Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Growing up in Canada, this week represents what was the start of school. It seems like ages ago that I walked onto the campus of Brock University for my first Frosh Week. I was leaving home. I did not know a single person on campus (or in the city), I lived alone in a little basement that afforded a lovely view of a tire. Life was pretty scary.

I was not the best of students in high school. I had never been away from home for an extended period of time. I had a girlfriend in Toronto that I had been dating for three years and had no idea how that was going to go with me being so far away (you know, the whole 2 hours away). It was the first time I had to cook for myself, do my own laundry and manage my finances. I had to find a job to pay some of the bills and not be a total leech on my parents. All of this was for a young 18 year old was pretty intimidating. I remember writing my mom a letter crying about how depressed I was (I think she still has it waiting for a humbling moment to pull it out).

At first, I kept to myself and was pretty socially inept (I guess some things never change). I went to classes and really felt lost. I actually had to work at this stuff (which really sucked). I was took one class in my major but was taking a bunch of other degree requirement courses I really at the time thought were useless and I had no interest in them (little did I know then how much I'd use them in later life). In total, I was a lost, scared little boy for awhile.

The first month went by, then the second and I started to get a little better. I ran out of money in October and had to eat KD for two weeks as result. This lesson taught me budgeting the hard way. I got my first tests back and my grades well, lets just say they weren't stellar but I learnt from them and did enough to be a good average student in my frosh (freshmen) year. I started to make some friends in classes. I found a group of perfect misfits to hang with. By the end of the firt term, I was getting the hang of things. Was it easy? Hell no, but was it worth it, hell yes!

As time went by, I broke up with my first love (and then met many loves along the way concluding with my now wife), had a ton of trials and tribulations (one had me going on a bus to Texas in the middle of the night) and had some wild times (naked snow pitch) but these are stories for another day. I now teach freshmen and I see their stuggles and these memories help me to relate. They help me to be patient and caring. They remind me the importance of a good mentor. Afterall, they are learning more than class notes from me, they are learning about life.


Post Script: I still have the first ever term paper I ever wrote. When I get complaining about the work of the students today, I break it out and read it. A nice reminder of how far we all can come.

1 comment:

  1. How great for your students that you can tap into those memories and imagine what it's like for them.

    Take care.