I will be the first to admit it.
RUINED my life.
I remember grade 11, university application seminars, College Fairs and student teacher conferences concerning post-secondary. I remember the bittersweet feeling that came from knowing that I was
FINALLY leaving the hell that was high-school.
Don’t get me wrong High-School wasn’t a bad place for me. I wasn’t bullied, I was NOT a loner, not depressed, I just really wanted to get OUT. When the universities flooded the halls of my high school giving promises of extensive programs, high turn around job percentages and student life excitement,they drew me in.
I was young, I was gullible and I felt like this was the start of the BEST years of my life.
The sweet scent of freedom was lingering in the halls of St. Marguerite D’youville.I didn’t have to be subjected to Ms Falacho’s class anymore, the cafeteria poutines would no longer draw me in and have me broke and bloated. I could taste my freedom, I could taste the relief and it was sweet.
Like Ackee and Boil Dumpling with a side of ripe plantain and a cup of carrot juice sweetened with sweet milk …Sweet.
I felt like my life was about to truly begin, I was about to spread my baby eagle wings that my parents had been holding onto since I was born and FLY.
Far Away from everyone and everything and feel how it felt to be independent. My Own woman.
The freedom of getting to stay out later, take the public transit or even drive to school had my mind all over the place, I felt free before it even started. I can admit to you the worst feeling is when the acceptance letters come in and you don’t get the immediate responses you seek, it leaves a sense of betrayal and lack of fulfillment. I knew who I was,I knew my potential and not seeing the schools I applied for believe in me the way I believed in myself had me broken.
I wanted to be a social worker, I wanted to follow in the footsteps of a family friend whom I looked up too and thought had the coolest job ever. Back then I thought that she made so much money because she had the nice house, 2 kids and was able to afford to enroll her daughters in extra curriculars including dance, acro and ballet. She had MY Dream Job.
I got accepted to York on a conditional acceptance, though I applied for the Social Work Program they accepted me in for Environmental Studies, something I knew nothing about and had NO desire on learning.
Once I saw that all my best friends got into York as well I knew I couldn’t be the odd ball out and refused all other potential acceptances just to be close to them. I said NO to Ryerson who was actually accepting me for what I wanted, threw out all my college acceptance letters, and went to take my pictures to be a York University Lion.
Clad in my Catholic School Uniform I made my dad pick me up from school so I could go take the picture that would seal the deal. I didn’t think twice, didn’t look back and refused to change my mind because in my heart I thought I knew what I was doing.
I was becoming a big girl, throwing off my training wheels and embarking on the journey called life. FINALLY.
Some of the ROUGHEST Years of My life followed right after. Months of confusion, late nights, early mornings, boring lectures and even more exhausting tutorials took over
5 years of my Post Secondary Life.
I had to soldier to the bus stop to catch the bus that would bring me to York, standing in the line surrounded by 20-30 other anxious students, each of us freezing outside unsheltered. I thought that it would get better, swore blind that this was just a test and after a few months or weeks things would change for my good.
After all God doesn’t give us more than we can bear right?
I remember telling everyone what I was going to school for, I remember the confused looks, the lack of hope and the comedic glances I received because of the degree I chose to pursue. No one took me seriously. I had friends doing psychology and law and there I was doing Environmental Studies.
The Tree Hugger.
While they were in the library studying the history behind some of the top philosophers in the world I was planning feminism projects and taking samples of tree sap.
They used to tell me all the time there was “levels” and that because the extremity of my degree isn’t the same as theirs that I was barely a student.
I know I’m not the only one who had their weight fluctuating, eating patterns screwed up, face breaking out from stress and back mashed up from the oversized backpack being carried around with textbooks and Macbook.
In highschool I was promised that going to University would enable me to live up to my full potential, I was told that I needed some type of postsecondary education to make a certain amount and be a certain type of person. They gave off the illusion that success is equated to education, they made me feel that without fully getting an education I wouldn’t be able to live my “best life”.
