Let me preface this by saying that I’m aware my education is invaluable for reasons beyond money, and I’m so lucky to live in a country where education is so easily accessible and very catering to my needs as a student. I was blessed with a scholarship and a bursary when I first attempted to go to university and was met with graciousness and understanding (from the government, believe it or not) when I pissed away my first year and then dropped out. (My very conservative, tight-assed grandfather nearly popped a blood vessel when he found out that I was busy spending government funds pursuing the very lucrative business of Women’s Studies.) Remember that first year? When you start out doughy eyed, wanting to save the world? Wanting to do all the things for humanity? Then you slowly start to spiral and want to save less of the world and more so just yourself from your own shit. And then you finally get to a point where you just want to be employable so you can afford that 6 pack of Lucky at the end of the day to make it through your miserable night. (So dramatic! You get it.) Despite all of that, I can’t help but think that a post secondary education isn’t always the ticket out of a difficult life anymore and I see time and time again smart people, inundated by student loans, unable to get a job due to lack of experience, or the economy or whatever bullshit reason. Luckily for me, I chose the technical school route and was left with a student loan price tag of $25,000 instead of the standard $40,000 for a bachelors degree. Going to technical school was my way of giving in my to non-committal, bullshit lifestyle and I picked the program that would nauseate me the least, (Which is a bad way to go about your education, trust.) with the hope that I would be substantially more employable due to my hands on knowledge rather than a theoretical, academic knowledge. Turns out, what’s the most valuable and desired is experience, of which I have none.
ALAS, I digress. Stewing in my resentment and not at all subtle bitterness about how I have a behemoth sized student loan, I’ve decided to create a handy dandy list (I KNOW HOW MUCH YOU LIKE LISTS) of all the things I could have bought with the same price tag as my student loan!
1. Lets start with some noble pursuits… I could have flown around the world 4 different times, with some money left over to buy drugs from a transvestite in a dark alley in Berlin. When I say around the world, I mean a ticket from Calgary to Panama to Santiago to London. Berlin to Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo to Calgary. 4 continents, 4 times over. 4 times to finally conquer that acid trip without almost dying.
2. Or, if I didn’t feel like flying and was more in the mood for 3 straight days of motion sickness and awkward meals with people I don’t know… I could have gone on just under 13 round trips from the coast of Vancouver to Toronto on Via Rail’s passenger train. Which is also known as “The Canadian”. Just under 13 different times I could have gotten drunk in a train car and become best friends with my fellow, disinterested passengers. 13 freaking times! I could have eaten 39 meals composed of ridiculously delicious food. The best prime rib I ever had was on this train. But if I wanted to really class things up, cause lets face it, I’m a classy broad – I could have taken that trip 8 times, there AND back, if I wanted my own private cabin, complete with a door for when I feel the need to do naked yoga after 3 glasses of Merlot with the mountains as my back drop.
3. Here’s something to wet your palette. (Ugh gross. My very repressed lesbian professor of ethics used to say that. It gave me full body skivvies [I KNOW that word means underwear, but it’s mine for gross] every time.) If I wanted to spend the value of my education on being a piece of shit, I could have gotten: Just under 4166 shots of tequila, 1923 packs of actually decent cigarettes, 3571 bottles of shit wine, 1000 cases of very, sub-par beer, 11 pounds of marijuana and 11 ounces of cocaine.
4. 4500-5000 cups of gratuitously overpriced venti caramel latte, extra foam, low fat, 3 pumps, 180 degrees, the dust of 3 small angels, three drops of pigs blood and a dash of corporate greed from Starbucks.
5. 1672 Bacon Waves, 1253 Slap Chops or 178 NuWave Ovens.
6. 231 years of Netflix (and maybe some chill), 46 years worth of a gym membership of which I’ll go twice during those 46 years and 109 years worth of monthly BarkBoxes for my weird, neurotic, vibrating dog Monkey.
7. A lime green (cause I need to be seen), 2013 Chevrolet Camaro with money left over to purchase one tank totally affordable, consciously priced premium gas.
8. 85% of a down payment for 800 acres of vacant, forest rich, water having land just south of Fernie… British Columbia (in case you’re new).
9. All the materials you’ll need to build yourself a tiny house, plus enough left over for you to buy yourself a gallon of wine for when you fuck it up, cause we both know you will.
10. But most importantly, your time. Continuing to use myself as our illustrious example, 20 months of back breaking, grueling work. 8 AM classes with dry, crotchety professors. Trudging through the snow all winter to get to the only-some-of-the-time working public transit system. Attempting to wrap your head around the material that you’re learning and supposed to know cause you took the pre-requisite in high school which was 4 years ago. Cramming for an exam twenty minutes before it starts with your fellow dysfunctional students. Coming to lab 10 minutes after it’s started smelling like a tequila factory and trying to keep your eyes focused while you handle e-coli in a petri dish… are ALL the things you can look forward to being the ONLY things you remember the second you walk across the stage and into the employment world. These will be the only things you remember about your 2 totally-worth-it years when someone asks you what exactly your diploma is and why it’s worth $25,000.