MANIFESTO: The True Value of a University Education

[This is my old manifesto I stumbled upon the other day.  I wrote this in second year university, clearly pissed at the education system.  My beliefs have since changed, though I wanted to share]

We, the over exerted, under admired, and cognitively developed students have been socialized in a world where education is understood to be the only way to achieve a successful career. Over the past ten or so years of our lives, we have been bombarded with lectures from our parents, friends, relatives and teachers about getting a decent post-secondary education. Education is important (Obviously). It has taught us to read, write, innovate, invent, etc. Than what is wrong with post-secondary education today? To some, there is nothing wrong. But who ever took the time to see how financially strapped families and children think about the expenses behind it? Or even the politics surrounding admissions, its true values, its expanding globalized form, or its heavily changing cult? [Wow, I can’t believe I thought university was a cult]

In common with the increasing number of students attending universities across the country, we have reached a saturation point whereby universities can no longer accept large number of students due to space constraints and lack of government funding. On these terms, and from what I have seen throughout the course of my university education, it is apparent that going away to school is just a fad, or more simply, it is the in thing to do. Westernized education is the repeating trend. It is a style. It is a statement. A university degree will eventually help you in the long run, but it wont necessarily get you anywhere upon graduation, unless of course, you have an oh so cherished MBA, PhD, engineering degree, or something ‘useful’. If you do, than you have correctly chosen the ‘easy’ route to finding work and a successful post-graduate career. In due course, you receive more attention from outside sources, such as leading corporations and businesses because of your apparent job related skills, and eventually land yourself a secure career of your dreams.

The Canadian government has given students the option of going to either College or University. But at times, it can be very hard to distinguish the value between the two. A degree sounds better than a diploma, however much recently more and more university graduates have been attending post-grad college programs across the country in order to further their ‘practical’ skills. Since this has been the growing trend than college most obviously seems to be the correct path to take because it offers hands on training and practical skill development. And college in Canada has a substantially smaller price tag than the average Canadian University.

Due to the pressure of going away to school, our summers are spent working long hours in underpaid jobs in order to have the required financial stability to be able to afford the over priced text books and over paid professors. At least the professors see the good in their degrees. The majority of them can be called doctors having a wide range of letters after their name, B.A., M.B.A., PhD, and so on. But all the education is not necessarily sufficient enough to say that they can teach. Sure they have spent years in school and have had hundreds of teachers over the course of their lifetime who have given a general understanding of teaching. Nevertheless, their education level can often conflict with the principles behind instructing. So our earned summer dollars go right back into the same institutions that claim they can educate us and prepare us for our longstanding careers.

Encouraged by the pressure of society and the anxiety to make a decent living, the true value of a University education has lost its original importance. No longer will we be writing papers for specific purposes other than to get a grade. No longer will our education be used in our careers. Education is dead. Politics have risen (And dominate the education system). And the student today is not what it used to be.

[Clearly I was upset about my education. Though I did graduate from a reputable program from a reputable school, I still use more of the skills I learned on the job than what I learned at school. My argument was targeting arts and some science programs, and not necessarily specific engineering, health, and more, lets say, complex programs.]


December 7, 2010 at 2:40 am Leave a comment

I will

I was once told … ‘You will barely graduate high school.’
So I graduated with honours.

I was once told … ‘You aren’t the university type.’
I got accepted to the top engineering school in Canada with scholarship, though didn’t go.

I was once told…’ I can’t believe you made it to your final year with such poor writing skills’
My fourth year in-depth research paper was the top in the class.

I was once told …’You will never live abroad’
I went to Australia, for one year.

I was once told … ‘You will fail’
I did.   And it was awesome.

Recently, I was told …. ‘Your business idea is good, but YOU can’t possibly do it’
I will.

October 4, 2010 at 2:27 am 3 comments

Staying strong

We can’t possibly control every facet of our lives.  We can’t control when we may die, how tall we may become, or what happens to the people we love in our lives.   But we can control how we react to the bad situations we will all come to face.

Three days ago my father had a heart attack. He survived, but his/our lives have changed.  My father; the most important man in my life, my BEST FRIEND, almost died.  What a shock.

I was nowhere close to him when it happened. I was actually over 3000 Kilometers away. Far enough to feel extremely guilty and completely helpless.  So what happened?   My dad was driving his boat across the lake to his friends house.  About a six minute boat ride.  He hoped in the boat, sunglasses on, shirtless, with a grin for the beautiful day ahead of him.   Two minutes into the ride he started to feel exhausted, sweaty, and had a numbness across his left side that went up to his jaw.  Within seconds his chest felt like it was caving in and he knew something was wrong. He wasn’t sure if he should turn around and go home or continue on to his friends place.

He kept going.

When he arrived he crookedly docked the boat, got off, and collapsed on the dock.  Drenched in sweat and barely able to get up, his friend quickly called an ambulance, gave him aspirin and hauled him up to the road.  The ambulance arrived within minutes.

My mom.

She met him at the hospital, very shaken up.  Her love of over 40 years was lying helpless in the emergency ward waiting to hear back from the doctor.  What was happening?  Was he alive?  Would he survive?  My poor mother. My God she is a strong woman.

The doctors finally let my mom know that my father had suffered a blood clot to this heart and that he would have to be transferred to a hospital two hours away for surgery. One of the top heart hospitals in the world.  Was this good or bad news?  Again … my poor mother.

At this very moment, as I was sitting in an office in San Francisco, I had an odd feeling. I knew I needed to call home to check in.  My mom answered the phone “Bonjour”.

