Student Days

I emceed the Student Awards at Keyano College tonight. Watching about 150 eager young minds walk across the stage and accept their scholarships, awards and bursaries I couldn't help but reflect back to my university days between 1985 - 1988.

Leaving home and moving to Saskatoon I became a small fish in a big pond. It was unsettling. But the experience provided the first glimmer of independence that I so desperately desired.

In that first year, we lived on Kraft dinner and Ichiban noodles, available at the SuperValue on 8th Street for pennies a pound. In the second year, I moved closer to the University, in a house on Cumberland just two blocks from the main entrance at the University of Saskatchewan. By that time I had graduated to daily servings of the chicken burger full meal deal at Dairy Queen.

I dressed like a slob and pretty much didn't care. The Army & Navy and the Goodwill provided a vast array of fashion options at a modest price. If the jeans didn't have several rips and dangling threads, they just didn't feel right.

These were the days when everybody counted pennies and paying for your portion of the cheque was normal operating procedure; picking up the restaurant tab was still many years and jobs down the road.

My hair grew long and scraggy, my face broke out on a regular basis and I spent more time on the stage than I did in class. A great student in high school, I was less successful in the university system.

I lived with Randy and Jeff in that first year. Randy went on to work with Correction Canada, a warden of sorts I think. Jeff became a celebrated hockey coach for awhile, leading the Bonneyville Pontiacs for a time. We kind of went our separate ways in year two, seeing each other in the halls from time to time but definitely running in different circles.

If I went through a wild and crazy period, this was it, albeit tame in comparison to the normal definition of wild and crazy. There were more than one cast party that I wish I could call in a Mulligan, situations that got out of hand resulting in unnecessary drama nowhere near the stage.
In my college years Tears for Fear were singing Shout! Shout! Let it all out! and Whitney Houston was prattling on about the Greatest Love of All. Ronald Reagan was in the White House and George Sr. was still in the batter's box. In Canada, we were in the throws of the Mulroney years, with little Ben M. (Canadian Idol host) just a few years out of diapers. Walkmans were cool; phones still had cords. A new car could be bought for under $10,000 and people who lived in $100,000 houses were considered rich. Computers, emails, iPods and iPads were the stuff of science fiction. We still used typewriters and had to get our news from the television or newspaper.

I wonder how the college students of today will see these years, in the requisite amount of time into the future, in 2035? Considering how much the world has changed in the last quarter century and that the rate of change is increasing exponentially, it's hard to imagine.


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