#RoadToRyerson

NOLAN BLANCHARD | Where is Nolan Now?

Date: April 16th, 2015

Time: 21:56

Minutes spent thinking of a clever way to start this: 2 and a half

Having just finished my routine perusal of the interwebs, I happened upon a status update of an old friend from high school remarking that he has finally finished his first year of college. The status included a note about how exhausting exam season was, yet how proud he was to have pushed through it. It ended with an aside to his father thanking him for supporting him and encouraging him. Now I could say that it made me happy for him. Or I could say it made me envious, given the events that transpired since I last wrote here. I could be a bit honest and admit it made me feel both. But it mostly reminded me that I should catch everyone here up on what transpired for me at Ryerson since I last wrote.

It is indeed the time of year that my closest friends, new and old, are cramming for exams and stressing their brains out. Some have already finished, some are going back to their hometowns. But for me, I finished some time ago. Following the end of first semester exams, I decided to part ways with my schooling at Ryerson. Shortly after moving in with my sister in uptown Toronto, I made yet another decision to part ways with the city entirely. Now I’m back in the wonderful city best known for it’s phallic bushes on the riverfront: Windsor. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

University is a weird place. In all honesty, it doesn’t feel far off from high school – at least for me. Everyone still complains about going to class (especially in the morning); everyone always gets crazy busy with homework and we all struggle to survive the woes brought on by our very own procrastination. And given that I felt like I was still in high school, I sadly acted as if I was in high school. Or at least, more accurately I acted as if I was a much more rebellious me than I was ever in high school. But I guess that is to be expected. I never was much of a “rebel kid”. I never faced much conflict in school. Breezed my way through classes with minimal studying. Struggled in some but I got by. I was close enough friends with people. I did what everyone told me…

Speed forward to orientation week last September and I’m being told by the dean of my faculty that we will never succeed unless we fail. And given that I never really failed – not a real, hard failure – I think I took this advice way too literally. If anyone’s reading this who is attending university for the first time…Don’t do what I did. Make sure you go to class. Make time for friends, but don’t make them your first priority. They’ll be there when you are done studying. These are things I never learned, even after I started to seriously struggle academically and as a result, mentally and emotionally. I had such little focus in school. I barely went to classes in the morning; I never took notes; I never studied for a test. What I did do, however pull multiple all-nighters making myself physically sick by on just coffee to finish an essay just before a deadline. Though that isn’t abnormal for university so it’s okay if you do that. Frankly, you’ll probably have to.

So basically: I went to university and was nowhere close to being prepared. I didn’t have work experience; I didn’t have experience living on my own (knowing how to cook? Yeah I wish). I went in swinging and just expected to hit the right spot and somehow get by. I told myself I’d just learn it as I went. And that can work for some people. I thought it could work for me. But it didn’t and I had to somehow tell my parents that I was dropping out. That wasn’t the easiest conversation – but I’m blessed to have them have been so supportive. I moved out of residence, had a short stint living in an apartment in Toronto with my sister and after a month with no job, realized I would have to move back home. It’s been an extremely humbling experience and I have been slowly rebuilding my tool kit so I can come back to the big city one day (soon I hope).

Besides the failing to be a good student thing, I loved university. I loved living on residence. I loved finding friends that I truly connected with and can easily say I love. I loved going to Oakham House and eating all their fries. Their fries are damn good. And I’m not just saying that because I’m really hungry at the moment. I loved going to class and learning about all sorts of things. I had a class where I learned what makes a good short film and I started to understand all the work that goes into a film or TV production. I learned about how city planning works (at a basic level) and how important cities are to cultivating a creative environment. I learned about Existentialism and Kierkegaard and Camus and a number of other writers who gave me a heck of a thought to think about. Camus was a pain in the ass though. Trying to read his writing and follow along was like trying to wade through a sea of honey. I loved learning. I just wish I had the maturity to make it a priority. But I think it was telling for what I needed. I needed to grow up and re-evalute my goals. What do I want to do? What do I want to learn? And how can I get to where I want to be? These are things I’ve been chewing on as I work a part time job in a kitchen and learn to drive and do a lot of things kids my age have been doing for years which I had a late start on.

My plans for the future are as follows: Work. Work. Work. Save money. Save as much as possible (school ain’t cheap ya know). Learn to cook for real. Keep in touch with friends. And if everything goes just as planned, I might even be able to move in with some friends in autumn to start a new adventure. But I know how much I get caught up in thinking of the future and how much I forget to live in the present – and learn from the present. And so that’s my focus right now. Baby steps. Until then, remember to follow me on twitter (for real though, my twitter is bomb) @NxBlanchard.

Ciao for now!

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