Repost: It’s a Hard Knock Life

I began building a database recently, using data collected from some questionnaires that our seniors filled out a couple of weeks ago. As I was doing this, I so admired the ambition of some of our students – ER/Trauma Medicine, Social Justice Attorney, Petroleum Engineering (I don’t even know what this is, but I can imagine…however, when I was 17 years old, I wouldn’t have had a hot clue), Creative Writing degrees (AKA The Barista Program)…there were some really beautiful, lofty ideas there – and reading all of them made me so envious of the opportunities a lot of these kids have. When I was in school, I couldn’t have imagined having the belief in myself to decide to pursue a degree in Creative Writing, Fashion or something else that may not be the most ‘practical’ choice (but man alive were those the things that I most wanted out of life) – I was full of hopes, and things that I wanted to study and learn…but, they seemed to be flights of fancy, and I knew that I didn’t have the time and/or money to pursue anything that wasn’t going to get my through my education in the quickest way possible – so I chose to study in the Faculty of Education, with a concentration on Secondary Education, Double Major in English and French. I decided to become a teacher because it was something I knew, something I knew that I would be good at, and I would enjoy the variety of working with kids – because they’re funny and learning is just plain awesome. I have never regretted my decision to study Education, but I have always been full of the feeling that I am meant to do other things as well. I would never turn my back on my career in Education – one way or another, I will always have a toe in this pond, because I believe in Public Education very passionately, and we desperately need people around who do still believe (there aren’t enough of us, let me tell you). However, I somehow find it difficult to believe that this is all that I’m meant for – I don’t mean that in a snobby way at all, I just feel that there is SO much more out there for me to sink my teeth in to. This is probably why I do a lot of the things I do – I’m always studying something (whether it’s for my job or my own amusement), I live to try new things, I read constantly…there are so damn many beautiful, glorious things out there and not enough time to get to them all, so I think we owe it to ourselves to stick our straw in as many experiences as we can and slurp them up, don’t you? 🙂
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I also didn’t know that there were so many options available when I was in school – probably because I grew up in the Middle of Nowhere, Canada, so I wasn’t exactly exposed to much. (True Story: One of my earliest ambitions was to be a writer on Degrassi – it still is, come to think of it…I figure I would be perfect for the job: I’ve watched every series of Degrassi since Kids of Degrassi Street began around 1980 or so, I know all of the characters and storylines, I’m Canadian (so I’m down with the vernacular, eh), and I’ve spent the last 20 years working with teenagers (so I know the scary things that go through their minds)…I think I’d be awesome! If anybody knows anyone on Degrassi, PLEASE SEND THEM MY WAY AND HELP A GIRL’S DREAMS COME TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) 🙂 One of the kids I work with this year is interested in getting in to Public Relations – I had NO idea that such a field existed when I was in school, did you? I suppose that so much of what we know depends on where we are from, what we’ve been exposed to, etc.. although the Internet revolution has certainly changed that up considerably. I love that our students today have the world before them, and so many opportunities that we didn’t have even 20 years ago – but, at the same time, there are so many more hoops for them to jump through these days…if you get yourself into a good college, you deserve a big ol’ pat on the back, because getting there is NOT easy. Between the FAFSA and the rest of the Financial Aid finanglings, the application process and the SATs/ACTs…it’s like a full-time job just working your way through all of this. We hosted a Financial Aid information session for our parents recently, and I was overwhelmed with feelings of wanting to hug each set of parents that attended. They were all there because they desperately want to help their children get a good education, but watching their faces drop and become considerably paler as they learned all about the complicated processes involved in Financial Aid made me feel physically ill – it shouldn’t be this difficult. Getting an education should not be as hard and soul-destroying as it is…it just shouldn’t. 😦

As I’ve been working on this database project and learning more about the hopes and dreams of those around me (it is seriously fascinating stuff), I’ve been listening to some music….and the song “Try” from P!nk came on:

Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame
Someone’s bound to get burned
But just because it burns
Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
You’ve gotta get up and try try try
Gotta get up and try try try
You gotta get up and try try try

That’s kind of the message that I want to send out to my students as they are preparing to leave the safety net of high school and stare down the real world and make it their bitch – things are going to happen, you’re going to get kicked around a lot, and everything is going to seem impossible at least once an hour, but…whatever you do, DON’T GIVE UP. Just get up and try try try. I need to hear those words myself from time to time….don’t we all? 🙂

xxx

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