In May 2014 I took a massive leap of faith and applied for school at Concordia University. My end goal being a diploma in professional photography and a second one in Digital Photographic Imaging. I was tired of the culinary industry and had developed such a hatred for it, I wanted to move on. I was slated to begin towards the end of June.
On June 11th 2014 (about 2 weeks after making such a huge decision) I got word that my father was dying. On June 12th 2014 I had an amazing birthday and on June 13th 2014 I lost my job.
Funny how things can change so damn fast.
You hear about stories like this all the time, they might fascinate you, appall you, inspire you or perhaps scare you. Which is all fine and well…
Until it actually happens to you.
My first thought was to immediately drop out of school (before I had even started) and run home. Home being Ontario. I didn’t, I internally rationalized it by telling myself that my dad’s death sentence was quite new and he might have years to live. So why waste it, just in case. Either way, I was loosing my dad, it was really just a question of when. I figured that I would get myself a new job right away and just keep going to school part time and that would be that.
Except life never works out quite like you planned.
I never did get another job. No one wants to hire someone who’s been in my position and I can’t say I blame them. We (future husband and I) were broke, but we figured it out. I ended up going to school full time and completed my final course for digital photographic imaging (Photoshop) in October 2015. While I had technically graduated university, it hadn’t sunk in yet because I didn’t have my grades yet. So it was a fair assumption that I would pass, at the very least. I checked my final grades today and I almost fell out of my chair when I seen my final grade. It was/is the highest grade I have ever gotten in my entire life. Which was a surprise to me because that last class was a struggle. Once I got over the shock, I sat there and cried, so hard.
It was finally over and I had made it. Not unscathed by any means…
I’m pretty humble overall as a person. It’s one of my better qualities and no one likes that jerk who brags (sorry). This diploma represents so much more than my education overall. It’s a accumulation of:
- Debt. So much debt. Which we have most paid off (YAY).
- Grief. I lost my dad on February 28th 2015 and it hit me hard.
- Battling through class when you’re waiting for ‘that call’.
- It’s getting that call and hiding in an empty classroom bawling because you know that you’re going to loose your dad sooner rather than later and you’re helpless against it.
- It’s having your mom text you and knowing that the following phone call most likely won’t be happy news.
- It’s focusing every ounce of who you are and pouring your heart into final projects that can take up to 60+ hours.
- It’s referencing your notes and realizing you missed something important.
- Watching countless videos on YouTube because you can’t figure out how to do that thing.
- It’s missing meals and quiet time with the man you love because you’re staring at a computer screen.
- It’s trying to quiet the voice in your head because depression is an asshole that lies.
- It’s trying to quell your anxiety because your deadlines are looming and why can’t you find inspiration already.
- It’s late nights and early mornings.
- It’s missing weddings and other occasions because you have to hand in your final(s).
- Tension headaches and sore backs. Awful eating habits and so much more.
That’s not all though.
- It’s the professors who rally around you and let you leave class so that you can text/call your family.
- Those same professors also give you deadline extensions and/or present for you so that you can go home and bury your father.
- It’s your boyfriend turned fiancee who never stops encouraging you, even when he resents that you spend more time with your computer than with him.
- It’s the friends and the family who rally around you during your darkest time and encourage you to not give up and remind you why you started on this journey in the first place.
- It’s all the really cool things you learned to do with images that you never even dreamed of.
- It’s all the amazing and talented people you meet who become your friends.
- It’s discovering a talent that you didn’t know you even had.
- It’s being inspired by the guy who delivers your parcels in the afternoon.
It’s all that and more. I can’t wait to get my diploma so I can hang it in my home with so much pride. It’s been one hell of a journey and it still doesn’t feel real, but at the same time, it feels pretty amazing just the same.
So if you ever think that you can’t…
Trust me. You can.