Monday, April 8, 2013

Learning to Learn (and Schedule and Budget)

I haven’t been a full-time student in 10 years. After high school I went into the world and shunned education for a while, as some 18 year-olds are prone to do. In my early 20s I took an introductory O&G course part time at SAIT and a few years later I took the CELTA which was a month of intense full time school. It was 8 hours a day plus a couple of hours of homework a night, but I mean, it was only one month!

So yeah, when I got back from teaching (irony at its best) I really wanted to start university. I had applied while I was away and was accepted a couple months after I got home. I also found a fantastic job for an investment regulator that is flexible (I'm a 0.8 meaning I work Monday to Thursday) and I volunteer on Fridays, so having classes Tuesday and Thursday nights isn't terrible. Tuesday is the longest day ever – I work 7 am-3 pm and have classes 3:30-9:30 pm but it’s not SO bad.

My boss is so awesome that this summer I have a required class Tuesday/Thursday mornings and he’s letting me rearrange my entire work schedule so I can go to that class. Life is good.

However, I'm really not used to this whole school thing. I'm almost done my first 8 months (exam week coming up – eek) and after spring and summer semesters I’ll have completed 10 courses – just like a normal full-time student, only I'm fitting in classes where I see cracks in my schedule whereas most of the students in my classes can take class whenever they want.

I'm not sure if I'm being over-dramatic but when kids in my classes complain about being busy or poor, I want to give them my schedule and bills and be like: "booooya baby!” most of them live at home still paying minimal (if any) rent, work a part time job (if any), and have very few bills (cell phone, and….going to the bar?!). I know that’s not true of ALL my peers but I'm definitely in the minority – living on my own, working (almost) full-time, full-time student and not getting any help.

This was my decision and the route I chose to take. My younger sisters lived at home while in university and worked part-time jobs over the summer. My parents helped them with most of their tuition (plus they didn't pay for rent or food). Now my parents are split up and my dad is retired so they can’t really help me out. Sometimes I wonder if I made the right choices, but I know university at 18 was just not for me. I don’t regret anything but I do reflect and wonder ‘what-if’.

We all do.

So I take deep breaths and I look around my messy apartment, and at my pile of textbooks and my files from work and I repeat “I can do this, I can do this”.

You guys. How was your university experience?! 

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