Before the Business Blog: The Journey

“I wasn’t always a dweeb with a blog, just a dweeb with no blog.” – Sam Dean

Prospective Business students often ask me why I chose to pursue a Commerce degree and why the Alberta School of Business. It is hard to answer this question in one short choppy sentence. I decided it would be appropriate to throw a whole bunch of short choppy sentences together to create a blog post. I hope to motivate and inspire those prospective students who are thinking of applying for Business but may have self-doubts holding them back. I hope to entertain my 10 loyal followers (now 11, my mom just started following), with stories they can relate to in their own post-secondary journey.

I really didn’t know what I wanted to do coming out of high school. Surprisingly, I was never pressured to pursue a University degree from my over achieving family. My parents told me that if I didn’t go to school I had to get a job and pay rent. Thinking that rent payments would be pretty high at an “all-inclusive” home in Crestwood, I quickly made the financially responsible decision to go to school. I started out at Grant MacEwan University in the Arts program. Looking back, it feels like my first few years of school were straight out of a movie script. My mom would drop me off at school on her way to work every morning. Conversations usually consisted of her asking how my classes were going and how my grades were. I always answered honestly, “I don’t know.” It has been my experience that this is generally not a great answer to give to someone who is financing your educational expedition. But I wasn’t lying, I actually didn’t know, because I never actually quite made it to class. After waving goodbye to my mom and being certain that she was out of sight I had to make the quick decision of whether to go to Denny’s across the street for breakfast or head back to bed and wait for the Palace Casino to open up. Learning Black Jack strategy didn’t give me the time to read “The Red Badge of Courage.”

Eventually I met and started to date a girl (hard to believe I know). She was really motivated to become a medical doctor; incredibly bright, really valued post-secondary education and genuinely enjoyed learning. This came as a bit of a wake-up call to me. It became difficult to explain my astronomical amounts of free time and extremely fluctuating cash flows. After many lengthy “chats”, she discovered my academic standing. After even lengthier “chats”, we decided that it was in my best interest to find a way to become self-motivated. This was achieved through setting attainable goals. Ironically, once I started attending class and learning, I actually started enjoying it.

I set a goal. I aspired to be a student at the Alberta School of Business.  The only thing in my way was Calculus… Also known as Math 113: Elementary Calculus. There is in fact nothing “elementary” about Calculus and before I could take a swing at this cruel mistress, I had to upgrade my math grade. At MacEwan they offered a course called Precalculus (Math 0099), which is below a 100-level University credit course.  To this day, I might be the only student to exercise my option to withdraw and take the “W’ in a non-credit course following the midterm.

However, with some enthusiastic support and another kick at the precalc’ cat I managed to pass. With momentum on my side I registered for Calculus at MacEwan. I ended up stumbling a bit on the midterm and somehow posted on the wrong side of the curve. Being a bit deflated, I refocused and decided to take a few other courses. I applied for the Alberta School of Business following that semester without all of the prerequisites (no Math 113). Surprisingly, the admissions at the Alberta School of Business do not accept “wild-cards”. My second option was the Arts program at the University of Alberta. With a change in scenery, Calculus was no problem (my younger, smarter brother was finally in University and helped me out). I thought it would be wise to sign up for the U of A’s version of Precalculus (third time, for anyone who is keeping score at home).

Celebrating passing Calculus with ice cream cake.

Armed with SOH CAH TOA I passed the midterm. With mo’(momentum) on my side I battled on through the course and somehow passed the final. Five math courses later, one successful Math 113 course on the transcript for the kid.

I applied for admission to the Alberta School of Business in the Winter of 2010. I was accepted the following Summer. I’m scheduled to graduate with a Commerce degree this Spring. Not once has anyone in the Business world asked me how good my Calculus skills are (probably a blessing).

I finally attained my goal by persevering through something that seemed impossible to me at the time.  It was all worth it looking back. I truly enjoy going to the Alberta School of Business everyday to learn!

Advice for the day: Set goals. Achieve these goals by surrounding yourself with supportive people who will motivate you to stick to it!

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