THERE’S THE OLD JOKE THAT UNIVERSITY is where you go to get an education; college is where you go to get a job. I think I heard that one from a fellow civil servant that went to the former. I went straight into the workforce from high school with the intent of saving up some money, taking some time off from academia and basically figure out just what the hell I wanted to be when I grew up.
Fifteen years later, I’m still a civil servant (hey, it’s a steady gig with benefits). I’m married with a child and a mortgage. I still have lofty aspirations of someday becoming a journalist, a music critic with a musician’s insight, or maybe even having a show on the CBC – radio, that is. Basically, I still don’t REALLY know what I want to be when I grow up. That is, now that I am grown up.
For about the last ten years, I’ve gone about educating myself in the areas that I’m passionate about. It just so happens, being a musician, that they happen to be in the arts. I read a fair amount and tend to investigate a lot of facets stemming from particular interests. Literature was something I always wished I had more knowledge and understanding of, as to broaden the artistic pallet. From that, I imagine I’d become a lot better when it comes to fashioning ideas and communicating them, both oral and written. Over the past three years I have been contributing music reviews to a fairly popular U.S. based web ‘zine that covers strictly independent music. My writing skills haven’t improved in the leaps and bounds one would have expected by now, but I’m working on it.
This past year, I watched my 60 year old mother, who had gone through U of T’s Pre-University program in the late 80s, collect her PhD in sociology. I tease her that most people her age are retiring while she’s now looking for a job. My wife went to OISE last year and added a teaching certificate to her B.A. Although I was only a witness to these accomplishments, I was inspired.
I made a last minute decision in late August to try getting in to the Academic Bridging program, seeing as that my institutional education had stopped at Grade 12.
As far as the whole university vs. college debate goes, I have a job that somehow become a career. I’d now like to have a post-secondary education to start filling in the cracks of the school of life.
My first night in MS4171 was my 15th anniversary as a civil servant. The same day, my three-and-a-half year old son started kindergarten. If there’s any symbolism there, I’ll hopefully have a better understanding of it by the end of this course. At the rate I’ve been going, my son and I just might graduate from U of T on the same day.