28 April 2010

The World Around You

Today I'm thinking about society and wondering what our responsibility is to the citizens. There is no doubt that those who have more will get more for many reasons. In all likelihood, if they can't advocate for themselves, they'll hire someone to advocate for them. Higher levels of education means that they have abilities to articulate their own needs. This will lead to a better quality of life across the lifespan and in particular in their old age.

All around me I see the less fortunate who are struggling to make ends meet and who have never really known a day when someone else took on their burden. Paying for supports is not an option for many aging people. There are so many elderly single women who are still trying to support their children with insufficient supports for themselves. I hear people blame the victim way too often.

Our government supports the market economy with very little support for people before or after they enter the workforce. As a person who attended university at a later age, I was surprised by what I learned about sociology and why we are the way we are. I don't think that people should have to go to university to understand their world. There should be access to discussions in other venues.

In a society that is allowed to become largely individualist, there are going to be a lot of people left out. "It takes a village" and we're losing our village mentality in places where it matters.

19 April 2010

University as a Mature Student

I was very fortunate at the age of 40 to attend university. I went to Mount St. Vincent University in Nova Scotia where I took courses toward a BA with a major in Political Science. I was a visually impaired woman, single mother, 40 years old without the financial means to do so but I did it. I was a first generation university student and this was also the case with a lot of younger students.

I loved university as I encountered all kinds of information which helped me to make sense of my world. I particularly enjoyed reading the historical narrative of the feminist movement - something I'd never studied but had certainly lived through. I also enjoyed my courses in Politics where I learned about leveraging power and came to realize how little power someone like me has in the world.

Some of the challenges that I faced had to do with ensuring that my child was cared for during those times when school work made it necessary for me to be away from home. I always managed to work it out. I also commuted to and from school by bus and that added to my burden but I enjoyed studying so much that I think I would have walked to school if I had to.

The visual impairment was a tough one and it became worse later on because I was not very good at asking for help and I didn't really know what I needed or what was available. I think that there could have been some improvement in this area. There is lots of talk about accommodation of differences but people haven't quite figured out how to bridge some divides.

University is a place where students can challenge assumptions and mature students like myself like to challenge the assumptions. Sometimes professors didn't like that about us especially considering there were times when the professor had only obviously experienced life as an academic. The lived reality or "where the rubber hits the road" offers another peice of information that often needs to be put in there alongside the scientific data.

I went on to study law at Dalhousie Law School after receiving 9 credits and that is an experience that is worthy of it's own entry in my blog. I am not someone that is traditionally found at Law School and I faced some very unique challenges there. I didn't finish the degree but quit at the beginning of my 2nd year and returned to MSVU finish my BA with distinction in 2008.

For those who are considering returning to school I'd recommend it to anyone. There is so much that we don't know and even with a university education all that we really gain is the tools to dig deeper. The world has changed so much and our view is so limited. Some might say that this is a great thing and I'm not in agreement.

It was a wonderful experience and I'll write more about it later.

16 April 2010

Tricks of the Trade

The next best thing to being a woman in trades is to be coaching women in trades. I'm excited by the prospect of developing a workshop and coaching model which I will use to help women be more successful as tradeswomen and leaders. Not only will I have a seminar/workshop, I also offer one on one coaching to women who are concerned with their own success.

The knowledge we learn in our trades training is not sufficient to success in this environment, there are other aspects also. There is a knack to navigating in the industry. Sometimes a little understanding and coaching will help us to change attitude and behaviour and contribute to our success.

Trades women who have little time in their busy lives to go and take courses often benefit from Life Coaching. This approach is client centred to deal with the specific issue at hand. It is an option for professional development that is shown to produce positive results.


11 April 2010

You Can Too

In life we are sometimes presented with obstacles that manage to derail us for a time. It is often the case that people don't move beyond these life altering events. Vision loss for me was one of these tragedies that really got in the way of anything that I had planned. I was young, had a lisence, a career and was a risk taker.

I loved driving and at different points I owned a dirt bike, a truck to transport said bike and a nice Monte Carlo with a smell of new. I took scuba diving and actually jumped out of a plane. I didn't wait for the world to come to me - I sought out challenge and excitment.

All of this changed when at the age of 29 I lost my career, my lisence and my sense of who I was. I would be lying if I said that the journey from there to here was an easy one because the reality is that it was a hard one and one that I had to do on my own. I was blessed along the way with support.

The challenge for me was finding purpose and meaning in life if I could not engage in the physical way that I was accustomed to. It's been a long road and I believe that I am one of the truly blessed people. I now live a rewarding life as a disabled woman who finds intellectual stimulation a wonderful outlet. Oh, there's something to be said for sitting on the top of a mountain, nothing but the wind whipping across your face and the put-put of a two stroke below you as you stare back at the shale in your path. They're memories that I'll have forever.

Now I make new memories, encouraging others to dig deep within themselves, throw off the limiting thoughts and people, and once again become an active participant in the game of life. Yes, you too can make the transformation.