Opinions

Character-defining careers

Monique Haudegrand, first-year respiratory therapy student stands with her books in hand in one of the many aisles of the Reg Erhardt Library at SAIT on Friday, March 24, 2017. Along with completing her schooling Monique also runs her own business called Pure Metta Creations. (Photo by Rebecca Hardcastle/SAIT)

Monique Haudegrand, first-year respiratory therapy student stands with her books in hand in one of the many aisles of the Reg Erhardt Library at SAIT on Friday, March 24, 2017. Along with completing her schooling Monique also runs her own business called Pure Metta Creations. (Photo by Rebecca Hardcastle/SAIT)

When I graduated from high school I picked the city in Alberta farthest away from my hometown, packed my bags and moved, all in the span of one day.

The University of Lethbridge was not where I wanted to be. I didn’t know where I wanted to be, but attending university was what was expected of me, so I went anyways.

I dropped out five months later, after finding myself just as miserable as when I’d left home.

One of the greatest challenges young people face is discovering their identity. I suffered greatly through this process. It was a messy process filled with heartbreak, disappointment and many mistakes. But, it’s also an exhilarating experience to finally discover an inner strength you didn’t think you had.

I was 21 before I figured out I wanted to be a writer. I’d dropped out of another college, and had moved out to Halifax, where I was living in my car. I felt like a failure, I wasn’t living up to the glorified potential everyone told me I had.

I wanted out of those feelings of failure, so one night I drove to a bridge. Because I’m writing this, it’s easy to assume that I didn’t toss myself off that night, but truth be told, the water had never looked so tempting. It’s easy to lose yourself, especially when you feel lost all the time.

Forging ahead when you know the road may be rocky is admirable, but moving along a path that doesn’t bring happiness is foolish.

We don’t get to live forever, and students are at a time in their lives when the choices they make will impact the doors that open and close for them.

Even as a two-time drop out, I believe in the power of education, but only for those who take it seriously. It’s wasted on anyone else.

The majority of people would be happy working a steady job and going to school only when additional skills for their job are needed. They don’t attend SAIT to learn material outside of their focus. That’s admirable and honest to someone like me.

Our society has a problem with the way education is perceived. Those without it are seen as lesser, or stupid. That’s simply not true. I feel that people who put life experience before finding a degree or diploma are better off in the long-run.

Individuals who learn how to manage their finances, balance a work and personal life, and can let go of minor problems easily are at a tremendous advantage when attending school. They already know how to focus on what is really important to them, rather than having to discover these skills in an environment that is non-conducive to failure.

Nobody wants to learn how to balance a budget while trying to study engineering or culinary arts. Yet, this is exactly what society expects of its young people, to become immediate experts of their professional and personal lives straight out of high school. It’s as foolhardy as building a house on sand; the foundation is not solid.

Having perspective is vital for students as well. SAIT and other post secondary institutions are not all that there is to life.

We spend such a small fraction of our life at post-secondary school, and as students we owe it to ourselves to learn about who we want to be for the rest of our lives.

This is the stage of life when students should take care to evaluate who they are as people and whom they want to be when they wake up in the morning years from now. If that answer can’t be found, then go looking for it.

It’s a big world with many places to search.

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