Saturday, March 15, 2014

Alma Matters

The dictionary defines alma mater (derived from the Latin for fostering/nourishing mother) as "the school, college, or university that someone attended". In my mind, with my tendency towards hyperbole and vivid imagination, I imagine an Ivy League campus, where I'd be on the rowing team. In my own experience, I never felt such a deep, romanticized connection with either university I attended. I didn't, as I imagined, leave school with fond memories, and go on to wear a well-worn sweatshirt from my beloved alma mater on Sunday mornings while lounging around the house or walking the dogs. I've never really liked school, and I never really reminisce about the wonderful times I spent at university.

After my third year of vet school, I had a summer job working at the Winnipeg Humane Society, essentially as a (supervised) veterinarian. I loved that job more than any other work I had ever done, and got out of bed every morning excited to go to work. I spent the whole summer in Winnipeg, and felt that I gained more from those few months than the rest of school combined. At the end of the summer, I left behind some wonderful friends and colleagues, who were just as sad as I was to see me go back to Saskatoon. Two of the doctors that I worked with gave me a parting gift of a WHS t-shirt, a gift that moved me to tears and that I wore with pride. I loved it so much, and everything that it represented, that I still have it, despite its well-worn, holey appearance.

Now on Sundays, I get up and, without realizing it, reach for my WHS t-shirt; Eric will laugh,"Oh, you're wearing your dog walking shirt again." Seems I found my alma mater after all.