A wider education

It’s hard to be creative sometimes when the days of office work whiz past and there are relationships and commitments and financial obligations to juggle. You have a blog space sitting right there, beckoning you to splurge and blheurghk all your ideas and musings right out into the open so everyone can see. And it’s hard, because each day that passes is marked UC, UnCreative.

And thus it has been over a week since I posted. I went from posting once a day, to three times a week, to when I can manage it. Rather like my Gym attendance (hello size 12 verging on 14).

But I have finally found the time, between work and social and all the other things that eat up my time to finally discuss something I’ve been thinking about:

A Wider Education.

My youngest brother is about to start at the University of Sydney (which is where I went to for four years), my other brother is mid-way through his degree, constantly looking for ways out – or other travel adventures to escape to.

Recently I’ve been reviewing the contracts of new international staff applying at our summer camp. Their resumes and cover letters are interesting, they all seem to be well-educated, thrill-seeking types who are after something a little bit different.

We have Uni students coming from England. We have full-time workers coming from Australia. I read their personal essay’s and look through their resumes and ask myself, what is it that attracts this group of people to this experience?

It is the same thing that drew me to Canada 8 months ago. The search for the unknown, the restless desire to be somewhere new, new experiences, new places, new people, actions which lead us to become more diversified and interesting, adding more colours to our shimmery identity, more skills to be learned. To add more strings to our bows.

There are plenty of people in this world stuck in a formulaic existence, to some extent, I would have classed myself in that group prior to ditching my life and staying in Toronto. I was good at school (for the most part), got good grades (except in Maths), did what I was told, got a good University entrance score, didn’t fail any units, finished my Bachelor of Arts and got my Masters.

Okay so I’m leaving out some minor details, like the fact I went to 3 different international schools in Asia, and that my family life completely imploded when I was in year 12, but the gist is the same. Each Uni holiday I would go “home” to one or the other of my parents homes (Hong Kong or Perth). I never went with my friends through their global trecks. Uni holiday time was family time as my family was thousands of Kilometres away.

It was only when I was doing my Masters degree that I realized I might have to put in a little bit more effort, that I wasn’t just going to walk from school to Uni, from Uni to the perfect job. So I started interning.

Interning is an amazing way to get a foot in the door in places, you do a lot of bitch work but you also learn a lot. I consider my 5 months of free work for Freehand productions as an invaluable part of my education. It was wider education.

Travel is part of my wider education. Living in Toronto, learning about North Americans from the inside out is part of my wider education. Learning how to move places on a whim, is part of my education, that I’m sure will serve me down the road. Even working my kind of boring office job is teaching me something, a core unit of study in the University of life (perhaps, how to sit the f*ck down, shut the f*ck up and get on with it.)

I try to never overlook the value of things I do in my life – even if they seem irrelevant or annoying, or wastes of time. Recently I did a VERY amateur dramatic production of a Panto – Goldilox and the Bears. I bitched and moaned, PRETTY much through the whole production. I constantly whined about doing rehearsals three times a week, but I now realize it got me through the heart of winter. It gave me a purpose and a place to be. It made me feel like I was part of a community again, and has actually given me an idea about putting on a show of my own.

You can’t underestimate the power of a wider education.

It’s the different experiences of each of us that make us more interesting and diverse human beings. I’m glad that I’ve taken risks and made mistakes, and had moments of absolute-what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life-ery.

I hope that if you are reading this blog, you challenge yourself to gain a wider education.