Tired, old, school.

by Nic Olson

Today was the first day in three years that I have gone to school. Today was the first day of my life that I walked to school.
But no, it wasn’t real school, where the chief objective is success, but it was language school, where the chief objective is force so much new language down your throat that you will have no choice but to digest it and use it for many years later, or at the very least vomit everything back up in short term and accented fashion.

Je suis completely screwed.

A fellow student of the language of love noticed the Hindi inked on my right arm, asking if it was Korean. I told him it was Hindi. He asked what it said. I told him, ‘no problem’. He asked me how my Hindi was coming along. And I cringed. I felt ashamed of myself, turning my back on my ‘roots’, on my beginnings as a sophisticated human, and learning a new language instead, for personal gain only.  But knowing my life’s record for commitment, it likely won’t last long and I’ll move on to learning Korean, or swing dancing, or knitting.

On Friday my young dream of going to McGill University will finally come true, I am enrolled in the Department of Psychology… as a test subject. I have made so many poor jokes about joining different universities in the past, that it is too late to stop them now. I have the opportunity to be tested in stressful multi-tasking situations. I don’t really know what I do, but I will make $10 in 45 minutes. That is more than $10 an hour, in case you were wondering. Under the table, no taxes. Who needs to go to school when you can make coin like that letting the ‘doctors’ probe you?

Rumour has it that there are full time French courses in Montreal where the government pays you to go to school. The same amount as Employment Insurance, plus $200. There are other rumours that if an outsider moves to Quebec, a year after the day the outsider gets a Quebec health card, university becomes cheap or free. Hey Obama, that is a health care system I can get behind. But even with free school, I’m not sure school is worth it. When I worked retail, a day that Travis and I were playing actual mini-golf in the store, my auntie came to visit. She asked me when I was going to go to school and get out of the pitiful life of selling women’s dresses. I said, ‘I’m still not convinced of the merits of institutionalized education.’ to try and sound as eloquent as I could without having an English degree. And though my opinion of the terribly designed system of education is tired and over-announced, here it arises again. Education is good. Systems are bad. A system that gives ‘brains’ but not minds. I read more pertinent and interesting things now than I ever have and ever could in school. I have gained more in my past three years of self-tutoring than I feel I would have anywhere else. But learning a language alone, is not so easy.

But now I have a student card. Fifteen percent off of sandwiches and bus passes. Totally worth it.

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