Friday Wrap #10 – The mad dash edition…

Fourteen hours start-to-finish… That was how long it took to go from my home, to Toronto, and back. I did not go on this adventure for the fun of it. In fact, this is only the fifth time I’ve been to Toronto in the past 25 years.

There was a reason for such a quick trip – a college tour for our middle son. But as it turned out, I had as much of a benefit from this quick trip as he did.

Years ago, nearly three decades ago, I applied to this same school. It was my first choice, and out of the five schools I applied to, this school was the ONLY one that rejected me. At that point, I had already freelanced a bit, completed a co-op from my high school, and thought I was ahead of other applicants. When I interviewed with the head of the program then, I was told that they didn’t think I had what it took for their program. It sucks when a teacher tells a student that they don’t have potential.

Those words rung through my brain as we toured the campus this week. Unlike me, my son had an offer letter from the school. It is for a different program than the one I applied to, but he already has gotten farther than me. Success.

For years, I have always had this doubt in the back of my head, second best. Almost good enough. So close, but yet so far. Anytime I have worked in my field, or even when I have worked in other places where I thought I was an expert or at least competent in, that voice will appear.

The tour was a general tour of the school, so I was able to look at the program I would have attended years ago, which brought back memories of my first tour. The computers may be different, but the space was largely the same. Fresh coat of paint, a green screen hanging, but otherwise it’s the same. And everything was so small.

I mentioned to the tour guide, a second year student from the school, that I worked in that field. She asked if her school looked right for my field. “The equipment here looks too new,” I jokingly replied. It looked sterile. Kids graduating from this space are going to be disappointed when they go to newsrooms for their first jobs and see what we work with. Ten year old computers, antiquated versions of Photoshop and InDesign, dated cameras, and more.

Walking around the school, I felt a sense of calm. That rejection nearly three decades ago was a good thing. Going to my second choice school was a good thing because that program prepared me for the widely varied career I have had so far. Seeing the school that turned me down, not be such an awe-inspiring boogeyman to my confidence, is one of the best things to have happen to me.

I have gone through the last several years, with the “what if” nagging in my brain. I will still have “what ifs” but just not this one. What a freeing feeling.

We fled Toronto. From the time we entered Toronto proper, drove across the 401 and down the DVP – to the time we jumped back on the 401 and headed east out of the city limits, was under three hours. In all, the drive to and back took longer with stops on the way home. No CN Tower or Skydome this time. Jays suck anyways (go Expos).

There is one more benefit from the trip, involving the kid the trip was for. He flipped his first and second choice schools around on the way home. Good reasons for doing so. The college that was my first choice and I did not get into, and the college that was his first choice and he did get into, is now his second choice. He was as relieved as I was to see Toronto in the rear view mirror.

Side note, lunchtime ordering food was interesting. I forgot I was a stranger in enemy territory. Me, wearing a Buffalo Sabres tuque. The stranger wearing a Leafs hat. He commented I was brave for wearing a Buffalo tuque, but wanted to see my team get into the playoffs. I said I hope to see his team make it out of the first round. In both cases this year, I don’t think that will happen.

Three things that interested me:

  1. Google is messing with news algorithms in Canada. News sources that normally would show in my Google Alerts are missing. Instead I am getting news from outside Canada for Canadian topics.
  2. When a newspaper dies, so too does a part of the community. Recently the Wadena News in Saskatchewan shut down. It did not go quietly into the night, but rather dropped a load of napalm on those who prefer to not pay anything for the news. Parting shots are great to watch. –
  3. A court in Quebec upheld the use of the middle finger as a “God-given right.” Having driven in Montréal traffic for a number of years, this makes complete sense. Need this case to be proven in Ontario too. I’ve taken lots of names.

That’s all for the wrap. Short and sweet it is not.