I think thats the root of the issue. High schools are pressuring students to go to college and university, feeding them false hope that they will graduate with jobs knocking at their door making back the almost 6 figures spent to get their education in the first place.
After 5 years and what felt like 50 semesters at York University I finally graduated with a BA in Environmental Studies my area of concentration being Environment and Culture. I walked across that stage flashed a smile towards my family and friends and walked back to my seat.
I DID IT.
MOMMA I MADE.
Upon graduating I started applying for jobs that I was told my degree would be of good use for getting a high paying job. My professors told me that going green was taking over, everyone was going environmentally safe and that any and every company would have room for us.
The second class to graduate from the newly installed Environmental Studies program; they had the most hope in us. I had a lot of hope in myself, I felt like having this piece of paper behind my name made me someone. It made all the bitter and negative comments said to me, the lack of belief from those around me and the lack of belief in myself validated.
I didn’t always have the most confidence in myself when it came to my education. I knew I was not dumb but I didn’t feel as smart as I was because of everything going on around me. Even getting accepted into University was a milestone for me. In high school I failed my first class ( Data Management) and felt like the world as I knew it was coming to an end. I knew math was never my strongest subject, but I knew enough to hold my own so you could imagine how it felt seeing a 48% on my final report card literally 1 semester away from graduation.
I graduated from York in April of 2013.
I never found a job in my field.
I was back at the mall selling clothes and shoes ( same thing I did while I was in school), getting minimum wage barely making it. That “job” I was promised upon graduation never came, the bills started piling up and my income stayed the same.
Vacations I wanted to take had to be put on hold, investments I was anxious to get into put on the back burner.
Steve Jobs- Apple Inc.
Julian Assange- Wikileads
Bill Gates- Microsoft
Mark Zuckerberg-Facebook/ Instagram
Larry Ellison-Oracle Corp
Jan Koum- Whats App
Leonardo Del Vecchio- Luxxotica Group
Roman Abramovich- Milihouse Capital
Michael Dell- Dell Computers
Michele Ferrero- Ferrero Rocher
Liliane Bettencourt- Loreal
Ingvar Kamprad- Ikea
Amancio Ortega- Zara
The similarities amongst the above are simple. All of them are billionaires and NONE of them have any form of post secondary education behind them OR dropped out before given the chance to graduate.
Education does not equal to or qualify you for success, contrary to popular belief. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide have made their millions with little to no formal educational background behind them. The way of the world has changed drastically and start up companies birthed by an idea and funding have dominated bringing in large amounts of revenues.
It is no longer about how educated you are, how many PHD’s, MD’s or any types of degrees you have behind your name ( in some cases), who you know and the position of power they hold weighs heavily in the workforce now.
I know first hand.
I went to university, two years later college, and ended up with no job in either of the fields I paid over $30,000 for combined. That was a life lesson all on its own. Post-Secondary helped me realize that life would not be all peaches and cream once I was finished. I realized that the deadlines, exhaustion and pressure I faced during my 5 years was indirectly preparing me for the real world, the world I dreaded being apart of.
The world where my parents no longer paid my phone bills, bought me food or drive me around at my demand. Leaving high school I was forced to slowly but surely fend for myself. Living within my means became a new thing for me, budgeting the money I got from working part time while in school to pay for my lunch, textbooks and any miscellaneous desires I had.
My parents only covered my tuition, books and anything else was left up to me. In the span on a few months I went from being Daddy’s little girl to Jenny from the block.
I was no longer their little girl but was initiated into adulthood, positioned in a place to help me grow into a “woman”.
I was NOT ready.
As we circle back to the main concept at hand…
How did University “Ruin” My life you may ask…
University ruined my life because it never prepared me for the real world.
University ruined my life because it matured me.
University ruined my life because I exposed me to things I was otherwise sheltered from seeing.
University made me the woman I am today.
And as much as I hated my Years of University, I am grateful for the results.