So the time had some I finally would be finishing my career as a university student. The end of 2013 saw me finish my final courses needed to obtain my university degrees at the University of Calgary. Almost 6 years in school and I would be walking away with 3 bachelor’s degrees to my name. The journey started right after I graduated high school, I had recently discovered badminton and wanted to pursue it and see what it was all about. This led me to attend Mount Royal College (it was a college at the time) because they had a badminton team. I had not been training or even playing long but knew this is what I wanted to do. That being said studies wise I knew even less about what I wanted to be and choose to go into Computer science, but it was a university transfer program as MRC did not offer university degrees at the time. I had dreams of finishing the 2 year transfer program and then move to another city to finish schooling. Yeah that all fell through and after a semester in computer science I realized that was not the field that I wanted to work in long term. I switched programs and moved into the Kinesiology university transfer then known as the physical education program. Finishing first semester I preceded to take 10 months off from school to move down to Trinidad for 6 of those months when I first started to compete internationally for the country. Unsure if/when I would return to Canada for school. That time came after Christmas when I returned and continued where I had left off at the college in my Kinesiology program. Continuing to play on the badminton team and enjoying the whole experience; times would soon change though. The college was turning into a university, it would not offer university degrees in my field right away though as that would take some time. So after doing a bit of my degree I took some time off and then went to Trinidad for 6 months, that is when I first started to play badminton internationally for the country. I then took some more time off to travel and train.
|MRC Badminton Team Picture|
|MRU Badminton Team Picture|
Upon returning to Canada I finished a half a semester at MRU (it was now a university) and then would head over to University of Calgary (UofC) in the fall semester. When I transferred some stuff happened to my courses and I was unable to directly transfer into a Kinesiology specific program as I had one grade that was a letter grade to low but that’s another story. So upon going to UofC I still had scholarship money left so didn't waste it and decided to do another degree but why do 1 when I could do 2. So I ended up enrolling and doing 2 degrees at once, a geography degree and a communications and culture degree. On top of that I still hadn't finished my Kinesiology degree so I would also be taking some classes to also finish that up too. The interesting part was that in this time I would also start competing for Trinidad full time so I needed to manage school, training, and traveling to tournaments. This would prove more difficult in my final year of studies.
Time passed and I continued to knock out my core courses one by one, taking on average 3-4 courses a semester and when I wasn't traveling to China in the summer then I would take spring and/or summer courses. There seemed like an ever growing list of cores that I needed to complete. As I would complete one then another one would seem to appear out of nowhere. But slowly and surely I knocked them out one by one. With a lot of travel happening as I started to compete more and meant missing more school as well as exams and assignments. My professors in the geography department knew me well as the athlete who traveled and they were all ok with it because I would be able to link the concepts in class to where I went. That and I would always take pictures for them of relevant stuff in the country that I was traveling to relating to the course content so they could use it in their presentations.
My time at the University of Calgary started to come to an end as I was finishing up my courses. In my final year in 2013 all I needed was 10 option courses to complete the rest of my needed credits to graduate. That was what felt like the biggest waste of time because I had already done all my cores and now I just had to take random classes to get my degree, I felt like wasting money but at the same time it allowed me to take some interesting courses I may have never had the opportunity to otherwise. I took film courses (the horror movie, the melodrama, French film), I took “the history of video games” and an art class all about gardens. But I had already used all my available 200 level course and one of the requirements for me degree was that I needed some 300, 400, and 500 level classes. Usually those all require prerequisites which I did not want to have to take more courses to take an option course. The most interesting experience was 1st semester 2013 I took 2 500 level research class’s and for one it was essentially a graduate thesis project that was to be done and presented at the end of the semester. The only problem was that I was heading to New Zealand and Tahiti for almost 3 weeks to compete in tournaments. So long story short I stayed in a fancy hotel the 1st night in Tahiti and did my part of the presentation via video conference with the beautiful beach and water in the background (at this point there was still snow on the ground in Calgary) so let’s just say a lot of students and teachers who attended the presentation didn't like me too much. Along with that I also wrote 2 finals via the internet during that same night staying in the fancy hotel because I needed a stable and good internet connection. That is probably my fondest and funniest memory from school while traveling.
|The resort I stayed at and the backdrop I used during video presentation|
2013 summer I also didn't go to Asia to train meaning I took a full course load in both spring and summer. Finally the home stretch the last semester of my undergraduate career had come. I would be attending 2 tournaments both opposite sides of the world and to be honest more emphasis was set on those than actually focusing on school. Not that doing good wasn't a priority it just kind of took the back burner during the tournaments. I attended classes and flew out to Brazil and Macau for a week each. I always felt guilty about traveling when I was working in a group and just had to take off because I felt like I was placing unnecessary worry on the group even though I would always make sure the get my work done and submit it to them by the deadlines.
Then December 2014 rolled around, it had come the last set of finals that I would write. The last time I would grace the University of Calgary halls as a student. It was a feeling that I did not know how to embrace in all honesty. I was a student for so long that it had always just been a part of who I was, a way of life when I wasn't busy being an athlete. But now that was all coming to an end, my student career was going to have its lights shut off. I felt a little more than sad to know that I would be done and wouldn't have to attend classes, study for exams, and write papers anymore. But at the same time it was a nice feeling knowing that I was done and that I had accomplished getting my degrees. I would not get to walk the stage to receive my degree, not that I had any particular desire to sit there for hours while they go through the names waiting for my 20 seconds in the spotlight. I would instead be flying to Argentina the day of my convocation so even if I wanted to attend I simply wouldn't have been able to. And thus ended a chapter that had been ongoing for the greater part of my life, my time as a student in school had come and gone. I accomplished what I needed to and learned a lot, I will always be a student for life in the real world continually learning but as for studying at a learning institution I have graduated.