Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A long overdue update on my life

I was reading over a number of previous posts to discover I used to write a lot more back in the days of off-season. Life just seems to have exploded in the last couple months which is a great thing, but it means there's more to talk about and so much less time in which to talk about it!

You know about the cat's adventures... Nothing new there except to say that life is pretty much back to normal.

A week ago I had a most wonderful "educational" experience. For some time I've been thinking about expanding my horizons, opening some new doors and in general just actively pursuing personal growth. Several posts back - around my birthday - I remember mentioning a time of sitting on the swing at the park contemplating my future movements. I was thinking "Something about NOW has me feeling like it’s time to go for it – to enter my adult years. (strangely enough)” It may sound odd, even borderline strange to hear a 36 year old man say “it’s time to be an adult”. But really, up until recently I haven’t been ready to “move”… 36 is a nice round number. It’s time."

The last number of months have been somewhat uncomfortable - as welcome as the experiences have been for "personal growth" reasons, it's no joke that some of the most painful things in life cause us to grow the most. I've discovered a change in my outlook - I haven't changed dramatically as a person, but a great deal of the way I see the world has kindof morphed.

I'm still Dave, but I think for starters I have a far greater appreciation for a day than I did even six or eight months ago. I remember a time when the days were long and seemingly endless. Today blew by with no time to spare and not a lot of time to savour the good things. It was just a full, rich day. The "to do" list didn't even have a dent.

So in amongst all the things I've been appreciating about change and growth was an experience I had last Tuesday. I made the decision to go back to school. Not just any school. University. Why? Several hundred reasons, actually - amongst them I'm sure are all the feelings of having come from a University-educated family and not having followed suit. Also, perhaps the dream of one day having an education that would afford me a bigger, better career. But I think what really got me to take the step forward was the feeling of wanting something that I know is achievable, but up until now my belief system has told me was impossible. You see, when I graduated high school, I quickly bought in to what I was hearing... "Oh, University isn't for you... it's a lot of hard work - you have to commit to it full-on for years. Perhaps you'd be better suited to a technical college." So, off to tech college I went. I dropped a number of courses before discovering one that fit. My last full-on diploma was granted in 1993. There's a big difference between the person I was then and now, 13 years later.

So what happened on Tuesday?

I went to the University to meet with an advisor of undergraduate studies in the English department. My objective, to seek out a doable plan that would start with a sampling, a flavour of University life and whose end might result in attaining a Bachelor's degree in English.

Why English?

I have an interest in and a love for it. It's no secret I'm not the world's most avid reader. This may either very quickly change, or it will become the most prominent challenge factor on this path. Bur I love the ambiguity of the language - a language built from many other languages. How unique is that?

So... on with the story.

I met with Dr. H. after a brief tour of the U. Here is a lady I just want to wrap up and take home as my gramma. She was amazing. I think I might have been in her office for all of 10 minutes. We discussed fees, course availability, the ideosychesies of being an "unclassified" student and at the end of it all she shook my hand and thanked me for my interest in her programme and department. Not only that, she extended to me a personal invitation to attend her evening course in September. Sweet.

This is but phase one.

Phase two was to collect the necessary forms, transcripts and such. Some of this proved very simple, other bits were more time consuming. The application forms are readily available from the Registrar's office. In theory my educational transcripts are readily available as well. Or so the institution would have you believe. SAIT - the technical college I attended - had a very simple procedure. Download the PDF from the website, fill out the form and fax or deliver it to the Registrar's office on campus. I did just that. I even delivered said document in person, paid my $10.00 fee up front and proceeded to tour the SAIT campus to catch up with several people I've known over the years - including my brother-in-law who teaches on campus. Oddly enough, he was moving offices when I was on site so I never did actually see him.

Part two of phase two was to get my high school transcript. The U. informed me of the toll-free number to call Edmonton. Simple, right? Well, after selecting from a number of touch-tone options I arrived at the "how to order your transcripts" section. You can order on line, by fax or in person in Edmonton. Hmm... what ever happened to a real, warm, breathing body to answer the phone? Wait, silly me. Forget I said that. So off to the internet I go. Welcome to Alberta Ed. Please create a login and password for your account. OK, no big deal. Now... enter your Alberta Student ID number. What? Oh, wait... If you don't know your number, click here. Now... answer these 20 questions so we can varify that you really know who you are and that you are who you say you are. Great. Here's your number. Plug that number into the first screen and Enter. Appear pop-up screen which reads "There is no Address associated with your account. Please email us here, or call this number to rectify the problem." So I mailed. Then I phoned. "Due to higher-than-expected call volume, please leave your name and number. We will call you back." OK. Later that afternoon, I called again just to be sure. I got a REAL PERSON - can you believe it!? "Just email us your address particulars. Within 24 hours you will have access to the site to request your transcripts." OK. Within 20 minutes or half an hour or so I received an email verifying the details and indicating I can now proceed. So I do just that.

As of today I have the SAIT transcript. The Alberta Ed. papers have yet to arrive. When they do, it's off to the Registrar's office I go.

As for other goings on? This was a long post. Later.

11 comments:

Anvilcloud said...

You're having quite the journey just to begin quite a journey. Congratulations on your decision to stretch as a person although you already seem like a pretty stretched guy to me.

Granny said...

I'm impressed. Good luck with all of it.

I just removed a dangling camera plugin from the smallest cat who has now decided to attack his own tail - right at my feet.

Nothing to do with your post - just thought I'd throw that in.

Ginny said...

Good for you! Fellow English majors unite! I love that I finally finished my degree..good luck with it. :-)

ipodmomma said...

oh wow! that is so cool...

can't wait to hear how things progress...

well done there!

Expat Traveler said...

I've been searching for a program that I like as well to go back to school, for a masters...

Yes it crazy and sounds like the hoops I'll have to go through if I decide too.. I might have to go in person which might be worse!

oshee said...

Good Luck! I think it is wonderful that you have stopped limiting yourself. Stretching yourself can feel so wonderful!

smiley said...

Hey I think it's great that you've decided to do an English degree now. In a way it's better to do it now, cos you're diong it because you really like it... In my case I did engineering cos that seemed to be the best way to go, but I didn't even know what it was about then.

I believe that we're always learning and what ever we learn never goes to a waste :0)

Anyway, Good luck with your degree, I'm sure you'll do well. Do keep us posted on your progress.

megz_mum said...

Good for you! It is hard to step out of the comfort zone, and you have already done that by taking these steps. Good luck, I am sure you will enjoy it.

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About Me

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.