Rivers of Text

I’m knee-deep in marking right now. In a lot of ways this is such a strange place for me to be, considering I barely graduated from high school, and was never a good university student. I’m sure if I could go back even a mere five years ago to tell my past self about what I do, the five-years-ago me wouldn’t believe it.

I’ve never had a good relationship with school.

In high school I spent way too much time smoking combustibles, trying to learn how to play music, and trying to get laid (in that order). I actually did an extra year of high school to atone for completely screwing up Grade 11. Even with the extra year I didn’t graduate because I boycotted Phys. Ed. class, which is a required class for graduation.

Ye Olde Grad CapMy loathing of Phys. Ed. has dulled over the years, but I still can remember how much I hated it. It’s funny how nearly all Phys. Ed. teachers seem to be case from two molds: either you had an impossibly thin, energized dynamo that forced mountains of physical exertion on the class, or a fat, slovenly pig who looked like the only time his heartrate increased was when he was ogling the young girls in his class.

Sadly, my Phys. Ed. teacher was the latter.

It wasn’t until a couple years later when I did a few makeup classes at university that I earned my high school diploma. The occasion passed without fanfare.

University wasn’t much better. I went through an aborted attempt at Sciences the first time through, and ended up spending more time hanging out in the smoking cafeteria, listening to loud punk rock music. Old habits are hard to break.

The second time I tried to go to school, I took film studies and English, which seemed to fit my personality and interests better. It was going well, until I went through a prolonged bout of brevity, which made its way into the papers I was required to write for class.

I’ve never understood the sense of taking a perfectly clear, succinct paper and stretching it out so that it spanned twenty typed, double-spaced pages.

This, coupled with an American film studies class that seemed hellbent on lauding every single film ever made by Joel Schumacher and James Cameron, predestined my early leave of university life. I was bored, understimulated, and antsy. I didn’t get university.

After a three month trial by fire in Web design (thank you, Unemployment Insurance sponsorship program) and three years of industry experience, here I am, ten years after my last twirl with academia, with a mound of essays to mark, Photoshop compositions to grade, and rationales to pick through. How is it that a complete, unabashed academic slacker could end up not only teaching, but grading and marking students?

I’m still trying to figure that out, but I’m enjoying it immensely.

How many folks out there have post-secondary degrees? Heck, how many have their high school diploma? And more importantly: do you feel it has helped you get to where you are now?

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