My mother always stressed the importance of continued learning. She herself went back to finish her Bachelors degree when I was young, still living in Saskatoon. And then she returned for her Masters when I was in high school. She always joked that she was leaving a PhD for one of her kids to complete instead…And I always corrected her, that it wouldn’t be me. I never was interested in more schooling after my undergrad. I wanted to get out into the work force and work (and make money).

When I was laid off, one of my friends suggested I go back to school. And I questioned what I would even want to take. Law has always intrigued me, but I wondered if that was only due to my love of all the Law & Order series. And that loving a tv crime and legal drama, probably wasn’t the best reason to turn my life upside down and return to school full time.

But I didn’t want to overlook the opportunity being laid off was presenting me. For years I had questioned my happiness from my career. So I asked myself, “If I could do anything with my day, that I am passionate about and love, what would it be?” And my answer was writing. But how do you transition your love to write to actually making money at it to pay the bills? Which is how I began to research editing. I have always loved editing for my coworkers and friends, and I feel it comes naturally to me. Plus I am a bit obsessive compulsive about it too, which makes me even better at it. So I looked into what type of classes are offered for editing. Mount Royal in Calgary has an entire program dedicated to editing, but it is not offered online. Then I found through the U of A Faculty of Extension, I could take an Essential Editing course through General Studies. And I thought taking one class would be a good way to start. So that’s what I am doing! Going back to school. I have had one class so far, and I was very naive to think that being in General Studies would be a breeze. I have reading assignments and homework already! And group work! Looks like I am going to really be getting to know the comma for my first assignment. But I am excited. And the plan is to see if I could actually make a go of this at some point.

At the same time, I am happy to report that my days of being unemployed are coming to an end. Although I am sad to leave this lifestyle behind, as I have grown to love it. But I also love (need) money. I will be starting with an engineering company in February, still doing project management. I am excited for the new challenge, as it seems to offer what I am looking for in that respect of my career.

But I need to come back to the idea of continued education to close off this post. I have a copy of my mom’s thesis that she signed for me. She wrote, “December 1999 Kirsten – during the five years I spent on the Masters program, you “grew up” from 15 to 20, finished high school, and started your own degree program. Best wishes for your own continued academic success. Love, Mom xxoo” (Ok, I am such a word nerd, as I just realized that she used an Oxford comma in that list.) As I already said, I never ever envisioned me returning to school again. But I think what has helped me with this transition and decision, are the wonderful women I am blessed to call my closest friends. As they are such inspiration for continued education and the importance of it. We are all in our mid-late 30’s, and all back at school. Mine is by far the least intense, with just one class of general studies, but I want to highlight and honour my super amazing friends who are going back to school, with them still working, raising families, having children, and maintaining a household.

  • Finishing her undergrad to apply for her Masters in Psychology.
  • Starting her undergrad in Education (and still a business owner of a salon).
  • Working on her social work degree.
  • Finishing a stats class to apply for her Masters in Nursing.

My mom quoted Estes, who wrote Women Who Run With The Wolves, at the beginning of her thesis. “All these stories present the knife of insight, the flame of passionate life, the breath to speak what one knows, the courage to stand what one sees without looking away, the fragrance of the wild soul.”

Like how can I fail, when I have these strong, intelligent, women surrounding me?

My wolf pack.