How did I get here?

In 2018, as my job as manager of the seasonal not-for-profit community-owned restaurant in my town was coming to a close, I decided to apply to college. It was September 7th, classes had already started, and I had no idea whether St. Lawrence College would even acknowledge my application let alone approve it.

It had been 20 years since I’d last been in college. I had no idea if I still knew how to learn. I didn’t know whether Advertising and Marketing Communications was the right choice. And I’d submitted my application at 4pm on a Friday afternoon, so I’d set myself up for the most torturous weekend of my life while I waited for a reply.

Monday came and went with nothing. On Tuesday morning, the last day of the season, as I stood behind the counter of The Back Kitchen I looked down at my phone and saw the voicemail notification. The whole dining room knew I’d applied. I had told every customer who walked in the door since Friday. “Put it on speaker,” one of the diners – the wife of the Anglican minister – said. I did.

“Hello Terry, this is St. Lawrence College calling, we’re glad to …” the rest of the message was lost to the roar of the dining room and the hum in my ears. I’m not sure my feet touched the ground for the rest of the day. After the last customer left and I closed and locked the door for what would be the last time of the season, and perhaps the last time ever as its manager, I cried. For three years I’d been in that building every day of its operating season. I’d been part of getting it up and running in 2016 when it changed hand from its retiring owners to the community-ownership model.

Onward, though! New adventures awaited me.

I had absolutely no idea what that would mean.

The following day I went to the St. Lawrence College campus for the first time, paid my tuition and was handed a sheet of paper by the administrator behind the School of Business office desk. “Here’s your timetable, you’ve got class… huh… right now!”

The rest, as they say, was rock and roll.

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