“Hi mom, how are you?”

“Umm, are you alone? Where are you?”

“Yes I am alone mom. What’s going on?”

“I can’t talk as I am on the way out the door, but I want to tell you something.”

‘MOM, whats going on. Are you ok?”

“Renee, your father had a heart attack”

THUD. Sweats. Shakes. Tears. My dad had a what?

Over the course of the next 24 hours I was on edge. I had no clue if my father was even alive.  I couldn’t sleep all night.  What a horrible feeling.  The morning rolled around and I got a call from my sister… “Dad is fine. He had stents put in his heart and a couple angioplasty’s.  He should recover just fine.”  – FEW!

Throughout this whole ordeal my family stayed strong. Really strong. We all knew he would come out of this ok, but it was extremely scary.  When things like this happen, just remember to think positively. We all did and my dad will be just fine.

I love my family.

September 5, 2010 at 9:05 pm 6 comments

A New Chapter

For those of you who do read my blog, or the random posts here and their, you haven’t had the chance to see the behind-the-scenes me.  I have been extremely busy, hence the lack of posts. My bad.  But today, I have a special announcement. Some of you, my close friends, will know that I have resigned from BizLaunch after 2.5 years and am moving on to a Com. Mngt/Biz Dev role at Face Wireless (At the time of this post the company had not launched).  My time at BizLaunch was well served. I met some amazing, inspiring, and ambitious entrepreneurs. Like Roxanne Pettipas, CEO of Buddy-Belts, Mike McDerment, President of Freshbooks, Mark Ruddock, Former president of Viigo, Sarah Prevette, founder of Sprouter, and many many more.  I wish you all well! But let me remind you, this is not a good bye, but a see you soon.

Although my new role will involve little interaction with entrepreneurs, I am still deeply attached to the community.  I love the passion, risk, and adventures entrepreneurs take. You are all amazing people.

In my new role I will be taking on new adventures myself, helping grow a potentially large company and meet even more extraordinary people.  I am looking forward to the challenge.

So to those whom I have worked very closely with in the last few years, Good Luck and you will be missed!  On to a new chapter in my life. This one, the biggest step forward in years.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain.

June 8, 2010 at 3:12 pm Leave a comment

Create BUZZ around your product

Creating buzz around your product or service. Quit simply, how to make it viral. Follow these steps, stick to them, and you could create a really BIG BUZZ!

Continue Reading May 5, 2010 at 2:03 pm 1 comment

Sidewalk: Rules

Nothing bugs me more then those people who don’t share the side walk.  The idea of people walking down the sidewalk side-by-side is fine, however when others are approaching single file is the etiquette.  How is it that so many people don’t know this?  It’s complete arrogance really.

Renee’s Sidewalk rules:
1. Single file when others are approaching
2. Help the elderly or women with children cross the road
3. When crossing the road at an intersection, the above same rules still apply.


May 2, 2010 at 3:49 pm Leave a comment

Starting Booty Camp Fitness

Ouch! Burn! Cramp! Shake!

That’s my body today, just 48 hours after my first Booty Camp work out. I can hardly climb stairs, squat or bend over.  I pushed myself to the limit.  And guess what? My second session is but 7 hours away. Eeeeek!  Ok, ok, ok.  I can do this. Seriously I can.  All I have to do is picture Jillian Michael’s next to me screaming DONT STOP! Or better yet, know what I will look like in booty shorts in 1 month. Yes, that’s it.

So this Booty Camp Fitness I wrote about briefly a couple of months ago. I was excited to enroll and am now excited for my next class. (Although secretly when I am there I want to leave), but I am sure it will get easier.  So now to state my goals.  I figure if I make this public, I have a much stronger commitment to keep up.

Goal 1 Get in decent shape for Frisbee season

Goal 2 Look good in booty shorts (A little vain? Not at all!)

So there it is. If you see me hobbling around in the next couple weeks it’s because I am getting my BOOTY IN SHAPE!  I look forward to this transformation and to the commitment in my health and fitness.

Here we go…

April 8, 2010 at 4:35 pm 3 comments

Lights in action at Kool Haus – Private Function

Just a little video of the lovely Valerie of Lights.  She is a fantastic performer and has a great personality.  Thank you to ING Direct for putting on this event last night in support of their new iPhone application.

We loved her and her band.  Great stuff!

March 25, 2010 at 8:31 pm Leave a comment

Distribution of Age within Social Networks

Interesting data.  I didn’t think that Twitter was of more interest to 45-54 year olds over Ning and Delicious.

More interestingly is the dominant age group across all social networks.  58% are between 35 and 44. The next, 21% are under 17 years old.  My demographic is one of the smallest.  I am shocked!

March 17, 2010 at 2:20 pm 1 comment

We got Lit at #CanLit

What a night!  Although this was the 3rd annual #CanLit (Canadian Livers in training), it was my second time.  Last years event was quit the night being held at CSI.  This year it was hosted at The Fair Trade Jewellery Company.   Once again I had a blast.  Problem is IM NOT GOING TO SXSW! 😦

Duh. So what was the point of me going if my liver doesn’t need any training?  For the awesome peeps of course.

Myself with @alisaan and @jamesmbishop

The evenings Dj’s…amazing job! @smack416 and @qasim

myslef with @rochlatinsky

And the wonderful host @ryantaylor

Thanks again to the organizers.  You outdid yourselves. Have a great time at SXSW.

March 8, 2010 at 12:59 am Leave a comment

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