I finished High School in 1968, and like most of my friends, I too wanted to go to university since going to university in the 60’s was the THING TO DO.
Some of my friends had parents who were capable of paying the university costs (tuition – etcetera) while also continuing to subsidize their children.
Some of my other friends took government student loans, which many of them used for backpack travel through Europe. Some just bought dope.
In my case, I had already been working full-time since I was twelve years old. So I didn’t need my parents’ money to go to university. But I also couldn’t afford to quit working.
So I did the only thing I could do, and enrolled in Sir George Williams University as an Evening Student.
While attending as an Evening Student, I was also the Sports Editor of the Day Student’s Georgian Newspaper, and Sports Writer for the Evening Students’ newspaper called The Paper, where my photographer friend (Allan) and I schlepped all over Quebec and Ontario covering our university hockey team and other sporting events for no pay other than minimal costs.
I really wanted to live some of the university ‘experience’.
But I didn’t fit the university profile, and always felt out of place amongst a good number of students who were pot-smoking, card playing (hearts), heavy drinking, and sexually promiscuous.
I was too busy trying to figure out what I was going to be doing with the rest of my life, while dealing with a fulltime job and real life obligations to be partying university 60’s-style.
After a couple of years at Sir George, I realized how much university life was not for me. Getting a Bachelor’s degree was not going to do anything for my future. And the likelihood of me going onto a postgraduate degree was never going to happen.
So why bother?
I also realized that I was nothing like most of the students who wanted to live the whole university ‘experience’.
I didn’t ‘do’ drugs. I very rarely ever drank to excess. I really disliked acid and hard rock music. I liked getting-it-on with girls as much as any red-blooded Canadian male, but not with the freaky stoned-out girls whose values were Kafkaesque.
I did the best thing for me, and left Sir George Williams University to pursue a real life with real issues that demanded that I worked and added to myself and to my community.
The students of my generation were amongst the first wave of something-for-nothingers who wanted it all without having to sacrifice and pay for it. In turn, these students have raised the next generation who are now in the 30 year old range who are raising their own pre-teenage children.
The pity in all of this, is that my generation of something-for-nothingers has raised a generation of even more something-for-nothingers who are now passing on this horrible attitude.
But not only will it not last – IT CAN’T LAST.
As much as so many of us want everything for nothing. As much as we’ve eliminated our drive to compete where winners win and losers lose. And as much as we’ve become so politically correct that we’re afraid to take a principled stand on anything, the rest of the world isn’t like us.
Neither the Indians nor the Chinese are like us. Not the Russians or the Eastern Europeans. Middle Easterners, Arabs and Jews are not like us. Neither are the emerging hard working entrepreneurial classes from South America and Mexico. They’re not like us either.
The rest of the world understands the costs of failure and the NEED for hard work. They understand that being just good enough is NOT enough. And anything less is not an option.
These are the people who are passing us by as if we are standing still. And we are standing still because we’ve extinguished the fire in our bellies to compete. Because we’ve taught our children that competition and success are somehow bad.
Do you think it is a mystery why the Asians and Europeans are kicking our butts in the auto industry? Or why the Israelis, Indians and Chinese are leaving us in their dust in the world of high-tech?
It’s no secret – THEY-WANT-TO-WIN! It’s what they wake up for. It’s what we used to wake up for.
So while we screw around with social engineering and feel good do-nothing philosophies, we will watch the lifestyle that our parents and grandparents sacrificed for us to have, simply slip away like a faded dream.
We are rapidly becoming a continent of whiners and losers without the guts to even go down with a fight.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
I’ll give you what I see as the remedy to fix this mess in my next editorial.
Best Regards . . . Howard Galganov