Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Significant Memory at Nipissing University

One of my most significant memories at Nipissing University occurred when I was in first year. This memory didn't happen at a residence party where the jungle juice was passed around. It didn't happen in a classroom or lecture theatre. Really, this memory sort of pre-dates any activities that you would associate with the academic year itself.

I suppose that this event can be related to a rite of passage that many post-secondary school students go through. Now when I say rite of passage, I am making an assumption that many of my peers would be able to relate to this story and most would go through it at some point in their lives. In my attempt to be quite general, students leave their hometown and move to a new city and typically live in residence or sometimes off-campus. Move-in day is the big day. I loaded up all my personal belongings into a car and drove 4 hours from Walkerton, ON to North Bay, ON to assume responsibility for my living quarters for the next 8 months.

In true rite of passage form, I'm sure you are relating somewhat to this story already. Big arrival on campus. Move your stuff in. Go to the store and pick up a bunch of groceries. In the grocery store my Dad kept asking me if I needed this item or that. "When am I ever going to use an advocado or tin of escargo?" He replied, "Just say yes every time I ask you if you need something" as he kept filling up the cart with various items and increased his credit card bill in perfect correlation. I began to think that the university experience was more about him than me. But I digress.

When all the groceries were assembled and other belongings were half-arranged in my room, there came that moment. That goodbye moment that has seen many Mothers shed tears of joy/sadness to finally see their little ones off on their own in the real world. Kicked out of the protective nest, in fact.

Dad stuck his hand out and shook mine. A simple jesture, we'd shook hands before. He wanted me to keep in touch and I knew that I'd see him soon. But there was no crying. No tears of sadness or joy. No homesickness. There was more of an understanding between us. For him: "OK son, you're on your own. Let's see what happens." For me: "OK self, time to step up your game to this thing called life." After we hugged and he left, I began to realize that this was it. This was my chance. This was my life in my own hands. No parents around asking questions, no one staying up late at night waiting for you to arrive home, and no one scolding you for not eating breakfast. He's likely proud that I didn't go berserk with the imbibing of alcohol. I was still enrolled at Nipissing University after first year.

Pushing these thoughts to the back of my head, I met more of my roommates, neighbours, and eventually some classmates. I took part in Frosh Week activities, read some textbooks, and submitted assignments. This school thing was working out. And I have not turned back since.


Britney said...
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Anonymous said...

ohh this article is such a nice growing-up story. ohh. I wish I were like that.

Anonymous said...

Ian, it's Dad. You've done good!

Big Green Giant said...

Well, Dad. I've done well.

Anonymous said...

You've done well and good. Let's shake on it.