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Third time is the charm for education

Fiona Grisswell’s column to the Free Press

I’ve gone through two graduation ceremonies in my life and I now seem to feel I need to make it an even three.

And no, I am not going back to improve my math skills although that reference to an even three may indicate the need.

I graduated from high school waaay back in 1982. At that time, my plans involved playing for a year before settling down and getting my law degree.

I had a highly successful 12 months of doing little more than working for a living and having fun when I was not. The problem? At the end of that year of real life, law school didn’t have the same sparkle.

I operated a pelleting plant at the Port of Churchill which was an amazing experience as I got to tour some of the ships taking on grain, waitressed (not some of my better moments), tended bar (that was fun), worked in a groovy hardware store (I leave that one to your imagination), and eventually settled into office life.

I got married, raised my kids and moved around the country before eventually settling in BC.

It was around the time the kids were both in senior high and getting close to flying the coop when I realized I needed to do more than just work to make ends meet.

So, at 39, I went back to school.

I was in my second year of a degree in biology when I stumbled across graphic design. Being the only member in my family who lacked even the most basic artistic skills, becoming a graphic designer seemed a great way to make up for my lack of ability to draw anything even remotely resembling a straight line with a ruler.

Surprisingly, I was good at it and in 2004 graduated with honours.

I still dabble in it now that I work for the paper but writing has always been the thing I go back to, time after time. As far back as I can remember it’s been a part of me. I still remember the story I wrote about a family of horses who lived in a house with a sunshine-yellow kitchen when I was in grade two or three. The last year has only reinforced that need to tell stories, regardless of the form they take.

So, at 59, I am going back to school.

I enrolled at Simon Fraser University over the summer and begin my online program on Sept. 6. It promises to make me a better writer and I am eager to dig in and start learning.

It’s funny. Seems like every 20 years or so I head back to school for a year or two. Not really sure what it is that prompts these trips back to the halls of education but this time?

The third time’s the charm.

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Fiona Grisswell

About the Author: Fiona Grisswell

I graduated from the Writing and New Media Program at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George in 2004.
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