Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sprott Shaw College

If you had told me three years ago that I would be graduating college in Canada, I would’ve laughed at you and said you were genuinely insane. Three years ago, I thought I’d graduate with a degree in literature. I thought I’d be writing the next series of novels that will be turned into big movies. “Take that, The Hunger Games,” I would’ve said mockingly.

Now, I’ve never actually planned on enrolling in Sprott Shaw College but I did see the ads on transit. Every time I saw those ads, I had two thoughts running in my mind:
1) “I’m never going there because I don’t know where their campuses are.”
 2) “Why the heck do they have ads everywhere? I keep seeing purple and blue on buses now.”

That didn’t stop me from enrolling anyway.

On August 27, 2013, I was browsing online through several colleges that offered hospitality management courses, curious as to what my options were. Among those choices was Sprott Shaw College or “SPROUT Shaw College” as I called it before actually reading the name clearly. I asked a question on their website, expecting to receive a generic machine-generated response in my spam folder. The next day, I got a phone call from Sprott Shaw College telling me that they booked me for an appointment.

“Hi Ralph, this is from Sprott Shaw College. We booked you for an informational interview at the Vancouver campus this Friday.”

My initial reaction was “WHAT?!” followed by “I was planning on eating pizza and Chinese food that day but I guess that’s out of the window now, eh?” I didn’t want to be rude so I just agreed to it. I had to go to a campus where I have never seen before in Vancouver, a city that I could easily get lost in. However, instead of not showing up for an informational interview, I thought it could be nice to at least be aware of what I could be missing out on. It wasn’t like I was going to actually enroll there. Haha. Ha. Ha....

Now, I wasn’t really sure at first on whether or not it was a good idea to enroll in a college that I had little to no knowledge about so I wanted to see what it was like. It was a different atmosphere from what I was used to. I was used to big, open universities with hundreds of classrooms in a dozen buildings. Sprott Shaw College Vancouver had a dozen rooms in an office building. I felt claustrophobic at first because I missed seeing shades of greenery out the window instead of disheartening gray buildings. I wanted to back out as soon as I entered the building.

However, I was told what possible jobs I could get hired for if I took a course with Sprott Shaw. I wanted to do something in my life and a literature degree was not the door to open for that path. I wanted the path to hospitality management and Sprott Shaw College was going to show me the door.

My patience is tested every day. I was promised that everyone spoke English but on my first day, the first thing I hear was everyone else in the classroom not speaking English at all. At first, I was absolutely annoyed that no one wanted to speak English. It had come to a point where the entire room was speaking in languages other than English despite the school having an English-only policy. “If none of you want to speak English,” I thought, “I’m going play loud videos of someone speaking English really fast.” And I did. I played Zero Punctuation, a series of videos from the internet where the critic speaks in a disturbingly fast voice just to annoy people who didn’t want to speak English in class.

I’ve also had rough encounters with poorly chosen group mates for presentations.

One particular group mate drove me off the wall for a presentation due for Technologies class. The project was due in ten days but the first five days were spent faffing about and going in circles. The particular classmate wanted something specifically done in what she wants but what she wants was unreasonable, insane, and utterly pointless in the end.

So what I did was basically go behind this faux leader’s back and make a presentation of my own for everyone else to present, just so it can be done and we can move on. I had to spend 5 hours editing and recording videos followed by 2 hours editing the presentation while doing laundry at night. When I showed it to everyone, the particular classmate basically said that it was wrong according to her vision and it was at that point where I had to scream in the hallways just to get the hate out of my system. Eventually, I was so fed up that the people at the front desk and the director saw me screaming in the hallways.

Despite this extremely negative experience, it never occurred again. I never had that particular useless classmate ever again and she never got honors for her bossiness. I did my best to be the best and it worked well for me without screaming.

I never wanted to give up. I didn’t want to cut my study of hospitality management just because I lost faith in it. I didn’t want to quit two courses in one lifetime. I’m not that big of a quitter. As the months went by, I was finally going to attend my college graduation. All my hard work had led to a graduation ceremony that I thought I was going to miss because the poster said May 22 and I misread it as March 22. I thought “Oh, I missed it. Oh well. Maybe next year.” However, after noticing that no one was removing the posters, it had come to my attention that it was actually May 22 and I thought “OH MY GOD! GRADUATION!” It was a graduation that I thought I would never have since I never finished my college degree in the Philippines. I thought I would never experience a college graduation in my entire life.

The one problem I came across was that the blue graduation gown couldn’t fit me. I looked like a potato wrapped in adhesive tape. Somehow, I’ve built up enough goodwill from the staff that they ordered a new graduation gown for me free of charge. I told them that they must’ve stolen bed sheets from a children’s hospital just to make the graduation gown fit me.

Sprott Shaw College has given me opportunities that I never would’ve gotten in my old university. I could never say that I had the opportunity to be a contender to be the valedictorian for batch 2014 yet Sprott Shaw College proved me otherwise. Sure, I wasn’t able to get it for some reason but to be able to say I was very close to being valedictorian is still a great achievement. The first paragraph of this was actually part of my graduation speech that was rejected.

I would never have had that opportunity in my old university, in my old life. Never could I have said the words “My graduation speech” in a sentence without the phrase “Does not exist” if I were still in my old university. I consider my experience at Sprott Shaw College to be the right path that will lead me to something even greater in life. For that, I’m thankful for every second that I have spent there. I never regretted a single moment in that college and I would always be grateful.