Monday, March 29, 2010

gettin all edumicated

I graduated high school in 1998. It was a small school of about 60. The graduating class that year was 10% of the school. I can't, for the life of me, remember two of the people I graduated with. If they come to me before I'm done writing this, I'll add them, but for now, there was me, Sasha, Danielle, and a French girl whose name started with a J. I wore a long light purple silky dress with sequins on the chest and black high heels. And there was a limo outside waiting for me. I had a handful of the people that meant the most to me in the crowd. And I had the biggest crowd in the gym than the other five who graduated. I sniffled and subtly wiped my nose, and tried to hold back tears reading my Thank You speech that earned me extra credit in English 33. At that stage in our lives, they gave us extra credits for everything. A year before that, I even got extra credits for taking drivers ed and passing. When the ceremony was done, I waited in the hall for everyone to come see me. I stood there for what seemed like an hour, hugging my family and friends as they walked by. And I cried. And cried. And cried. Sydney was down the hall in the daycare centre when I walked up to the podium to accept my diploma just a few minutes before. I ran into the daycare in my long light purple silky dress, my black high heels, and a cap & gown to scoop up my 1 year old daughter. I held her tight and cried some more. I did it. I graduated high school ... with my baby on my hip. And only one year later than everyone else I went to high school with, except those that also ended up pregnant. And trust me; there was more than a few. Well, like I said earlier, 60 girls in the school at a time was common. I graduated from Louis Dean School, a school for pregnant and parenting teens, and I was 19 years old.

That was 12 years ago. Contrary to what happens with a good number of teens that find themselves knocked up in high school, I didn't just resign myself to a life on welfare and an armful of babies. I have done something with my life, a lot of somethings actually, but not everything that I ever wanted. And for various reasons and depending on my mood, sometimes certain decisions still bother me. Two months after graduating, I enrolled in Viscount Bennet, a continuing education school, to upgrade my math and sciences. I had big plans. I was going to be an Animal Health Technician. To do this, I needed 4 more classes. Math 23, Math 33, Biology 30, and Chemistry 30. Once I had those under my belt, I'd register for college. One semester at SAIT in Calgary, 3 semesters at Olds College. Olds is about an hour from Calgary, but I was willing to leave my family for the small town scene, with my child in tow to make sure we had a better life. 

After the first year on my own (own apartment, own relationship, own child) I was ready to throw in the towel. Life was harder than I had ever imagined. And the next few years didn't get any easier. Needless to say, I didn't make it to college. I completed Math 33, showed up for most of the biology classes, minus the class we wrote our final exam, and exactly two chemistry classes. I couldn't afford the text books anyway, so I returned them to the library, one covered in beautiful art-work done by Sydnerella, and shortly after that, I was flipping burgers. Literally. Fast forward 10 years and past all the gory details, and I did end up with a great job and can support myself and Sydnerella on my own. Of the regrets that I do have, and I try not to regret too much because I think I really have kicked ass as a teen mom and because I try to believe that everything happens for a reason, I still wish I got to go to college.

I do have a plan to try to make up for it. Something that I really should have done sooner. April 20, I'm challenging the exam for the Introduction to the Oil Patch. I don't need to be introduced, I've been doing this for coming on 10 years, but I'd like to have it official and on paper, that I am S-M-R-T. As soon as I pass that exam with flying colours, I can enroll in the courses that will lead to a certificate that pertains to what I have been doing, self-taught, all these years. And with a 12 year old who prefers to pretend that I don't exist anyway, it wont be so hard to spend an evening a week sitting in a desk at Mount Royal University, with my binder and text book, and a cutesy little pencil case with a favorite pen. And who knows, maybe there will be cute boys in the class that I can pass notes to (just kidding T-Bone ...).

As procrastinator-extraordinaire however, my plan might never come to fruition. In the mean time though, I feel good that I at least came up with the idea to begin with. And I felt pretty important when my registration paper came in the mail that said "Welcome to Mount Royal University".


  1. are you smrt or smArt??? LOL

    YOU CAN DO IT!!! I've seen you do so much, you make me so proud. Don't give up!!!

  2. Sending you all the positive thoughts and encouragement you need. You're going to do it!

  3. Congratulations, you'll be great!

  4. way to rock it... You go girl...