Wednesday, June 17, 2015

#Reverb15: School's Out

School's out: Share what you're doing when the sun doesn't set until 9 PM!

considering that i haven't been in school for, oh, nine years now, this prompt doesn't quite apply to me. (i am a grown-ass adult and we don't get summer vacations.) however, i have been thinking a lot about my schooling lately, especially since i've been taking walks through my old campus and noticing all the convocations that have been happening. 'tis the season.

june 21, 2006. so fucking thrilled.

i did four years at the university people refer to as harvard north; a place where the common saying among students was "once you step on campus, you stop smiling." and those were four long, hard fuckin' years, man. i very clearly remember the first week of my third year and just feeling crushed that not only would i have to get through this year, but i still had another year to go after that. to this day, i'm still not convinced that the piece of paper i got at the end of it was worth all the money and struggle, but i did it for my parents. well, them, and the fact that university was my 18-year-old self's ticket to living in toronto. i would have done anything to get the hell out of kingston and start my real life in the big city.

(and it only occurs to me now that this is exactly what my mother meant the other week when she said that "sometimes we need to do things we don't necessarily want to do, but because they'll ultimately give us the opportunity to get to where we really want to be." even crummy experiences can be used as a means to an end, if you want something bad enough.)

but then once the four years were up, i absolutely had this feeling of "oh shit, here we go." it was time to go out into the real world. and honestly, i had been waiting for it for so long. there were so many times during my university years that i would get totally fucking impatient, wanting to get out there and prove my worth, feeling like the world was passing by without me. (to be fair, my life wasn't 100% schoolschoolschool; i was working full hours at my part-time job, and in my third & fourth years i had the bad habit of skipping classes to 1) interview bands and/or 2) running away on tour with bands)

so once i was finally unleashed, i had two conflicting feelings of 1) determination and 2) sheer panic. if i wanted to stay in toronto, i needed to double down on the jobs so i could pay my rent (up to this point, i was living on my student loan + the wages from my one part-time job). also, i wanted to keep pushing at my music writing, but that would have to take a backseat until i figured out how to stay in the city that had become my home. and i couldn't find anything entry level, you know? i really did look for full-time writing and editing jobs - because my freelance music journalism had at least afforded me a little experience i could put on a resume - but it ended up not being until 2008 that i would land my first 9-to-5 gig. instead, i would end up stumbling between part-time jobs and from one side of the country and back over the next couple of turbulent years.

but, when i was a new university graduate, i was fucking determined: i would stay here. i had put in my four years and countless thousands of dollars. i had earned my right to be in toronto and not have to move back home with my parents.

so yeah, i was terrified, but i was also running on a heightened survival instinct. none of the jobs were right for me, not out of the gate, but they gave me something to do while i tried to sort out how i would move forward. the sad thing is, i'm not sure if i ever really did. it feels like it's all been lateral moves for me. which isn't a total negative - it's not moving backwards, at least - but with no sense of a career, i haven't really had as much upward mobility in my career as i'd like. and sometimes i do wish i had dropped out of uni and grabbed those chances when i saw them. sometimes i wonder if i missed out on my future. but if my mother's right and everything works out the way it's supposed to, then i guess i would have ended up here sooner or later, no matter what.

oh, and the original prompt question - what am i doing when the sun doesn't set until 9 pm? mostly waiting for the sun to set, because i like the nighttime.

[ music | broken bells, "holding on for life" ]