 2023
Sept. 28 is World Maritime Day. We spoke to Paul Dyck, a student in Georgian’s Marine Engineering Technology program, about his career journey from drama to ship engines. Fittingly, the interview was conducted virtually while Paul was on a work experience on a ship in the middle of the ocean.
People of Georgian: Meet Paul Dyck
It’s a really cool feeling when you’re on a ship out on the ocean or big lake and you can’t see any land at all.
It’s like a wild piece of nature. It’s pretty awe-inspiring. I don’t think it could ever get old. I finish my working day on the ship and there’s a beautiful sunset. There’s a beautiful sunrise every day.
There’s also all sorts of weather you get to see. Like recently, I was sitting on the deck as lights were down and watching a lightning storm happen in the distance across the clouds.
Usually you can see a few lights of other ships out there, but it was pitch black, the stars were bright, the moon was out, the lightning was going, I could hear the water. It’s really cool to see something that a lot of people don’t get to see.
In between moments of work – when you’re sweating it out below deck, and you’re covered in grease and dirt and grime, and you’re tired and stressed – you can pop out on deck for a little bit to look across the water and feel the breeze.
It’s really cool to be on this massive hunk of steel that’s powering through the water with just a propeller and this whole crew is making it work.
From acting, to marketing, to marine
My journey to get to this point in my life has included three very different postsecondary programs.
First, I studied drama at university, and I worked as an actor and musician for many years. I toured the country, did a lot of different theatre and short film stuff, but I wanted a more stable career.
So, I left that behind and studied advertising and marketing. I worked in event marketing, doing live event marketing pop-ups across the country before I settled into a more traditional advertising job in downtown Toronto.
But an office job wasn’t really for me, so I decided to go back to school again. I wanted to make sure it was something that would stick this time, so I thought about a trade.
‘Every day is different and that appealed to me’
I come from a family of tradespeople and I love the water, and that’s when I found Marine Engineering Technology at Georgian.
As far as trades go, it has a bit of everything – you do plumbing, electrical, welding, diesel engine work… all sorts of stuff. Every day is different and that appealed to me.
There’s a huge need for people in the industry right now, with a massive percentage of the workforce retiring in the next five years. There’s not a marine engineer in Canada right now who’s not working if they don’t want to be.
‘You only get one life, and I want to live mine to the fullest’
Through all my career changes, I just tried every step of the way to be honest with myself and do a lot of soul searching. I always asked myself, “What’s making you happy? What’s filling your cup? What’s feeding your soul?”
I recognize this also comes with a certain level of privilege to have the financial backing to switch careers, go back to school and have people around you who support you.
But I didn’t want to get caught in a situation where I had been doing one career for so long I felt like I had to keep doing it, even if I wasn’t happy. There are so many people out there who live their whole lives working jobs they hate.
You only get one life, and I want to live mine to the fullest and be as happy as I can be doing what I do.