EDITORIAL: School Days Have Come and Gone

I was visiting some old friends last Friday night at my buddy Johnny’s 20th birthday.

Johnny went to university right after high school two autumns ago.

Cain did the same. They both began engineering at the University of Saskatchewan in the fall of 16’.

Six weeks later, Johnny was already back home, bored and tired of the type of work he was doing. He decided before major tuition payments hit that the whole engineering scene wasn’t for him.

He worked for the rest of the school year doing odd jobs and helping out as a TA in the classroom. He returned to the U of S last fall to start his education degree, majoring in mathematics and physics.

Cain was the brightest and most curious kid from our graduating class. Although not the valedictorian, he excelled at every subject, was always buzzing with energy, always asking challenging questions, and never afraid to fail.

His mind works in incredibly abstract ways, which makes engineering homework a little easier.

Then I heard a few weeks ago that he’s changing his major too. Education. Kindergarten teacher.

All these changes in such a short amount of time.

Then there’s me who somehow stayed away from the suddenly popular field of education.

I took the Radio and Television Arts program at NAIT; a three-semester crash course and deep-dive into the world of media. It was the place where you got to see how the magic trick of media was done, at least you got a taste. For many people that makes them grow more passionate, others learn it isn’t for them.

Radio school is never described as academic. Yet I loved the whole of the experience, including the days I thought it was useless, mundane, pandering, and fluff. Like anything, there were days I craved something else, like bantering with some tweed jacket from the back of the classroom, arguing about how my paper on trait conscientious in Intro to Psych 100-level was “killer.”

Despite specific issues I have with the program, issues I admit could be my own, I am grateful to have success in finding me a good paying job right out of school. Which is the sort of NAIT “success” story that a parent might interrupt an indecisive child with, as they start sputtering about their hopes of majoring in creative writing at the U of A.

But chatting with my friends again as talk about semester plans, tough schedules, and specific instructors, I started to feel those awful pangs of nostalgia. This is the first time since I was four years old that I won’t be going to school in the fall.

It’s weird to think about.

This editorial dates me (I guess, reverse dates me) in a naive, frosh sort of way. But at the same time, it’s somewhat surreal to now be, tentatively, in the “glamorous” and rote adult world.

Or as the annoying and all-too-hip hashtaggers on Instagram would say: adulting.

I should take it as a compliment that I stuck with what I started doing at NAIT and am now out in the workforce in that same field. But coming to grips with the idea that I’ve graduated, and those fond memories of school days are now visions from the past, was tricky yesterday.

In light of this nostalgia, the only option moving forward is to take the lesson a wise grandparent or your favourite elementary teacher would tell.

Keep learning every day.

It will suffice. Plus, if you can do that, not only are you ahead of the curve, but you can cultivate what really separates the adults from the still clueless hashtaggers I just mentioned – discipline.