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Nouns and Books and Show & Tell

August 29, 2014

Featured music: “We’re Going to be Friends” by The White Stripes

Hate me all you want for wanting autumn to come RIGHT now. And I will hate the weather all I want for teasing us with lovely (comfortable) chilled evenings but still consistently pushing warm days. It doesn’t really matter which side of the argument you find yourself on, the fact of the matter is that September is right around the corner. And for many that means BACK TO SCHOOL!

Oh man. I get a huge rush walking into stores lately and gulping in the fragrance of rubber erasers and bouquets of fresh pencils – which is not as pungent in the age of laptops and iPads but it’s still there! I feel like I’m looking through a portal in time when I see the kids tugging at their parents’ pant legs and hoping they’ll agree to the pricy fabric-covered binder with the zipper. (Can’t you just use the one from last year? NO. I NEED A NEW ONE.) Seriously – those were the days. Cue the All in the Family theme right now.

But behind all the supplies and fancy new clothes is a universe that I checked out of eight years ago now. School ended for me at College Pierre Elliott Trudeau, class of 2006. I didn’t pursue college, I didn’t pursue university. Financially, there was no way it could really happen and despite excelling academically over the years, that was the last time I stepped inside a classroom.

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And that’s okay. My life has taken me in stimulating directions in the film & music industries and I’m still hoping it will take me further. I’ve also taken and am somewhat in the process of taking Graphic Communications courses at Red River College (distance education – so not in a classroom but from the comfort of my living room workspace). Yet I still occasionally find myself envious of those who were able to keep their academic lifespan going. I guess I’m 25 – and who knows what tomorrow will bring. I can still wake up and decide I want to be a doctor. Right guys? ..

With the scholastic ambiance filling the air, it’s difficult not to reflect on those years that seem oh so long ago now. The books. The clubs. The teachers. The tests. The essays. The exams. The cliques. The laughter. The tears. What a whirlwind of time that was involuntarily thrust upon us … and ended up being quite literally our formative years.

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Oh how I wish I could shake my younger self. If I knew then what I know now. I would tell myself that those years are just peanuts in comparison to the world beyond those walls. But really – try telling that to a kid. I remember coming home at age 7 or 8 and bawling my eyes out because my longstanding role as Baby Spice in our Spice Girls cover band was being revoked and I was being replaced by someone who GOD FORBID was actually blonde. Somewhere in between the garbled sobs and through my teary vision, I vividly remember my Dad saying, “Griff. Come on. None of this is going to matter in a few years. In a few weeks for that matter.”

Drum roll please .. He was right. Life went on. The Spice Girls cover band broke up. The REAL Spice Girls broke up. (!!!) I left that small rural K-to-8 school and entered a high school in the city! And although bodies were changing and hormones were stronger and tears seemed heavier – to this day, I can barely remember anything I really cried about. Every  problem in high school was still just Baby Spice being kicked out of the band.

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That’s not to say that those times weren’t important – it’s just to say that at that point, you are so unaware of how your world is going to expand dramatically after your graduation day. Life won’t always be measured in Goods, Very Goods, B+ or A+. And maybe that’s nice and safe – to be confined in that bubble before being catapulted into a world of debt and divorce and hardships and TRAVEL and ADVENTURE and BIRTH and EVEN MORE LIFE.

My most intense memories to date happened after I graduated – high school was just a four-year moment for me. A moment crammed with tiny lessons and even more tiny memories. I feel so incredibly remorseful for those who were tortured and teased by people in those days – what a useless and pathetic way for the tormentors to have spent their time .. time that is just a precursor to a much more raw world.

If I knew then what I know now ..

Don’t cry so hard. Nothing is the end of the world. In fact, it’s the beginning. There are plenty more tears to be shed, amazing new friends to be made, relationships to make you strong and weak then even stronger, journeys to be commenced, mistakes to be made .. but enjoy yourself, because school is a great little bubble while it lasts.

Godspeed, kids! 🙂

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  • Alyssa Altomare August 31, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Well said 🙂
    Definitely keep journalism on the table, and NEVER stop writing.


  • Vanessa September 4, 2014 at 8:19 am

    I often wish I had waited until I was older to pursue a post-secondary education, although I guess if I hadn’t gone about things the way I did I wouldn’t be where I am now. Still, when I was starting out all those years ago I had no concept of how what I was learning in a classroom could possibly apply to my real-world experience and that got in the way of me absorbing as much as I could have. I feel a whole lot more prepared and capable at 27 than I did at 18, that’s for sure!