For when change comes knocking
We have come to a time of year that is characterized by untimely graduations. The turkey grads (those who decide to leave after Thanksgiving) have left the University of Regina in their dust. Soon, those who finish up their university career just prior Christmas dinner will do the same.
Part of the reason people leave university so early is because they haven’t found what they want to spend a lot of their future doing. We tend to associate those who leave university early with those who refuse to do any sort of tangible work. This is a simple way for members of the university community – whether they are faculty, students, or staff – to rationalize why retention rates are so low. While there is some truth to this argument, as basic as it may be, the real truth is something much deeper.
Not continuing through your first university stems from an issue deeply rooted in the 18-25 age range: disinterest. Those who make the decision to discontinue their studies have found that school isn’t for them, and the reasons behind that conclusion are as varied as the amounts different faculties that arbitrarily curb their marks.
One way to combat this disinterest is to transfer programs. There is still, among some, a view that transferring is synonymous with quitting. So, to dispel this notion, let me tell you a story.
I started school four years ago as an education major. I wrote in my entrance essay that I wanted to change the world. Blehhhh. First-year sappiness aside, I continued in the program for three years before deciding, after a regrettable placement experience, that I wanted to be creative for the rest of my life. Many questioned my decision, but I felt that it was what I needed for me.
Herein lies why so many people leave the University feeling like failures. They are here because someone feels like they should be and, when that pressure collides with the knowledge that the academic life is not the life for them, a feeling of disillusionment ensues. Their faulty motivations stem from others and not themselves.
If I had continued in my ill-placed quest toward becoming a teacher, ramming my head over and over against the brick wall that is the educational establishment, I would not be working for the Carillon. I also would not have been the lighting designer for the theatre department’s latest show, or been able to take more English classes, or switch sports, or work in advocacy, or… the list goes on.
A couple of weeks ago I spoke to a first-year education class about the topic of disability. I introduced myself as a recovering educator and watched as the professors in the back of the room, the same wonderful humans who had taught me about what it meant to be a teacher, laughed and asked me if I was ever coming back.
Transferring does not mean a burning of bridges. Switching tracks does not mean that you are committing arson on your own future. Transferring means you are finding what you really want to do, which means you’ll be interested, which means you will actually care. What can you do with a degree that comes after transferring? Succeed.