I ran to the place where I started my post secondary education – East Kootenay Community College, or as it has been renamed College of the Rockies. I realized it had been 20 years exactly that I had first walked through those doors while many of my friends headed off to university in major centres. I was forced to a college because of my lack of language skills (I don’t have a passing grade in Grade 11 language) – a requirement for university in BC. I dropped out of French after Grade 8 (au revoir Monsieur Vankamp), then attempted Spanish by correspondence. Both failed for different reasons. But the backdoor into the University was through a college transfer after my first year.
I told everyone that I was terribly disappointed, but the truth was, going off to University at 18 was frightening for me. College was much like high school. I lived at home, I had a locker, and the classes were small. I was relieved to have this transition year. Even when I choose my university, I went with the University of Victoria because it was smaller – both the university and the city. My parents both are UBC (University of British Columbia) alumni and I really thought growing up I would be at UBC in Vancouver for Engineering of all things. Seriously – did I not look at my physics grades?
But instead I got a B Sc. in Psychology at UVic. I wouldn’t have met the people in my life that are precious to me if I hadn’t taken that path – Lisa and Jason to name only a couple.
So as I stood wheezing outside the college, I remembered the first psychology and sociology classes I took there and my realization that school didn’t have to be just chemistry, biology and physics. There were other options. Other choices. And Psychology was really compelling.
September 12, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: Thank goodness for having a terrible ear for languages. I wouldn’t change that part of my path even if I could.