I'm going to start this story back in 2006. 17-year-old me was a extremely different character. He was rocker, obsessed with music and was going to make it as a record producer or a musician or something. It was a delusion of course, but I was rather listless in high-school, and my pursuit of music over studies left me with a pity pass through high-school. University was undoubtedly off the table. Smart, but not driven I believe most of the teachers said.
The first year after high-school I enrolled in a private college for audio engineering and producing. At first, I had a ball. 12 months with other people as passionate about music and learning the technology to make my dream come true. It was a real trial by fire, with workloads rivaling my roughest times here at Bishop's. Yet, my marks kept returning, and it seemed whatever bug I had was still there. I ended a 12 month stint with no diploma, the nest-egg my parents set aside my whole life for university blown, and no direction in life. I was 19, and felt I had thoroughly ruined my life.
Turning things around was less of a decision than it was a brainstorm. I looked for whatever besides music that interested me. I thought of nursing, but I did not feel I had the constitution to see that much suffering day to day. I eventually did decide, however, that wherever I wanted to go I needed to find a way across the bridge I had burned to post-secondary.
It took a visit to a career counselor Marilyn Rowland. She did a battery of tests and found that I should go into a career that puts me in academic situations and around people. I should become a teacher, or something similar. More importantly, she showed me what I needed to get back on track. Ontario has a program called General Arts and Science, a program designed for kids just like me, who were unsuccessful in high-school due to one factor or another, but still want to go to university. I had to go to night school for my senior level English, but I was eventually accepted and for the first time in many months, felt the slight beginnings of a real trail. It would be a rough track, and I could not stray even a little, but it was there.
And I did do it. I managed the GPA to graduate the program, and my College had an agreement with Bishop's University. I tripped along the way, but in 2010, I was a 21 year old freshman. I enjoyed a terrific Bishop's experience, serving as a club head, and sat as the Humanities senator of the SRC. I earned a master's degree from the University of Western Ontario, am finishing another one, and looking forwards to the untold challenges of the PhD. I would not be here if it was not for remarkable people in my life to support me all the way, and realizing that it truly is never too late for anyone to start over.
P.S.: I wrote this story, except for the last paragraph, back in 2013 when I was finishing my undergraduate degree. I wanted to add a little information about my time in graduate school. I really found my calling here. The best part of the entire experience is meeting my partner/therapist/part-time editor Kelly. I was also diagnosed with ADHD, and began treatment soon after. It is likely that many of the problems I had in school during my youth was due to the backlash against ADHD, and general misunderstandings by many levels of the school system about learning disabilities. Who knows where I'd be if more people tried to work at my attention issues rather than call me lazy. It was a different time, and I hold no grudge against anyone, but I do want to give some awareness that there are many bright people out there that fell through the cracks because they failed to conform in school.