Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I'll Take 'The Penis Mightier' For $100, Alex
Attending university was one of the best things I've ever gotten to do. If I could pick any time in my life to experience again, that four years would be it.
As I grew up, there was no question that I would end up going to university (in the States, people tend to say 'college', but where I'm from, most people say 'university').
Edmonton is a university city, with a beautiful (to me) sprawling campus at its heart.
The University of Alberta. In case you're wondering what that bright yellow building is, it's affectionately called the Butterdome, and is a sporting facility
The UofA is not an old school, it recently passed its 100th birthday, but it is a well-respected Canadian university.
When I was little, I remember driving by it in the car with my mum, and asking 'Is that where I'm going to go?' and she'd smile and say 'Yes, someday.'
When I finally got there, I fell in love with the place, as I always thought I would.
I loved the buildings. HUB Mall was one of my favourites.
Do you see all those multi-coloured cupboard-door thingies up high, looking out onto the floor of the mall? Those are student residences. The floor of the mall had restaurants, a laundromat, a bookstore, an art gallery, etc. The ceiling was all glass, as you can see.
My favourite thing about the building was how long and skinny it was. My parking garage was located at one end of it, and most of my classes were located in buildings at the other end of it. I could warm up for 10 minutes and not freeze my ass off whilst getting to class in the dead of an Albertan winter.
I loved the people. A lot of my friends were at the UofA, but there were thousands of other new people to meet. Some were local, some from across the world. All walks of life. All studying different things, with lofty dreams.
I enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts program. I didn't know what program I'd eventually end up in, but it was a good place to start.
I would hear people scoff when I told them this, and it would make me angry.
"Arts? Oh, so you want to be unemployed! AHAHAHAHAHA!"
The reason I liked the Arts so much is that you can get a more open education. English, Math, Science, Social Studies, History, and so much more.
Sure, I could have enrolled in a Science degree program and made out with petri dishes and equations all day, but that just wasn't for me. I wanted a little of that to go along with a plethora of other little things.
I eventually settled on an Anthropology major and a Sociology minor.
What better program for a people-watcher to be in than that one?
And it's funny, because I talked shit about science, and then ended up going for a degree focused in Physical and Forensic Anthropology. Which is pretty much all science.
I loved Sociology too. I could have easily made that my major instead if it wasnt for my love of Human Osteology. I was a bone-fondlin' motherfucker.
Oops...handled that one a little too hard...
Sociology was awesome though.
The most enjoyable Sociology class that I took was Sociology of Media. It took place in an airy, stadium-style university extension building, with a huge projection screen in it.
My professor had a sexy Tina Fey-esque vibe going on, and she had studied pornography as the subject of her PhD thesis.
Every male student's fantasy, right?
Anyway, one week she said that as part of the course, we would be studying pornography and its effect on society and she would play a porn clip on the big screen.
She said she was only allowed to do this if we all gave consent. Anyone who was morally opposed to being shown porn in class could abstain from the lecture with no academic consequences.
She asked for anyone opposed to give a show of hands.
Of COURSE no one put their hands up.
1) We were getting to see porn IN CLASS, on a huge screen. For school! Did I mention that?
2) Anyone who got up and left would be given shit about it forever. We were in our 20's, but that kind of peer pressure never goes away. I don't care how old you are.
3) I'm sure half of the male students in the room already had their hands occupied, and were ready for her to dim the lights!
Yep. I loved university for moments like that.
I had plans to go on and get my Masters and PhD in Forensic Anthro, but I didn't. It's not for lack of discipline.
I was very disciplined and goody-goody, I definitely didn't live the 'Animal House' life while I was there.
My dad paid for my entire education. I was very, very lucky. I treated school like it was my job. I wanted to make sure I earned every penny that he paid. My dad was a difficult man sometimes (ok, a lot of the time), but he didn't make me feel like I had to do this in terms of my education. I've just always been a self-driven person.
I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but he died in late 2002, right before my last semester. I was in the middle of finals that week. He'd been in bad health for years and his heart finally gave out.
It was still a shock though. Some people have the worst health habits and still live till they're old. I thought he'd be one of those people.
Anyway, he left me enough money that I was able to pay for the rest of my undergraduate education and live for awhile without working afterwards. I didn't know what to do with myself. His dying changed the course of my life.
I think everything happens for a reason. I might not feel like that when I'm in a the middle of a tough situation, but later on I do. One of Chuckles' favourite sayings is, 'It all comes out in the wash.'
Am I working in the profession that I got my degree in? No.
Do I have Dr. ahead of my name? No.
Am I happy and have an awesome life? Yes.
I make decent money to sell books for a living. I peddle knowledge.
I have a husband that loves me for ME and all of my weirdness and foul mouth, and is proud of my intelligence and rapier wit.
The people that laughed at me for my choice of university study can bite me.
I enjoyed every minute of it, and it made me a more interesting person. I can have a conversation about pretty much anything.
And I'm a fucking Jeopardy virtuoso.
That's all worth having a degree on the wall. No matter what it is.
If any of you crazy kids out there are hemming and hawing about whether or not college is relevant these days, it is. Even if it's just for the memories and prestige.