When I first attended Carleton University in 2001, I decided to dip my feet in the academic waters as a part-time student. This felt ideal to get a proper feel of the institution’s ambience and the quality of education. Post-secondary education can be an expensive venture, but it is an investment potentially yielding a great payoff. Similar to any investment, proper “due diligence” is a rule of thumb. You don’t want to commit the next three to four years of your life to a toxic relationship.
To be honest, it was time to prioritize my intellectual needs and preferred to remain in the National Capital Region. Prior to my first classroom experience in Carleton, many people residing in Ottawa and Canadians overseas regularly advised to avoid that school entirely. Some of the more frequent suggestions ranged from a school for Ottawa U rejects, the student crime rates were high and the quality of education was inferior to the national average. In other words, it is a safer investment to flush your cash down the toilet than owe tuition to Carleton.
Canadians are people that like to bet on the little guy. We are accustomed to being the underdog in global affairs due to our geographic location and proximity to the United States. It is reason enough not to be taken seriously. Perhaps this mental conditioning drove me to the school that not even the devil himself would attend but I was open to giving it my best shot. I enrolled into one history class and a language class to find out if I was willing signing my soul away. Immediately, I was impressed with the diversity of the student population – including different age groups – and the accessibility of the professors.
I followed my political science dream – dreaming is pointless if you do not chase after it – the following year and I was pleased with the quality, professionalism and knowledge of my professors. I had a Political Theory professor that was a carbon copy of the KFC general but he really knew his stuff – and I don’t mean fried chicken. The variety of subjects available in my field of choice actually encouraged a strong desire to learn. I honed my writing, presentation and statistical analysis skills that serve as a sound foundation for my current career. I never feel like the guy bringing a knife to a gunfight and I am always confident when treading new waters.
I realized that all the rumours about Carleton had no foundation. Sometimes, standing shoulder to shoulder with the little guy leads you to the realization that you are next to a benevolent giant. I celebrated cultural diversity playing an active role in the Latin American Student Organization where I made good friends helping Hispanics to adapt to life in Canada. They say that some of your best memories are from university and I strongly agree. I am an ambassador promoting Carleton since I before even graduation in 2005 and I am thankful for the education I received. Thanks for the good times!