Once upon a time I flirted with becoming an academic. Perhaps a serious affair is a better way to describe it… but after a decade I had commitment issues.
Sure I loved teaching, I could even handle the hours of meticulously marking papers, gobbling up thick heavy tomes? No problem! Regurgitating papers and essays? Well… I would start by procrastinating then spew out content – sometimes with passion and sometimes merely intellectual curiosity.
You need to understand, the University of Manitoba (U of M) environment was where I grew up. I was a professor’s brat which meant the University was where I went to nursery school, where I learned to swim, where we went each summer to Mini University for ‘camp’, where I used to hop a bus from school to attend piano lessons… in short it was always home.
Education came naturally.
My mother was the only one in her immediate family to graduate from high school – but then went on to get three degrees! We grew up with her going to University classes, singing and teaching music.
And my fathers side? His father was a school principal. He ran the chemistry lab at the U of M and then went back to complete his PhD mid-career, packing the whole family up for an adventure in Hamilton, Ontario at McMaster University.
And me? I initially vacillated between modern world history and international politics, eventually settling on South Asian history. Academics is how I first came to India many years ago on a Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute Study Abroad program… back in 1990!
I also did a stint at the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University… then returned to India from 1995 – 96 to both gain a modicum of proficiency in Hindi and complete archival research… which eventually produced a thesis.
However along the way, academics was abandoned for an eclectic corporate career… and a journey back to adopt India as ‘home.’
Yet always in the back of my mind I had this dream that one day I would go back to University purely for my own indulgence. My vision of a post-retirement plan!
While I have no complaints on the career front, going independent has its ups and downs, which means I’m an exceedingly long way from being able to afford to ‘retire.’ It also means period of insane activity then slogging away at gaining the next project or client win, so recommitting to ‘proper’ academics an unrealistic stretch!
As enthusiastic as I am about all sorts of activities, somehow that thirst for continuous learning atrophied. Even the way I would voraciously consume books abated. Sooooo not good!
So, instead of some lofty and unrealistic New Year’s resolutions to ‘get fit‘ (yeah I keep trying and keep falling off the wagon), I decided to take the learning plunge.
Good thing there are now a plethora of potential avenues available right at ones fingertips! A recommendation from a wise man, a simple flip through their course curriculum, and voila! I found myself registered, profile created and poised to start a new program 1st Feb. Gulp!
Anyone else returned to re-embrace studies later in life?