The University of Waterloo boasts such a unique reputation on the Canadian landscape. When I began my career here 16 years ago, I was acutely aware that I lacked a degree. Although it didn’t stop me from taking an enormous amount of pride in working in and around the best and brightest students, staff and faculty in Canada, it was something I longed for.
My role in Advancement gives me the privilege to engage our graduates, keeping them connected to the bold pace that UWaterloo maintains, as well as, raise funds for this inspiring institution. Being able to work and study at the same university is a privilege that I do not take for granted and I am thrilled to share my tale.
The first class I took in the fall of 2007 was not in pursuit of a degree, but for pleasure - University Essay Writing. The second course - Society, Technology & Values was for interest. After that, I dove into English courses that took me from Global Shakespeare to Fifteenth Century Poetry. When I realized the courses were beginning to add up to something meaningful, I began to work on what was required for a Bachelor of Arts. One course at a time, and one course per term for 'nearly' every term, I began my journey towards a 10 year undergraduate degree.
Fun facts from this old fogey:
- Opposite from high school, this mature student now prefers a desk at the very front of the classroom. Who would have guessed?
- The process to register for a class via electronic QUEST has changed so much over the last 10 years, that I had to re-learn it almost every term. Although this term-by-term reminder of my obsolescence did not boost my confidence, co-op students that UWaterloo Advancement employs are wonderfully supportive tutors for kind old ladies.
- Both my daughters attended and obtained degrees at Waterloo during this period and I even had the pleasure of sharing an Early British Literature class with my eldest daughter, Alison. I cannot think of anything cooler than having the opportunity to meet with your kid on campus, for a coffee, or for lunch, or to watch them defend their thesis -I was able to do all of this. I am so grateful. (#ridiculouslyproudmom)
- The completion of any degree requires the support of so many, not to mention a degree that takes ten years! Yikes. Inevitably, some of my classes landed during the workday. Thank you to my patient supervisors and colleagues for their endless encouragement. I have really tested the sentiment of "lifelong learning."
As I cross the stage this week I know I'll be joining the ranks of Waterloo's 196,000 alumni - my daughters and husband among them. My journey of navigating QUEST, late fees and bookstore lineups has ended.
In Advancement we attend Convocation as part of our jobs. We play a role in the execution of the ceremony and I'll admit it, I always get goosebumps, but of course, this time will be different. This time it will be me crossing the stage. My daughters, dad, brothers and BFF’s from high school will all be in attendance to share my joy. There may be squealing!
I simply could not be prouder of this institution and the values we represent.