Wider Horizons

By spring 1979, I had finished my classes [at the Western Canada High School adult education program] and applied to the Journalism program at SAIT. …Although my preference was to stay in Calgary so that I could continue to work while I attended school, I grudgingly applied to what was then called Lethbridge Community College.

SAIT’s admission process was two-fold: the written plus the oral interview. I wrote my written test and passed. …[And] from my perspective, the interview went well. … Approximately two weeks later, I received a letter notifying me that I was not granted admission into the program. Why? It was all due to my accent. Yes, in those days, you could be openly discriminated against without repercussion, or at least without a second thought. …Naturally, I was very disappointed when I was not granted admission into SAIT, but my hopes were not dashed. I was still waiting to hear from Lethbridge. A short time later, I received a congratulatory letter of admission [into the Radio Arts and Journalism program at LCC]. I was elated! My dream was taking shape!

The college environment was unique and intimate. Our student body was comprised of selected students from all over Canada. Carol Thibeaux was our copywriting teacher, our surrogate big sister, and a caretaker in the department. In addition, I developed a mentorship/coach relationship with the Radio Arts program manager, Mr. Ian Mandin. Mr. Mandin was a very patient, caring, and witty instructor. He infused humour and laughter into all his lessons, making his classes both fun and memorable.

…[After completing her first year of the program, Taiwo and her husband spent the summer working to raise money for the next year’s tuition. She also discovered she was pregnant with her first child.] In September of 1980, the second year and third semester of my Radio Arts program began. As I sailed through it, my belly grew steadily. My program mates and faculty showered me with much care and attention. They even got me a couch to lie on whenever I felt tired. They were so kind, and I was so very grateful to them.

The fall semester concluded, and I started my last semester at LCC. It looked like I was going to be able to push ahead and deliver the baby close to graduation; at least, that was my wish. In spite of my wishes, the baby decided to make her appearance midway through my final semester. She arrived on Feb. 6, 1981, weighing in at 6 pounds. …After one month at home with my baby, I returned to classes in March and graduated with my program mates in April of 1981. …I was utterly exhausted most of the time, and to be honest, I don’t know how I pulled through. But I did. I was very proud of myself for pushing through and graduating despite the challenges.

… I have faced challenges in pursuing higher education. …[But] part of being successful is recognizing that a closed door is sometimes the best thing that could happen to you.

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Wider Horizons
Reprinted with permission
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