I have always loved September and everything it represents – clear, crisp days; a new beginning; and yes, even school. I especially LOVED school. Yes, I was that kid! When I was little and misbehaved, my Mom used to scold me saying “Michelle, if you don’t behave, you’re not going to school tomorrow” (if only I had known there was little chance of her following through with this threat…). I loved the structure that school provided. And I especially loved the social outlet – I was also the kid who consistently had comments on her report card that went something like this: “Michelle is a good student, but she talks too much”.
It is little surprise that I spent eight years in university, first pursuing Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Engineering, then an MBA. Friends and family alike were beginning to think that I was becoming a professional student, destined for a Ph.D. in some obscure subject (my Master’s thesis was entitled “The Acclimation of Anaerobic Systems to Biodegrade Chlorinated Solvents” – it still baffles me that I retain this piece of information and yet regularly forget my locker combination at the gym!) . Were it not for the fact that I was tired of being a destitute student, I might never have left academia.
I spent most of my career in professional services where September always offered up new challenges. There were new projects and new clients to keep me busy. And now that I have kids, September once again provides the excitement and eager anticipation of “back to school” routines.
This September is a little different for me though. Having recently left my job, my life has been turned upside down. There are so many unknowns… What will my days look like? How will I fill my time? Who will I spend it with? And so, I turned to the one thing that has always brought me comfort: school. In two weeks’ time, I will be returning to the University of Toronto to take a course entitled “Writing the Novel: Introduction”.
My kids were absolutely baffled when I told them that I would be going to school. In their minds, I will be sitting in a little chair at a grouping of four small desks, dutifully listening to Mr. or Mrs. So-and-So teach me how to write. And they might not be far off! I must say, I am slightly terrified about my first day. It has been – gulp! – 15 years since my last “first day” of class. I’m sure that much has changed in that time. All the same, I look forward to telling you all about it!