Back to school… or something completely different

Photo by Analyn Cuarto
Photo by Analyn Cuarto

By Chandler Walter, Editor-in-Chief


I suppose I should start by welcoming you to Douglas College, whether you are an aspiring writer, scientist, philosophiser, nurse, archaeologist, or anything in between. And welcome back to any of you that have already spend some hours in these halls, reading the Other Press, or sweating it out on the damned hill.

Unfortunately, I will not be joining you, as my days of sitting, learning, and occasionally sleeping in the classrooms at Douglas College are long since behind me.

I spent two years at this college, beginning after a gap year following high school that was spent doing a whole lot of nothing much at all. Once here I took general studies: Everything from history to poetry to philosophy (I never was one for numbers, if I’m being honest), for three entire classes a semester. Not much of a workload, now that I look back at it, but it was still considered “full time” so my parents were satisfied.

I learned a lot here at Douglas, though not anything that can be proudly displayed on a piece of paper in my living room. I never received any degrees at this school, or walked across the stage in a gown and one of those square shaped hats.

Of my five semesters here, only three classes worth of credits were transferred to the diploma program I eventually found myself in at Langara College—leaving basically four semester of work that I have nothing to show for.

I may not be able to officially show the time I spent arguing in David Wolfe’s philosophy classes, or learning poetry from Liz Bachinsky, but I do still remember what it was like to learn from people that legitimately knew what they were talking about—I don’t mean that as a slight to high-school teachers in any way, but there’s something different about attending a class at college.

I don’t regret the time and money spent in those classes at Douglas, even if they didn’t end up contributing to a degree, or working as a prerequisite for some other class down the time. I never liked that way of thinking—that each class was on some check-list and you simply had to get through each one until you could emerge with a bachelor degree and a sliver of hope in joining the workforce.

You aren’t doing yourself, or anyone else, any favours by coasting by on minimum effort—take it from someone who has been there very unpassionately done that.

Take your time with these classes; think of it as actual learning, rather than simply memorizing facts and figures for the few hours it takes to regurgitate them onto a piece of paper. Choose classes that you feel will be enjoyable for you, in things that you have an actual interest in.

You may not find every class absolutely enthralling, but know that there is value in knowledge, and that a lot of what you learn is going to be worth retaining down the line—even if it isn’t something you major in, or something that applies to your eventual work.

It’s all worth as much value as you give it, so you might as well give it your all—you’re already here, aren’t you?